Not being a current resident of the United States, I’ve forgotten how weird the marijuana laws are. Currently, two states have legalized weed for recreational use, while a big handful more have made medicinal use at least permissible (the federal government can always choose to ignore it). Now, though, things are getting awesome (albeit a little more confusing). Because now, marijuana comes in vending machines!
According to the National Post, the American company Medbox Inc, pioneers of the weed vending machine in the States, have teamed up with Canadian companies under their new drug administration laws in hopes of selling automatic dispensary machines. Mind you, these are not like easy-peasy soda machines, they have fingerprint analysis and computers with medical databases. At present, the Canadian machines wouldn’t be operated by customers directly, but by officials in medicine (this could change in the future). Still, the market in Canada is better than in the States, so these merry machines should do well.
However, the business partnership leading to the proliferation of Medbox machines has garnered criticism. MediJean’s Anton Mattadeen (says the National Post) sees the move as a cultural event akin to putting cigarette machines in bars for all the youth folk to have at. But Bruce Bedrick, the head honcho of Medbox, thinks the machines have enough security built in to keep the sale of weed controlled. Again, the machines have fingerprint recognition technology. That’s hardcore.
So, no, excited Internet audience, the days of getting weed from a street corner machine are not yet at hand. The machines Medbox produces seem to be super secure behemoths; if anything, it puts more control on the purchasing of marijuana. Which, of course, doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Yes, there is still control and accountability, but if that’s what it takes for weed to break the shackles of illegality, so be it.
Marijuana should by all counts be legal. Most folks know this to be the case. Truth be told, the drug can be harmful, but no more so than alcohol (arguably less so), and is safer than the substances for which marijuana is purportedly the gateway. But the war on drugs treks on, beyond logic and sound science. Methods of accounting for marijuana users, may it be for medical or recreational purposes, sure do sound like strict, evil societal prisons, but are actually good ways to keep the drug from getting out of hand and out of the way of misuse.
The use of commercial machines can only help to bolster the legal growth and distribution of marijuana, giving it legitimacy, in an albeit broken governmental context. I know the last thing neo-hippies want is their weed from a machine (again, fingerprinting), but it is a step in the right direction for weed being more legal as a commercial product rather than an ideological symbol (the actual function and effects notwithstanding). I will miss the romantic notion, though, of having to deal with a human being in order to get pot, but I guess that’s the price you pay for the march into the future.