By Chris Roberts |
In the cookie industry, the windswept stretch of Mission Street past Silver Avenue in the Excelsior is prime real estate, says Carol Lei. This is her second year in a row that she’s been lucky to stand with her 14-year-old daughter Danielle under the soft neon green glow of a storefront here in the twilight of a Sunday evening.
In the past two hours, Danielle has sold 200 boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs — about the best and fastest sales rate you can hope for selling Girl Scout Cookies in San Francisco, Carol says.
Like everything else in town, selling the $5 boxes of famous baked goods is competitive. There are more cookie sellers than there are excellent cookie spots. The only way to get a seat in front of a busy Safeway or hungry FiDi office drones is to win a lottery.
But if an area isn’t in the lottery, it’s the Wild West: claim it and it’s yours. However, unclaimed prime grass is a rarity.
So the Leis were the first to make a connection with what now sounds like common sense: In 2012, they were the first to attempt to sell Girl Scout Cookies for a licensed medical cannabis dispensary. And despite the success – and the worldwide headlines last year after Mashable’s story about the Leis strategy of selling cookies outside medical cannabis dispensaries went viral – only one other Scout mom has asked if it’s wise to sit outside a weed club, and cautiously .
Carol Lei didn’t reassure her—in fact, she shook off the competition. “I said, ‘Find your own place,'” she says to me with a smile, her cap embroidered with shiny, sequined letters that read “I LOVE COOKIES” and glittered emerald in the neon glow of the illuminated cross that marked the old SF pharmacy The showcase of the Green Cross.
Today, in the cannabis world, ‘cookies’ are immediately reminiscent of the ‘other’ Girl Scout Cookies: the current breed of high-quality boutique flowers. About a mile down Mission Street from where we were standing in either direction are two dispensaries that both use the name “Cookies” in their company names.
These days you can buy “Cookies” hats, t-shirts, grinders and accessories. Carol’s homemade hat, however, was not authentic Cookies clothing, the brand promoted by the local weed seller turned rapper and businessman Berner (his Cookies family runs the club near Geneva Avenue).
To our knowledge, neither club has had a “real” Girl Scout Cookies sale on their doorstep so far. The real Cookies-Cookies ultimate meeting of the brands has yet to take place. Other Girl Scouts, take note.
And the hustle and bustle of last year doesn’t seem to be repeating itself. I was one of the many newscasters invited to watch the Leis show on Sunday that a pot club in the Excelsior is a perfectly adequate place for a 14-year-old to be in the dark (supervised, of course). I showed up ten minutes before the sale ended at 6pm and was told no news crews had appeared. [Update: our friends at Smell The Truth were onto it, of course, and did a story as well].
Now this is old news, without drama. Northern California Girl Scout Cookies officials said last year that they’d have no qualms about selling a girl cookies in any location, as long as it’s appropriate and she’s not alone there. And Green Cross, which hasn’t had a complaint even for double parking (which was serious enough to have evicted the pharmacy from its original location at Fair Oaks near Noe Valley a few years ago), seems to exemplify the theory. that cannabis pharmacies do not cause crime.
Carol Lei has heard that theory before and has reason to believe it: She met industry players like Green Cross president Kevin Reed while serving as committee secretary for the city’s short-lived Medical Cannabis Task Force. She learned firsthand that these are serious business people — and after a task force member bought an armload of cookies from her after a meeting, the idea of a partnership clicked.
By the way, Girl Scouts’ goal is to sell 1,000 boxes of cookies during the month-long fundraiser. Danielle got 20 percent of the trip outside a cannabis dispensary in two hours.
And she plans to come back Saturday for Valentine’s Day.
In this city, a kid selling cookies outside of a cannabis dispensary is no longer a problem.