The vending machine is a fairly common site with little to no attention paid to them unless money is taken. However, a vending machine in Vancouver, B.C., is attracting lots of attention from more than one source.
It is the world’s first marijuana vending machine.
Two states in the U.S., Colorado and Washington, have recently decriminalized marijuana for recreational use. The possession and sale of marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
In a town like Vancouver, a marijuana vending machine fits and fits well. The machine sits in front of the B.C. Pain Society‘s front door. Prices range from $12.00 to $50.00; the $50.00 will give the user one-half an ounce of hermetically sealed, safely processed Master Kush marijuana.
Before running to the location and plopping up to $50.00 into the machine, realize the use of the machine requires a physician’s prescription, and the marijuana is medical grade. A card and cash is necessary to use the machine as well.
Under law, the purchase of marijuana is illegal. The police, however, do not consider the purchases of marijuana to be a major concern. They will respond if a citizen complains but otherwise the police are apathetic to the machine, concentrating their attention on much more serious drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
Marijuana has been studied extensively for pain management, helping with the effects of cancer treatments and as an anti-seizure medication.
In the U.S., some states in traditionally strong conservative areas are establishing studies and committees to look into the health and medical benefits of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
The B.C. Pain Society offers medical grade marijuana to anyone with a physician’s prescription. Forms are available for new patients and their personal physicians, and the society also schedules physicians to come and assess new patients on a regular basis.
A new patient will receive a medical marijuana card and have immediate access to the vending machine and the other services available at the society.
The machine is still fresh and new, but it has seen its fair share of use. The only drawback has been the line of people waiting for their turn. Staff at the society are quick to keep the machine filled.
The society’s director, Chuck Varabioff, is excited about the positive effect the machine has had in the city, and he has high hopes for the future of marijuana vending across Canada.
“I would like to see a machine in every province and city. Absolutely no one has had anything negative to say about the machine and knowing it is helping people cope with their pain and discomfort is certainly worthwhile,” he said during a recent interview.
Not one to think small, Varabioff also sees the machines in other places such as nursing homes and medical clinics.
“Any industry that will have a machine will be eligible for a percentage of the sales. This can be a real win/win for everyone involved,” said Varabioff.
Until then, the B.C. Pain Society is content to continue working from their shop and watching the satisfied customers leave happy and more importantly, pain free.
“That is ultimately what makes it all worthwhile,” said Varabioff.
BC Pain Society
2908 Commercial Dr