Medical marijuana: Donor complaints lead food bank to abandon dispensary pot-for-food drive

Categories: Marijuana, Media

donations to urban cannabis small.jpg
Ever hear of a food bank turning down food? It happened yesterday -- because donations intended for Denver's Metro CareRing were part of a pot-for-food drive organized by Urban Cannabis, a South Downing Street medical marijuana dispensary. Urban Cannabis sales director Amy DiIullo is still trying to wrap her head around this surprising turn of events.

"We all recognize there are needs," DiIullo says. "We live in Denver, and we see homeless people on corners or people who need food or assistance. So we know food pantries need food, and if we didn't have cannabis in our name -- if we were just Urban Center, not Urban Cannabis -- I'm sure it would be okay." She adds, "I don't think cannabis is a dirty word, but apparently some people still do."

dave crook and amy diiullo of urban cannabis.jpg
Urban Cannabis business manager Dave Crook and sales director Amy DiIullo with some of the donations.
The story began when the folks at Urban Cannabis created a food drive dubbed "Cans for Cones." The concept: From March 1 until April 20 (a date not chosen by coincidence), MMJ patients who donated four cans of food would receive a pre-rolled joint for their largesse. The goal? Collecting 2,000 pounds of canned food -- meaning between 2,000 and 4,000 cans -- by 4/20.

Urban Cannabis arranged with Metro CareRing and A Community Taking a Stand, better known as ACTS, to accept the donations, then sent out a press release noting that the dispensary was "partnering" with the two pantries. This same term was used in a March 19 Denver Post article about the drive.

And that's when the trouble started.

"Metro CareRing called me around 4 p.m. yesterday," DiIullo recalls. "My contact was one of their directors, and they apparently had received copious amounts of calls from faith groups and other conservative groups that donate to their organization voicing strong complaints that they were listed in the paper with a dispensary."

The word "partnering" was the flash point. Indeed, DiIullo shares a statement sent via e-mail by Metro CareRing stressing that "by definition, [it] is erroneous to state that a 'partnership' has been entered into or created between Urban Cannabis, a marijuana dispensary, and Metro CareRing." But DiIullo feels the problems ran deeper.

"As we spoke further," she says, "I realized it wasn't just the word. It was the fact that they no longer wanted their name associated with Urban Cannabis in any publication whatsoever." And that meant rejecting the donations, none of which had been delivered at that point; DiIullo says she was about to arrange a drop-off when the call came.

The conversation depressed DiIullo -- but shortly thereafter, a more positive development gave her a much-needed boost.

donations to urban cannabis 2.jpg
More of the donations Urban Cannabis has collected to date.
"Someone from a Christian, faith-based organization came in and gave us 100 pounds of potatoes and fifty pounds of oranges," she reveals.

Yes, he also brought in four cans -- and because he was a medical marijuana patient, he was rewarded with "as much as we could give him without going over the compliance-standard limits set up by the state." She calls his gift "Christian charity at its finest."

The potatoes and oranges, along with approximately 500 cans collected to date, are headed to ACTS, which has raised no objections about the program with DiIullo. And she's hopeful that the pantry will receive lots more food by the end of the drive.

In the meantime, she insists that she's not upset at Metro CareRing, whose director was pleased that ACTS will be able to put the donations to good use. "It's not them," she says. "They want the food. But the people affiliated with them maybe aren't aware of certain things about medical cannabis."

Like that it's legal in Colorado?

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: 2,000 patient aps to be nixed under health board MMJ doc compromise."

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49 comments
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Colee
Colee

No good deed goes unnoticed. You are true healers and horticulturists.

GracieS
GracieS

the thing about charity is that it is given without the desire of recognition (i.e the name of the dispensary) it's their own damn part for wanting to be recognized and named for the charity. If it is given straight from the heart with no expectations in return I'm sure the food would have been gladly taken and lots of people would be very happy right now. That dispensary did a very hippoChristian move...fail.

