Marijuana Machines Could Be Cure for Inconvenience

Marijuana Machines Could Be Cure for Inconvenience
Posted by CN Staff on January 29, 2008 at 06:29:21 PT
By Brandon Lowrey, Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Daily News 
Los Angeles, CA -- Vending machines have long been used to hawk everything from Skittles and sandwiches to juice and java, but now one is being used to offer a new product: medical marijuana. Not just anyone can pop some coins in and get some bud. The machine, developed by Los Angeles medical-marijuana dispensary owner Vincent Mehdizadeh, gives up to an ounce of pot per week only to preapproved patients.
The specialized machine installed Monday at Herbal Nutrition Center - a medical-marijuana dispensary on La Cienega Boulevard - requires fingerprint identification as well as a special prepaid card. "I wanted to take steps to benefit the industry," said Mehdizadeh, who owns two dispensaries. "We have legitimate patients that need us." Mehdizadeh's machine is far from the standard potato-chip model. The black, armored box is bolted to the floor at the entrance to the dispensary. It has a card swiper, a video camera that also takes a snapshot of any user and adds it to a database, and is protected by armed security guards. Beginning today, Mehdizadeh said, he will start fingerprinting patients who want to use the machine, which will dispense five types of marijuana: Platinum Kush, Fire O.G., Bubba Kush, Purple Kush and Wild Cherry. Mehdizadeh says the machine offers greater convenience to patients seeking the drug to ease everything from chronic pain to sleeping problems. But even some of the most devoted defenders of medical marijuana question the idea of pot vending machines. "This is bittersweet in that it shows great entrepreneurship - but opens up terrific avenues of ridicule," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "Please be prepared for a Jay Leno joke." Mehdizadeh said the machines also could allow dispensaries to sell pot at lower prices because of reduced overhead costs. And he said it would avert the hazard of robberies that storefronts face. The Valley has seen 13 medical-marijuana dispensary robberies in the past two years, including two this month. But others are wary of the impersonal technology, including Dale Gieringer, director of the California chapter of NORML, a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that opposes marijuana prohibition. Gieringer said personal interaction is a necessary part of the medical-marijuana buying process. "The odor of cannabis often tells a lot about its qualities and also, if you inspect it closely you can sometimes tell whether it has mold and things like that," said Gieringer, a co-author of the state's Compassionate Use Law. The law, approved by California voters in 1996, legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes and allows dispensaries - and the new vending machines - to operate. Proponents cite marijuana's usefulness in treating patients suffering from chronic pain, appetite loss and other symptoms. California treats possession of an ounce or less of marijuana without a prescription as a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine. More than an ounce could mean jail time. But state law has been at odds with federal law, which classifies even medicinal marijuana as illegal. After a series of federal raids on area medical-marijuana facilities, the Los Angeles City Council placed a moratorium on new dispensaries in July as it mulled ideas for better regulation. But with so many dispensaries and so many drug laws to enforce, federal agents have only been gradually chipping away at California marijuana vendors, said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Jose Martinez. "It's not like TV where you can pick up the phone and say, `I want a search warrant,"' Martinez said. "The agents have to do a meticulous investigation. It's just a matter of time." While Mehdizadeh's high-tech approach to dispensing medical marijuana is novel, Martinez said, he's seen plenty of standard, unsecured vending machines stocked with pot inside dispensaries. But Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access - a national organization that promotes safe and legal access to marijuana for therapeutic use and research - said the new machine seems more secure. "That sounds like he's taking good precautionary measures," Hermes said. "I think, ultimately, it's going to be up to the city of Los Angeles to decide how to regulate these facilities ... probably regulate that into the ordinance that they're currently working on." Mehdizadeh said he has been trying to reach out to City Council members and persuade them that the machine is a key way to regulate the industry