The sun rises, the sun sets, and every February, the odd confluence of marijuana and the Girl Scouts of America hits the news.
It’s not entirely certain which brilliant entrepreneurial mind first struck gold with the realization that cannabis retail outlets are an ideal setting for sales of Samoas, Thin Mints, Do-si-dos and other Girl Scout Cookies — though it appears the trend began in San Francisco, and went on for a few years before the media caught on. Over the past few years, smiling young girls in uniform standing outside of pot clubs has become a trope, a reliably trending item and smart business.
Cookies are sold, cannabis outlets get to appear in the mainstream media as the normal businesses they are and everybody goes home happy.
But this year, a month into the era of legal retail sales of recreational marijuana in California, the Girl Scout Cookies-marijuana dispensary saga faces a zoning dispute.
Over Super Bowl weekend, one San Diego-area young scout sold more than 300 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies while parked in front of a dispensary — and in so doing, came very close to violating a few rules, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Interestingly enough, the Girl Scouts organization doesn’t know who the scout was, and so an incident that might lead to some captious finger-wagging is instead a mystery.
The sight of Girl Scouts outside of dispensaries is not universal, because it’s not yet universally allowed. Each regional Girl Scouts authority sets the rules for when and where the organization’s signature fundraising treats can be sold. After the San Francisco episode, Colorado’s scouting authority informed the world that it did not allow its charges to sell cookies in front of dispensaries “or liquor stores/bars.”
Other regional councils weren’t quite so reactionary. Perhaps recognizing that heavily scrutinized businesses petrified of losing their hard-won licenses are in fact on their best behavior, Northern California scouting authorities advised that girls were free to do as they pleased, so long as their safety wasn’t at risk. Considering scouts have been robbed outside of respectable establishments, like Wal-Marts, this isn’t an abstract concern (though it bears mentioning most cannabis dispensaries have better security and make their surroundings safer).
Ancient stereotypes and false equivalencies aside, there’s a little bit of bad blood between the Girl Scouts and cannabis, and it’s mostly one-sided. You may recall the emergence of the cannabis strain previously known as Girl Scout Cookies. It was a very big deal. For a time, it seemed every dispensary menu and every cultivation operation had it.
But the real Girl Scouts are mighty protective of their trademarks. After receiving cease-and-desist letters from GSA’s lawyers, the cannabis industry was suddenly replete with “Cookies” and “GSC.” In fairness, GSA is not selectively targeting cannabis companies. Makers of nicotine vaporizer oil with product names too close to GSA’s intellectual property for their liking were also advised to step off or face the consequences.
In San Diego, scouts need permission from a local business owner to “booth,” or park outside the establishment. And whether they’re boothing or engaging in a “walk-about”— selling cookies door-to-door — they can only do so between Feb. 9 and March 11, according to Girl Scouts San Diego’s communications director.
So the anonymous girl outside San Diego’s Urbn Leaf dispensary and her encouraging father are guilty of starting early. She’s also in a gray area. She carried her cookies in a wagon, and so she was considered to be conducting a “walk-about” — which can only be done in neighborhoods.
— Travis Rice (@10NewsTravis) February 3, 2018
In many cities, residential areas are forbidden zones for dispensaries, and Urbn Leaf is in an “industrial zone” near the Interstate-5 freeway, the newspaper reported.
That’s something that the local Girl Scout authorities would like to discuss with the scout and her parents (who, it turns out, are most often to blame whenever a scout flouts the rules). If a scout breaks rules several times in a row, she stands at risk of losing coveted awards for selling loads of cookies.
But they can’t, because they don’t know who she is. So will Mystery Scout elude authorities, en route to breaking all sales records? Regardless, Mystery Scout is a great strain name — you’re welcome.
TELL US, would you want Girl Scouts selling cookies outside your favorite dispensary?