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

As nearly as I can tell the dispensary makes no pretense of Christianity. Yet somehow it behaved more in accordance with Christ's advocacy of charitable kindness towards ones fellow man than did the alleged Xtians in this incident.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

GracieS, strong take. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Day O'Brien
Day O'Brien

A food bank turned down food? In todays economy? Because of it being donated by legal pot-users? Now I have totally lost faith in John Que. Public. And I am positive that faith in the public being smart enough to know better will never come back. Thanks Public,your opinions are like a------, we all have one, but yours are all part off the much discussed by the media -weird science.

ThisPissesMeOff
ThisPissesMeOff

This is the type of shit that pisses me off about religion. My mom runs a very successful, faith-based food pantry back in my hometown in the Midwest and she's starting to come around to mmj now that I'm a patient out here so you would think these people here would be more accepting since they're around it but apparently they think they are too righteous. This is what I have against so-called christians....they think they are so fucking holy they can raise hell because something doesn't go with the grain and their close-minded, bible beating christian ways. I hope all these people who complained go to the gates of Hell cuz that's where they belong thinking they're on a pedestal when they really aren't. Words cannot describe how much I hate Christians that think they are so fucking Holy compared to others. I bet Jesus smoked weed so eat a dick!! This is why I quit going to church because I'm not putting myself around hypocritical, nose-in-the-air cunts.

dewey
dewey

So TPMOyou hate your mom? That is what I read in your response, If say you hate all so- called christians simply because they see a different side of being affiliated with a marijuana dealer. Metro CareRing has been distributing food around the Metro area and has reputation to uphold. It sounds to me like the marijuana dealer jumped the gun in saying they were partnering with Metro CareRing without proper authorization. The hypocrites to me are the marijuana dealer who are trying to demonize a faith based orginazation. Metro CareRing is following the business plan they have set forth if you do not want ot do donate to them or take the food offered by them then don`t.I do not see how you can say they think they are Holier than anyone else if you do not know them. If you stopped going to church because you did not want to associate with hypocritical people then you had your eyes on the people and not the teaching. Is that what your Mom taught you or did you learn that on your own? You want to force your belief system on anybody not believing what you do. so are You Holier than Metro CareRing beacause you support marijuana dealers and not a Faith based Entity. Such Hate and Vitriol from a human being who is so enlightned sinc ehe can now get marijuana to offset the pain they have encountered in this life.

Shanon Greever
Shanon Greever

Denver 's Metro CareRing need to pull the heads out of there asses. Hungry people around the world & our hemp resources could feed a lot of them but, with ignorance such as this the poverty stricken malnourished will die from there starvation before we can obtain the resources necessary to deal with the issues at hand.

Andrew
Andrew

Hunger and malnutrition here and around the world is not typically caused by a food production problem. Not that I disagree with the fact that hemp seeds are very nutritious and can be relatively easy, non-toxic, and inexpensive to grow as compared to other commodities (wheat, corn, barley, soybeans). But the world as a whole already produces enough food every year to feed everyone... at least for the time being.

The problem is with food distribution. And food distribution problems are almost always caused by our governments, and occasionally by natural disasters, but primarily by government disasters. You can't get food to hungry people if a war has destroyed distribution to that area, or if a government has waged war against its own people like what is happening in Burma.

You see, our governments are so preoccupied with thrill of seizing power, maintaining power, and waging war (against nations, and peoples, and even plants for crying out loud) that they can't see how utterly destructive their actions are. Absolute gratuitous destruction. It's all just a game to them.

Guest
Guest

FUCKING ROMER DOUCHBAGGERY! IF IT IS STUPID IT MUST HAVE A ROMER NAME ATTACHED TO IT!

Hungry
Hungry

Funny how Romers name somehow comes up. Booo Metro CareRing!!!

Scott Greene
Scott Greene

Interesting Note... Helen Romer, Sen. Chris Romer's mother, sits on the board of Metro CareRing... hmmm Cawinkydink??? I think not

Shame on Metro CareRing!

