Mon, Feb 24, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Girl Scout cookies sell like hot cakes

DEDICATED CUSTOMERS:Girls Scouts selling cookies in front of medical marijuana outlets made a killing in the past week, with the dispensaries giving tie-in deals

AP, PHOENIX, Arizona

Customers of some medical marijuana dispensaries are discovering this week that they do not have to go far if they have a case of the munchies.

A few days after a teenager sold dozens of cookie boxes outside a San Francisco pot dispensary, eight-year-old Lexi Menees is returning to TruMed Dispensary in Phoenix on Saturday for the same purpose.

The girl’s mother, Heidi Carney, got the idea after hearing about what happened in San Francisco.

“For me, this isn’t anything controversial,” Carney said. “It’s medication. It’s no different than standing in front of a Walgreens or a CVS.”

Lexi and her parents arrived last Friday with between 100 and 150 boxes to sell. Her family said they sold more than 50.

“It’s better than she would’ve gotten outside a grocery store,” said Justin Menees, Lexi’s father.

Susan de Queljoe, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, said selling in front of marijuana dispensaries is not something the organization would encourage, but that it is up to the parents.

“The girls’ safety is our primary concern. So we give guidelines out to all the parents and hope that they will follow them,” De Queljoe said.

Lauren Gooding, an oncology nurse who is the president of TruMed, runs the state-licensed facility with her father and brother. Gooding said Carney called her on Friday morning with the idea and she was immediately on board.

In fact, she had already received several messages on Facebook about the San Francisco sale, with people suggesting she do the same thing, Gooding said.

Gooding also sent a text message to more than 2,000 customers about the cookie sale and threw in a tie-in deal: Patients who buy at least 14g of pot will have their pick of a free box of Thin Mints, Samoas or any of the other cookie choices.

“People will wait to buy when there are incentives,” Gooding said.

She hopes the presence of the Girl Scouts will help eliminate the stigma tied to medical marijuana dispensaries, Gooding said. Furthermore, with a security guard always on site to ensure nobody illegally consumes their pot purchase, there is no danger of Lexi or any child being exposed to marijuana, she said.

“We are not promoting medical marijuana to her,” Gooding said.

Girl Scouts officials said they are not surprised there are copycats after the story of 13-year-old San Francisco Girl Scout Danielle Lei went viral on social media and various news outlets. Lei set up a cookie table on Monday last week outside The Green Cross, a licensed marijuana dispensary in that city’s Mission district.

Kevin Reed, president of the dispensary, said Lei’s mother, a secretary for a city task force on medical cannabis, approached him a couple weeks ago.

“She wanted to help break down the barriers around medical marijuana,” Reed said. “I thought it was extremely sweet. So of course with open arms I said yes.”

Reed said this is not the first time Lei has sold cookies in front of other pot facilities. She did it the past two years, but is just now getting attention for it, he said.

The feelings of Girl Scouts officials on the matter seem to vary from state to state. Earlier this month, reports about Girl Scouts implementing the same strategy in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is now legal, turned out to be a hoax. The Girl Scouts of Colorado issued a statement on its Facebook page on Friday to dispel the rumor, effectively prohibiting members from selling at a dispensary.

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