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Controversial Vending: The First Medical Marijuana Vending Machine

We’ve all had the pleasure of using vending machines to acquire a variety of treats. Anything from soda to candy to chips to toothpaste, the array of items that can be dispensed from a vending machine is truly fascinating and expanding every day. However, a vending machine business recently took their vended products from fascinating to controversial with the first ever medical marijuana vending machine.

According a December blog post on, a vending machine service, Medbox, Inc., is using its vending technology to distribute medical marijuana. According to Medbox CEO, Dr. Bruce Bedrick, the Medbox is similar to a standard vending machine except instead of candy or gum a patient can choose their medicine from a display. At that point a staff member then dispenses the prescription from the machine and hands it to the client.

“It’s completely safe. In fact, that’s the point,” Bedrick said. 

Patients must register at a dispensary with their state-issued medical marijuana card and driver’s license. Once they do that they will receive a HIPAA compliant card as well as take their fingerprints that way on follow-up visits they can verify that they are the actual patient before getting their medicine.

Currently there are more than 150 medical marijuana dispensaries through the U.S and Canada that are using Medbox. Medbox, Inc plans to have between 25 and 40 machines operating in Arizona alone within the next few months according to Bedrick. He also believes that Medbox machines will start popping up in pharmacies and doctor’s offices for other prescriptions besides medical marijuana throughout 2013.

The company believes that the Medbox is a service. Instead of waiting in line, patients will be able to access a computerized vending machine to get their medicine.

Some people are worried that having medical marijuana in vending machines will increase criminal activity and that many will try to get their hands on and break into these machines. However, Medbox disputes this by countering that the machines weigh several times more than ATMs, are bolted to the ground, and are armor plated. In addition, unlike any other vending machine service, they are not located outside in the open. Instead, they are located inside buildings and in secure rooms

“We provide technology that is patented for storage, inventory control and dispensing of pharmaceuticals,” Bedrick said.

Alexodus via Compfight

Sarah Wozniak

Staff Writer, Page1 Online Marketing