We have donated in the past to A.C.T.S. and A.C.T.S has happily taken our donations many times.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

"Cawinkydink"?!? -- when are you going to take these cans? (I've got four, you know)

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Scott, I can confirm what another commenter pointed out: Chris Romer's mother is named Beatrice. She's also known as Bea.

Andrew
Andrew

There is a Ellen Romer (not Helen) on Metro CareRing's board, but I don't know what the relationship is with Chris Romer.

According to former governor Roy Romer's (Chris's father) bio his wife's name is Beatrice (not Ellen or Helen). Of course I'm assuming that Roy's wife is Chris's mother.

Even if there is a familial tie between Chris Romer, Ellen Romer, and Metro CareRing, I wouldn't automatically assume that they've somehow conspired to reject food donations from a cannabis dispensary.

But Chris Romer is a rather conniving fellow so anything is possible. Which is a perfect segue for the most important message: don't vote for Chris Romer in Denver's mayoral race.

ZZardozz
ZZardozz

If Urban Cannabis can't get an agency to take the food for the needy, they should give it away themselves, and make sure the press covers it too.

terbes57
terbes57

A.C.T.S. = A Community Taking a Stand. I say thanks to the A.C.T.S. Food Bank, for taking a stand on this today. I am certain that 500 pounds of food will be put to good use by the people you serve.

WhiteRabbit
WhiteRabbit

How dare they put their pride above the needs of others!People are suffering, and without, yet these folks would turn down food because they don't approve of marijuana. Get real!

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

what does this signal to the medical marijuana patients? should we come to church or just stay away?

dewey
dewey

Boulder Med Cannabis doyou only sell to drug addicts or will you let other people in your door

dr. angelface
dr. angelface

well, obviously, Jesus doesn't love you, you filthy hippie.

or your food.

oh, wait. actually, Jesus *was* a filthy itinerant hippie. well, maybe you can just go anyway, and.... y'know, don't tell the "christians". i think they don't know.

Goof
Goof

Get over the fear. Accept the food. Jeez.

Metro CareRing
Metro CareRing

All are welcome to make donations to Metro CareRing. Metro CareRing, one of Denver’s leading hunger relief organizations, has a policy of extending the invitation for all persons/groups to contribute food to our pantry. We receive donations from local businesses, schools, individuals and faith communities from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Our food pantry serves as many as 1,800 hungry families 3-5 days worth of nutritious food, boxed, on a monthly basis.

John Smith
John Smith

So are you actually from Metro CareRing? and if so, think you could possibly give us an idea of what was going on in the head of the jackass working for a food collection company, that refuses to take food?

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Please resolve the issue by stating clearly whether you are willing to accept donations of food from Urban Cannabis (should they care to make any more), or not.

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

does this mean legit cannabis businesses, patient groups, etc. can conduct and advertise a food drive that promises to give to Metro CareRing?

Gene
Gene

Please define "All."

Andrew
Andrew

Is this an official statement from Metro CareRing? If so, why does it contradict with what they actually did? "All are welcome to make donations to Metro CareRing." "All" is about as big of an umbrella as you can have. How does Urban Cannabis manage to not fit under it?

Choose better options
Choose better options

What they meant to say is "All who meet our personal moral standards".

It is a free country. Metro CareRing is free to pick and choose who they accept DONATIONS from. Thanks for showing your true colors.

And the rest of the population is free to pick and choose which hunger relief organization they donate to.

Like ACTS or Foodbank of the Rockies. It is a free country.

Chameleon
Chameleon

Yea, it's all the christians fault. Blame them and their different beliefs. Gosh, they are so stupid believing something different than you. You are so much better than them because you would do something different. Pat yourself on the back, go ahead, you are better. You would've taken all that food and donated it all by your self, but you were too busy commenting on how someone else should've done it. Ignorance is bliss and all of you sound very happy.

