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article imageOp-Ed: 'Beggars' opt to reject soil donated by owner of pot dispensary

By Sandy Sand     Feb 11, 2010 in Lifestyle
Beggars can’t be choosers is an old expression, but sometime the reason to turn down a donation that had been solicited can be found to be rather silly.
Emotions went from high to low when officials of the Santa Barbara County Education Office discovered their plea for donations of soil for a community garden at El Puente School, an education center for troubled students, came from the owner of a city-permitted, legal, non-profit medical marijuana dispensary.
The project and request for donations has been published in a local newspaper.
James Lee, a former business consultant and founder of the Green Well marijuana dispensary, said he was “only trying to be a good neighbor” when he donated the soil, bags of bat guano and earthworm castings.
"We thought it would be a good fit. We want to be part of the solution, not the problem."
In a version of “he-said, she-said-he-didn’t,” Lee said he explicitly told the AmeriCorps official, who requested the donation about the dispensary.
Wendy Shelton, a spokeswoman for the county education office said he did not mention it:
"We would not have accepted the donation had we known that was the case. We'd rather get soil from reputable soil people.”
Whatever the dispute, the California school district didn’t dispute the fact that they weren’t going to accept this donation because of its source, and not because it was contaminated or for any other reason.
In response to the reaction by school authorities, Lee said:
"Schools are sensitive recipients. Maybe I should have thought longer and harder about this."
If "beggars can’t be choosers" applies, so does “no good deed goes unpunished" and "don’t look a gift horse in the mouth."
If they're so worried about the source of the dirt that is only contaminated in their minds, perhaps they should ask the County of Los Angeles to send them a couple of truck loads soil that washed down the hills and into residential areas during the recent rain storms.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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