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Businesses divest from Alison Ettel’s marijuana company, TreatWell, after viral 911 video
Businesses have divested from Alison Ettel’s marijuana company after a video of Ettel threatening to call police on an 8-year-old trying to sell water went viral. ladyesowavy /Instagram

Alison Ettel, a white San Francisco woman who threatened to call police Saturday on an 8-year-old black girl for selling water in front of an apartment building without a license, is facing a wave of financial and advertising divestment from her cannabis company, TreatWell, where she is CEO.

At least six businesses released statements since Saturday saying they will either no longer sell or review TreatWell products because of the video: Magnolia in Oakland, California, The Apothecarium and the Bloom Room in San Francisco and Green Trees Wellness in Lake Tahoe, California, all of which are dispensaries; Herb, a cannabis delivery service in Los Angeles; and Ganjly, a California-based news and product reviews site.

“This issue was initially brought to our attention via numerous social media posts,” David Abarta, president of Green Trees Wellness, said in an e-mail, “and we felt it was extremely important as an inclusive collective to have an immediate response that communicated to our valued customers, vendors and community supporters that Green Trees Wellness denounces Ms. Ettel’s behavior.”

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On Sunday, Magnolia Wellness wrote in an Instagram post it would no longer be doing business with TreatWell either.

“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,” the statement reads.

In a post on its webpage Sunday, Ganjly said a past review of a TreatWell product, cannabis-infused tinctures for human and animal use — alcohol-based medicinal extracts — was taken down from the site.

“She is in no way affiliated to us, rather we reviewed and published her products last May 2017,” the post read. “We want to make it very clear that Ganly does not support the behavior of Ms. Ettel and we have taken down the review from our website.”

The Apothecarium expressed a similar sentiment in a note on its Twitter account Saturday.

“Like many of you, we are learning about the situation with TreatWell in real time today,” the dispensary’s message read. “We are deeply concerned with what we’ve learned and have decided to discontinue our relationship with Treatwell. We will be selling our remaining stock at a discount and will donate the proceeds to a nonprofit.”

Also on Saturday, the Bloom Room wrote on Facebook that it would be replacing TreatWell products at its establishment.

“To our members that depend on an oral tincture, we are immediately in search of a new product line to take care of your individual needs,” the post reads. “Until we find a comparable or better product, we will be phasing out of the TreatWell company.”

Representatives from The Apothecarium and Herb, and Ganjly founder Clarisa Strohmeyer, declined to comment further to Mic. Magnolia Wellness and the Bloom Room did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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A groundswell of criticism arose on social media against Ettel after a video of her appearing to report 8-year-old Jordan to authorities for selling water without a permit went viral on Saturday. Jordan’s mother, Erin Austin, captured the footage, which has over 1.2 million views on Instagram.

“This woman don’t want to let a little girl sell some water,” Austin wrote in the caption. “She’s calling the police on an 8-year-old little girl. Make this bitch go viral like #bbqbecky. She’s #permitpatty.”

On Good Morning America on Monday, Austin said she saw Ettel’s actions as a threatening to her child.

“Calling the police on any person of color these days is an issue,” Austin said. “They come, they shoot first and they ask questions later. Knowing that and knowing everything that’s going on in the media, why would you call the police on a child of color?”

Jordan also said she felt frightened by the thought of police being called on her.

“I did not want to see the police because I was scared,” Jordan told Good Morning America. “I just went ... to my mom, and my mom just dealt with it.”

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Ettel told the Huffington Post on Saturday that she was working in her home office when she heard loud voices from outside.

“They were screaming about what they were selling,” Ettel said of Jordan and her mother. “It was literally nonstop. It was every two seconds, ‘Come and buy my water.’ It was continuous and it wasn’t a soft voice, it was screaming.”

Ettel did not close her window because it was too hot, she said. Instead, she went outside to confront them. Ettel said she then pretended to call the police, but regrets her actions now.

“It was stupid,” she told the Huffington Post. “I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her.”

Jordan was reportedly working to earn enough money to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Jonathon Brannon, a musician who saw Jordan’s story, purchased four passes to the theme park for the child, according to Austin.

“I didn’t do this for recognition or notoriety for my music — I just felt like it was the right thing to do — trying to right, where I saw a wrong,” Bannon wrote on his Instagram page Sunday.

Austin and others have pointed out the similarities of #PermitPatty’s actions to the viral story of #BBQBecky. Jennifer Schulte, another white woman, called Oakland police on a barbecue that black people were having in a park in May. She claimed the group was not supposed to use a charcoal grill in the area.

Natelegé Whaley
Culture Reporter