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

I don't give a damn what they believe on way or the other. As far as I'm concerned anyone can believe whatever they like religiously speaking.

This behavior I disrespect. All money is dirty if you trace its travels far enough. That move was shameful capitulation to zealotry. 

Richard
Richard

If you substitute "Stoner's" for "christians" in your statement, you pretty much have provided a condensed version of how socially conservative "Christians" view cannabis advocates and pretty much anyone else who doesn't agree with them.

Jim
Jim

Those sound like some modern day Christian ideals you're sarcastically preaching there.

DNA
DNA

I like how people freely label themselves "christian" I can use that as a marker for idiocy and avoid that person.

Hermit
Hermit

Jesus wept.....at the sight of those who claim to do things in his name, while treating those who are needy as a token pawn in their morality play.

Andrew
Andrew

Metro CareRing should really update the mission statement on their website so as not to mislead donors. Their prime objective is obviously not to "help meet basic needs and advocate for solutions to hunger and poverty... assist people through times of crisis and provide resources for self-sufficiency."

If they refuse to accept donations from a medical marijuana business, I wonder if it also goes the other way for Metro CareRing. Would they also refuse to "help meet the basic needs and advocate for solutions to hunger and poverty" of people who happen to be medical marijuana patients?

A Community Taking a Stand (ACTS) should be commended for their dedication to helping people in need.

Denvercruiser
Denvercruiser

I'm glad that Urban Cannabis is attempting to make a contribution to the food bank, shame on the moral high-rollers for nullifying their efforts. If more businesses in the cannabis industry were involved in philanthropic efforts, the general public's perception of their respective enterprises would likely improve.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong take (among many here), Denvercruiser. Thanks for posting.

BeautyBowl
BeautyBowl

Realize that MetroCareRing does AMAZING things for the community. Rather than sacrifice the donations of dozens, they are sacrificing the donation of one. I am sad FOR them. Hopefully their donors will realize this isn't about the cannabis. It is about the food, and helping people.

Guest
Guest

They are sacrificing the donations of dozens....how many people do you think brought in food to urban cannabis?

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

"Rather than sacrifice the donations of dozens, they are sacrificing the donation of one" -- that is BS! Metro CareRing is free to deny any claims of partnership with Urban Cannabis (any suggestion that donating constituted the formation of a partnership was grossly inappropriate -- that's part of the problem of using Corporatese instead of English), but to refuse to accept the food itself suggests to me (and I suspect others) that other relief organizations that spend less time worrying about arbitrary standards of political correctness or threats from anti-cannabis food donors and focus on obtaining and distributing food might be more effective.

dr. angelface
dr. angelface

you think they're doing themselves any favors by publicly bending over and grabbing their ankles at the behest of a pack of hypocrites?

i don't. i think they're undermining their own credibility. i donate to organizations with demonstrated integrity. i'll never donate to this one again.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

All of Denver should know that "Metro CareRing is a hunger relief organization" -- that disdains to accept donations of food!

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

I guess it all depends on what the meaning of "is" is. What a joke, if this donation was from Urban Vodka it surely wouldn't have been turned away. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth! I'm sure the starving folks that would have recieved that food from Metro UnCaring JO Ring appreciate the high falootin' "holier than thou" attitude of the self-appointed ignorant moral police that reside there, whilst their collective stomaches ache for food. Think about all those folks you have put into starvation with your pompus, assinine, and just plain ignorant actions. I assume you don't believe in Karma......your bank is obviously empty

disgusted by hypocrisy
disgusted by hypocrisy

Good on this business for stepping up to help those in need. Do you think the DEA, local law enforcement, and local lawmakers ever bother trying to organize local food drives for the needy? Well, they don't. And that speaks volumes about their insensitivity to the REAL issues our community faces.

Sadly, it appears the food bank DENIED the donated food because it came from a marijuana dispensary. What hypocrites!

What Would Jesus Do?
What Would Jesus Do?

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Mahatma Gandhi

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