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Now if only there were some way to get snacks out of a machine...
January 30, 2008 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Marijuana vending machines.

Brought to you by the Herbal Nutrition Center.
posted by Mister_A (90 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Only a matter of time before that machine gets tipped over or hacked. And once that goes, there goes the whole commissary, and then where will the rest of us all get our cheetos?
posted by not_on_display at 11:18 AM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Only a matter of time before that machine gets tipped over or hacked.

I dunno, just buying weed seems like an easier option then hacking into a fortified box.
posted by delmoi at 11:19 AM on January 30, 2008


[Obligatory DO WANT comment.]
posted by pyrex at 11:21 AM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


"You have kids that want to get high and that's not what marijuana is for," Robert Miko said.

Um...
posted by item at 11:22 AM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I expected this to be a story out of Amsterdam; I was surprised at its actual function.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:23 AM on January 30, 2008


At least you don't have to smoke out the vending machine to complete the transaction.
posted by ninjew at 11:24 AM on January 30, 2008 [21 favorites]


This is my favorite part of the article:

At the Timothy Leary Medical Dispensary in the San Fernando Valley, the vending machine is accessible only during business hours. An employee there said the machine was introduced about five months ago, and provides speedy service.
posted by Mister_A at 11:24 AM on January 30, 2008


If there's one thing potheads know how to do it's using a vending machine.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:25 AM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


And yes, jokes aside I do support medical marijuana use, and the other sorts. Not that I have time for it anymore, but if I could get it at the WaWa...
posted by Mister_A at 11:25 AM on January 30, 2008


A man who said he has been authorized to use medical marijuana as part of his anger management therapy...

Seriously? "Dude, you need chill out and smoke this" is valid anger management therapy??

Well it's about freakin time!
posted by LordSludge at 11:26 AM on January 30, 2008 [7 favorites]


Never before has the [more inside] tag been more appropriate.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:30 AM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of course this is the one machine you'd WANT Diebold to manufacture, but NOOOOOOO, we have to get VOTING MACHINES.
posted by shmegegge at 11:32 AM on January 30, 2008 [12 favorites]


Tagwise, I think it might be "pondelefthandside". I'd sure feel bad if searches for Musical Youth didn't pull up this post, you know.
posted by cashman at 11:33 AM on January 30, 2008


I'd just set the whole thing on fire and inhale the beautiful fumes, man.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:34 AM on January 30, 2008


cashman: Fixed, thanks!
posted by Mister_A at 11:36 AM on January 30, 2008


I can see this going beautifully on UCSC's campus, in Baskin, right next to the Ice Cream Bar vending machine. Though I would have an impossible time using either one if I were actually stoned.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:37 AM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


The jokes are funny, but marijuana is a very powerful medicine. The things it can do, especially when you compare it with the alternative prescription drugs, are truly incredible.
posted by cell divide at 11:40 AM on January 30, 2008


Standing there waiting for my change and man, like, it totally worked!
posted by hal9k at 11:42 AM on January 30, 2008


I like how the owner of the weed dispensary uses automation to reduce risk of arrest to employees.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:47 AM on January 30, 2008


[this is amazing.]

although it's too bad about that consumption limit...
posted by lunit at 11:47 AM on January 30, 2008


"AW man! I forgot where the machine is again. Hello 911!"
posted by doctorschlock at 11:48 AM on January 30, 2008


Those patients get an ounce a week? That's like 3 fat joints every day.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:51 AM on January 30, 2008


Is the DEA Agent vending machine nearby? Now with 30% more kevlar!
One must admire the sheer hutzpah of a marijuana vending machine, considering how hard the Feds are working to kill California's medical marijuana business.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:54 AM on January 30, 2008


Somebody find me this kid, stat. I've got a job for him at the Herbal Nutrition Center...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:55 AM on January 30, 2008


sneaky, yet ingenious way to obtain fingerprints.
posted by gman at 11:57 AM on January 30, 2008


For all those times I've questioned whether or not continuing to live in Southern CA was a good idea, something like this reminds me why I never want to leave.
posted by The Gooch at 12:03 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, I'm all for marijuana legalization. But this sanctimonious "it's for medical purposes, dude" stuff is really silly. I'm particularly unimpressed by the "doctors" who advertise in local papers that they'll prescribe marijuana for you after a quick one hour visit.
posted by Nelson at 12:05 PM on January 30, 2008


Duuuuuuuuuuude.
posted by Doohickie at 12:16 PM on January 30, 2008


I agree with LordSludge:


"A man who said he has been authorized to use medical marijuana as part of his anger management therapy said the vending machine's security measures would at least protect against illicit use of the drug."


