The Organicann Harvest Market in Northern California's Sonoma Country is a lot like the farmers' markets dotting small towns up and down the West Coast--vendors displaying locally-grown organic produce, customers chatting while strolling the aisles, laid-back reggae music floating out from a sound system somewhere. There is, however, one crucial detail that sets this farmers' market, located in a purple warehouse in the sleepy town of Santa Rosa, apart: the only product for sale is marijuana.
In a fascinating piece in "Modern Farmer," writer David Downs details his experiences rubbing elbows with "aging grandmas with short grey hair and faded North Face fleece," "retired cowboys" and "twenty-something girls in Ugg boots" at a market placidly operating at the edge of legality between a state law permitting medical marijuana and a federal law prohibiting it.
Marijuana, California's largest cash crop, is approaching something of a crossroads in the state. Golden State voters approved marijuana for medicinal use in 1996; however, they rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized it for recreational use in 2010.
As the tide of public opinion has increasingly turned against anti-drug warriors, backers of legalization are looking to try again in the next few years. Groups are presently working to get legalization measures on the statewide 2014 and 2016 ballots.