US Marijuana Party

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Marijuana design attracts sales, flak

Billings Gazette
Associated Press

GILLETTE, WY - Victoria Moren, owner of M+M Imports, is used to taking flak for the blankets she sells outside her stores. Designs such as a Confederate flag or a Corona bottle often attract attention, but it's the one that resembles a marijuana leaf that draws the most fire.

A police officer stopped by and asked her to stop displaying it outside her store because it promoted drugs, although he told her it was not against the law to do so.

Moren rejects the accusation that she is promoting marijuana. She calls the design a slightly altered version of the Canadian maple leaf and said the company that sells it calls it "The New Canadian Flag."

"I felt offended by (the officer's request). It's just a blanket," she said. "It's not like you can do anything with the blankets."

Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Hamilton is quick to say he supports the free speech behind the products.

"There is certainly no problem as an example to all of us of the free speech portion of the Constitution," he said. "While this is not a statement I would like to make, I would support free speech."

However, he said the blankets were harmful in their own way: Marijuana-emblazened merchandise promotes a criminal act, and a medically risky one as well, in addition to reflecting on the person using the product.

"Too many people don't understand that these statements are a measure of the person making the statement," he said.

The products have been lucrative. Moren sold out her first shipment of blankets in less than a week. She raised the price from $50 to $60, but still had trouble keeping them in stock.

"I made $7,000 in less than a week on one blanket. That's all I'm selling," she said. "Once I got this in, they aren't buying my NASCAR (blankets)."


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