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Found: Pot Farm growing on Facebook

December 11, 2010|By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from San Francisco — Facebook dealt the proponents of marijuana legalization a major blow when it blocked advertising that featured an image of a pot leaf from the Just Say Now campaign working to upend the nation's pot laws.

But that's not to say that there isn't a Facebook marijuana connection. Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and former Facebook President Sean Parker both donated to California's marijuana legalization initiative, Proposition 19, this year.

And, it turns out, there's a crop of marijuana growing in the wilds of Facebook. It's growing in a free game called Pot Farm, and its users are getting high — as in, there are a lot of them: some 1.5 million each month. The East Bay Express, a weekly newspaper in the Bay Area, says the game's secretive developers could be grossing as much as $148,000 a month as users spend real money to advance in the game.

That leads to the spot-on question from the East Bay Express: Why grow when you can code?

Pot Farm is a budding FarmVille. A disclaimer reads: "Totally beta or whatever." Players start with a field and some seed money, and they move ahead in the game by buying, planting, growing and selling different strains of virtual marijuana.

Access to Pot Farm is restricted to players 21 or older. No one in the game is shown smoking pot. And, according to the East Bay Express, Facebook made Pot Farm pull a hookah pipe from the game.

jessica.guynn@latimes.com

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