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Insistent marijuana petition pushers

Original post made by Tom on Jul 14, 2011

The no doubt paid marijuana petition pushers are getting very pushy, especially the one outside of Walgreen's at Midtown and others working the Midtown area. ˇThe man outside of Walgreen's who looks like a football lineman, followed my wife to her car when she said 'no' and kept up the spiel. Last
Saturday a woman worked the teen crowd outside of Starbucks while others vocally waylaid shoppers at Safeway. They really did a sell job on the teenagers studying outside of Starbucks and it took only a few minutes. None of the signees bothered to even read the material. One young lady could not sign because she was not a registered voter evidently. The one who came to our home door was equally insistent. Do these people need permits to solicit?

Comments (41)

Posted by Gman, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Thanks for posting this, Tom. I have seen these people too. I try to avoid signing any petition. What exactly is this one for? I hate when these people set up shop outside the midtown safeway. There's like 2 feet between them and the door, and they can really block your way. They did a good job at Trader Joe's in MtnView shooing them away.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2011 at 3:56 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

They have been nothing but polite to me. This is democracy in action, troops.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:36 am

There has to be a better way to do this than have what seem like very poor people with no other alternatives for spending their time being paid to collect signatures to these political purposes.

I read in the news in the last day or two about some of these signatures being flipped or not what the person who is carrying them said. And why not, these people may or may not care, or may or may not be smart enough to understand the petition they are carrying.

I got hit up on the way into Whole Foods last night, and then again on the way out or Whole Foods too. Yes, it is legal, and it is a part of the way the system should work, but it bugs me because you don't really know who is behind these things

Another thing is ... how do we know that these signatures are real? How is this form of democracy working? There is a big list of signatures ... is it ever checked and the process of these petitions verified?

We already know on some occasions there have been abuses, so to not do anything to verify the validity of this is negligence.

Posted by CleanandSober, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

They are rude and beligerent, despite the very graphic no soliciting sign, they cam to the door and yelled through the window "Are you registered to vote" and my reply each time...."No, I don't do Coke" then we go to safeway...are you..GO AWAY!

Posted by Annoyed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Oh no! Those POOR people who have bothered to get a job! Sounds like that really bothered one of the commenters here. I think poor people being paid to spend their time on a JOB is a great way to spend their time - then they get to spend that money on bills and help the economy. See how that works?

But I agree this group seem obnoxious. I've also recently seen the Green Peace types at Town and Country and on California Avenue. Friendly but annoying. Want me NOT to spend my money in your place of business? Don't keep an eye on the solicitors out front so that they get pushier and pushier, that's how.

Posted by Half Baked, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm

"I've also recently seen the Green Peace types at Town and Country and on California Avenue."

Amazing... they are trying to get people to sign the pot petition? That gives a whole new meaning to 'green peace'.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2011 at 1:22 am

These people may have their rights to free speech. I have my rights too.

It doesn't matter if they are pro pot, pro gay marriage, pro green, or trying to convert me. I should have rights not to be bothered by them.

If this was a group trying to "win me to Christ" by preaching to all the Safeway customers, they would soon be turned away. So similarly if they are bothering the customers they should also be turned away.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 16, 2011 at 3:28 am

I've seen this group on Calif. Street Sunday market. The guy was very loud and in your face, but one no thank you and he was off to the next prospect. This is no big deal and is much better than the gutter cleaning or pizza menus that solicitors stick in my front door jam.

Posted by Leave me alone, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I'm glad to see that others feel the same way I do about these clowns that hassle you in front of stores. I was at the Mid Town Walgreens this past week when a large black guy came into my face asking if I was a registered voter. I told him that was none of his business and I walked into the store. Upon leaving the store he started hassling me and following me to my car screaming at me saying "what do you mean it's none of my business?"

I should have just turned around and gone back into Walgreens and talked to the manager, but instead drove off and went about my personal business.

So no I don't think this is democracy in action. It is a lot more annoying than a pizza menu on my door knob. I do not like people hassling me in front of TJs, or Target (they've run them off over in the Mountain View Target) or in front of Walgreens. In the case of Walgreens, it just makes me go shop elsewhere ie CVS.

In the future I will make a point to let the store manager know that the petitioners are hassling me in front of their store.

Posted by fake, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm

you are the petitioner who is accusing our law abiding citizens

Posted by ML, a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I saw one of these marijuana petition people outside Whole Foods this morning. Why doesn't someone ASK them who they are working for and report back to us?

Posted by huh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2011 at 8:17 am

I did not find them to be any worse than any other paid petitioners. Annoying, but one "No" ended the sell job.

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 17, 2011 at 11:15 am

The aggressive marijuana petition pushers must be on meth.

Posted by been thru it, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 17, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Seems like the petition pushers were trained by our fire department. Same style of action.

Posted by life, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 17, 2011 at 6:51 pm

mj is my life£¨for this i will owe those mj pushers all my life

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I don't like these guys. They have stopped me repeatedly at the Safeway on Middlefield. I have told them that I do NOT support the goals of this petition.

