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article imageMarijuana on the Streets: Pain Relief From Vending Machines

By Michelle Duffy     Jan 28, 2008 in World
According to a recent news item from the BBC, marijuana vending machines are about to be unveiled in California in the United States. The machines are meant to distribute the drug for pain relief uses only.
The new machines which are about to have queues a mile long from them along the California strip can only be used by people who are already registered to use the drug for pain relief purposes only. The drug, which is widely used by patients suffering from terminal illnesses where the drug can relieve severe pain, has been criticised by many authorities over decades as to whether it should be made legal or not simply for the relief that it provides.
Those who are wishing to use the vending machines for pain relief must first be issued with a prescription from their doctor to say that they are allowed to use the drug for medical reasons. They will need to also provide a recent photograph of themselves and fingerprints as identification.
So far in the US, only 11 states give the drug it's legal status if it is used for medical reasons, however it has never stopped the drug being cloaked with a critical shroud, medical or not.
One of the first two machines to be installed is going to be used at the Herbal Nutrition Center in Los Angeles. The machine is thought to be a good idea as it will allow patients suffering with severe pain to receive "top ups" at the clinic. The owner of the center, Vince Mehdizadeh is excited about the new machine and says that it will benefit a lot of people who would normally be suffering a great deal. The drug has also been proved to be of a great benefit to those who have appetite problems and need to eat even when they don't want to.
However, it does seem to be a bit of a performance to get the drug out of the machine. The patient, after showing a photo and fingerprints will then receive a card which then can be in turn used at the machines.
Mr Medizadeh told KWTX News at 10: "They'll be greeted by a security guard right there. They'll slide the card in and they'll fingerprint in to verify that it's them. A camera takes a picture of them, verifying that they're actually at the machine. And they get the medicine and they move on."The machines, if these two are successful, will no doubt be popping up all around most of the U.S for people to use if, and only if they can prove that they need to drug for medical reasons. Others, unfortunately will not be able to acquire the drug so readily.
Yet don't be mistaken, the impact of these machines eventually on the streets, does not mean that certain bans will be lifted. Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the drug still carries with it that suspicion that the medical benefits of it are still not actually recognised and it will be a long time before any type of ban is any second thought.
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