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Pot vending machines take root in Los Angeles

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by ConcordCowboy, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    What an Idea! :D


    Pot vending machines take root in Los Angeles

    Machines distribute the drug to people with cards authorizing use

    [IMG]

    Los Angeles medical-cannabis dispensary owner Vincent Mehdizadeh poses with his new Marijuana vending machine installed at the Herbal Nutrition Center in Los Angeles Tuesday.



    LOS ANGELES - The city that popularized the fast food drive-thru has a new innovation: 24-hour medical marijuana vending machines.

    Patients suffering from chronic pain, loss of appetite and other ailments that marijuana is said to alleviate can get their pot with a dose of convenience at the Herbal Nutrition Center, where a large machine will dole out the drug around the clock.

    "Convenient access, lower prices, safety, anonymity," inventor and owner Vincent Mehdizadeh said, extolling the benefits of the machine.


    But federal drug agents say the invention may need unplugging.

    "Somebody owns (it), it's on a property and somebody fills it," said DEA Special Agent Jose Martinez. "Once we find out where it's at, we'll look into it and see if they're violating laws."

    At least three dispensaries in the city, including two belonging to Mehdizadeh, have installed vending machines to distribute the drug to people who carry cards authorizing marijuana use.

    Mehdizadeh said he spent seven months to develop and patent the black, armored box, which he calls the "PVM," or prescription vending machine.

    Convenience and privacy
    A sliding fence protects the tinted windows of his dispensary, barely distinguishing it from a busy thoroughfare of strip malls, automobile dealers and furniture shops. A box resembling a large refrigerator stands inside the nearly empty shop, near a few shelves stocked with vitamins and herbs.

    A guard in a black T-shirt emblazoned with the word "Security" on the front stands at the door. A poster of Bob Marley decorates a back room.

    The computerized machine requires fingerprint identification and a prepaid card with a magnetic stripe. Once the card and fingerprint are verified, a bright green envelope with the pot drops down a slot.

    Mehdizadeh says any user approved for medical marijuana and registered in a computer database at his dispensaries can pre-purchase the drug and then use the machine to pick up.

    The process provides convenience and privacy for users who may otherwise feel uncomfortable about buying marijuana, Mehdizadeh said.

    At the Timothy Leary Medical Dispensary in the San Fernando Valley, the vending machine is accessible only during business hours. An employee there said the machine was introduced about five months ago, and provides speedy service.

    "It helps a lot of patients who are in a lot of pain and don't want to wait around to get help," Robert Schwartz said. "It's been working out great."

    Mehdizadeh said he sought the advice of doctors, and decided to limit the amount of marijuana per user to an ounce per week. Each purchase from the machine yields 1/8th or 2/8th of an ounce. By eliminating a vendor behind the counter, he said, the machine offers users lower drug prices. The 1/8th ounce packet would cost about $40 — $20 lower than the average price at other dispensaries.

    'It's to medicate'
    A spokesman for a marijuana advocacy group said the machine also benefits dispensary owners.

    "It limits the number of workers in the store in the event of a raid, and it'll make it harder for theft," said Nathan Sands, of The Compassionate Coalition.

    Marijuana use is illegal under federal law, which does not recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and 11 other states.

    The Drug Enforcement Agency and other federal agencies have been actively shutting down major medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state over the last two years and charging their operators with felony distribution charges.

    Mehdizadeh said the Herbal Nutrition Center was the target of a federal raid in December. He said no arrests were made and no charges have been filed against him.

    Kris Hermes, a spokesman for advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said the machine might benefit those who already know how much and what strain of marijuana they're looking for. But he said others will want to see and smell the drug before they buy it.

    A man who said he has been authorized to use medical marijuana as part of his anger management therapy said the vending machine's security measures would at least protect against illicit use of the drug.

    "You have kids that want to get high and that's not what marijuana is for," Robert Miko said. "It's to medicate."

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22910820/
  2. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Pathetic. Vending machine for ANY prescription drug is INSANE.
  3. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    That will be in the back of a truck before long. :laugh2:
  4. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I knew Nate Newton was thinking of opening a business I guess he did. :laugh2:
  5. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Yeah mine...:D
  6. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    I think it's a lousy idea for something that probably shouldn't be illegal in the first place.

    All it does is keep the restrictions in place and open the door for more foolishness, like the above mentioned inevitables of dopes trying to steal it, faking illness', fraudulence of selling prescription cards, identity theft, etc.

    All wonderful new enterprises and reasons to bilk tax payers of money in 'the fight against' this sort of crap.

    Sorry guys, it's not going to help the casual smoker, it's just going to be another drain on society.
  7. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Say hello to Smokey for us
  8. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Agreed. Stupid idea.

    I don't care if you think MJ should be legal or illegal...it is just a stupid idea to put them in vending machines.
  9. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Just put in my application for vending machine repairman. :laugh2:
  10. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    He's worked on a few already...he's stoned.

    [IMG]
  11. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    How so? Here is a system wherein the ID check is MORE stringent than what you get at most pharmacies. These machines are in the dispensary, protect the prescription product, and allow for faster service.

    So long as the drug prescription does not require detailed explanations from the pharmacist as to use then what is the problem?


    These machines clearly are not the answer for places that provide multiple drugs as the potential for error would be high. But these places deal with a single drug to dispense, people aren't going to get the wrong stuff so what is the problem?
  12. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Because someone could, and will try, to steal the machines. Just as they have done with ATM machines.
  13. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    The other side of this is that legalization for prescription purposes increases revenues on marijuana that would not be realized for the gov't otherwise.

    Dispensaries pay taxes on the drugs sold and people who grow for and sell to dispensaries get 1099 forms at the end of the year like everyone else. If anything, this is generating tax income for cities, states, and the feds.

    I live in a town with a remarkable # of dispensaries. Prescription cards are pretty easy to obtain, provided you are willing to pay for it -- but really, is this any different from a rich person whose doctor will write prescriptions for valium, etc. on request?
  14. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    They are in the dispensary, not out in the open. Someone could also try to break into the dispensary and steal their stash. Someone could (and often do) break into pharmacies and steal drugs.
  15. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Patients suffering from chronic pain, loss of appetite and other ailments that marijuana is said to alleviate can get their pot with a dose of convenience at the Herbal Nutrition Center, where a large machine will dole out the drug around the clock.

    I am taking it there will be some places that are nothing more than shops and not pharmacies or hospitals...but maybe I am reading it wrong.

    Still not a good idea IMO.
  16. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    I'm thinking the same thing, along with a Card and a PIN to dump into the pot of identity theft and fraud.

    If it really works as a pharmeceutical make it available strictly in Hospitals, which are 24/7 and usually have security. What is an Herbal Nutrition Center?
  17. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Sounds like a fancy name for a head shop.:laugh2:
  18. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Is this weed grown in the USA or do we import? :laugh2:
  19. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Since I work in a Hospital and have friends in security I like this Idea. :D
  20. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    It's the great Springsteen song..."Grown in the USA".

    :D

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