One guy asked me to sign his petition and followed me a bit on California Avenue yesterday cracking jokes about how he didn't have any "free samples" to give to me and smirked saying that he knew that I "wanted them."

It was a very uncomfortable situation that felt like it bordered on harassment.

I wasn't aware that these men were being paid to gather signatures like this. It isn't "democracy in action" when someone is PAID to gather signatures for a cause like this. It reminds me of those "professional protesters" who camped out at one location until they were whisked away to the next place.

It would be nice if there was a "no soliciting" rule at certain public establishments.

Posted by Who are they?, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jul 18, 2011 at 9:35 am

Yes, they are paid and one told me he's glad they increased the rate because he flew in from Florida.

Posted by Blowing-Smoke, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

> This is democracy in action, troops.

Hitler took over power in Germany via a "democratic" election .. with about 33% of the vote. "Democracy" brought us WWII. "Democracy" a'int all it's cracked up to be, some times.

Posted by Voter, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

To "Leave Me Alone"-

You lost me with "Large black guy". Why did you feel it necessary to include that? Can you expound on the relevance in connection to your annoyance?

Posted by Voter, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

To "Leave Me Alone"-

You lost me with "Large black guy". Why did you feel it necessary to include that? Can you expound on the relevance in connection to your annoyance?

Posted by A resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:33 am

I was shopping at Mollie Stones on California Avenue last week. As I walked into the store, I saw two young women talking with a young man outside the front door.

It looked as if they'd been talking with him for a while. One of the women was saying, "Well, if it will make you happy, I'll sign your petition. But I still don't understand it."

She seemed frustrated, as if she was signing without knowing the details. I interpreted her comment as just a way of ending the conversation, and I remembered thinking, "I wonder how many other residents have signed this petition, just to stop the conversation?"

After I shopped, the same man stopped me to talk about his petition. He did not seem intelligent. His approach seemed a bit aggressive, and in your face, but I wouldn't call him rude.

I did not sign his petition. I remembered thinking, "MJ must turn their minds to mush. This will further dumb-down the community. So no way would I sign that petition!"

Maybe this was the fellow that flew in from Florida. He was right outside Mollie Stone's front door. So he'd get a lot of people going shopping, if not entering the store, then entering. That was a smart move to promote a bad cause.

Posted by A shopper, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:39 am

I was stopped by the guy outside of Mollie Stones and when I said I was registered to vote, but wouldn't sign the petition because I couldn't support the legalization of pot he definitely got pushy and said that each signature was worth $2 dollars to him and why wouldn't I help him out! Then he raised his voice and said that he was going to get all the signatures necessary even if I didn't sign.

Posted by Steve C, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:08 am

$6.50 per signature is the going rate according to an ad for help on Craigslist recently. Get 100 signatures per day and you are doing quite well I would say. At that rate, I'm surprised some of the more enterprising folks aren't offering a couple of bucks for each signature. Still not a bad day's work when you net it out. I actually think they are supposed to be canvassing neighborhoods, and I don't think they are helping the cause with these tactics. Beats panhandling I suppose.

Posted by a pa mom of 3, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

What they are trying to get is lal and safe access to medical marijuana dispensarieshere in pa. Obviously there are a few who lack tact however, there is a real need for the NIMBYs to wake up and realize all the BS told to all of us since 1937 has been a lie. No, it does not turn your mind to "mush", but rather has very remarkable benefits over our usual pharmaceuticals for multiple disorders including chronic joint pain, MS, insomnia, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, agorpphobia, migraines, muscle spasm disorders, glaucoma, and neuropathies, to name a few. Our people go to San Jose or SF for legal safe access to this flower. We need at least 3 here. Many elderly patients who need them cannot drive anymore and need the store close by.

Plus... a lot more income to go towards Palo Alto. There are 160-ish in San Jose and they make good tax revenues. We need to get our heads out of the sand and become educated as to what are the benefits of this plant used for thousands of years with excellent effects.

Posted by Jess , a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:41 am


Thanks, I was wondering the same thing about that comment by "Leave me alone"!

Posted by Large Black Guy, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:42 am

RACISM is alive and well in good ole Palo Alto. Why does the COLOR of the guy make a difference? Drugs and race? Not all blacks are pot heads nor are all whites coke heads. Watch it PA your true colors are showing. And it is NOT pretty.

Posted by Just-Say-No, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Palo Altans need to educate themselves on this matter--

Federal government says marijuana has no accepted medical use:
Web Link

Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation's capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a dangerous drug like heroin.

It's clear that those people pushing this petition have no idea what they are talking about--and are giving the petition process a bad name.

There are too many negatives associated with marijuana to allow it to be openly sold in Palo Alto.

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm

@ Just-Say-No:

I agree. For every ailment that proponents of legalized marijuana claim as a "treatment," there are already existing treatments that don't have the "slightly lose your mind" side effect.

There are just too many bad things that can happen as a result of this attempt at legalized vice.

Posted by Leigh, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I had the same experience with the guy at Midtown Walgreens AND the people at the Cal Ave Farmer's Market. They were very rude and pushy, and a polite "no, I don't think so" wasn't enough to stop them. I definitely felt like I was being harassed, and I wouldn't use that term lightly.

