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Automated Orange County marijuana machine aims to mellow critics

A patient takes his medicine out of the automated medical marijuana machine
A patient takes his medicine out of the automated medical marijuana machine

A medical marijuana dispenser created in Orange County hopes to be the cure for what ails the controversial mini-industry.

Autospense, a high-tech vending machine that doles out pot, is the safest, surest, most fiscally-transparent way to issue medical marijuana to patients who qualify under 1996's Proposition 215, say its creators.

Aliso Viejo's The Dispensary Group says that because the Autospense requires a medical marijuana card and a PIN number, and scans the patient's finger for added verification, concerns that the medicine not getting in the proper person's hands should be relieved.

Meanwhile government officials who claim that dispensary bookkeeping is less than exact will be happy to know that every transaction on the Autospense is videotaped, digitally recorded, documented in every way (time, date, patient name, even strain of medication), and locked away in a secure vending cage.

It also prevents criminals from holding up popular dispensaries.

The machine "legitimizes and introduces a higher standard of business efficiency to a market that is commonly known for being chaotic, poorly managed and counter culture," the Autospense website claims.

Dispensary owners, like The Dispensary Store in Santa Ana, rent the machine for about $2,000 a month.

The Dispensary Store Managing Director Lera Nastri also noted that the Autospense's best feature for patients is its ability to cough up the little package of marijuana 24/7.

 "The priority is for our members to have access to their medication," she told the Orange County Register.