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The Latest: Jury’s pot verdict may slow copycat litigation

November 1, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on Colorado jury’s pot verdict (all times local):

3 p.m.

Analysts and industry lawyers says a Colorado jury likely threw cold water on a novel legal claim targeting cannabis companies with federal racketeering lawsuits.

A federal jury in Denver on Wednesday rejected a homeowners’ racketeering lawsuit alleging a marijuana farm’s odor devalued their property values and took away from their enjoyment of horseback riding.

It was the first lawsuit of its kind to reach a jury, and the case was closely watched by the marijuana industry, which remain illegal under federal law. Three other federal lawsuits are pending in California, Massachusetts and Oregon. Analysts and industry lawyers say the verdict could dissuade others from filing similar lawsuits, which are expensive to litigate.

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7 a.m.

A federal jury has ruled against a Colorado couple who claimed that a neighboring marijuana grow operation hurt their property’s value in a case closely watched by the U.S. cannabis industry.

The Colorado Sun reported Wednesday that jurors reached their verdict in Denver after deliberating for about half a day.

It was the first time a jury considered a lawsuit using federal anti-racketeering law to target a marijuana company.

Matthew Buck, the lawyer for grow owner Parker Walton, says a loss in court would have meant the loss of Walton’s business.

Vulnerability to similar lawsuits is among the many risks facing marijuana businesses licensed by states but still violating federal law. Suits using the same strategy have been filed in California, Massachusetts and Oregon.

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