Drug Law

Farmers Markets: Fruit, Vegetables, Produce -- and Marijuana?!

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

California's farmers markets are known for selling locally grown fruit, vegetables and produce. But now man wants to set up a farmer' market that sells locally produced marijuana.

Joseph Funes runs a medical marijuana dispensary near Sacramento. Now he wants to start what he calls a "patient-to-patient cannabis farmers markets" in Sacramento and surrounding counties. He says the farmers market model will help to keep money in the community by employing only local growers, reports the Daily Democrat.

The government would also benefit, because the market could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales tax revenue, Funes told the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

Funes faces an uphill battle to see his market come to life -- while the county has not taken a position on marijuana, all four city councils for the incorporated areas of Yolo County have either voted for a complete ban on marijuana dispensaries, or instituted a moratorium.

Funes's current dispensary serves about 500 patients. He said his goal is to expand operations to bordering counties and accommodate at least 5,000 patients.

Funes said he gives away free marijuana to patients who can't afford it, and he worries that he will not be able to operate at this pace in the future without some sort of agreement with the counties.

"We are growing a lot of new members and they want the club here... Just give me the OK and I will do the rest," Funes said.

The California Board of Equalization estimates that medical marijuana dispensaries already generate between $58 million and $105 million in sales tax each year.