This is classic. It's about darn time.
posted by jaythebull at 12:17 PM on January 30, 2008


Freewheelin' Franklin says...
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:27 PM on January 30, 2008


You know, I'm all for marijuana legalization. But this sanctimonious "it's for medical purposes, dude" stuff is really silly. I'm particularly unimpressed by the "doctors" who advertise in local papers that they'll prescribe marijuana for you after a quick one hour visit.

Yes, because you certainly can't find doctors who'll prescribe, say, amphetamines for you after a quick one hour visit, right?

Marijuana is real medicine. It's also a good high. Marijuana has this in common with many of the most commonly-prescribed drugs in the country, yet somehow, people don't go on about how silly this sanctimonious "opiates are for medical purposes" stuff is, do they?

Sadly enough, though, many people do, especially the DEA, and attitudes like theirs (and yours) are one of the reasons why effective pain management is swiftly becoming a thing of the past in this country. Be careful how far you go down the "that's not medicine" path, as the next substance banned may be the one that could have treated you...
posted by vorfeed at 12:28 PM on January 30, 2008 [11 favorites]


But can you imagine how torturous it would be when your eighth gets hung up on the little circular dispensing dealies like Jerry's Twix bar?
posted by supercres at 12:34 PM on January 30, 2008 [7 favorites]


World's Most Vandalized Vending Machine. I thought it was worth repeating.
posted by well_balanced at 12:38 PM on January 30, 2008


Dave's not here!
posted by Koko at 12:44 PM on January 30, 2008


I like how the owner of the weed dispensary uses automation to reduce risk of arrest to employees. - Burhanistan

Yes, I thought that was great, actually.
posted by Mister_A at 12:49 PM on January 30, 2008


It really seems like California's medical marijuana industry is trying to see just how far they can push it. You don't see vending machines doling out other types of prescription medicines. I'm all about legalizing pot, even for recreational use, but this is just begging for trouble from the feds.
posted by item at 12:55 PM on January 30, 2008


Wow.
posted by agregoli at 12:59 PM on January 30, 2008


But can you imagine how torturous it would be when your eighth gets hung up on the little circular dispensing dealies like Jerry's Twix bar?

George's twix. But yeah...
posted by pilibeen at 1:04 PM on January 30, 2008


Imagine how bummed out you'll get when you put your money in the machine and nothing comes out.
posted by doctorschlock at 1:11 PM on January 30, 2008


I am so damn proud that the inventor is a fellow Eyerainian. So are we square with the hostage thingie now?
posted by Devils Slide at 1:13 PM on January 30, 2008


this is just begging for trouble from the feds.

I hope you're right. Those guys are real reactionaries, man. If we have to secede from the Union to enjoy the depraved fruits of our relative economic decadence, I will be Florence fucking Nightingale on that battlefield.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:14 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


In response to the e-mails I've been getting, I must insist we're even now. Please keep your first born child.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:18 PM on January 30, 2008


Marijuana is real medicine. It's also a good high. Marijuana has this in common with many of the most commonly-prescribed drugs in the country, yet somehow, people don't go on about how silly this sanctimonious "opiates are for medical purposes" stuff is, do they?

Marijuana has never been through the FDA testing and approval process that every other prescription drug has to go through.

Furthermore, the drugs you linked are not even close to the most-commonly prescribed drugs. These are the most commonly prescribed drugs in 2006, and here are the top ten drug classes buy sales. Pain management isn't even on the list.

What you are basically arguing is if people can abuse pain pills, why shouldn't they be allowed to abuse marijuana?

Sadly enough, though, many people do, especially the DEA, and attitudes like theirs (and yours) are one of the reasons why effective pain management is swiftly becoming a thing of the past in this country. Be careful how far you go down the "that's not medicine" path, as the next substance banned may be the one that could have treated you...
posted by vorfeed at 3:28 PM on January 30


Pain management has never been more sophisticated then it is now. Keep in mind they can cut open your chest and take out your heart, and you don't feel a thing. What is becoming a thing of the past is pain management that also gets you high. This is because being high is considered an undesirable side effect precisely because of the potential for abuse.

It's one thing to argue that drugs should be legalized because of personal liberty, but everyone knows that the reason medical marijuana is so popular is because it's an easy and legal way to get marijuana.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2008


I am hugely in favor of anything that puts marijuana into people's hands, but if I was the guard, I would just have to mess with people:

"Be careful, I think that Fed over there is watching you."

"Robodealer has the munchies. Don't get your arms too close, it hungers for human fingers."

