Drug Law

Good Deal: Donate Food, Get Free Marijuana Joint

| by NORML

By "Radical" Russ Belville

The AP is reporting on the Granny Purps dispensary in Soquel, in Santa Cruz County, California, which is offering a free joint to all patients who bring in four cans of food for a local food bank.

Patients are limited to just three joints a day, however, making a potential dozen cans of food donated for every patient. The food bank, The Second Harvest Food Bank, has noticed the increased donations from the cannabis community. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

In all, Granny Purps handed out 2,000 joints to dispensary clients and collected 11,000 pounds of food, a large and exceptional contribution for a business of its size. “We look at pounds donated per employee, and Granny Purps, with about eight employees, received the amount of donations that we’d expect a business with 30 to 40 employees to get,” said Danny Keith, chief development and technology officer at Second Harvest.

Some patients were bringing in far more than the minimum donation, such as the Sentinel’s report of a patient who brought in a five pound bag of rice.  Growers were also donating some of the marijuana to be rolled into the giveaway joints. But there is still one aspect of the story that disturbs me…

When the Second Harvest barrels were first put out at the dispensary in November, donations were trickling in. After word of the promotion spread to the dispensary’s 1,900 patients, the employees at Granny Purps could barely keep up with the flood of food, and even reduced the minimum amount for the promotion from four cans of food to three.

“We only had the barrels out for three or four days before the incentive was announced, and I think our patients would have come out even without the incentive. We have an incredible group of compassionate patients,” [said Nancy "Granny Purps" Black,] “… I love that our patients are so compassionate. When we told them that we were doing this, their response was amazing.”

The Sentinel explains that the free joints regularly cost $10.  Really?  Ten bucks for a joint?  Let’s see, I can go buy a dozen cans of peas for less than a buck a can, turn them in at Granny Purps for $30 worth of joints? Who wouldn’t be compassionate?

2,000 joints handed out is $20,000 worth of product Granny Purps could just give away without feeling any hurt on their bottom line… do you think maybe these dispensaries are marking up the prices just a little too high? Maybe those barrels could’ve remained out for truly compassionate donations AND Granny Purps could have cut a $20,000 check to the food bank?

I’m happy the food bank got all that food. I’m happy that the Granny Purps patients could get joints for a more reasonable cost of $3-$5 worth of canned food instead of $10. But I’m disappointed that prohibition still exists and patients have become accustomed to paying so much for marijuana. Remember, this is medicine that they’re allegedly collectively cultivating and cooperatively distributing.