Pot Vending Machine Debuts In Vancouver

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A Vancouver dispensary has installed what it says is Canada's first vending machine for medical marijuana.

The B.C. Pain Society offers "high-grade" medical pot sealed in tamper-proof, sealed bags and sold in the machine for $50 per half ounce.

"The product stays fresh and it's easy for the members," the dispensary's Chuck Varabioff told The Huffington Post B.C.

Unlike other dispensaries where staff have to handle the products stored in jars, this method prevents the marijuana from drying out, explained Varabioff.

Only members can use the machine.

"Anyone could walk into our dispensary, but we have a 36 inch gate that you can't get by unless you show your ID card," said Varabioff. The dispensary is considering installing a card swipe system programmed to the machine as well.

The B.C. Pain Society, which opened in March, also has a gumball machine that dispenses single grams of marijuana for $4 or $6. There are plans to sell pot-infused coffee next.

"What really sets us apart form every dispensary in town is our prices," said Varabioff. He claims the B.C. Pain Society charges 50 per cent less than other dispensaries.

"Because we don't just care about money here," he said. "I've had a number of people who were sick and dying of cancer. It's nice to see that there's a product that ... at least allows them to be comfortable on their last days."

New federal rules came into effect April 1 stating that only licensed producers can grow and distribute medical marijuana, but an ongoing legal challenge has left some areas in limbo. As well, Vancouver police have stated they won't target the city's many dispensaries as long as they're only selling to people with medical marijuana permits.

Last month, Colorado opened its first edible pot treats vending machine for medical marijuana patients with valid ID. The state legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012.

Vancouver is also home to two vending machines that sell crack pipes as part of a harm reduction strategy.

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