"Wow, your hands are huge!

posted by quin at 1:20 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Robodealer FTW.
posted by Avenger at 1:22 PM on January 30, 2008


Alcohol is more problematic than marijuana for societal and personal health, and it enjoys great acceptance despite never having been through the FDA process.
posted by batmonkey at 1:23 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


"You know, I'm all for marijuana legalization. But this sanctimonious 'it's for medical purposes, dude' stuff is really silly. I'm particularly unimpressed by the 'doctors' who advertise in local papers that they'll prescribe marijuana for you after a quick one hour visit."
Regardless of how contrived the excuses for obtaining a prescription might be, at least the occasional recreational user is under medical supervision. Alcohol, a demonstrably more dangerous substance, is given out wholesale to anyone with a whim to buy it. This, regardless of how horrible it might be for their health. I'm still convinced that the government has absolutely no excuse for interfering with the lifestyle choices of the populace unless it is paying all their medical bills.

Of course I'm also convinced that the legal status of marijuana is as it is in order to maintain the ad-hoc welfare system for police, lawyers, judges, and bureaucrats. America loves to give handouts, as long as the recipients aren't minorities.
posted by mullingitover at 1:24 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Marijuana is real medicine. It's also a good high.

I always find it funny (funny strange, not funny ha-ha) that the pro-medical-marijuana crowd only rarely enters into the very real debate about the efficacy (or lack thereof) of synthetic marijuana substitutes, like Marinol.

And therein lies the problem with the pro-marijuana crowd -- separating the real medical benefits (and they are real) from the don't-bogart-the-bong-dude drug culture and the it's-good-because-it-gets-you-high concept.

This is why the mainstream often sees the medical marijuana debate as nothing more than a stalking horse for marijuana legalization.

In other words, if you're going to debate the science, stop dicking around and debate the fucking science. Because the science is actually on your side in this case.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:39 PM on January 30, 2008


An ounce A WEEK?! That's actually FOUR fat joints a day.

You're getting to the level that the actual physical consumption of smoke must be a health risk.

Can't they just give them better pot?

As a social Libertarian and an economic Socialist, I love this vending machine. However, as an engineer, I find it hard to believe that this will work. An ounce of good pot is around $500. If the machine has 50 doses, that's $25,000 worth of pot. Surely it'd get broken into all the time?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:44 PM on January 30, 2008


There's something else here I want to explore:

One of the common arguments against legalizing marijuana is that it's a "gateway drug" (that is, if you smoke pot, you're more likely to move on to harder, more destructive drugs such as cocaine, heroin, etc.), so therefore, it makes sense to keep it illegal to help keep people off the harder stuff.

This is partly correct. Marijuana is a gateway drug -- *because* it's illegal. You can't buy pot at the supermarket; you have to go to a dealer -- an illegal drug dealer, who also offers cocaine, heroine, etc. Visiting the dealer gives him/her an opportunity to market the harder stuff -- "Hey, want a couple bumps? Dude, the ladies love that shit..." "You look down, man. Try this -- it'll cheer you right the fuck up!" "Ever thought about some of the Really Good Stuff?" So, by making marijuana illegal, by forcing customers through the illegal distribution network, the government is actively *encouraging* the use of harder drugs by increasing the marketing footprint of illegal drug dealers. That's my theory, anyway.

But this post got me thinking: the landscape of the marijuana distribution network is changing, at least in limited locations such as California. If that illegal distribution network is replaced by a legal one (e.g., with the distribution of medicinal marijuana through legitimate dispensaries), one that doesn't also offer cocaine, heroin, etc., the marketing potential of the illegal drug dealer should be greatly diminished -- EVEN IF the customer uses marijuana for strictly recreational purposes.

Now the question is: Is there any way to verify this theory? Are there statistics of how many illegal marijuana users move on to hard drugs vs. how many medicinal marijuana users (or any legal pot users -- Canadian, Dutch, etc.) do?

Any MeFi statistician care to stick it to The Man???
posted by LordSludge at 1:50 PM on January 30, 2008


At the Timothy Leary Medical Dispensary in the San Fernando Valley, the vending machine is accessible only during business hours.

It could have been worse. It *could* have been the Pablo Escobar Medical Dispensary.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:50 PM on January 30, 2008


And, yeah, an ounce a week is a LOT of fucking dope, but then again I've never had glaucoma, chronic (ha!) pain, etc.

Could some of the stigma be eliminate by compressing it into pill form? to unleash its awesome power
posted by LordSludge at 1:53 PM on January 30, 2008


Cool Papa Bell writes "I always find it funny (funny strange, not funny ha-ha) that the pro-medical-marijuana crowd only rarely enters into the very real debate about the efficacy (or lack thereof) of synthetic marijuana substitutes, like Marinol."

