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Pot Farmers Market Sprouts In Northern California

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The Organicann Harvest Market in Northern California's Sonoma Country is a lot like the farmers' markets dotting small towns up and down the West Coast--vendors displaying locally-grown organic produce, customers chatting while strolling the aisles, laid-back reggae music floating out from a sound system somewhere. There is, however, one crucial detail that sets this farmers' market, located in a purple warehouse in the sleepy town of Santa Rosa, apart: the only product for sale is marijuana.

In a fascinating piece in "Modern Farmer," writer David Downs details his experiences rubbing elbows with "aging grandmas with short grey hair and faded North Face fleece," "retired cowboys" and "twenty-something girls in Ugg boots" at a market placidly operating at the edge of legality between a state law permitting medical marijuana and a federal law prohibiting it.

While marijuana farmers markets are a novel idea in California, they've been tried (with varying degrees of success) in Vancouver, Phoenix, Seattle and Tacoma.

Marijuana, California's largest cash crop, is approaching something of a crossroads in the state. Golden State voters approved marijuana for medicinal use in 1996; however, they rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized it for recreational use in 2010.

As the tide of public opinion has increasingly turned against anti-drug warriors, backers of legalization are looking to try again in the next few years. Groups are presently working to get legalization measures on the statewide 2014 and 2016 ballots.

Check out the rest of Modern Farmer's look at the marijuana farmer's market.

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Filed by Aaron Sankin