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Verdict Reached In Controversial Marijuana Grow Facility Lawsuit

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) - A Denver Federal Court jury took only a few hours to decide against a Pueblo County couple who claimed a marijuana dispensary was ruining their lifestyle and property value.

Michael and Phillis Windy Hill Reilly sued Parker Walton, the owner of Cannacraft. He opened a marijuana grow facility to sell commercially to dispensaries.

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The Reillys claimed, since marijuana is illegal under federal law, he was in violation of racketeering laws. They argued the smell and the noise the sale of the marijuana was against the law.

The couple was represented by attorneys from Washington D.C. and the case was being followed closely because of similar suits else.

"I think at the end of the day we presented the facts that painted the correct picture. All they had was subjective information from plaintiffs and neighbors. We came in with hard science to show there was no odor," Walton told CBS4's Rick Sallinger. "This is something that was voted on by the people of Colorado in the Constitution of Colorado. Pueblo County also had a vote. One of the only counties that had a separate vote so it was passed twice."

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The Reillys had no comment as they left court. One of their attorneys David Thompson issued the following statement:

"While we are disappointed by the jury's decision, it does nothing to alter the legal rule established by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in this case. Those who operate state-legal marijuana businesses are racketeers in the eyes of federal law and may be sued for treble damages and attorney's fees. The marijuana industry can expect many more days in federal court."

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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