Canada's first medicinal marijuana vending machine opens in Vancouver
The B.C. Pain Society is calling its marijuana vending machine a first for Canada.
“The idea mainly came from what’s happening in the U.S., as well as safe, secure access to the product,” said the dispensary’s director, Chuck Varabioff.
In a telephone interview, he described the machine as more than a gimmick, noting that distributing the product this way minimizes the number of hands that touch it.
“When it’s packaged and put into a vending machine, it’s only handled once,” Varabioff explained. “It’s put into a bag, we zip-seal it, heat seal the bag, and then it’s tamper proof and it retains its freshness.”
The marijuana vending machine is located at 2908 Commercial Drive.
According to Varabioff, the bags inside are currently selling for $20 for an eighth up to $50 for a half-ounce of “Master Kush”.
“And then we have stuff from $4 a gram in our gumball machine,” he added.
Yes, Canada now also sells pot via a gumball machine.
Access to both devices is restricted to B.C. Pain Society members.
“It’s completely gated off,” Varabioff said. “When you walk in, our staff and volunteers will verify your ID card, and only if you’re a member will you have access to the machine.”
The B.C. Pain Society has published a video on YouTube demonstrating how it all works.
For those wondering how a pot vending machine is allowed, note that Vancouver’s marijuana dispensaries currently operate in something of a legal grey area.
Federal regulation changes that took effect on April 1 forbid the sale of medicinal marijuana via dispensaries like the B.C. Pain Society. According to the Conservative’s new Marihuana for Medicinal Purposes Regulation, cannabis can only be obtained via a mail-order from a small number of large-scale suppliers. (The implementation of certain provisions of the MMPR have since been delayed by a court challenge.)
However, civic politicians as well as the Vancouver Police Department haven’t bothered to hide their lack of enthusiasm for the new rules. Marijuana grown for personal use and medicinal dispensaries that behave themselves do not appear on the VPD’s list of drug unit priorities.