Marijuana Vending Machine Sparks Spat

By Valerie Tejeda 04/23/12

Cops close a vending machine company for making a device to dispense MMJ.

There's no messing with these machines.
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A marijuana vending machine is being tested in Santa Ana, California: instead of candy or soda, your cash will buy you a chunk of medicinal pot, with around-the-clock convenience. Called the "Autospense," the machine is located inside a Santa Ana cannabis shop called The Dispensary Store. The machines are high security; to make a purchase, patients must swipe a registration card, and enter a personal ID number as well as provide finger print recognition. Dispense Labs—the vending machine company, who don't supply the potbelieve the machine is a safer way to distribute marijuana, especially since Autospence keeps track of everything that is sold. "All the way through the process, from vegetation to flowering to packaging, to inventory control, to boxing, to the individual stores," said Joe DeRobbio, founder of Dispense Labs. "It mitigates the black market risk because now there's no way to subvert the system." Police officers in Santa Ana have been cracking down on many dispensaries in the city, and claim that this machine is illegal. For now the store has been cited and shut down, but according to The Dispensary Store managing director, Lera Nastri, they didn't break any laws. "We just go by what the state law has mandated," she says. "And they say we are legal to be able to provide medicine for our patients.”

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix,, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.