because it includes an automatic database. Members of the City Council's health committee did not return calls for comment Monday. Los Angeles is not the only place where pot laws and enforcement have conflicted in recent years. In 2005, Denver city officials legalized marijuana in small amounts for adults 21 and older. But many Denverites were cited for marijuana possession because pot is still illegal under state and federal laws. St. Pierre said that whatever happens, Mehdizadeh's machine will likely be a milestone in the medical-marijuana movement. "Of the little benchmarks over a 15-year period, this machine will probably be one of them," he said. "Whether they continue to exist or not." Source: Los Angeles Daily News (CA)Author: Brandon Lowrey, Staff WriterPublished: January 28, 2008Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Newspaper GroupWebsite: http://www.dailynews.comContact: NORML Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on January 30, 2008 at 08:46:23 PT
Excerpt from AP Article 
Oops: I put this on the wrong thread. “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.” URL:
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Comment #21 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 30, 2008 at 08:04:16 PT:
Feds Aware
Marijuana vending machines take root in L.A.For medicinal needs, California residents can stop by their convient marijuana vending machines.Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 9:14 a.m.LOS ANGELES (AP) --A new invention in Los Angeles has gotten the attention of federal drug agents. They'll be investigating medical marijuana vending machines.The Los Angeles Herbal Nutrition Center installed pot machines to give patients a dose of convenience with their grass. The nutrition center's owner says they also offer low prices, safety and privacy.California allows marijuana use for medical purposes but it's still against federal law.The machines require fingerprint identification and a prepaid card with a magnetic strip. Any user approved for medical marijuana who is registered in a computer database can use the machine to pick up the drug. The machines are guarded.(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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Comment #20 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on January 29, 2008 at 16:40:28 PT
video - CBS story on the mj machines
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on January 29, 2008 at 15:26:07 PT
Very true. The whole thing is really strange to me because of finger printing and a picture. 
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Comment #18 posted by RevRayGreen on January 29, 2008 at 15:13:30 PT
once again
it would be pretty hard to handcuff one of those machines.... :)
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Comment #17 posted by dongenero on January 29, 2008 at 13:33:01 PT
vending machines
Hey, that's what they said about Led Zeppelin too, mykeyb420.I think it may be worth it just to send O'Reilley spinning off of his chair. His head may just explode! At least his eyes will bulge and smoke will come out of his ears.That's good fun, right there. Otherwise, cannabis vending machines seems innovative but rather bizarre. I suppose there are some benefits to it. If I were a med user in California, I would prefer to purchase from a person. I could then inquire, get recommendations for specific strains and uses, as well as inspect the product prior to purchase.And the first time the machine took my money and jammed on delivering the product, I would be pretty mad. With armed guards, you probably couldn't even kick the machine.
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Comment #16 posted by mykeyb420 on January 29, 2008 at 10:19:52 PT
vending machines
Filled with pot? this is going to fly like a led blimp.
I can already hear the Bill O'rileys of the USA screaming bloody murder over this. It makes as much sense as drive through beer and wine stores
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Comment #15 posted by runruff on January 29, 2008 at 10:18:30 PT:
More reefer madness!
You know I always wonder who sponsors these studies. Because who pays the piper calls the tune.In my case the half dozen or so doctors who examined me all commented on my find physical condition except for my heart disease which they tell me is inherited.I started smoking the herb when I was 17. In my lifetime I must've smoked a truckload. At this time in my life and I've been told my lungs are clear and in my mind it is sound. I would not make a good case for what these people seem to be wanting to try and prove.Today with my heart meds, exercise and proper diet I can honestly say I've never really better in my life.
