Clothing retailer, Tilly’s, bowed to pressure in March and pulled a line of marijuana-themed items from its stores in Southern California.
The company said in an email to a parent group that it would remove the clothing from its stores in Orange and Riverside counties. It wasn’t clear whether it would be removed from other stores, though most items were gone from the company website by March 13. At least one item, a belt with cannabis leaves, remained.
The controversy began when Youth Matters, a parent-teacher group from Huntington Beach, complained to the national retailer about leggings, shirts and other apparel decorated with marijuana leaves. The group said the imagery could desensitize young children to drug use.
“The more they see it, and the more it’s common in their world, it’s less likely that they’ll be shocked by it or concerned about it or listen to their parents about it,” said Kim Greene, chairwoman of Youth Matters.
The clothing line in question was produced by See You Monday, a brand based in Los Angeles. Parents first learned of it when one saw a pair of weed-themed leggings on the website.
“We said, ‘Here’s why we’re concerned, we do shop there,” Greene said. “Plenty of parents in this community shop there, and we want to keep shopping there, and we will come back to shopping there when they are removed.”
Apparel lines featuring marijuana leaves and other cannabis-related themes have grown increasingly popular as weed becomes more acceptable in America. Two states have legalized the drug, and another 19 allow medical pot.
California is one of the latter. Voters here adopted MMJ 18 years ago when they passed the Compassionate Use Act. The state’s medical pot program has been a hotbed of controversy ever since, with opponents charging it’s legalization in disguise.
Several groups tried to put real legalization on the ballot this year but fell short. A more concerted effort is underway to let voters decide in 2016 whether they want legal weed.
That campaign has been given good odds to succeed, with most Californians saying they want to legalize. But the state remains deeply divided between those who support reform and those who see pot as a threat.
SoCal has long been a focal point of that dispute. MMJ dispensaries are banned in most of conservative Orange and Riverside counties, though that hasn’t stopped many of them from doing business.
Youth Matters was formed in 2010 to help parents, teachers, and students talk about drug and alcohol use. The group plans to go after other retailers that sell weed-themed clothing, Greene said.
“We need to always keep our eyes open and stay aware, even if it’s uncomfortable,” she said. “Sometimes we don’t want to know because we’d have to do something about it.”