Over Fourth of July weekend, Los Angeles hosted its first medical marijuana farmers market, called The California Heritage Market. The event was organized in an effort to help medical marijuana patients connect with growers and form organic relationships with members of the cannabis industry.
The event took place at an enclosed outdoor facility, the West Coast Collective dispensary, and was open to any card carrying medical marijuana patient. The farmers market featured around 50 independent growers; each grower was pre-screened before being allowed to participate in the event in order to ensure full compliance of the law.
Thousands of medical marijuana patients braved the heat and lined up around the block in order to attend. Inside the event, vendors sold every form of cannabis from edibles, oils, balms, beverages, and beyond.
Because patients were purchasing directly from the growers, with no middle man to raise prices, top shelf cannabis was sold at 70 percent of its usual dispensary price. “Fifteen dollars for this?” one customer gushed to NY Daily News, holding a small bag of high-caliber cannabis. “Now where are you going to get this for $15?” he added.
Aside from smaller prices, the event allowed medical marijuana growers to interact with patients for the first time, which is exactly what organizer Paizely Bradbury had hoped. According to NBC Los Angeles, Bradbury believes the medical marijuana industry has started to abandon the patient focused model of the business in exchange for one more profit driven.
Bradbury also told NBC Los Angeles, “Dispensary owners purchase medicine from growers and have created this market where their patients have no idea where their medicine is coming from.” Bradbury added that they would like to see the city do more in terms of regulating the medical cannabis trade, which she says has been responsible for unnecessarily raising prices and disseminating misleading information.
The inaugural farmers market was a huge success, with an estimated 5,000 patients in attendance. Barring interference by the city or federal law enforcement, organizers plan on making the market a weekly event.
As the industry continues to grow, expect to see more marijuana farmers markets to sprout up. Many marijuana users are socially conscious individuals, which means they like to know where their products come from and who makes them.
This type of user prefers artisanal products that have a personal and individualistic feel to them. While many people wouldn’t mind lighting up a mythical marijuana cigarette from Marlboro, most cannabis enthusiasts would likely prefer knowing the grower and having a personal experience instead of going to the store.
Forward thinking entrepreneurs should look for similar opportunities in their communities. While not a directly profitable venture, organizing and hosting a similar event is an excellent way to unite locals in the industry. By creating respected communities, herbal entrepreneurs are better positioned to establish themselves as industry leaders, react quickly to changing market trends and form organic relationships with customers.
There will come a time in cannabis when select companies will rise to the top and become the major players of the industry. Competition will be fierce and after a certain point it won’t matter how strong your cannabis is, but rather how strong your company is. The entrepreneur that comes out on top in this industry will be the one that builds natural relationships with customers while maintaining the company’s strength, drive and organization.