PORTLAND, Ore. (CBS Seattle) — An 11-year-old girl was told she was not allowed to sell mistletoe at a market to help pay for her braces, but was allowed to beg for the funds.

KATU-TV reports Madison Root was told by a private security guard at the Portland Saturday Market that she was not allowed to sell the Christmas decoration because a city ordinance bans commerce without a formal application process.

The guard told the little girl that she would have to sell the mistletoe outside the park’s boundaries or start begging people for money.

“It’s crazy. People can get money for pot, but I can’t get money for braces,” Madison told KATU. “I’m working for this. They’re just sitting down on their butts all day asking for pot.”

Madison says she refused to beg.

“I don’t want to beg. I would rather work for something than beg,” she told KATU.

Mark Ross, spokesman for the Portland Parks Bureau, told KATU that it would have been acceptable for Madison to beg for money since that is a form of free speech.

Other vendors at the market hope the rule gets changed.

“They should have a caveat for children trying to create options for commerce, especially this time of year,” Sharon Steen, co-owner of Perfect Bowls, told KATU. “We encourage it. We want them to grow up and be entrepreneurs.”

Madison’s braces are expected to cost $4,800.


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