What better way to celebrate Independence Day than by combining community marketplaces with the slowly (begrudgingly) ending drug war? On Independence Day weekend (July 4-6), what is being called the first medical marijuana farmer's market in Los Angeles will give users the chance to ask growers and vendors about their products without having to go through dispensaries. It will take place at a dispensary, though, in East Los Angeles, and the organizers are expecting between 25 and 50 different vendors. From the LAist:
Executive Director Paizley Bradbury says the market's ultimate goal is to help educate patients as to what medication is available to them.
"For a long time, the only access patients had, especially in L.A., was to go to a dispensary," she told LAist. "We see a lot of problems with having that power over patients' access to medicine whether that be price or vendors and who they choose. I feel like a lot of the power should be shifted to those who are actually growing so that first-time patients can talk to the growers and the growers can cut out the broker price."
Bradbury also sees the market as an opportunity for smaller vendors without the resources to advertise to meet future patients in person, and for patients to learn about growing themselves.
It could also be a potential way to deal with the city's insistence on trying to shut down hundreds of pot dispensaries other than the few that are covered under a local ballot initiative passed last year. The medical marijuana industry is not immune to protectionist tendencies (especially since unions have gotten involved), and concepts like farmer's markets will help provide additional options.
Reason magazine columnist Greg Beato noted in the January issue that the "failure" of California to establish a strict set of rules for medical marijuana sales has resulted in all sorts of interesting consumer-oriented experiments on testing, labeling, and marketing. Read what he had to say here.