Tanya Garduno first heard about the street-side sign spinners directing people to Tree of Life Wellness Center (559 S. Eighth St., 227-8733) some two weeks ago. Owners from Denver had just purchased the center and were advertising the change; this didn't go over so well with the president of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council.
"We started receiving some complaints about the sign flyers because, as you know in Colorado Springs, we work very hard to not have that type of image," Garduno says. "We told them that we were receiving complaints, and we asked them if they would stop."
The center reportedly refused her request, a concern to the Council president because she feared similar actions could derail much of the group's work.
"I said, '[We're] upset because you haven't fought for the last 18 months to be in business, and we have here,'" she says. "We've got very favorable laws; we have a new mayor coming in, a new City Council — they can change this at any time. And the one thing they're gonna do is show a picture of your sign flyer and they're gonna say, 'Hey, look it's about money, it's not about patients.'"
Though Tree of Life couldn't be reached for comment, employee Paul Abrams did tell KOAA-TV last week, "[The advertising's] working really well here in Colorado Springs — we're getting a lot of feedback. In the past four days, [there have been] just a lot of new patients."
So, how are things now?
"I haven't heard any complaints recently — I didn't see anyone out the other day," Garduno says. She adds: "Just, when you see a sign flyer, know that it's not something that the industry here in Colorado Springs, or the Council, would ever condone."
• Three members of the U.S. House of Representatives filed new bills last week that could significantly change the federal outlook on marijuana. Boulder's Jared Polis filed a bill that would allow banks to do business with MMJ centers without fear of federal fines or seizure, or the need to file "suspicious activity" paperwork; Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., filed legislation amending the tax code to allow MMJ centers to claim business deductions; and, perhaps most important of all, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., filed a bill reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule III substance.
• Last week, Business Insider reported that American Express has begun declining MMJ-related transactions. The company cites a desire to keep its transactional policy aligned with federal law, which considers marijuana a substance with "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States."
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