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Cannabis farmers market's supporters fight to keep it open

Medical marijuana activists fight to keep cannabis farmers market in Boyle Heights open
Supporters fight L.A.'s restraining order against cannabis farmers market in Boyle Heights

Kathy Bolivar lives with debilitating pain that interrupts her ability to carry on a normal life and relies on medical marijuana to relieve some of her symptoms.

But the 38-year-old Highland Park resident was never able to find the right marijuana strain to treat her trigeminal neuralgia, a nerve disorder.

"It is constant -- the pain is 24/7," she said.

That was the case until she visited Los Angeles' first-ever cannabis farmers market over the Fourth of July weekend at West Coast Collective in Boyle Heights.

Explaining her illness directly to growers allowed her to find several affordable strains that relieve 80% to 90% of her pain -- something she said wasn't possible at an ordinary marijuana dispensary.

The medicine she purchased that weekend was enough to last her a month and cost significantly less than marijuana sold at a dispensary.

But the access Bolivar enjoyed may soon be gone. Now, she and fellow medical marijuana activists are fighting to keep the California Heritage Market open.

"We are patients. We are not criminals," the market's spokeswoman, Cheryl Shuman, said at news conference Tuesday at the collective's dispensary in the 1500 block of Esperanza Street.

Los Angeles city officials obtained a temporary restraining order last month against the market's operators, effectively closing it for noncompliance with the city's marijuana dispensaries law.

The order restricts the market’s operators from setting up booths and advertising it, according to the injunction. Police and fire must also be granted access to the site.

Voters passed Proposition D last year, which established parameters for where marijuana dispensaries could do business. But City Attorney Mike Feuer said the law does not allow multiple, independent vendors to sell on one site, which the market was allegedly set up to do.

Bolivar is hoping city officials and the market's operators can come to a resolution that does not take away her access to medical marijuana growers.

"I am feeling disappointed in the city and anybody making this almost impossible to have," she said. "This is not a drug facility. This is a medical facility."

The next hearing regarding the market is set for Aug. 27 in a Los Angeles County Superior courtroom, according to court records.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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