Marijuana: Charity raffle of $4,200 per ounce Green Gold nuggets halted by state

As part of his post about medical marijuana for 1 percenters, William Breathes touted an unusual fundraiser conceived by The Clinic. Each of its centers would raffle off a nugget of Green Gold valued at an astonishing $4,200 per ounce to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Winners were supposed to be announced today, but there was a problem. As soon as the State of Colorado heard about the raffle, officials shut it down.

Here's how Breathes described Green Gold in his March 7 post:

While other shops simply dip their mid-grade buds in oil made from other midgrade buds to make a harsh, mid-grade caviar, the folks at The Clinic took their most exclusive products and blended them together into something worthy of the name. Twelve grams of hand-picked, top-shelf Kosher Kush buds were dipped in fifteen grams of cured, high-potency nectar distilled from 150 grams of Rascall OG, then rolled in refined Kosher and Rascall Kief. The result comes out to around $150 a gram at cost.

That means an ounce of this green gold would run you $4,200 at the least. By comparison to high end liquor, the most expensive bottle of champagne at Argonaut liquor on Colfax -- a 1999 bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal Brut -- will set you back a mere $2,000.

Each Clinic location had a two-gram chunk of Green Gold to raffle, with tickets going for $10 apiece and no limit on the number an individual could purchase. Given that this exclusive creation had originally been conceived for Clinic employees, the contest seemed like a way of letting patients sample the best of the best while helping a worthy cause at the same time.

What went wrong? According to Clinic general manager Ryan Cook, "I got contacted by the state -- someone from the division that deals with the lottery. He told me they'd received an anonymous tip that we were conducting an unlicensed lottery."

The official "was a very nice guy," Cook notes -- and he doesn't feel as if The Clinic was targeted because the raffle involved medical marijuana. "As far as I understand, you're not permitted to do this if you're a T-shirt shop or a barber shop or a dispensary. You need to be a nonprofit organization for a minimum of five years, and there's a fee you have to pay to conduct a lottery-type event."

The Clinic isn't facing punishment for this transgression. "They were gentle on us," Cook allows. "They understood some rules were broken, but they just said, 'Stop.'"

After doing so, Cook goes on, The Clinic immediately refunded 100 percent of the money spent on raffle tickets up until that point. But staffers still wanted to come up with a way to benefit the MS Society. So they came up with what he refers to as "a silent auction. It's not a lottery. Everything is in the open, which I think is where the issues came in."

The nuggets will remain in each Clinic location for an extra week. Then, on Friday, March 30, at 4:20 p.m., the auction will be closed and the high bidders will receive their chunk of Green Gold. Then The Clinic will donate the sale price minus taxes to the MS Society.

Cook concedes that "we probably won't raise as much money" using this method as the raffle would have generated. But The Clinic has come up with another way to help make up the difference -- by creating a team of people to participate in the MS Walk scheduled to take place on May 5 in City Park. "Anyone can join," Cook stresses.

The shutdown of the raffle is helping, too, Cook believes, since it's raising awareness of the cause. "We feel like we've already accomplished a lot," he says -- but he'd like to achieve even more, albeit without getting on the wrong side of anyone in state government.

"We pride ourselves on always following the rules," he says.

Get more information about The Clinic's locations by clicking here.

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More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: Opening of The Clinic's Highlands location delayed over zoning issues."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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