Marinol only comes in pill form. Pills are put in your stomach. When your problem is nausea, that is, your stomach on the verge of forcibly ejecting its contents, a delivery method that depends on something passing through your stomach = GASTRIC FAIL.

lupus_yonderboy writes "Surely it'd get broken into all the time?"

It's not like they have it outside at a 7/11. It's inside a clinic.
posted by mullingitover at 1:56 PM on January 30, 2008


Pastabagel writes "Marijuana has never been through the FDA testing and approval process that every other prescription drug has to go through. "

http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2007/03/29/maps-drugs-research-ru-sirius/

We just found out on February 12 that a DEA administrative law judge ruled in favor of MAPS in our lawsuit against the DEA.

MAPS would like to design and fund and do the FDA clinical trials necessary to get marijuana approved as a prescription medicine. It’s never been put through the FDA clinical trials to see if it meet the standards for safety and efficacy of any other drug under certain conditions.

The reason that hasn’t happened is because the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a monopoly on the supply of research-grade marijuana. It’s the only Schedule 1 controlled substance where the federal government has a monopoly on the production.

So what MAPS has been trying to do for the past six years is start an independent medical marijuana production facility. We’re working with professor Lyle Craker, who’s the director of the medicinal plant program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He had no history of working with marijuana, but he’s a very well rounded botanist. In 2001, we sent NIDA an application, and first they took a year to tell us they had lost it. Their primary strategy is delay. (Laughs) And then they took another three years to reject it. And when they reject an application, there is a formal process where you can request a hearing with a DEA Administrative Law Judge. But the DEA’s power is so unchecked that even once the ruling is decided in your favor, they can reject it. So there was this two-year hearing. We were represented by the ACLU and some Washington D.C. law firms. And the case took about two years for the judge to rule on our side. But now the DEA can still decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation. So there’s still a lot more work to be done. But it was an 87-page recommendation. The judge rebuked all of the DEA’s arguments and explained why NIDA needs to stop obstructing legitimate scientific research. So it’s very exciting.


Pastabagel writes "It's one thing to argue that drugs should be legalized because of personal liberty, but everyone knows that the reason medical marijuana is so popular is because it's an easy and legal way to get marijuana."

I went through chemotherapy for cancer in 1990-91. The only thing that would help with my nausea was marijuana - Marinol, which is synthetic THC, did not work, nor did any other anti-nausea medication they gave me. Keeping food down is a major aspect of keeping your immune system healthy, so anti-nausea medication can be critical for cancer patients. My oncologist - one of the top in the country, did his residency at the Mayo - said he had fought for the legalization of marijuana for medical use back in the '70s, testifying in front of the NM state legislature. They did start a pilot project, but they failed to fund it, so it died. He told me that, if it did work for me (which I discovered on my own), he would be willing to testify in court as to my medical need on my behalf, as long as I was under his care. That's how much he believed in it, and I do, too. Of course, it doesn't work for everyone, but that's true of most therapeutic substances.

You or a loved one might find yourself in need of this sometime, and then you will discover just how wrong you were. Believe me, it works. This is no joke. Please don't be disrespectful of what you don't understand.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:58 PM on January 30, 2008 [9 favorites]


An ounce a week

I'd have trouble smoking an once of the weakest Mexican ditch weed in a week. I can't even imagine getting to that level with mid-grade or god forbid really potent hydro.
posted by Bonzai at 2:01 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anybody got change for $100 bill? Seriously.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:01 PM on January 30, 2008


Cool Papa Bell writes "I always find it funny (funny strange, not funny ha-ha) that the pro-medical-marijuana crowd only rarely enters into the very real debate about the efficacy (or lack thereof) of synthetic marijuana substitutes, like Marinol."

Read my comment above, please. Marinol did not work for me, and my reaction is not atypical (according to my oncologist).
posted by krinklyfig at 2:03 PM on January 30, 2008


Pastabagel, one of the reasons that the pain management drugs may not show up on the lists you posted is that there are generics available for most opiates and sedatives; therefore no single brand will show up near the top in scripts or revenue; ditto for the IMS category listing, since it is revenue-based, and the big cash cows are the branded drugs within the listed categories. As a group, there are many scripts written for opiates, likewise sedatives and hypnotics.

Still, it's a fair point, there aren't a lot of high-quality weed studies out there, but then again there is a certain amount of political difficulty in conducting and publishing such a study. Also, the FDA just can't deal with "pot" as a drug; it can only deal with isolates, active compounds from the plant species, not a whole frickin flower. And I understand that too, because as many of us here know, the effects can vary pretty widely from one batch to the next, so it's impossible to come up with dosing schedules on "pot", whereas with marinol, you can.
posted by Mister_A at 2:03 PM on January 30, 2008


Alcohol is more problematic than marijuana for societal and personal health, and it enjoys great acceptance despite never having been through the FDA process.
posted by batmonkey at 4:23 PM on January 30


No one is prescribing alcohol or passing it off as medicine. However, alcohol is regulated far more extensively than foods or other beverages.

