Los Angeles’ first medical marijuana farmers market is set to launch July 4, marking a unique opportunity for card-carrying cannabis patients to purchase a variety of products, including cannabis flowers, edibles and concentrates, directly from growers.
The new farmers market, which will feature 20 to 50 vendors, will be held at the West Coast Collective in East Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles California Heritage Market's executive administrator, Paizley Bradbury, views the market as an opportunity to expand patients' limited access to medical marijuana while allowing them to bypass dispensaries’ broker markups and misleading product analysis.
“It’s going to be so much easier for patients to get their medicine at a more affordable rate, and something that they can trust,” Bradbury told Time magazine on Thursday. “They can say ‘How did you grow this? Is it organic? What kind of nutrients did you use? What kind of strain is this?’ There’s just so much more behind it.”
The market will also provide consumers with more reliable access to cannabis products, as hundreds of Los Angeles dispensaries face growing pressure to shut down after the city’s voters passed new rules restricting where and how medical marijuana dispensaries can operate.
Unable to cultivate medical marijuana themselves, the majority of California's roughly 572,762 registered medical marijuana patients rely on dispensaries for safe access to cannabis to treat the symptoms of numerous illnesses, including AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis.
The California Heritage Market plans to run every weekend, but Bradbury has already sought legal counsel from an in-house lawyer to safeguard against any potential legal challenges.
“With this industry, you just never really know how things are going to turn out until after you do it,” Bradbury told Time.
As the first state to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes, California has garnered millions of dollars in revenue from marijuana since its legalization in 1996. In 2007, the state collected more than $100 million in sales tax from marijuana facilities.
Despite California's growing pot market, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, which has also contributed to the closure of hundreds of marijuana businesses under the Obama administration’s crackdown on the state's cannabis operations.