Cannabis Farmer's Markets Are Eliminating The Gap Between Growers and Patients

Hipsters, hippies, and young families love farmer's markets: after all, what's not to love? Sampling new things. Eschewing factory-farmed, environmentally unsustainable produce in favour of organic goodies grown by a farmer you've actually met and conversed with. Best of all? What you're buying is not only awesome and delicious, but also grown without scary pesticides and exploitative, factory farming techniques. 

So it makes sense that America's fastest-growing cash crop is getting its own, dedicated community market space. Farmer's markets specifically geared toward cannabis growers have existed in some form in the United States since 2010 - and the ethos is similar to that of any regular, Saturday-morning farmer's market, only considerably more fun and freewheeling than the kale-loving crowd at your average farmer's market.

At cannabis farmer's markets like the California Heritage Market, vendors in legal states arrive with the goods - usually, product grown themselves - and sell straight to patients looking to fill their prescriptions, without any middleman. That means wholesale prices, a diverse range of sun-grown local products, and generally a happier, more connected process for consumers curious about where their bud is coming from, and has inspired events in Seattle, Olympia, and Vancouver, WA. 

Unfortunately - but predictably - such events aren't without their detractors. A few years ago, a big cannabis farmer's market scheduled to take place in Washington was cancelled at the request of local police. However, the event was back with a vengeance on the weekend of Valentine's Day 2016. Even in legal states, as you might expect, there's often tension between these kinds of open-market events and a regulatory system seemingly bent on keeping cannabis production tightly controlled.

As the site World Cannabis puts it, a farmer's market system opens up the space to boutique growers and larger-scale producers alike - and makes for happier patients, and farmers: "the licensed producers want to be the only one selling cannabis. To ensure this does not become a reality, we need a fair and open market. Cannabis needs to be regulated like tomatoes, not like heroin."

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Few other entrepreneurs in the cannabis space have their hands in quite as many ventures as Lorne Gertner. Currently dubbed the "godfather of the Canadian cannabis industry," Gertner told Civilized, "If we could live through normalization, we could change the world." Hailing from the fashion industry, this Toronto native says he's on a mission to "make the world a better place through cannabis and design excellence." The only catch is, well, normalizing cannabis — and that's where Gertner's keen eye for style comes in. "In the old days, you were going to be different or you were going to be normal," said Thom Antonio, Gertner's friend, creative director, and collaborator of 35 years.

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