I have given a writer the opportunity to practise her craft by writing an article. So please share your thoughts on medical marijuana vending machines:

Although it sounds like something out of a satirical cartoon (I can definitely see Homer Simpson using it), marijuana vending machines are now a reality. The first one appeared at the Herbal Nutrition Center (HNC) in Los Angeles. The HNC is a popular medical cannabis dispensary that strives to bring a positive service to the Los Angeles community.

This Prescription Vending Machine (PVM), which is being casually referred to “the marijuana ATM,” will only be available to those with a legitimate subscription. Those who register with the program will be given a prepaid credit card with all of their personal information on it. This card is simply used on the PVM, just like an automated bank teller.

Patients will be able to receive their prescriptions day or night, even if the dispensary it is located in is closed. The machine is located in a secure, isolated room and a guard will also be on hand 24 hours a day, which answers people’s concern about the safety of the machine. Further measures have been taken in the machine’s design, as it is armored and locked.

Just what is the purpose of a marijuana vending machine? Convenience is obviously the main concern, but owner Vincent Mehdizadeh also says the machine was designed to offer lower prices and anonymity. It seems that there are still patients who feel marginalized for their use of medical marijuana. Perhaps this simple, isolate machine will allow them to access their medication without any embarrassment or fear.

Since the first PVM was installed in Los Angeles’ HNC, two other machines containing marijuana have been installed. Also, a similar machine was recently erected at a domicile on the USC campus. Although the latter machine does not offer marijuana, it does contain other medications, in addition to prophylactics.

Everything seems to be going well for the vending machine program, though it may not last for long. DEA Special Agent Jose Martinez recently told the Associated Press, “Somebody owns (it), it’s on a property and somebody fills it. Once we find out where it’s at, we’ll look into it and see if they’re violating laws.”

Hopefully, there won’t be any legal problems for the owner of the vending machines, as it really does look like it’s a successful way to provide medication for those that: a) can’t make it to their local dispensary during work hours, b) are in too much pain to stand in long lines or c) are too hesitant to openly pick up their prescription in front of a large crowd.

By-line Susan Jacobs is a part-time teacher, as well as a regular contributor for NOEDb, a site for learning about and selecting an online nursing degree program. Susan invites your comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address susan.jacobs45@gmail.com


Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that with the way the economy is that the government would be foolish not to utilize the legalization of marijuana. make it part of the “go green” campaign, so to speak, It would bring jobs, growing, harvesting, etc. and definately boost the economy in many ways, they would be able to put a tax on it, and with as many people that already use it for medicinal puposes or otherwise, that alone would help the economy. History shows us that it has worked before, the end of alcohol prohibition helped bring an end to the depression.

  • Harmon says:

    San Francisco I Am has a great video on whether illegal cannabis clubs are really hurting medical marijuana patients with California Attorney General’s recent crackdown down on medical cannabis clubs.

    You can check out the video here:


    San Francisco IAm also has a lot of other interesting video journalism bringing us stuff that the mainstream media isn’t.

  • Anonymous says:

    I support legalization and hope to see progress on local and national initiatives this next year. How does one become a distributor?

  • Me says:

    Honestly, I am a firm believer in the value of medicinal marijuana for all sorts of maladies, not just cancer. However, I do not think that vending machines are the answer to our problem. We need reform in the way society views medical marijuana. If it was more widely accepted, people would not feel embarassed to get a prescription and these machines would be unnecessary. If we could change society’s perception then people wouldn’t have to feel like criminals sneaking in at night, hoping they aren’t seen by anyone they know, just to pick up their prescription out of a vending machine. If we could make our society view marijuana as a medicine, not as a drug, then I think many people would not only be a good deal happier, but also not be hindered by their moral dilemma of ‘if I smoke this to feel better, am I a bad person?” Because really, nothing makes marijuana morally wrong except the fact that it is illegal and many people grew up being told that it was bad. Reform, not vending machines, is the answer we are looking for.

  • Anonymous says:

    i think its a great idea .Whenever i am sick i use it and i find it provides great pain relief and is great for a sick stomack

  • j-minus says:

    I got injured a week and 1 day ago. Now I wasn’t using marijuana before I started playing recreation b-ball. I end up hurt with an acl or strain knee injury. Now I have to explain that I can’t believe how vending machine exist in LAX. That’s funny real funny!! Dude..because it seem to pick you up when your down on the ground. That’s reality in California with the understudy of “ATM Pot machine”.

  • johnbe says:

    The criminal aspect needs to be addressed. If the feds would allow the states to license the manufacture of marijuana, then sell and regulate it the same as liquor, then the black market would disappear, and medical marijuana would no longer be an issue. That’s a no brainer, so there must be a $$$ advantage for the feds to maintain the current laws.

  • Anonymous says:

    i seen a news clip about this on the net somewhere, it is a very good idea. they definitely need these. I agree with Helene, weed is all natural, pills are man made, therefore pot wins.

  • Poetikat says:

    Wow! I had no idea that such a thing existed. While I do hold to the notion that patients who legitimately require marijuana to alleviate pain etc., I can see where something like this might have implications. How long before there are break-ins, hold-ups or worse at these machines?

    Also, is that picture an actual PVM? If so, it’s interesting how it appears to be holding lots of “munchies” – at least from a distance.


  • Helene says:

    Interesting idea. Marijuana for medical purposes probably has fewer side effects than many of the so-called legal in all 50 states pain relief medications.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thought you’d be interested to see this – it’s another poll on legalization of pot, but this time it’s hosted by the over 50 crowd – Liz Smith, Lily Tomlin, Candice Bergen, etc.:

    Hope you’ll vote

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