And I find it hard to believe that smoking pot doesn't have some deleterious effects on lungs. It is smoke, after all.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:05 PM on January 30, 2008


krinklyfig & mullingitover:

Cool Papa Bell is agreeing with you. He's saying that the debate should shift to the fact that substitutes do not work as well as that coming directly from the plant itself.
posted by batmonkey at 2:05 PM on January 30, 2008


batmonkey writes "Cool Papa Bell is agreeing with you. He's saying that the debate should shift to the fact that substitutes do not work as well as that coming directly from the plant itself."

Yeah, just wanted to add my own personal (anecdotal) experience.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:08 PM on January 30, 2008


Pastabagel:
"No one is prescribing alcohol or passing it off as medicine. However, alcohol is regulated far more extensively than foods or other beverages.

And I find it hard to believe that smoking pot doesn't have some deleterious effects on lungs. It is smoke, after all."

Marijuana should be regulated at least to the degree of alcohol.

Alcohol should be more regulated, perhaps even prescribed.

Or, more perfectly for both, anti-prescribed. Folks should be evaluated for contraindicative conditions/behaviours/situations that would cause them to abuse themselves or others if given access to the controlled substance(s) they are interested in.

And, yes, certain forms of marijuana intake include the same deleterious effects of other smoking habits. This is why medicinal users are encouraged to imbibe via vaporisers and infused food products.
posted by batmonkey at 2:09 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


In all fairness, other legitimate prescription pain medications don't generally come in a plastic cube stamped "Icculus's Strawberry Kushy Bush."
posted by The Straightener at 2:09 PM on January 30, 2008


You or a loved one might find yourself in need of this sometime, and then you will discover just how wrong you were. Believe me, it works. This is no joke. Please don't be disrespectful of what you don't understand.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:58 PM on January 30


I know that it works for nausea. I don't mean to be disrespectful, and I acknowledge that it has therapeutic benefits, but I don't think your situation is representative of most of the people who are getting prescriptions for it. To wit, the example above of someone getting it for their anger management therapy, or doctors who will prescribe after a cursory diagnosis. If people need it, then they need it, I'm not arguing against that.

I'm just disputing whether most of these people need it, or if they simply want it to get high. Is there any data about what percentage of scripts are written for various conditions?
posted by Pastabagel at 2:15 PM on January 30, 2008


I hear they give out medical marijuana cards for "stress relief" or some such thing these days. It's only a matter of time before your disease can just be "I'm not high."

Living in NY my whole life and not making it out to the west coast until this summer, I was very surprised to see how practically legal it is out there. First thing we did after checking into our hotel room in SF was walk through a park and the first thing we see is some guys just sitting on a wall enjoying a joint in broad daylight.

I hope you're right. Those guys are real reactionaries, man. If we have to secede from the Union to enjoy the depraved fruits of our relative economic decadence, I will be Florence fucking Nightingale on that battlefield.

This causes me to imagine you running around with an ounce and a pack of zigzags, rolling up with aid and succor for the wounded soldiers.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:16 PM on January 30, 2008


krinklyfig clarified:
"Yeah, just wanted to add my own personal (anecdotal) experience."

Gotcha. My apologies for misinterpreting.

I'll add an anecdote to make this more signal-ish:
I've an acquaintance who is going through an all too common horrible experience with cancer.

At one point, she was literally starving herself because of the combination of nausea and radiation burns.

She was encouraged to locate some cannabis to ease those symptoms and encourage her appetite, but was so frightened of the stigma and legal repercussions that she tried to bear the situation.

She ended up in hospital on liquid nutrition and a hydration drip, because she got too weak to even lift her water bottle to her mouth.

I'd vote for marijuana never being available legally for recreation purposes ever if it could just be made available to people like my friend.
posted by batmonkey at 2:21 PM on January 30, 2008


Mister_A writes "Also, the FDA just can't deal with 'pot' as a drug; it can only deal with isolates, active compounds from the plant species, not a whole frickin flower. And I understand that too, because as many of us here know, the effects can vary pretty widely from one batch to the next, so it's impossible to come up with dosing schedules on 'pot', whereas with marinol, you can."

Actually, the whole plant approach seems to be important for many people. THC is not the only cannibinol, nor the only psychoactive substance.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:28 PM on January 30, 2008


Marijuana has never been through the FDA testing and approval process that every other prescription drug has to go through.

Yes, that's entirely true. This is because the government refuses to reschedule it. It's not for lack of trying, nor is it for lack of evidence of medical efficacy.