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Comment #14 posted by dongenero on January 29, 2008 at 09:15:34 PT
We the consumer
I don't really think WE the consumer gives Reuters or Fox or any of the media conglomerates their credibility, if indeed they have credibility.Credibility is in the eye of the beholder I guess.No, I think where Reuters and the big media outlets get their status is from big money and big business. The people do not raise these organizations to their platforms, money and power people and corporations do that.That said, the role WE the people have in the mess, is whether or not we can use our discerning, big brains for a critical analysis of the message rather than blindly taking it for truth. Sadly, I think the answer is that many of WE the people do not apply or cannot apply critical thought.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on January 29, 2008 at 09:15:01 PT
Boogie Man work, as FoM said. And I agree with Fight 4 Freedom....I don't believe it.If all the energy and resources that have been put into trying to find something horrible or deadly about cannabis had been put in to finding a cure for leukemia or some other diseases... how much better off would the world be?Prohibitionists are more insane in their quest than witch burners. They spend a fortune trying to find a scientific reason for them to get to keep burning cannabis users.What about sugar and wieners? Wieners can cause leukemia in some people. The word went out... and that was that. People made up their own minds about whether to consume wieners. Sugar consumption is huge. Diabetes and obesity anyone?But no, prohibitionists have to keep looking for excuses for the hideous damage they, personally, are doing to people's lives.If prohibitionists are really people... and not some kind of devils in disguise... why can't they see what they are doing? One child? If we can keep one more child, one more person, from being killed by a SWAT team or the DEA... we've got to try. We've got to try. An unarmed child? If prohibitionists are into saving that "one child" they like to talk about.... why do they keep killing and maiming them?The poor babies murdered by prohibition. How many more? For God's sake, prohibitionists... how many more are you going to kill and traumatize before you stop this insanity?
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Comment #12 posted by museman on January 29, 2008 at 09:03:57 PT
I understand. But who empowers reuters? Who gives them the credibility they enjoy? The consumer. -We-If it was a choice between real news, in the clasic journalistic sense, instead of everything having to pass the status quo acceptablity test, with watered down information, great amounts of propaganda, and language deliberately alligned with standards created by Aristocratic High Society, -if there was a choice, and there is, why would an intelligent being continue to opt for lies and propaganda, instead of plain facts - which is what journalism used to be about? (because, contrary to popular belief, 'intelligence' isn't a course you can take in college, it's a choice of labors you make early in life. But most people choose football, cars and sex as their mental focus, even while getting their 'priceless' paper they put on the wall.)It's gotten very very yellow in the mainstream media. And the current idiocracy is thriving in the stupidity.
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Comment #11 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 29, 2008 at 08:58:03 PT:
Berkeley Daily Planet
The Berkeley City Council will be addressing the issue of people lying on sidewalks and have its first opportunity tonight (Tuesday) to address criminal behavior in its police department following the 2006 conviction of former Sgt. Cary Kent for stealing drugs from the evidence room he supervised and the alleged theft of cash and property belonging to suspects by another officer.The council meeting begins at 5 p.m. with a workshop on the city’s Climate Action Plan and continues at 7 p.m. with the public commons proposal, a contract with police, a resolution calling on the governor to remove the California National Guard from Iraq, a resolution opposing attempts by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to close medical marijuana dispensaries and more.
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Comment #10 posted by Yanxor on January 29, 2008 at 08:44:37 PT
See a rise in cancer in 20 years?
Hardly.In the early 1900's when cigarette smoking sky-rocketed, cancer rates followed within 20 years, at a parrallel rate.In the 1960's when cannabis smoking sky rocketed, cancer rates...oh crap, well - maybe cannabis causes cancer 50 years after initial usage. You guys just wait, in the 2010's people will start dropping like flies!
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Comment #9 posted by Yanxor on January 29, 2008 at 08:36:41 PT
Cannabis and cancer, or joints and cancer?
They studied people who smoke joints (In New Zealand) - there are regional differences in how joints are prepared (in Europe for example they are commonly mixed with tobacco) and I'm sure that a part of their non-cigarette smoking group smoked "joints" wrapped in cigar leaves.Also, they studied 79 patients - there are studies for tens of thousands of people out there that show either no or a slight negative corralation between cannabis use and cancer.Also, they willfully ignore the fact that a lot of research is coming out right now that shows that various cannabinoids have direct anti-cancer.This study is interesting, but small and focuses only on joint usage rather than cannabis usage.They should do a follow up with a larger sample size and focus on...not joints, or at the very least include information as to how many of those joints were actually blunts.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 29, 2008 at 08:31:38 PT
You're welcome.
