11-year-old entrepreneur Madison Root was selling bags of hand picked mistletoe in Oregon’s Portland Saturday Market to help pay for her braces, but was told to stop because she was violating a city code. The young salesperson told KATU 2 news, “I wouldn’t think that I’d have any problems because people are asking for money, people are selling stuff, this is a public place.” But the private security guard for the Portland Saturday Market said she was violating Chapter 20.12.020, which makes sales without permits illegal.
Madison’s father, Ashton Root, was with her at the market and told The Oregonian that the guard said she couldn’t even give away the mistletoe and ask for donations, but begging for money would be okay. Mark Ross, Portland Parks Bureau spokesperson, explained that begging is a protected form of free speech. “We totally understand the rule…But here she was selling mistletoe and all around her were people playing music for money, or asking for money for pot, or just spare change. We’re allowing people to beg, but not to sell; it seems like there should be some sort of exception,” Ashton said. Madison agreed, “I don’t want to beg! I would rather work for something than beg.”