Chronic City: Best Use Yet For Twitter -- Buying Weed

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Artists Collective
Entrepreneurship meets idealism?
In a case of good old American entrepreneurship, one medical Marijuana merchant has taken advantage of the Twitter craze to turbocharge sales and receive the kind of media attention that no amount of money can buy.

With the number of legal medical Marijuana suppliers in California skyrocketing, competition for available customers is getting more intense. Dann Halem, director of Artists Collective, a Los Angeles-based dispensary, offers free delivery and a flashy online presence with a Web site and pages on social networks like MySpace -- where the collective has more than 4,500 friends --  and Facebook.

But what garnered national headlines for Artists Collective is its Twitter feed, which only went online two weeks ago. "We've been open for six months, and I've been doing this project for 18 [months], and only in the last two weeks with a Twitter account has anybody started paying attention to us," Halem told Fox News. "That sends a message -- an important one -- and it really has been, strangely enough, the fact that we're using Twitter that has opened the door."

Halem is lucky enough to be smack dab in the center of one of those weird and fortuitous confluences of American culture where two seemingly separate social trends -- the exploding Twitter phenomenon (now discovered and [over]covered big-time by mass media) and the rapidly expanding medical Marijuana business (stimulated by the Obama administration's stated policy of ending dispensary raids as long as state laws are being followed) -- join forces to create an unstoppable buzz and an unforgettable meme.

Artists Collective bills itself as "a different kind of medical Marijuana service. We're creating a non-profit where proceeds go toward creating opportunity grants for artists, writers, performers, and musicians." Halem said the organization hopes to create $10,000 grants for struggling writers and performers.

While this may bring in the idealists, the dispensary's free delivery is designed to appeal to the practically-minded among us.

When prospective buyers call Artists Collective, the dispensary verifies their legal medical status with their doctor, and provides paperwork. Once all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, patients are allowed to join the collective, gaining the right to grow and sell their own Marijuana back to the dispensary at a profit -- which, of course, raises eyebrows everywhere except California, even in other medical Marijuana states.

"There is a $125 billion crop in this country right now, and it's illegal," Halem told Fox News. "A lot of that money is going to drug cartels. If you take $125 billion and put it into the pockets of non-profit charities in the country, you can do enormous good. That's what we want to do with ours, and that's why we're being as aggressive digitally as we are."

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