LOS ANGELES — A line of eager patients snaked around three city blocks for the Independence Day opening of the California Heritage Market, the world’s first medical marijuana farmers market at West Coast Collective in Boyle Heights. Blunt smoke and vapor filled the air as customers waited patiently for the chance to buy their medicine at a wholesale discount.
“You guys are making history!” a reporter from WeedTV exclaimed as she filmed the expectant crowd.
Indeed. It only took 238 years, but America’s first open-air weed market opened with a bang on Friday.
“We’re going to be doing this every weekend,” said Cheryl Shuman, CEO and founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, who worked to promote the event. “It took us just ten days to get this together. The response has been great.”
50 vendors, including growers, collectives, and bakeries participated in the collective’s inaugural event. The marijuana-infused lubricant Foria had a booth. So, too, did Best Edible, a quaint bake shop offering homemade herb-laced chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.
Spirits were high as wide-eyed attendees milled around the open-air market, munching on free samples of edibles and smell-testing different strains. A DJ set up towards the back of the tent, playing low-key dance music.
The event’s main draw was the chance for patients to meet growers directly and cut out the dispensary as a middleman; as a result, prices for weed were at a doorbuster discount. While dispensaries in Los Angeles generally charge at least $15 per gram, the same gram could be had at the market for as little as $8.
Like a regular dispensary, patients are required to hold a valid medical marijuana license and a West Coast Collective membership to enter the event; however, those with a doctor’s recommendation could register as a member of the collective while waiting in line.
“I love Independence Day!” a customer jubilantly exclaimed as he waited for his order to be filled.
The collective picked a fitting day to launch their farmers market: on a national holiday celebrating freedom, liberty, and all things America, it was only a matter of time before the celebratory atmosphere and discount sales carried over into the medical marijuana market.
The California Heritage Market is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. through Independence Day weekend at 1500 Esperanza Street in Boyle Heights. Proof of medical marijuana eligibility may be required.