Thousands of happy stoners waited in line for hours in early July to peruse the stands at the first marijuana farmers market in Los Angeles.
Vendors at the first-ever California Heritage Market, held inside a warehouse in Boyle Heights, sold a wide variety of bud, cannabis edibles, oils, concentrates, and other products. Shoppers were allowed to handle the goods and, in some cases, sample them.
The line outside stretched around the corner as stoners waited patiently to get a grab at some of the cheapest weed in the city. Pot sold for as much as 70 percent off the retail prices charged by medical marijuana dispensaries.
Lots of Weed, Low Prices
“Fifteen dollars for this?” asked one shopper after buying a small bag of dank weed. “Now where are you going to get this for $15?”
Marijuana was available, straight from cultivators, in almost every conceivable variety. There were balms and sunscreen lotions, chai tea, candy, chocolate, soft prezels, organic waffles, and cooking oil, among many other items.
Organizers got through the day without trouble, and they say they plan to return every week for the foreseeable future – unless police or other city officials interfere.
California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, the first state to do so. Ever since, patients have obtained the drug either by growing it themselves or buying it at quasi-legal cannabis dispensaries that do booming business across the state.
Market Cuts Out the Middleman
The farmers market, which debuted July 4, offers a new approach, one with no middleman. Shoppers buy straight from the source at greatly reduced price.
“The dispensary is so last decade,” joked John Moreaux, a grower in the L.A. area.
The farmers market isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that could revolutionize marijuana shopping. The first large-scale cannabis farmers market was opened in Washington State a few years ago. It moved to Seattle last year after officials drove it out of Tacoma.
The market in Los Angeles was the first of its kind in California. It remains to be seen how law enforcement will react, but if the long treatment of dispensaries is any indication, the market could face trouble.
First Days Were a Big Success
But police didn’t intervene on opening day. Organizers described the day as a success and said they hoped to reach as many patients as possible.
“This opens it up for patients to reach lots of different cultivators,” said Paizley Bradbury, executive director of the market. “They’ll be able to get flowers, concentrates, edibles, lotions . . . and you can get 70 percent off the prices at a dispensary.”
Shoppers had to show ID to get into the event, along with documents proving they’re legitimate patients under the state’s medical pot law. The market was swarming with customers all day July 4, when 2,500 people showed up, and July 5, which saw a crowd more than double that size.
“Next week I’m going to bring my 6-year-old daughter,” said Robert Tedders, who spent the day selling bhang chai laced with THC. “People are lining up and they’re happy to be here. And that feels really good.”