By Associated Press
(AP) — Two Oregon wine grape growers have failed to convince a state judge their grapes would be marred by odors from a neighboring marijuana operation.
Yamhill County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Easterday ruled that Smera Vineyard and Maysara Winery haven’t met their burden of proof to justify blocking the Wagner family from growing and processing the cannabis, The Capital Press reported.
The judge said she deliberated for nearly eight months since the February trial and had re-listened to expert testimony several times.
“This was a very difficult and close decision,” and while the potential for the smell of marijuana to taint wine grapes raises “a threat, a risk, and concerns, there is insufficient proof at this time by a preponderance of the evidence that it will damage plaintiffs’ current or future agricultural products,” Easterday said.
The judge also determined that Steven, Mary and Richard Wagner, the marijuana producers, can lawfully use an easement across one of the plaintiff’s properties and that the defendants are the prevailing parties under Oregon’s “right to farm” statute.
The vineyard plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in 2017 but their request for a temporary restraining order against the marijuana operation was denied.
However, their complaint survived a motion to dismiss after the court found the defendants didn’t have a “blanket immunity” from the charges under Oregon’s “right to farm” law.
Maysara Winery produces wine and grows grapevines on over 530 acres near McMinnville, while Smera Vineyards is a much smaller grape-growing operation.