Judge Blocks Pot Farmer’s Market In Boyle Heights

By City News Service

A judge granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday blocking the operation of a medical marijuana “farmers market” in Boyle Heights, agreeing with city attorneys that it falls outside the parameters of a voter-approved measure limiting dispensaries in the city and is an unauthorized use of the property.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell found that the patients of the dispensary would not suffer “irreparable harm” by her ruling.

The California Heritage Market, operated by the West Coast Collective, opened for business over the Fourth of July weekend, attracting hoards of customers who waited in long lines for a chance to browse the market’s wares.

O’Donnell said the scope of the order sought by the city was too broad, so she only ordered the shutdown of the West Coast Collective’s “farmers market,” which takes place on weekends. She also scheduled a hearing for Aug. 6 on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the dispensary.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said the entire operation violates Proposition D, which limits the number of legal dispensaries allowed in the city, and is an unauthorized and un-permitted use of the property on Esperanza Street. He also claims the operation creates a public nuisance due to traffic and large crowds, creating safety hazards and blocking access to nearby properties.

After the ruling, Feuer called it a “great victory for the people of the city of Los Angeles who voted overwhelmingly to support Proposition D.”

Feuer said other businesses that want to mimic the farmers market approach to be on guard.

“You can be sure that if any other business seeks to employ a similar approach, that we’re going to be pursuing a similar approach ourselves,” Feuer said.

David Welch, attorney for West Coast Collective, said the farmers market allows patients to meet the cultivators directly and avoid middlemen.

“That is the essence of the law about how a collective is supposed to work,” he said.

Welch said the city is wrongly interfering with how his clients can operate their business. He said if the judge rules against his clients on Aug. 6, he will speak with them about a future course of action.

Welch said that although next month’s ruling will set up a trial of all the issues, a ruling on a preliminary injunction can be appealed.

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July 17, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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