San Diego Eyes Marijuana Vending Machines, but First Has to Legalize Med Pot Dispensaries

Friday, March 15, 2013


Medical marijuana users in San Diego who don’t mind obtaining special scannable prepaid identification card, and are OK with having their picture taken and fingerprints checked, might be able to pick up their stash from vending machines soon.

But first the city council has to approve an ordinance making dispensaries legit.

Until the election of Mayor Bob Filner in November, San Diego aggressively pursued medical marijuana dispensaries and prosecuted about 100 of them. Med pot is legal in the state but the drug is outlawed by the federal government, leaving cities in limbo. Many of those that have chosen to pass ordinances governing dispensaries have seen federal authorities swoop in and shut them down.

Shortly after taking office, Filner ordered San Diego officials to halt prosecutions of dispensaries while the city worked on a new ordinance. In the interim, Los Angeles-based Medbox Inc. has obtained leases to put marijuana vending machines in up to 30 locations around the city, according to U-T San Diego.

Medbox CEO Bruce Bedrick told ABC News that his company has machines at 150 dispensaries in Canada and the United States. He claims their enhanced security features have kept them crime-free and prevented fraud. The boxes reportedly weigh 800 pounds, are armor-plated and are kept behind locked, secure doors with a security guard present.

The product dispensed by Medbox machines isn’t the only thing giving people a rush. The company’s stock was trading at around $3 a share until it caught the media’s eye  and in a few days rocketed to $215 last November 15. The next day it plummeted to $20 and is now trading at around $32.     

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Pot Vending Machines Coming to SD? (by Craig Gustafson, U-T San Diego)

Company Hopes to Bring 30 Marijuana-Dispensing Machines to San Diego (by Michael Chen, ABC News)

Pot Vending Machines May be Coming to San Diego (by Jessica Chasmar, Washington Times)

New San Diego Mayor Ends “Persecution” of a Dozen Pot Shops (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Leave a comment