Oregon Hemp Litigation: Does Oregon’s Eviction Moratorium Apply to Cannabis Businesses?

In a word, yes.

A lawsuit recently filed in Jackson County, Oregon by a tenant alleges that his landlord has wrongfully evicted him from a warehouse containing 36,000 pounds of hemp, which the plaintiff alleges will be worth $1.5 million when processed, and 500 pounds of trimmed flower with a market value of $175,000. (Marks v. Laminate Tech., Inc., 20CV31971 – email me if you’d like a copy of the complaint). Before discussing the lawsuit, let’s briefly review Oregon’s moratoria on evictions, which we’ve closely watched as we’ve advised both landlords and tenants on their options resulting from the moratoria.

On April 1, Governor Brown signed Executive Order 20-13, which imposed a temporary moratorium on evictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This order followed a prior order (20-11) that imposed a temporary moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent. In Order 20-13, Governor Brown extended that moratorium to include non-residential tenancies (i.e. commercial tenants). Order 20-13 prohibits commercial landlords from terminating any tenant’s lease and from taking action, judicial or otherwise, relating to non-residential evictions for the nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or other charges or service fees.

The order contained no carve-out for cannabis

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