Selling Marijuana to Fund Art


Frustrated by grant proposals and coming up with other fund-raising efforts, California’s Life Is Art Foundation has begun selling marijuana. “The whole game of finding support just started to seem so childish,” Kirsha Kaechele, the foundation’s director, told the New York Times . Through her nonprofit American Medicinals, Kaechele grows the plant on her own land in Sonoma and sells it to medical users at around $200 per ounce. With the money the group is backing exhibitions and installations of their 20 plus visiting artists, some of whom helped harvest the plants. She hopes to make $1 million in revenues next year from the operation, a “completely realistic number” she believes.

Kaechele used to be an art director in New Orleans, but Hurricane Katrina and the recession hit her bottom line hard. Encouraged by Brooklyn artist Fred Tomaselli, Kaechele found an expert marijuana grower in California on Craigslist. She planted the first seeds on her land in Sonoma six months ago and has started to sell to medical users in October.

Last week Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill that decriminalized the drug, lowering the possession of less than an ounce of the rug from a misdemeanor to an infraction, with a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. However the bigger news is that in November California will vote on Proposition 19, which if passed would legalize marijuana for recreational use, making it the first state to do so.

Celebrities have also been nodding their heads toward legalization recently. Facebook co-founders Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz recently made a combined donation of $170,000 in support of Prop 19. Also, actor Danny Devito tweeted his thoughts on the debate Tuesday morning to his more than 800,000 followers.

Kaechele and her visiting artists open their first exhibition to the public on October 22nd.