Cannabis sex lube fliers have Aspen officials hot and bothered
Foria was busy in Aspen on Friday marketing its love potion made for women, prompting the Aspen Police Department to warn the business about distributing promotional fliers throughout town.
“They are handing out promotional bills, and they can’t do that,” said City Clerk Linda Manning as she met with police officers.
Manning said that at least two of Aspen’s recreational cannabis dispensaries called to report Foria, a California-based firm that has partnered with Native Roots, which opened a marijuana shop this week in the old Blue Maize spot on Hunter Street. Native Roots and Foria also have been having parties this week in conjunction with its Colorado launch in the old Crystal Palace building on Hyman Avenue. As of early Friday afternoon, Manning said there had been no resident complaints about the fliers. City law prohibits both commercial handbills from being distributed on vehicles and in public places. Dave Cuesta, the chief compliance officer for the Denver-based Native Roots, said Foria was unaware of the city code regarding the distribution of promotional literature.
“We do not like getting into gray areas, and this was unexpected,” Cuesta said. “We stopped doing it immediately, and we want to have a good partnership with the city of Aspen and the Aspen Police Department.”
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Likewise, Native Roots CEO Josh Ginsberg and Mat Gerson, the wellness director for Foria, said they were unaware of the city’s handbill law. Ginsberg said the city also told them to remove the neon sign, which are prohibited, from the Native Roots store. They did, he said.
Meanwhile, police visited a Foria and Native Roots private launch party, where guests openly — and legally — toked on vaporizer pens and other marijuana-smoking devices. But officers were there to inform them about the illegal distribution of handbills. Police also visited other downtown marijuana stores to remind their workers about the law, which often is challenged — thanks to guerilla marketers — during Winter X Games week in Aspen.
Brian Radtke, chief operating officer of the Green Dragon Cannabis Co. in the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall, took offense to Foria’s marketing tactics. Literature promoting Foria — a lubricant that purportedly enhances women’s sexual experiences — was handed out to passersby in front of his store, he said.
“You have this Denver company (Native Roots) coming to Aspen and flexing their muscles and not giving a crap about Aspen,” he said. “Competition is competition, and we all have fun, but when all of the tourists go home, the locals are here and have to pay the price.”
Radtke said he was upset that his 13-year-old son saw the Foria materials being passed out by the firepit in downtown Aspen.
“If my son gets something about their sex lube, I’ll have a nuclear meltdown,” he said.
Aspen police detective Ian MacAyeal, who was among the officers visiting the cannabis dispensaries, said it’s important that canna-businesses play by the rules because much of the world is watching how legalization plays out in Colorado, the first state where the product was sold legally for recreational purposes.
“There needs to be some respect for the laws by business or otherwise we all look bad,” MacAyeal said. “And we have to make an extra effort to make sure everyone understands that.”
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Local officials don’t think Aspen and Pitkin County residents are taking social distancing and isolation rules seriously enough, and reiterated Monday their importance in controlling the spread of the coronavirus.