Pubdate: Wed, 26 Feb 2014
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Column: Legalization Nation
Copyright: 2014 East Bay Express
Author: David Downs


A Bay Area Mom's Decision to Allow Her Daughter to Sell Cookies in 
Front of Medical Pot Dispensaries Made International Headlines.

A progressive Bay Area mom who boosted her daughter's sales of Girl 
Scout Cookies by targeting medical pot clubs made international news 
this month, after the Express first published a report about it on 
its blog on February 19 and the story was picked up by everyone from 
Mashable and NPR to KTLA and the Huffington Post.

The idea, by San Francisco mom Carol Lei, was genius: Set up a table 
in front of a cannabis storefront to sell boxes of cookies to 
marijuana users. (Cannabis is, of course, a powerful appetite 
stimulant that works directly on nerves in the stomach as well as the brain.)

Lei told Legalization Nation last week that selling cookies teaches 
her two girls goal-setting, decision-making, management, and people 
skills, as well as business ethics. Sales in front of pot shops also 
offers a teachable moment about medical marijuana.

"They learn that they're not drugged out," Lei said of cannabis 
users. "Many have serious needs, and are just a little different."

"And they get very hungry after!" said thirteen-year-old Girl Scout 
Danielle, who did brisk business in front of The Green Cross 
dispensary on Mission Street.

"Do you want to buy some cookies?" Danielle chirped at passersby.

Some folks hustled past with their hands tucked into their pockets as 
the sun went down and the wind picked up. But most smiled and 
stopped. Young dudes rocking fresh Nikes and aging hippies in faded 
denim smiled and happily handed over fivers. The Green Cross' staff 
came out repeatedly to snap up boxes.

Though she is supervised by her mom, Danielle must conduct the sales 
herself, and she has until March 16 to hit her target of 1,200 boxes. 
Danielle has sold cookies in front of three dispensaries in the past, 
first at the Vapor Room in the Haight before the feds closed it, and 
then SPARC in 2013.

"I feel like it's safe," said Carol Lei, who has lived near Glen Park 
since 1987. "There's always a security guard and cameras everywhere."

Selling cookies around town exposes the girls to other walks of life, 
Lei said. It's made Danielle less shy.

Danielle said she's done her best business among the throngs of 
tourists on Montgomery Street. She's also met homeless people who 
don't have a dollar. She's raised money for camp, troop supplies, and 
Alzheimer's Disease research. And does she mind the aroma of weed 
wafting out the door?

"Um, I can't smell anything because my nose is stuffed up."

Danielle sold out of cookies in just 45 minutes last Monday, and the 
Green Cross marketing team quickly put a post on the web community 
Reddit, where it was an instant hit. Our blog post ran midday 
Wednesday, and by Thursday, bloggers in New York at places like were picking up the item, and from there it spread to 
much of the mainstream media.

ABC News and several other national outlets called us trying to get 
Lei's contact information. But Lei quickly stopped doing interviews 
as the media hype built. By Friday, outlets including NPR were airing 
the item, and adding to it. A reader's poll on one news outlet found 
that 90 percent of respondents supported Lei's decision to have her 
daughters sell cookies in front of a pot shop.

The story clearly hit a nerve in America - and with journalists. The 
annual Girl Scout Cookies sale forces reporters to find a new hook 
each year, and legal pot is among the top stories of 2014.

A picture of Girl Scouts selling cookies in front of a dispensary in 
Colorado turned out to be a hoax, Gawker reported. The Girl Scouts of 
Colorado publicly stated that girls are not allowed to sell cookies 
in front of either Colorado liquor stores or medical cannabis 
dispensaries. Northern California Girl Scout officials have no such 
ban, they told reporters.

Marijuana continues to come out of the closet into mainstream 
culture, and the norms about pot, parenting, and what's truly safe 
for kids are up for debate like never before.

Seeds & Stems

The fat lady has sung. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) decided last 
week that there's not enough time or voter support to run a pot 
legalization initiative in California this year. The group, as a 
result, has punted the ballot measure effort until 2016. The deadline 
to garner the estimated 800,000 signatures necessary to make the 
November 2014 ballot is April 18.

About $10 million is needed to run a legal weed campaign in the 
massive Golden State, and the DPA has access to that kind of funding, 
but will not be plunking it down in 2014. The death of Progressive 
insurance founder and reform advocate and funder Peter Lewis played a 
role in DPA's decision.

In response, Oakland marijuana cultivation educator Ed Rosenthal said 
he would drop plans to push a competing initiative. The two other 
competing legalization groups lack the money needed to make it to the 
ballot in 2014.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom