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Girl Scout Cookies and Stoners: An American Love Story

As the legal-cannabis movement continues to sweep the nation, with millions of Americans already toking up in compliance with state law (and in defiance of Attorney General Jeff Sessions), all eyes are on the economy. In California alone, recreational marijuana sales could mean a $1 billion tax windfall for the government as well as thousands of new jobs. But bureaucracy and small business owners aren’t enjoying the boom alone. One renowned nonprofit group is riding the weed wave, too: Girl Scouts.

Over the past few years, enterprising young cookie entrepreneurs have gone viral with the exceedingly shrewd strategy of posting up outside cannabis stores and dispensaries. While it’s true customers aren’t necessarily coming out of these establishments already plagued by the munchies, any stoner worth their stash will have the forethought to anticipate a powerful post-bong Samoas craving.

The marketing move has paid off for many girls, particularly in an era when the organization has discouraged door-to-door sales for safety reasons. A San Diego store called Urban Leaf even offered some Instagram cross-promotion for the scout targeting their clientele, and she wound up selling 300 boxes. I myself ran into a smiling mom and daughter with a wagonload of cookies upon leaving a dispensary in Sacramento this past weekend. “So, what are these, $40 a box?” I joked.

I wound up with a load of Thin Mints, my favorite.

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Yet the connection between cannabis and Girl Scout Cookies runs deeper than a stoner’s affinity for average junk foods, and it seems to transcend any cutesy capitalism. Here we have a bond between baked people and baked goods unlike anything else in the annals of culinary pairings. Keep your Cabernet Sauvignon and aged Gouda — they’re no match for a hash-infused joint and a sleeve of Tagalongs.

Girl Scout Cookies occupy a place of such great esteem in the pot universe that a notoriously potent, THC-heavy West Coast strain took its name from the tasty desserts. This wasn’t a touchy issue when weed-branding was the work of illegal, off-the-grid dealers—I bought innumerable eighths of this beloved hybrid when living in New York—but now that bud is routinely sold off shelves, Girl Scouts of the USA are asserting copyright claims, and growers are labeling the variety “GSC” to avoid further legal actions.

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Even while taking steps to protect their name from pot purveyors, Girl Scouts brass have edged toward embracing the doper demographic — though on a region-by-region basis. Articles about the San Diego scout noted that she risked a chiding from troop leaders over the dispensary sales scheme, but the Girl Scouts of Colorado just updated their policy to allow cookie sales outside “adult-oriented businesses” including casinos, liquor stores, and yes, marijuana retailers.

Much of the cookie operation, such as choice of suppliers, box prices and use of funds raised, is handled at the local level, so it makes sense that national headquarters would defer to parents on the matter. A loophole regarding the use of portable carts as opposed to tables and booths has further opened up the possibilities for dispensary-adjacent sales. And as long as the Girl Scouts can skirt the sometimes dicey politics of pot itself, the whole thing feels like a win-win proposition: After all, cookie money has supported the youth group for more than a century now, and members have long sold to hungry stoners, explicitly or not.

Still, it’s not entirely clear how the two different treats became so closely entwined — the subtle mysteries of this holy union make it all the more delicious. I do know this: When you’re properly blunted, a crumbly, bite-sized Girl Scout Cookie hits every pleasure receptor. Maybe it’s this palatal buzz we associate with weed’s euphoric high; Thin Mints are legendarily addicting, spurring the urban myth that crack is the active ingredient. Also like illicit drugs, the cookies may function as contraband — we hoard them, hide them from friends and family and worry about their scarcity, or when we’ll get the chance to re-up. You can’t say that about Oreos or Chips Ahoy!

Then there are the adorable Girl Scouts themselves, plucky businesswomen decked out in green sashes and skirts, ambassadors to pot-addled snacking. At heart, every stoner is a softie, and few will resist the chance to snap up some cookies while giving back to this — ahem — high-minded community. You’ll pig out at home, but it’s for a good cause, no guilt required! You get peace of mind with your Do-si-dos, so they’re a steal at $5.

Whatever the nature of the symbiosis, it’s nice to see the Girl Scouts acknowledging their biggest fans and bringing these fabled cookies to the folks who need them most. How could a decent sales mentorship program overlook this critical lesson in supply-and-demand? Kids hawking irresistible sugar-discs to stoners on the sidewalk set a better example of commercial savvy than parents going around the office with a spreadsheet to sign coworkers up for a dozen boxes of Trefoils on their kid’s behalf ever did. If it helps to normalize cannabis culture at the same time, uniting the ventures in a supremely American feedback loop, that’s just the icing on the cookie, and another nail in the coffin for the anti-weed dinosaurs struggling to keep the miracle herb at bay.

Face it, this is who we are: A nation of giggling couch-jockeys dusted in chocolate crumbs.