Once upon a time people went to the bank and completed their business with a favorite teller. Then along came ATM’s. For those who obtain their cannabis from a favorite budtender at a favorite dispensary something similar is in the offing. A vending machine called “Autospense,” which is currently allowed only in dispensaries in California and Colorado, is designed to mitigate problems surrounding medical marijuana distribution, including theft and the black market. “It’s a difficult culture,” Joe DeRobbio, CEO of the company providing the machine, said. “This [vending machine] provides a solution. It’s manageable, it’s controllable, and it’s transparent. Taxation comes right from the machine and every dollar is accounted for.” We are reminded, again, that at its’ heart, the government’s chief concern with medical marijuana is about the government getting money. What is that special term for someone who is only about money?
To purchase from an Autospense machine requires a registration card and unique PIN number. After swiping the card, the patient is granted access to a caged, camera-monitored room. From there, a patient swipes his or her card again and is given a menu to choose medicinal variety and quantity. Payment can be made with cash, credit or debit card. Once payment is received, the door to the machine opens, much like an ATM machine, to allow patients to remove their medicinal marijuana. After business hours Autospense is open only to patients who have agreed to the fingerprint option – they run their prints through a scanner and swipe a registration card. If Seinfeld was still running you know this machine, malfunctioning, would be in a story line.
Autospense offers a secure, “businesslike” way to distribute and obtain medical marijuana, said DeRobbio. With cameras, locks and sensors, the machines are difficult to break into. “The facilities are secure. There are cameras outside and inside. There are alarm sensors around and in the machine. If there’s any type of forced entry, it sets off an alarm.”
Although Dispense Labs, creator of Autospense, supplies the machines, it is not involved in growing the product. “We are not associated with the industry,” DeRobbio said. “We do not provide the medicine that goes in the machine.” DeRobbio believes the Autospense system is perfect for medical marijuana. “Medical marijuana, we believe, is here to stay. Here’s a way that you can control that 800-pound gorilla.”
Our image and story come from ABC News.
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