These are the most commonly prescribed drugs in 2006

Yeah, and "oxycodone and acetaminophen", otherwise known as Percocet, is #28 on your list. I probably should have put that instead of Oxycontin, but at any rate, Percocet is also commonly abused, and if you ask me, a spot in the top thirty probably counts being as among the "most commonly prescribed" drugs. Also, what Mister_A said about generics...

What you are basically arguing is if people can abuse pain pills, why shouldn't they be allowed to abuse marijuana?

No, what I am basically arguing is that the existence of abuse does not invalidate the medical use of a drug. That is to say, if people can be prescribed pain pills, despite the fact that many abuse them, why should the potential for abuse be an absolute barrier to prescribing marijuana? This goes double when you compare the effects of recreational marijuana use to those of nearly any commonly recreationally-used prescription!

Pain management has never been more sophisticated then it is now.

Did you even look at the "pain management" link I posted? The International Anesthesia Research Society says there are major problems with pain management in America. As in, "ironically, despite widespread support for improved pain control, United States physicians are experiencing pressures that may drive them to under-treat pain [...] Regardless of great efforts to reverse this trend, physicians who legitimately prescribe opioids for pain may still feel 'damned if they do and damned if they don't.'" Things may be better than ever (and I'd question that, as I really think that fear of the DEA has already started to roll back progress), but they're not as good as they need to be, and doctors are starting to lose some options that are already proven to work.

What is becoming a thing of the past is pain management that also gets you high. This is because being high is considered an undesirable side effect precisely because of the potential for abuse.

Put another way: what is becoming a thing of the past is the use of an entire class of drugs that remain among the most efficacious against pain -- a class of drugs that are still commonly used around the world -- all because of a political distaste for their recreational use. There are many doctors who are currently pleading for more widespread use of opioid medications, despite our "never-better" pain management techniques. At some point, I think we need to seriously question our insistence that people who are suffering in pain should continue to do so, simply because otherwise they might "get high".

It's one thing to argue that drugs should be legalized because of personal liberty, but everyone knows that the reason medical marijuana is so popular is because it's an easy and legal way to get marijuana.

This is so damn backwards it's actually funny. Marijuana was medicine in this country long before it was illegal, for one thing. For another, many doctors and caregivers support medical marijuana, which seems to put the lie to your claim... unless you'd care to paint them with the ol' "just wanna get high" brush, as well?
posted by vorfeed at 2:28 PM on January 30, 2008


Pastabagel writes "I'm just disputing whether most of these people need it, or if they simply want it to get high. Is there any data about what percentage of scripts are written for various conditions?"

There is a lot of truth to the idea that the mmj prescription situation is haphazard at best, but most of that has to do with the fed. OTOH, I don't think the fed will ever approve the plant itself for medical use, so I'm not sure how strong my feelings are about it. It's not the best situation, but we're not likely to get there anytime soon, either. This is something, and if it helps save lives and diminish suffering, then I'm all for it. If a few extra people get high who don't need it medically, so be it.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:30 PM on January 30, 2008


What possible worthwhile benefit could a doctor get from writing Marijuana 'scripts, just for people looking to catch a buzz? A $50 office visit? Under-the-table payment for 'scripts? Hardly worth the risk to both the seller and buyer, in my opinion. I would also guess that if this scenario ever even happens, it's a rarity.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:35 PM on January 30, 2008


On preview:
I'm just disputing whether most of these people need it, or if they simply want it to get high. Is there any data about what percentage of scripts are written for various conditions?

There are definitely some problems with the medical marijuana distribution system in California. However, it's important to keep in mind that California's system is not typical. For one thing, all the other home-cultivation states limit the amount that a patient or caregiver can grow, thus preventing problems with large-scale for-profit operations. The other medical marijuana states have not seen anything even remotely close to California's medical MJ circus, so I think it's somewhat disingenuous to suggest that problems caused by a lax distribution system are instead a problem with medical marijuana itself.

"Everyone knows that the reason medical marijuana is so popular is because it's an easy and legal way to get marijuana" -- that ain't the case here in NM, not even close. Medical marijuana garnered across-the-board support here (even the Governor came out for it), as it does throughout the country. Support for this issue consistently polls at around 70% nationwide, and I seriously doubt that the great majority of Americans want this simply because they want to get high!
posted by vorfeed at 2:51 PM on January 30, 2008


Canada has taken (or been forced to take) serious steps to not only permit medical use of marijuana, but to regulate it appropriately as well. In cases where the government's management has fallen short of patient needs, they have been successfully sued.

It is also very difficult to get arrested for personal possession and use (although Harper is pushing back on that one).

