|Yes, there are a few of these in California. No, they are not coming to Arkansas, even if voters there legalize medical marijuana next Tuesday.|
Lobbyists opposing the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act claimed on Tuesday that they "are working to discover whether or not medical marijuana vending machines are coming to Arkansas." They aren't.
"That's simply not true; medical marijuana is only allowed to be dispensed in one of 30 licensed, non-profit dispensaries," said David Couch, legal counsel for Arkansans for Compassionate Care. "This would not be allowed in Arkansas, unless it was approved by the Arkansas Department of Health."
In California, vending machines add another level of security--helping to ensure that only patients get the medicine. Let's take a look at how it works:
Vending machines are located only in dispensaries. After obtaining a medical marijuana card, a patient must register with the owner of the vending machine, who will issue a security-coded magnetic card -- similar to a bank card -- that is used only on that vending machine.
When a patient purchases medical marijuana from a vending machine, she'll need to swipe her card, enter her pin number and scan her thumbprint before completing her purchase.
Finally, the entire transaction is recorded on camera.
"This is nothing but an attempt by the opponents to distract from the merits of the proposal," said Chris Kell, campaign strategist for Arkansans for Compassionate Care. "We are confident that the people of Arkansas will focus on the merits of the proposal."