Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jun 2011
Source: Colorado Springs Independent (CO)
Copyright: 2011 Colorado Springs Independent
Author: Bryce Crawford
Page 41


Tanya Garduno first heard about the street-side sign spinners
directing people to Tree of Life Wellness Center (559 S. Eighth St.,
227-8733) some two weeks ago. Owners from Denver had just purchased
the center and were advertising the change; this didn't go over so
well with the president of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council.

"We started receiving some complaints about the sign flyers because,
as you know in Colorado Springs, we work very hard to not have that
type of image," Garduno says. "We told them that we were receiving
complaints, and we asked them if they would stop."

The center reportedly refused her request, a concern to the Council
president because she feared similar actions could derail much of the
group's work.

"I said, '[We're] upset because you haven't fought for the last 18
months to be in business, and we have here,'" she says. "We've got
very favorable laws; we have a new mayor coming in, a new City Council
- -- they can change this at any time. And the one thing they're gonna do
is show a picture of your sign flyer and they're gonna say, 'Hey, look
it's about money, it's not about patients.'"

Though Tree of Life couldn't be reached for comment, employee Paul
Abrams did tell KOAA-TV last week, "[The advertising's] working really
well here in Colorado Springs -- we're getting a lot of feedback. In
the past four days, [there have been] just a lot of new patients."

So, how are things now?

"I haven't heard any complaints recently -- I didn't see anyone out the
other day," Garduno says. She adds: "Just, when you see a sign flyer,
know that it's not something that the industry here in Colorado
Springs, or the Council, would ever condone."

Keef crumbs

   Three members of the U.S. House of Representatives filed new bills
last week that could significantly change the federal outlook on
marijuana. Boulder's Jared Polis filed a bill that would allow banks
to do business with MMJ centers without fear of federal fines or
seizure, or the need to file "suspicious activity" paperwork; Rep.
Pete Stark, D-Calif., filed legislation amending the tax code to allow
MMJ centers to claim business deductions; and, perhaps most important
of all, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., filed a bill reclassifying
marijuana as a Schedule III substance.

   Last week, Business Insider reported that American Express has begun
declining MMJ-related transactions. The company cites a desire to keep
its transactional policy aligned with federal law, which considers
marijuana a substance with "no currently accepted medical use in
treatment in the United States." 
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