Today Mother Jones Magazine posted on facebook a link to a blurb on their website which links to a 2008 USA Today article that I think deserves some attention.
Inventor and owner Vincent Mehdizadeh has placed a 24 hour medical marijuana vending machine at the Herbal Nutrition Center in Los Angeles.
Medical Marijuana Vending Machines
This is how it works. The computerized machine requires fingerprint identification and a prepaid card. Once the card and fingerprint are verified, a bright green envelope with the pot drops down a slot.
Any individual approved for medical marijuana and registered in a computer Mehdizhadeh's 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.
According to USA Today,
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.
Marijuana use is illegal under the federal law. This does not recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and 11 other U.S. states.
The Drug Enforcement Agency and other federal agencies have shut down medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state over the last two years and have charged for felony distribution.
Mehdizadeh said the Herbal Nutrition Center was the target of a federal raid in Decemberof 2007 but no arrests were made and no charges have been filed against him.
This sounds like a good idea to me although I'm sure the feds and others will try to shut Mehdizadeh down.
I've never smoked pot in my life and I don't intend to start. However, despite my reasons to stay away from the drug I know that it is not as harmful as many make it out to be. Are their risks? Sure. But especially for those who use the drug medically I think that we should work on lessening the stigma that so many patients face.
We use vending machines to sell cigarettes right? Why not marijuana?