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Comment #7 posted by dongenero on January 29, 2008 at 08:30:46 PT
scum rising to the top
Reuters puts it there for us museman.
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Comment #6 posted by museman on January 29, 2008 at 08:26:22 PT
Undeniable statistics
Undeniable statistics reveal that life is the leading cause of death, please adjust your statistical parameters.War, poverty, disease caused by war and poverty, auto crashes, police brutality -including imprisonment for daring to exercise our inalienable human rights-, cell phones, and TV - all do greater damage to the person, the body, the brain, and the society than cannbis ever has, or ever will (even if it could) and they are real things, not made up propaganda by the state.Why do we consistently allow the scum to rise to the top?
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on January 29, 2008 at 07:39:38 PT
fight 4 freedom, thanks...was just going to post 
that article from New Zealand via Hong Kong???? What the...It's interesting how quickly this guesswork study pops up in Reuters top 5 health news. When mainstream, scientific studies report lower cancer rates with cannabis than without, the articles never show up at Reuters.Well, we know where they stand huh? With the New Zealand via Hong Kong studies. Ho hum. Oh yea, one more thing. Use a vaporizer.
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Comment #4 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 29, 2008 at 07:26:12 PT:
Thank you for the reassurance FoM
I needed to hear it. And I agree. Where are all these cases of lung cancer? How come we don't hear people coming out saying I've smoked nothing but cannabis all my life and now I have lung cancer? I don't believe it.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 29, 2008 at 07:13:03 PT
One More Thought
Many activists are from the 60s and when you look for proof all you have to do is look at my generation. We are still alive so once again why is it illegal?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 29, 2008 at 07:10:29 PT
All I can do today is smile because the closer we get to changing the law the more they send out the boogeyman to bring us down. I refuse to be taken down by them anymore. No more lies! The reality is that Cannabis has never caused the death of one person so why is it illegal? 
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Comment #1 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 29, 2008 at 07:04:49 PT:
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Smoking a joint is equivalent to 20 cigarettes in terms of lung cancer risk, scientists in New Zealand have found, as they warned of an "epidemic" of lung cancers linked to cannabis.Studies in the past have demonstrated that cannabis can cause cancer, but few have established a strong link between cannabis use and the actual incidence of lung cancer.In an article published in the European Respiratory Journal, the scientists said cannabis could be expected to harm the airways more than tobacco as its smoke contained twice the level of carcinogens, such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, compared with tobacco cigarettes.The method of smoking also increases the risk, since joints are typically smoked without a proper filter and almost to the very tip, which increases the amount of smoke inhaled. The cannabis smoker inhales more deeply and for longer, facilitating the deposition of carcinogens in the airways."Cannabis smokers end up with five times more carbon monoxide in their bloodstream (than tobacco smokers)," team leader Richard Beasley, at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, said in a telephone interview."There are higher concentrations of carcinogens in cannabis smoke ... what is intriguing to us is there is so little work done on cannabis when there is so much done on tobacco."The researchers interviewed 79 lung cancer patients and sought to identify the main risk factors for the disease, such as smoking, family history and occupation. The patients were questioned about alcohol and cannabis consumption.In this high-exposure group, lung cancer risk rose by 5.7 times for patients who smoked more than a joint a day for 10 years, or two joints a day for 5 years, after adjusting for other variables, including cigarette smoking."While our study covers a relatively small group, it shows clearly that long-term cannabis smoking increases lung cancer risk," wrote Beaseley."Cannabis use could already be responsible for one in 20 lung cancers diagnosed in New Zealand," he added.
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