Catholic Church Filed Lawsuit Over 'Permeating' Odor of Cannabis Smoke

A Roman Catholic Church in Syracuse, New York, filed a lawsuit claiming that the smell of cannabis smoke has "infiltrated" the inside of the church and is affecting the friars.

The complaint was filed by an attorney representing Assumption Church against a neighboring live music venue on February 9.

The lawsuit claimed that an illegal marijuana market and a mix of live music events led to an intense odor that entered the building where the friars resided.

"As a result, the odor of cannabis smoke has infiltrated and permeated Assumption Church buildings," the complaint read.

New York State passed the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) in March 2021 which legalized adult-use cannabis. It is only legal for licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to sell marijuana containing greater than .3 percent THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

While the state must grant the licenses, no individuals are able to apply for a retail dispensary license until all regulations in the MRTA are finalized.

In the lawsuit, Assumption Church claimed that the live music venue, Alien Opera House, did not have the necessary license to dispense medical marijuana.

Vendors must also possess a license to sell cannabinoid hemp or cannabis with less than .3 percent THC, and the complaint alleged Alien Opera House had unlicensed vendors at their indoor and outdoor events.

The marijuana market in question was held on the venue's subleased property for about three months in a part of the building that connected to the church.

The complaint also states that Alien Opera House often hosts shows that go until 2 a.m. or later which interfered with the friars' "right to peaceful enjoyment."

"Such concerts feature excessive noise and are extremely disruptive to Assumption and, in particular, the friars residing in the friary," the complaint read.

Sometimes, the venue's events blocked the friars' access to various parts of the church's property, according to the lawsuit.

The church complained about the illegal activities at the venue numerous times, according to the lawsuit. On December 29, 2021, the church sent a Cease and Desist letter demanding that the venue refrain from illegal or unlicensed behavior and requesting that the market be moved.

Another Cease and Desist Letter was sent to the venue on January 21, 2022, but both letters were "ignored" and the venue hosted an event on January 23 regardless of the complaint.

After the lawsuit was filed, the marijuana market officially moved its location to a building in another part of the city. However the market was forced to leave that property as well, Syracuse.com reported.

Alien Opera House subsequently canceled events that were planned to be held at the venue, including an all-night rave that included live music until 5 a.m.

Although it is illegal to sell marijuana in the state of New York, Syracuse police are not arresting people for marijuana-based offenses and the county District's Attorney is not prosecuting people.

Newsweek reached out to Assumption Church and The Alien Opera House for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Person smoking marijuana
A Roman Catholic Church in Syracuse, NY filed a lawsuit against a live music venue complaining that events held at the venue caused the smell of cannabis smoke to infiltrate the church. Hector Vivas/Getty Images