PHOENIX — Customers of some medical-marijuana dispensaries are discovering that they don’t have to go far if they have the munchies, thanks to business-savvy Girl Scouts.
A few days after a Girl Scout sold 117 boxes of cookies in two hours outside a San Francisco pot dispensary, Lexi Menees, 8, returned to TruMed Dispensary in Phoenix on Saturday for the same purpose.
Lexi’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.”
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Lexi and her parents arrived Friday with between 100 and 150 boxes to sell. Her family said she 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 isn’t something the organization would encourage, but that it’s 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 Friday with the idea, and she was immediately on board.
Gooding sent a text to more than 2,000 customers about the cookie sale and threw in a tie-in deal: Patients who buy at least half of an ounce of pot will have their pick of a free box of Thin Mints, Samoas or any of the other cookie choices.
She hopes the presence of the Girl Scouts will help eliminate the stigma tied to medical-marijuana dispensaries. Furthermore, with a security guard always on site to ensure nobody illegally consumes a 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 Scout officials said they aren’t surprised there are copycats after the story of San Francisco Girl Scout Danielle Lei, 13, went viral on social media and various news outlets. Lei set up a cookie table Monday 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.”
Reed said this isn’t 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.
Other Scouts in Lei’s Troupe 3168 haven’t done business outside medical-marijuana clinics, but the Girl Scouts of Northern California don’t have a problem with it.
“Girls are selling cookies, and they and their parents pick out places where they can make good sales,” Dana Allen, director of marketing and communications for Girl Scouts of Northern California, said.
According to Kelly Parisi, chief communications officer from Girl Scouts of the USA, each region of Girl Scouts has its own guidelines.
“All the money stays in local councils, and they make all decisions on how the cookie program is run,” Parisi said in a statement. “As always, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of the girls we serve. Volunteers and parents are empowered to relocate their booths if conditions change and the location is no longer suitable.”
And the opinions of Girl Scout officials on the matter seem to vary from state to state. This month, reports about Girl Scouts implementing the same strategy in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, turned out to be a hoax.
The Girl Scouts of Colorado issued a statement on its Facebook page Friday to dispel the rumor, effectively prohibiting members from selling at a dispensary.
“We recognize these are legitimate businesses, but we don’t feel they are an appropriate place for girls to be selling cookies in Colorado,” the organization said.
Carney said she and her husband simply told Lexi they would try setting up in front of a facility that is similar to a pharmacy, where people go to get their medicine.
“She doesn’t even know where she’s at. It’s more entrepreneurial,” Carney said. “She’s trying to go to camp this summer.”
Meanwhile, with no opposition from Lei’s local Girl Scouts chapter, she and her mother returned to the Green Cross to sell more cookies Saturday.
The Green Cross, which happens to sell a variety of marijuana named Girl Scout Cookie, has posted numerous items on its Facebook page referencing Lei, with one comical post featuring the Dos Equis beer “most interesting man in the world.”
“I don’t always buy Girl Scout cookies, but when I do, I buy them from the genius outside The Green Cross pot dispensary,” the post reads.
Material from The San Jose Mercury News and Los Angeles Times is included in this report.