Medical marijuana advocates on Tuesday called on officials to re-open LA's first medical marijuana farmers market that was closed when the City Attorney cracked down, citing public safety and access concerns in July.
A group of about 20 people, including some medical marijuana patients, spoke during a press conference at the site of the closed market in Boyle Heights weeks before a judge could rule whether the California Heritage Market will reopen.
"It’s time situations like this end," said Norton Arbelaez, medical marijuana activist and attorney. "There’s a human cost to what the city is trying to do. The people around us access their medicine through the market."
Marla James, a patient, says she relies on medical marijuana to treat complications from her illness.
"We shouldn’t have to ... go, 'Well, is it a choice between food or medicine?'" said James, who suffered from necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating bacteria.
A woman who goes by the stage name Afrodyete, echoed the sentiments.
"It’s pretty self-righteous to make up a lot of reasons that you can’t give sick, hurting and dying people the medicine that they desperately need," she said.
The farmers market, operated by West Coast Collective, opened on July 4 to long lines. Some people waited up to 90 minutes to get in.
Less than two weeks after opening, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer sued to shut it down, saying it was a "public nuisance" that created safety issues and interfered with access to public property in the area.
"We will do everything we can to put a halt to them," Feuer said in a statement at the time.
In response to the lawsuit Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O'Donnell issued a temporary restraining order blocking the operation of the farmer’s market. The case is set to be heard again in court on Aug. 27.