Guess what? Society has so far failed to collapse.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:07 PM on January 30, 2008


And to think I've been legally buying it over the counter at my local medicinal dispensary like a sucker! Here's hoping this vending machine proliferates all across CA.

"I want to get a vending machine with fun sized candy bars, and the glass in front is a magnifying glass. You'll be mad, but it will be too late." - Mitch Hedberg
posted by porn in the woods at 3:37 PM on January 30, 2008


If the machine has 50 doses, that's $25,000 worth of pot. Surely it'd get broken into all the time?

Or stolen, with $25K inside.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:55 PM on January 30, 2008


This reminds me of that post....y’know? On....uh...Marijuana vending machines.











You guys remember that post on Marijuana vending machines? That was funny.









Y’know what I’d like to see? A post about those Marijuana vending machines



If it has valid medical uses, the “debate” is irrelevent. Those medical needs should be met.
People abuse the hell out of prescription drugs, that has not as yet rendered them illegal. Medical use should be subject only to the empirical data and peer reviewed science any other medical drug, procedure, what have you, is subject to and approved or suppressed on that basis alone.
As it is you have the government holding back something that has been culturally codified over a long period of time and judged at worst as harmless as cigarettes and as having medical benefit. This has been a slow, gradual, and I will say judicious change over time in the perspective of marijuana usage and it’s illegal because opportunists and ideologues in the government want it illegal.
As a conservative that pisses me right the fuck off. I don’t smoke the stuff, don’t smoke anything. And I don’t get high on anything really (adrenaline and sex opiates excepted) but I’m pretty solidly opposed to the fed telling me I can’t get proper medical treatment because their corporate buddies or Jesus or whatever think the weed is ‘evil’ or because some *other* guy is going to misuse it. Reminds me of the Schiavo thing.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:06 PM on January 30, 2008


It's insane, really. A plant that grows all on its own - like a weed, almost - is put inside some creepy black vending machine for the use of a select few due to its (widely known) medicinal value.

I'm not alone in seeing the Brazil-like irony here, right? The idea that naturally occurring substances like this can be regulated is madness. There is hardly a corner of the planet where people don't use this plant on a daily basis.

Denial is getting us nowhere.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:23 PM on January 30, 2008


Sure, cannabis *should* be tried and tested like any other drug, but it's not, because it's illegal. Nice logic loop they have going there: "it's illegal because it's bad for you" combined with "we don't really know exactly what it does because it's illegal for us to check". Meanwhile, in the real world, real people with real pain have tried it and discovered, through their own experimentation, that it really does help.

Marijuana has to be the most benign "drug" around. No hangovers, no rotting liver, no addiction, no increased violence, and some studies have even shown that people who are (only) high on pot actually have fewer vehicular accidents, statistically, than those not high. It helps so many things (unwinding from a stressful day, ability to sleep, intensity of sex just to name three) that I suspect there are few people whose lives *wouldn't* be positively impacted by a steady supply of cannabis.

I go by own experience, like most people. I've smoked pot for almost 30 years. My IQ hasn't diminished and I'm no lazier than I ever was, and cannabis hasn't contributed even indirectly to any deaths in my family. *Alcohol*, on the other hand has killed my mother, my step-father, and a brother-in-law, and came close to destroying my own life as well. If one has to be illegal and one legal, the world would be a whole lot better off if it was alcohol that was illegal and pot that was legal.
posted by jamstigator at 4:24 PM on January 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


Testify Jamstigator! Hallelujah!!
posted by Dantien at 4:41 PM on January 30, 2008


Pain management has never been more sophisticated then it is now. Keep in mind they can cut open your chest and take out your heart, and you don't feel a thing.

I've had various surgeries, albeit not heart surgeries, and you're talking out your ass. Pain medication is not completely effective at eliminating pain. It's not nearly as 'sophisticated' as you might think. I can't help but think that the rest of your comment is similarly uninformed.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 4:47 PM on January 30, 2008


Mister_A writes "Also, the FDA just can't deal with 'pot' as a drug; it can only deal with isolates, active compounds from the plant species, not a whole frickin flower. And I understand that too, because as many of us here know, the effects can vary pretty widely from one batch to the next, so it's impossible to come up with dosing schedules on 'pot', whereas with marinol, you can."

