The Amazon.com of pot
A California IT entrepreneur is trying to emulate Amazon.com by creating a central online hub for legitimate marijuana sales.
I am sure there are many of you who inhale marijuana for purely medicinal purposes. Your pains might be physical. They might be psychological. But you feel as though your world is going to pot, so you turn to pot.
Now, an enterprising man called John Lee has decided to bring a little online rigor to your smoking vigor.
That would be Amazon.com, rather than the never-ending river.
A visit to the PlainView Systems site is nothing like anything you might find in an Amsterdam coffee shop. PlainView is pure business for pure product.
Here is how the company describes its service: "Both a dynamic, online business-to-business exchange for licensed providers of compassionate care medical marijuana products and services as well as a patient-to-licensed grower connection to procure medicine."
The word "man" does not appear at all.
Those who sell pot legitimately--and here in California we have our own, highly fluid definition of legitimacy--are discovering that they must operate like a business. A legitimate business.
PlainView Systems, which is only four months old, brings people together to form growing collectives (naturally, you have to be a collective to sell pot in California). It also allows collectives to manage so many of the difficult aspects of doing business. You know, things like taxes, invoices, and obeying the smaller print of the law. The company also helps collectives find a market for their product with other members.
Lee is an IT guy who worked at RealNetworks and doesn't--he told CNNMoney.com--come in contact with the product. I believe him.
I also hope he can make a success of his business, as he seems to be offering a much-needed service in a California market that some estimate at $14 billion. Fourteen states have already offered some sort of legitimacy to marijuana, and even the American Medical Association has begun to admit that some of its members enjoy an evening with a medicinal pipe in front of "American Idol."
I'm sorry, that's not entirely accurate. The American Medical Association has begun to recommend the relaxation of some federal strictures on pot. However, not all pot growers will leap online to reveal anything and everything about themselves or their business.
"It's a business where everyone is very, very paranoid," Lee told CNNMoney.com.
John, I know what you mean. I have pot-involved friends who have the same paranoid thing going on. I'm told that with time, patience, perseverance, and moderation, it may pass.