Cannabis retail chain Cookies says its marketing activities and trade name have been misinterpreted and misinterpreted by local regulators, who have criticized the company for allegedly targeting minors.
The company, which currently operates stores in La Mesa and Mission Valley, received approval in June to expand into the Sorrento Valley.
Previously, the San Diego Planning Commission and Torrey Pines Community Planning Group had said Cookies’s name and Sesame Street-style visuals suggesting the Cookie Monster figure appeal to younger customers.
In an interview, a Cookies official said the channel does not target young minors, adding that the Cookies nickname does not refer to real cookies, but to connecting customers with the best cannabis strain for them. them.
In an interview last week, a company representative said the channel is not targeting young teens, clarifying that the title Cookies does not refer to real cookies but connects customers to the best cannabis strain for them. .
Cookie makers say that, just like cookies, cannabis comes in a wide variety of strains, and consumers need to identify which type has the desired effect on their bodies.
“There is a long heritage with the name Cookies,” says Crystal Millican, vice president of Cookies. “The whole experience was tailored to the client. We try to pair them one-on-one with a budtender as often as possible.
According to local reviews, the name, font, and light blue color of the cookies are all intended to appeal to minors.
“I hate the name. I think it is misleading to say that it is not attractive to young people, ”said Planning Commissioner James Whalen, who voted to authorize the creation of the new dispensary.
Millican said the company, which operates 40 dispensaries in multiple states, finds it nearly impossible to sell to children since California requires all dispensaries to have full-time security personnel verifying customer identities.
In California, the minimum age to purchase cannabis for adult use is 21 and 18 for medical cannabis, which requires medical advice.
Cookies refuse marketing to children
Millican explained that the company’s logos and signs are in light blue, as the hue has a calming effect on people similar to cannabis.
“We don’t market to anyone other than our customers and patients,” added Milican. “We obviously hear the concerns, and we will work to convince any neighborhood association. “
Cookies, Millican said, are a model company in several ways, including its dedication to restorative justice and progressive drug policy.
Next year, the company will open a “Cookie University” in Humboldt County to train people for careers in the cannabis industry.
The program will focus on those who face barriers to employment in the cannabis sector and who have been affected in the past by the criminalization of cannabis, she explained.
It is in line with the City of San Diego’s current plan to establish a cannabis equity program.
The program would use some of the cannabis tax money to help low-income people and minorities enter the growing and legal cannabis industry.
Gilbert Anthony Milam Jr. and Jai Chang created Cookies in 2008.
Milam, who is also a Bay Area rapper, performs under the pseudonym Berner.
Observe local regulations
When regulators in San Diego first objected to the name Cookies, the company proposed using a capital C with a plus instead. However, San Diego’s cannabis laws prohibit companies from having logos on their exteriors, allowing only letters.
Despite concerns expressed by its members, the Planning Commission decided 5-1 in June to authorize the new Cookies dispensary in the Sorrento Valley. Commissioners said judgments should be based on zoning compatibility, not subjective opinions about a company’s name.
The city’s premier cookie store is located on Mission Center Court, a rarely-used cul-de-sac near Mission Center Road.
Commissioner Whalen expressed frustration that the city approved the dispensary’s final clearance in 2017 under a different name and then changed to Cookies.
A second Cookies location is now open at La Mesa. Millican noted that with the imminent establishment of a third dispensary, the company is unlikely to build additional sites in San Diego in the near future.
“We don’t want to saturate San Diego County too much,” she explained.