California’s first pot farmers market was an amazing success. Great deals, excellent quality, and a congenial atmosphere had hordes of Los Angeles residents waiting in long lines in the summer sun in Boyle Heights.
Once inside, customers were greeted with glass jars full of exotic pot varieties along with flowers, edibles, and concentrates, just to name a few. People could sniff products and talk directly with growers. This isn’t the first cannabis market to spring up. Others in Washington state and Northern California have also seen some success. But for many consumers, this was a different experience.
“They were more like conventions. Here it’s special, because they are bringing growers and consumers together,” said marijuana grower Terry Sand.
Bringing pot growers face-to-face with customers provides another benefit, rock-bottom prices.
“This opens it up for patients to reach lots of different cultivators,” said Paizley Bradbury, executive director of the California Heritage Market. “They’ll be able to get flowers, concentrates, edibles, lotions…. And you can get 70 percent off the prices at a dispensary.”
One stand’s cannabis could be found in dispensaries for $300 an ounce, at the farmers market it was $180.
Quality control was also on the mind of the market’s participants. Customers could ask growers about what precautions they take to prevent mold and other contaminants. Asking about pot quality was especially important for those with serious medical conditions.
Medical marijuana only.
The pot farmers market was strictly within the bounds of the law. To get into the market, customers had to show their IDs and medical marijuana cards. Staff worked tirelessly to check medical marijuana licenses, which added to wait times. Some patients were standing in line for an hour and a half.
Aside from price, quality and customer service, consumers were drawn in because medical marijuana is becoming harder to buy legally.
Last year, Los Angeles voters pass Proposition D, which restricted the number of pot-related businesses in the area. The result has been a wide-spread crack down on marijuana dispensaries.
The farmers market showed that although the supply might now be limited, demand is still out in full force.
The Economic potential of pot markets like this one is estimated to be around $47 billion for the U.S. states where it’s legal alone, total legalization potential might be over $100 billion.
Organizers estimated that 2,500 patients took part in the market.
With the enormous success of this first experiment, organizers hope to make the pot farmers market a regular weekly event.
[Image Credit: Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times]