Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pot Vending Machines in LA.

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

Are they drive thru too? After all, it must be adowner to have to get out of the car for that. Its bad enough that the 7-11s aren't equipped with drive-thrus.

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.

"Herbal Nutrition Center". Mheh. Is that like going to see the "doctor" when you run out of stuff?

"Convenient access, lower prices, safety, anonymity," inventor and owner Vincent Mehdizadeh said, extolling the benefits of the machine. from the monkey on your back...check!

But federal drug agents say the invention may need unplugging.

Uhh, you think?

"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."

I wonder how you get that vending license, anyway.

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.

Step right up, folks, step right up.

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

A patent for a machine to dispense a prescription? Apparently the DEA and FDA have no freinds in the patent office. What about the pharmacist's union?

Convenience and privacy

Which I could understand, except nobody has any shame any more.

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.

Can you say "front"? I knew you could.

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.

Yeah, because Bob Marley and the black t-shirt that says "Security" inspires that certain feeling of confidence.

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.

Fingerprint? How polite of you to do the Fed's work for them. Can you say 'Subpeona Duces Tecum"? I knew you could.

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.

Because this is the 21st century, and computerized customer lists are ALL the rage these days.

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.

Only on Cali would you have addicts so utterly brazen to get their fix at the 'Timothy Leary Medical Dispensary'. Unbelievable.

"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."

Yeah. Pain, yeah, that's it. I'm in pain.

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.

Doctors. Riiiggghhht.

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

Well DUH!

"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.

Sounds like you're planning on illegal activity to me, Sport.

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

And letting all those folks come up from Mexico and hang out here is illegal too, but California doesn't seem to be too concerned about that, either.

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.

Maybe they need to start hurting some people when they do it. Just sayin, s'all.

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.

Because they want to get everyone involved, no doubt.

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.

Ahhh, yes. In walks the predictable conoisseur snub.

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.

Pot for anger management therapy. Effectiveness doesn't equal legality, and did they warn him about the side-effects? When he finds out how much weight he's gained, he's gonna be pissed.

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

Yeah, you crumbsnatcher. Keep your hands offa my stash. Go get an adult to buy you some beer or something.