I dated a guy about 10 years ago who was smart, funny, and charming. When we broke up be started smoking pot socially. Now he has to smoke it several times a day. He gets confused easily, is forgetful, and people whom we have mutually met since do not consider him at all intelligent or witty. I know people have doubts about the addictive nature of marijuana or the negative effects it can have, but I have seen firsthand how dependent my ex is and how much his addiction has changed him.

Posted by Leave me alone, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm


I was just curious if you were hassled by the large black guy or the small Mexican woman at the Midtown Walgreen. I've talked to the Walgreen manager and he said if he heard of any other complaints from his customers that he would take action.

I had no idea they were being paid for signatures. So the next time I'm approached I'll be sure to let them know that I'd be glad to sign their petition for 50 bucks. I mean fair is fair. If they are getting paid, we should be as well. : )

Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I'm sort of surprised at the naivete in the comments. Paid signature gatherers are a big part of why we have to navigate a very complicated ballot most years. A lot of the ones are put forth by companies (for example, insurance companies) trying to get something favorable to their economic interests on the California ballot.

If the basic premise of the measure is at all in line with my beliefs, I usually sign. After all, it still has to pass in November.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I watched the petitioner today outside of Whole Paycheck, but I avoided him. He seemed relatively polite and wasn't aggressive. What I laughed at was he talked to a huge Croatian guy w/a booming voice, then I heard that Croatian guy laughingly tell the person he was with in Croatian (?) what the guy was doing, and they both laughed. It was like he couldn't believe in America there'd be a marijuana petition.

Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Oh the horrible problems of people in Palo Alto: crows, people with petitions. How can you stand it?

Posted by Bill, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2011 at 7:05 am

It's time to complain to the management of the stores where these people are collecting signatures. Safeway in Midtown would be a good place to start. In some cases, stores lease from a property management company. While the managers may not have the power to make the people move, they can be encouraged to contact the property management company to demand help with the situation. It might not be a bad idea to contact the Palo Alto police to ask advice. Even though this might not result in direct action, at least it starts a paper trail.

And everyone has the right to walk away without talking to these people!

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2011 at 7:38 am

Bill is right.

It is time to complain to the management and if the management do nothing then it is time to act with our feet. I informed the management yesterday that if they did nothing then I would be shopping elsewhere.

Posted by Beth, a resident of El Carmelo School
on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

We had a similar pushy experience at home, when the petitioner proceeded to help himself to our peaches off the tree then continued to pressure my husband to give him plums and apples as well. Very unpleasant. I have met two more petitioners since then who were very polite but I am boycotting the petition because of our experience.

Posted by Munchmunchmunch, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:56 am

Beth, it sounds to me like your petitioner had the munchies. He should've known it wasn't professional to partake before going to work - not to mention that begging food from you wasn't exactly a great sale strategy. Sounds like a really cheeky guy.

Posted by matter_horn, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I have met several petitioners lately in front of various locations in town. Most of the petitioners were nice enough. I was asked three times by the same person to sign the same measure. This is a theme for why not to smoke so much weed. In the defense of petitioners however I did meet a delightful young fellow working on an education measure. Articulate, kind and very well versed on the issue he was promoting. The other petitioners ought to take note.

It is slightly bothersome to be asked several times to sign something, but really not enough for me to whine about...

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm

So I watched some obnoxious petition worker today at Town & Country. He walked over to the area in front of The Cheese House, were various groups were sitting. He loudly started to talk about the petition, then started approaching them all at their different tables. It was rude and intrusive. One of the employees at Trader Joe's mentioned that some petition worker had set up 2 tables in front of TJ's, blocked the entrance and played loud music from a boom box recently. Sounds like some of them aren't playing by the rules.

Did anyone see the couple sunning themselves on the lawn facing Embarcadero, in front of Gamble Garden? The woman was topless. Bizarre.

Posted by Pearl W. Ricard, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm

When I walk into Whole Foods I see a petitioner asking me to sign and discuss an issue on providing regulated access to a drug that many very ill people find beneficial. Be it may that I've been asked several times and when I say I've signed, I'm almost always thanked and smiled at. It's funny that when I go into Whole Foods I'm assaulted by numerous advertizements, marketing promotions, my credit card is tracked on my buying habits and the food sold there is marked up well beyond what the food should ever cost. Sometimes over 150%. Peaches for $3.29/lb or plums for $4.99/lb. All this silent obnoxiousness is completely accepted with no mentioned by Palo Altans, yet all the messages here are about having to encounter and converse with a human petitioner promoting civic empowerment. They provide a service for democratic citizens to choose and empower the masses to act together. I remember when peaches were well under $1/lb. Yet do we complain that the prices are over inflated at Whole Foods? No, we complain that our insular states of hypnotic comsumerism is threatened by human contact or thoughtful dialog. There is no Whole Foods nirvanna or safe uninterupted shopping experience; just hypnotic marketing tricks that cause misplaced anger. Wake up Palo Altans, smell the peaches and embrace hamanity. It's time again.

Posted by stick-to-topic, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 23, 2011 at 12:07 am

Sign or no sign?

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