It was billed as California's
the nation's first “marijuana farmers market,” and it attracted hundreds of patients who stood in line to get a farm-fresh experience buying medical cannabis.
Unfortunately, it was also illegal.
That, at least, is the contention of L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, who today announced that he has asked a judge to issue a preliminary injunction that would forbid the operators from doing their California Heritage Market again, a spokesman for his office told us:
The market at the West Coast Collective in the Boyle Heights area featured growers and edible makers who were apparently able to sell directly to consumers. The event was put on by the Eastside dispensary during all three days of the July 4 holiday.
The city's marijuana dispensary law, passed by voters last year, outlaws all dispensaries except for about 135 that have been around since a 2007 city moratorium went into effect. The law exempts those shops from prosecution so long as certain conditions are meant.
The West Coast Collective claims to be one of those grandfathered retailers. However, regulations generally don't permit direct sales between growers and consumers.
Paizley Bradbury, a woman who during the build-up to the market billed herself as both the director of the West Coast Collective and the organizer of the event there, now says she was only temporarily working to promote the three-day California Heritage Market and that she can no longer speak for either entity.
“I can't really make a comment,” she told us today. “I'm no longer working with the California Heritage Market. I was just hired to open and that's it.”
We called the dispensary for comment but could not reach anyone.
Before the market launched Bradbury had told us that an attorney reviewed plans for the farmers market and determined that it would be within legal guidelines.
It's not clear if another such event was planned.
[Updated at 11 p.m.]: A statement from Feuer's office says he's seeking a temporary restraining order against the dispensary (named as Progressive Horizon, doing business as West Coast Collective) and alleged principals in the farmers market identified as James Chingming Chen, Paizley Gabrielle Lee and Tom Sang Lee.
The City Attorney alleges the farmers market violated L.A.'s voter-approved dispensary law, known as Proposition D, as well as zoning laws and public nuisance regulations that cover traffic, crowd congestion and community safety.
Prosecutors also alleged in a statement that the market constituted unfair competition, “detracts from the quality of life of the community,” and “unjustly enriches the defendants.”
We're fighting to stop this end-run around the will of the voters who enacted Proposition D. We allege these events also violate City land use law and are causing a public nuisance. We will do everything we can to put a halt to them.
Prosecutors plan to be in court tomorrow to argue for the restraining order.