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L.A. marijuana farmers market ordered to temporarily shut down

Trials and ArbitrationLaws and LegislationJustice SystemMike Feuer
Judge grants temporary restraining order against pot-centric farmers market in Los Angeles
Medical marijuana farmers market in L.A.'s Boyle Heights neighborhood not allowed to operate -- for now

A farmers market for medical marijuana users has been temporarily shut down after an L.A. County Superior Court judge agreed to halt operation of the Boyle Heights cannabis marketplace.

The judge’s ruling Tuesday grants a temporary restraining order filed by Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer, who sought to stop the California Heritage Market operations because he said it didn’t comply with the city's law for marijuana dispensaries.

Voters passed Proposition D last year, which established legal parameters where marijuana dispensaries could do business.

The ruling, Feuer said, supports the “spirit and the letter of Proposition D.”

“The bottom line is that we argued successfully that this so-called farmers market was an attempt to make an end-run around the will of the people when they voted to put Proposition D in place,” Feuer said. “The court saw through this subterfuge.”

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

“The court was very clear: There could be no multiple vendors selling at this site, only bona fide employees,” Feuer said.

The market, which opened over Fourth of July weekend, was held in a warehouse directly behind the West Coast Collective dispensary in an industrial zone in Boyle Heights.

The following weekend, the market reopened again.

Proposition D, Feuer said, does not allow multiple, independent vendors to sell on one site.

“That’s essentially what this business model was,” Feuer said.

But attorney David Welch, who represents the Progressive Horizon collective, said Feuer’s argument doesn’t make sense.

He said a farmers market is no different from a dispensary in that they both sell goods from a variety of vendors.

“Their arguments are basically a misunderstanding on how this business operates,” he said.

The city’s actions, Welch said, were essentially proving that “you can’t actually open a marijuana dispensary” in Los Angeles.

A hearing is scheduled Aug. 6 to determine whether the market will be permanently closed.

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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Trials and ArbitrationLaws and LegislationJustice SystemMike Feuer
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