US/World

Cannabis Dispensing Vending Machines: Latest Innovation In The Medical Marijuana Industry

medical marijuana
Image REUTERS/Cliff DesPeaux

Medical marijuana cardholders in California may have an easier option for acquiring their medication from dispensaries.

At least three medical marijuana dispensaries are now offering vending machines that dispense cannabis to patients that are prescribed it. "Canna Medbox" is an experimental medicine dispensing system that allows cardholders to receive their prescription directly from a machine. 

Medicine Dispensing Systems, one of the company's manufacturing this marijuana milestone, say their product "is an innovative, reliable machine that complies with all regulations enforced by local and state authorities."

There has been an outpouring of concern surrounding the belief that these vending machines will be targeted for theft by those who are not prescribed marijuana.

"I've watched enough 'Cops' episodes to see that people will take a truck and tie a chain around it and cart it off if it's outside," Oaksterdam University student Dale Sky Jones told CBS San Francisco. "But frankly, security is such a concern for most dispensaries I simply don't see them taking that risk."

In order for patients to receive their mediation they are required to enter their medical registration number, a PIN number specific to their account and in some cases finger print authorization.

Cannabis vending machine companies believe this service will not only offer patients a more sensible alternative to receiving their medication, but also put stricter procedures on receiving a drug that's illegal to people who haven't been approved by a physician.

Another company that recently introduced their automatic cannabis dispenser, "AutoSpense," says their product "enables patients to obtain medical marijuana in an orderly, business-like fashion."

However, both state officials and dispensary company employees said the public shouldn't expect to see the marijuana dispensing machines next to your local mini-mart any time soon.

"There may come a time when cannabis is so socially acceptable that it will be sold to the public by vending machines, but we're still a long way from that day," Dr. Bruce Bedrick, CEO of Medbox, Inc., said in a statement. "That's not what our machines do, and it isn't how we market them."

 

Correction, April 23, 2013: A previous version of this article stated that the vending machines were available for use 24 hours a day and could be accessed outside of a medical marijuana dispensary.

According to Medbox, Inc., "Medbox machines are only allowed to be used behind the counter in a secured dispensing area in permitted and licensed Medical Marijuana dispensaries or used as a pharmacist's dispensing tool. Twenty-four hour a day use of Medbox machines is not permitted."

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