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 & 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 & owner Vincent Mehdizadeh said, extolling the benefits of the machine. Here’s a surprise: 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 & patent the black, armored box, which he calls the “PVM,” or prescription vending machine. The computerized machine requires fingerprint identification & a prepaid card with a magnetic stripe. Once the card & fingerprint are verified, a bright green envelope with the pot drops down a slot. POT DOWN A SLOT. Mehdizadeh also says any user approved for medical marijuana & registered in a computer database at his dispensaries can pre-purchase the drug & use the machine to pick up. 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. 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 â€” $20 lower than the average price at other dispensaries. Kris Hermes, a spokesman for advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said the machine might benefit those who already know how much & what strain of marijuana they’re looking for. But he said others will want to see & smell the drug before they buy it.
What a great country California is!