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Website Offers Groupon-Style Daily Coupons -- for Marijuana

WeedMaps Daily Deals

Today's stoner has to watch every dime -- and every dime bag. That's where WeedMaps steps in.

The website gained widespread recognition (some would say notoriety) for helping pair needy tokers with marijuana dispensaries in states like California that allow medicinal use of THC, the drug in the doobie. 

Before Weedmaps, customers were forced to rely on word of mouth and rumor to find the best deals on drugs, like teenagers stumbling blindly around a hazy, smoke-filled room. WeedMaps turned on the light, showing where to find what -- a real challenge when California alone boasts over 1,200 dispensaries.

So WeedMaps has borrowed an idea from Groupon, the popular coupon-swapping website, with a new site that provides daily coupons and discounts on herbal deals.

For medical purposes only, of course.

Call it Groupon for ganja, though site founder Justin Hartfield is quick to note the differences between the two.

"It's only like Groupon in the sense that there's a new deal every day," he told FoxNews.com. "We're not accepting money from end users." Groupon customers buy merchandise online, he explained, meaning subscribers rely on the daily coupon website itself to handle the transactions.

With Daily Deals, users sign up for a daily e-mail from WeedMaps and take the secret codes it supplies straight to the store to make their purchases. The site negotiates directly with the dispensaries themselves to get cut-rate pricing, offering as much as 50% off deals, Hartfield said.

"With our discounts, the customer redeems that discount at the dispensaries themselves," Hartfield explained. That takes the legal question out of the equation, he noted. In other words, WeedMaps isn't selling customers the sweet dope they crave, just telling them that there's a great deal -- right NOW, right over there.

Hartfield doesn't put it in such terms, of course.

"We're helping patients find their best medicine for the best price," he told FoxNews.com.

And customers have signed on in droves. The site has been live for just over a week, and Hartfield noted that over 3,000 people have already signed up in 12 regions for the service.

The deals themselves may require some translation for those unfamiliar with the stoner lingo. Take this recent offering , for example: "South Long Beach- Free 8th of JADE with 40 min. donation for all new members donating 40 or more."

Huh?

That means "get a free eighth of an ounce of the Jade marijuana strain, with a $40 minimum donation," explained Hartfield, offering what he jokingly called a "stoner to English" translation.

Hartfield wasn't sure what the Jade strain is famous for, noting that "they're pretty much all particularly fun."

Groupon declined to comment on whether it was considering entering the clearly booming California marijuana market. The site should consider it, though, if user reaction is any indication of success. 

"Thanks for the Daily Deals coupons," wrote a fan on the site's forums, noting success on a recent trip: "As soon as I hit the Central Denver tab on WeedMaps, this daily deal coupon pops up and tells me that I’ll save $10 on a quarter oz." 

The quality of the coupon is only as good as the smarts of the user, of course. The same fan explained that he "was so pumped on the quality of the meds he forgot to ask the bud tender about redeeming his 10% coupon."

Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.