L.A. Marijuana Farmers’ Market Forced to Shut Down

The L.A. marijuana farmers market, which only opened over the 4th of July weekend, had a short existence and was ordered to shut down by a Superior Court Judge after a city attorney filed an injunction. The farmers’ market is being forced to close after a temporary restraining order was filed against the California Heritage Market and its operators. The city attorney alleges that the market was in violation of Proposition D, an ordinance which was passed last year.

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The farmers market, held at the West Coast Collective or Progressive Horizon, asserts that it is one of the “pre-ICO” dispensaries in operation prior to a moratorium in 2007. Proposition D sought to reduce the number of L.A. marijuana dispensaries from 1,100 to 135. Our Orange County marijuana dispensary attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of dispensary owners and advocating for user rights. We are abreast of trends in California and nationwide and committed to raising awareness.

While under Proposition D, new dispensaries are not supposed to be opening, original dispensaries have been able to continue their operations. The controversy involves a name change and relocation, though operators assert that they have been in continuous operation since 2007. According to statements made by the city attorney, the original 135 dispensaries can continue selling marijuana, but must follow strict conditions. The farmers’ market operators and defendants also claim that the law does not prohibit trading cannabis for cash.

The city attorney and prosecutors have accused the farmers’ market operators of being in violation of city zoning rules. The temporary restraining order also alleges that the market presents potential “crowding issues” and poses safety issues for the neighborhood. The injunction names the operators of the market, organizers of the farmers’ market, and the director of the West Coast Collective as defendants.

The farmers’ market allowed any farmer or competing legitimate dispensary operator was welcome to come and sell products at the event, including edibles. By cutting out the dispensaries, advocates for the market hoped to redefine how the purchase of marijuana is regulated. After legal threats from the city, some of those involved in the initial groundwork for the market have reduced their roles and stepped back from the project. The defendants have also retained legal representation in response to the injunction. Since the Superior Court judge approved the restraining order, operations of the marijuana farmers’ market have been halted until another hearing takes place on August 6th.

According to the city attorney, only those who are members of the collective were allowed to sell on the premises. In defense, the collective has stated that vendors who sold their goods at the market were technically employees of the market and were considered members of the same business. According to attorneys for the defendants, Proposition D does not prohibit employee-vendors. Defendants and vendors blame some of the confusion on the state and city laws, which highlight the legal challenges mounting for dispensary owners and operators in L.A. and statewide. According to the city attorney, pre-ICO dispensary owners could operate a farmers’ market and sell directly; however, new vendors are not permitted to sell directly to consumers.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

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