SOLUTIONS: Potheads could soon get weed from vending machines
The vending machines for medicine require a fingerprint scan to verify the identification of the patient, which is then linked to a prescription on file.
But as Washington and Colorado figure out how to create a legal pot market for the masses, Hollywood-based Medbox, a public company, is offering up its expertise in convenient delivery systems.
“One day we envision these machines to be accessed, when it’s allowed, 24 hours a day,”Â Vincent Mehdizadeh, the founder and chief consultant of a subsidiary of Medbox that produces, installs and consults on the vending business, told NBC News. “One day in the future that may happen, but for now these machines sit behind the counter as an inventory control and compliance tool.”
He said the Medbox machines and consultancy are in high demand in states such as Arizona,Â MassachusettsÂ and Connecticut that have published medical marijuanaÂ regulations. Dispensaries use them to keep marijuana from being pilfered and comply with laws.
Medbox is now offering to work with Washington and Colorado officials who are mobilizing to create the framework for a legal marijuana industry – and to collect taxes on pot sales.
“These machines behind the counter act an inventory control and taxation tracking tool so that the states can effectively track the taxes and collect on them more efficiently with real-time reporting directly from the machine to the state database,” Mehdizadeh said.
The company also helps operators get licensed in states that have licensing programs.
“We’ve probably been the mostÂ successfulÂ consulting firm in the marijuana business,” he said.
Mikhail Carpenter, spokesman for Washingtonâ€™s Liquor Control Board, said Medbox has been in contact with the state but at this point no outside vendors have been chosen to help with marijuana sales.
Under state law, marijuana and marijuana-infused products, Carpenter said, would have to be sold from inside the confines of a retail outlet.
â€śSo I canâ€™t imagine with the way the law is written that you would see vending machines on the street corner,â€ť Carpenter told NBC News.
In November, Washington and Colorado voters passed initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Those laws went into effect last month.
In Washington state, voter-approved Initiative 502 made it legal for anyone 21 or over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of â€śsolid marijuana-infused productâ€ť (pot brownies and such) or 72 ounces of â€śmarijuana-infused liquid.