• 04.27.12

A Medical Marijuana Vending Machine, For When You Just Can’t Wait To Get High

Interacting with a person at a dispensary can be so time consuming. Now you can buy your medical marijuana (for your glaucoma!) on the street corner.

If you live in certain parts of California, you can’t take a stroll around the neighborhood without bumping into a medical marijuana dispensary (there are at least two within walking distance of my house). Some of these dispensaries are sleek and professional–just look at SPARC, the Apple store of marijuana shops–and others are a little shadier. The Autospense medical marijuana vending machine adds an air of legitimacy to even the dingiest storefront.


You can’t just kick this thing repeatedly and expect a bag of marijuana to fall out; the Autospense has a finger-print scanner and requires a registration card (obtainable from the storefront) for after-hours access. According to a press release, the machine “records monetary transactions and manages inventory tracking within a heavily secured framework of cameras, locks, and sensors.”

The medical marijuana industry in California is suffering due to a series of government crackdowns. Despite assurances from Autospense that it provides “a safe, legally compliant, legitimate, professional, and accessible means to obtain medical marijuana,” these crackdowns are unlikely to stop–and they’ll probably end up hurting Autospense’s business in the end. Still, the idea that 24-hour medical marijuana access is just a vending machine purchase away may be comforting to some.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.