Money well spent: after hiring local lobbying firm, exception carved into marijuana ordinance for vending machine manufacturer

Medbox, Inc., manufacturers of a marijuana vending machine marketed at medical marijuana collective storefronts, is touting its success in obtaining an amendment to proposed San Diego Municipal Code 42.1502 that would allow for the placement of its machines in local dispensaries.

An ordinance introduced by Mayor Bob Filner in March would have banned vending machines of any kind. But that was before Medbox hired local lobbying firm Southwest Strategies to intervene with the stated objective of “City Council approval of medical marijuana ordinance that does not ban Medbox technology.”

As noted in the latter link above to earlier coverage from the Reader’s Matt Potter, the machines and an operation site including appropriate permitting, cost upward of $150,000. By March, Medbox claimed to have deposits on hand to create 12 such turnkey facilities, with an eye toward a total of 30 located across the city.

Their lobbying dollars appear to have paid off. After modification, “the proposed legislation would permit Medbox systems, and prohibit other types of ‘vending’ units that dispense medical marijuana,” according to a June 13 release from the company.

“We had a productive discussion with city leaders and were able to demonstrate that the Medbox system is not a vending machine, but a behind-the-counter compliance tool,” says Medbox CEO Dr. Bruce Bedrick.

The primary difference between the device and those marketed by competitors at this point seems to be that Medbox units are intended to be operated by a dispensary employee under the direction of an approved user of medical marijuana, rather than directly by the patient.

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How long will it be before Laura Duffy starts to confiscate these vending machines, if they are used for dispensing marijuana?

First of all I thought that this was voted on a long time ago. The voters spoke and city government is still pussyfooting around. Wanna keep your jobs people? Get us a comprehensive plan and to hell with the federal government. The state won't prosecute, It can't, it is law! I must be honest 'though. It is a vending machine. Call it a marketing peripheral or an option or whatever, it's still a vending machine. Now can we get one on every corner already? Sheesh. My glaucoma is acting up,...must...medicate. Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a U.S. attorney!

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