Embattled California marijuana CEO resigns after #PermitPatty controversy

The CEO of a California marijuana company resigned abruptly Tuesday after several days of controversy spawned by a viral video in which she appeared to be calling police to report an 8-year-old girl who was selling bottled water without a permit in San Francisco.

“Alison Ettel, the CEO of TreatWell Health, has resigned, effective immediately,” the company announced in a news release.

“It is Ms. Ettel’s belief that TreatWell, its employees and patients should not have to suffer because of a situation that occurred in an escalated moment. And she regrets her part and is remorseful.”

TreatWell, based in San Francisco, manufactures marijuana tinctures for humans and pets.

Ettel sparked a national firestorm last week when she allegedly threatened to call authorities on Erin Austin and her daughter Jordan because the girl was selling water without a permit to people on their way to a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park.

Some of the criticism surrounding Ettel stemmed from the fact she is white and the girl is African-American.

The hashtag #PermitPatty began trending on Twitter over the weekend as a nickname for Ettel, and she garnered criticism from nearly every corner of the country. Ettel was even lampooned by Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

TreatWell was also dropped by multiple California retailers, and it was unclear whether the company would be able to survive the controversy.

Ettel’s actions were “not motivated by any racist intent whatsoever,” according to TreatWell’s release.

“It was never the intention to disparage, harass or cause any harm to the child, nor her mother,” the company said in the release. “However, in a heated moment, a critically wrong decision was made by our CEO. The guilt lies in that decision.”

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3 comments on “Embattled California marijuana CEO resigns after #PermitPatty controversy
  1. Denise Clark on

    I believe Black Lives Matter, and I STILL support Affermative Action. That said, I don’t see any evidence Allison Ettel was discriminating due to ethnicity.
    We are over reacting because all of our nerves are drawn too tight.
    She did a stupid thing…we all do stupid things!!!
    Give her job back and require she use her own products while working to reduce her stress levels.
    There is a huge difference between police killing young black men and what Ms. Etell did. Perspective!

  2. Rick on

    Well, she did the right thing by resigning but the damage may have already been done to Treatwell. Whatever possessed her to act like this in public is beyond me. Jordan was selling water to save up for a Disney trip, Treatwell might want to consider paying for that trip, it would go a long way to put things right.

  3. Mike on

    A major reason for holding a CEO position is the ability to remain cool and maintain good judgement under pressure.
    I’ll bet “she regrets her part and is remorseful.” Probably 3 out of 4 people who make big mistakes are. Sounds like she needs to get some more life experience before she gets another C-level job.

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