A viral social media moment involving a white woman reportedly calling the cops on an 8-year-old black girl selling water bottles in San Francisco has reignited a national conversation about racially-charged use of police power and made its way to the Golden State cannabis community.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Alison Ettel is the founder of TreatWell Health, a licensed California cannabis company selling THC-infused edibles and CBD-infused wellness products for household pets. Once word got out of Ettel's on-camera attempt to sic the authorities on a child, local cannabis dispensaries and business associations were quick to disassociate with TreatWell. It's disgraced CEO is now known across the country as 'Permit Patty,' a reference to another woman who also went viral for calling the police on a group of black men cooking at Oakland's Lake Merritt last month.
"As of today, Magnolia will no longer be carrying Treatwell Tinctures," Oakland's Magnolia Dispensary wrote in an Instagram post denouncing Ettel's actions. "After seeing this video of their CEO calling the police on an 8-year-old entrepreneur selling water on a hot day, we decided without hesitation that we could no longer patronize her company. Treatwell was one of our best-selling products, but to us, integrity is always before profits. For our remaining inventory, we are doing blow-out deals and donating all proceeds to a local non-profit."
The incident started before a San Francisco Giants' baseball game on Friday afternoon. As is standard outside of stadiums across the country, a young girl had set up shop selling bottles of water out of a cooler to passing fans in the courtyard of her apartment building. With waters fetching more than $5 inside the hot Bay Area stadium, community sellers are an essential part of the gameday experience.
For Ettel, who told the Huffington Post that she was working from home in the same apartment building, the entrepreneurial spirit was just too much to bear. Citing loud yelling, Ettel stormed to the building courtyard and demanded to see the 8-year-old's permit, before ducking behind a nearby pillar to apparently call the police. After an initial confrontation, Erin Austin, the girl's mother, began filming Ettel, flabbergasted by Ettel's absurd reaction.
"This woman don't want to let a little girl sell some water," Austin can be heard saying in the video. "She's calling the police on an 8-year-old little girl."
Like the video showing 'BBQ Becky' calling Oakland PD on the springtime barbeque, and a host of other incidents involving white people summoning authorities to stop black people from doing innocuous everyday activities, Ettel's actions quickly went viral.
Joining leaders in the African-American community and celebrities from every corner of the country, California's legal weed community immediately moved to ostracize Ettel and TreatWell Health, making a clear statement about social priorities in the still-growing marketplace.
Women Grow, an organization promoting women-owned businesses in the cannabis space, has denounced Ettel, releasing a public statement saying that "she is not welcome to participate in our events." Taking a page out of Magnolia Oakland's book, East Bay pot shop Berkeley Patient Group will also stop selling TreatWell products and donate the profits from any remaining tinctures to a nonprofit. Leafly has removed the company from it's California cannabis business directory, too.
Ettel has since apologized for the incident, claiming that she was only pretending to call the police and that there was "no racial component" to the incident. Of course, it is hard to imagine the same outcome if it was a young white child selling lemonade. Despite the attempts to save face, Austin, her daughter, and cousin Rajé Lee, who also watched the incident unfold, reject Ettel's too little, too late excuses.
"My cousin heard her on the phone," Lee told Teen Vogue. "And who pretends to call the police on an 8-year-old?"
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