Something else I wanted to point out. It's very possible to get consistent results with cloning and controlled breeding, as well as sampling for consistency. Cloning allows you to use the same plant as long as you can get cuttings, which can be done long-term or near indefinitely. All you need to do is test and breed for the different levels of psychoactive substances necessary, the two most important being THC (the most well known), and cannabinol (a product of THC oxidation). In fact, the ratio of cannabinol to THC is known to be the most important factor in determining someone's reaction, and what might be most appropriate for different medical conditions and needs. Pain management and anti-nausea are effective at different ratios (though I don't remember them off the top of my head). We already know the effects of THC and cannabinol, and we're learning a lot about how they work together. A lot of research has been done by caregivers, but we could always use more. Getting the ratios out of cannabis is just like getting controlled results from any other sort of agriculture. This is not hard to do at all (and it is already being done in some cases), with the knowledge and tools we already possess, as long as we don't have to constantly watch over our shoulders.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:26 PM on January 30, 2008


Those patients get an ounce a week? That's like 3 fat joints every day

21 joints per ounce? Jeez, they're not fat, they're obese.
posted by Neiltupper at 6:43 PM on January 30, 2008


Pain management has never been more sophisticated then it is now. Keep in mind they can cut open your chest and take out your heart, and you don't feel a thing.

As a pharmacologist (one who studies drugs and their mechanisms), I find this statement hilarious. You would be horrified if you knew how little we actually know about how drugs work. When you get knocked out in surgery they are simply dosing you based on the safe range for 95% of the population in mg/kg. You know why some die on the operating table from anasthesia? Because not everyone's in that range. Our knowledge of drug mechanisms are based on finding candidates drugs in the petri dish then giving the drug to larger and larger animals and if it doesn't kill too many people then it goes to market.

Oh, and marijuana should be legal tomorrow. It's helped too many people I know get through chemo.
posted by slapshot57 at 10:55 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also in the news, an "epidemic" of lung cancers linked to cannabis ...
posted by book at 12:26 AM on January 31, 2008


Smoking anything probably isn't all that good for you. Fortunately, *smoking* cannabis is just one method of intake, and it isn't nearly as efficient as eating it. Eating it causes the liver to metabolize the good stuff instead of absorption via the lungs. Disadvantage to that is, it takes significantly longer to have an effect. The pluses are increased potency (per amount), avoidance of carcinogens related to smoking, and greatly increased duration. (I'm still feeling the effects of a brownie I had last night.) I'm sure there's a tradeoff: a tiny chance of getting cancer compared to a 100 percent chance of some relief from what ails ya. If what ails ya is terribly painful or greatly decreases your quality of life, then, well, that can be a pretty good bargain. Shouldn't people who are suffering at least get to make that choice?

Some studies show that it *decreases* the chances of getting some cancers. From an Italian study: "...CBD was able to produce a significant antitumor activity both in vitro and in vivo, thus suggesting a possible application of CBD as an antineoplastic agent (an agent that inhibits the growth of malignant cells.)" CBD is also produced in greater amounts when the cannabis is eaten, so the anti-cancer effects are undoubtedly heightened if you eat it rather than smoke it. So, while heavy cannabis smoking may mildly increase the chances of getting lung cancer or oral cancer, it may at the same time be decreasing the chances of you getting any *other* cancers, and if you eat it, you avoid the lung-related cancer increase too.

A more interesting study would be to take a population of people who do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or do any other drugs but who do smoke and/or eat cannabis, and compare the lifespan of that population with a population that doesn't smoke cigs, drink or do any type of drugs at all. Which population lives longest? Which population has the greater quality of life? Those would be the important questions to get answered.

In any case, I prefer that those with medical training make medical decisions. I strongly believe that doctors make better doctors than politicians or policemen do.
posted by jamstigator at 3:32 AM on January 31, 2008


“In any case, I prefer that those with medical training make medical decisions. I strongly believe that doctors make better doctors than politicians or policemen do.”

Odd how if you apply that conceptualization in an argument on nearly any other subject - privacy, economics, social decisions, etc, etc, “I don’t want the fed telling me I can’t own a business, I don’t want the fed taking my private property, I don’t want the fed telling me how/where/when/if I can worship” - you are a conservative.

Apply it to medical use of marijuana and you’re some sort of free thinking anarchist (you’re not wearing a pink shirt - are you?).
(I really have no idea wtf any of those labels even really mean anymore.)
posted by Smedleyman at 8:14 AM on January 31, 2008


Odd how if you apply that conceptualization in an argument on nearly any other subject - privacy, economics, social decisions, etc, etc, “I don’t want the fed telling me I can’t own a business, I don’t want the fed taking my private property, I don’t want the fed telling me how/where/when/if I can worship” - you are a conservative.

Yeah, but the problem is that this hasn't been an across-the-board thing, and marijuana is by no means the only counter-example. Conservatives aren't exactly known for saying "I don't want the fed telling me I can't marry another man", for example, and they also don't say "I don't want the fed telling me I can't have an abortion". They also haven't been all that much for the "how/when/where I can worship" thing in recent years. Or, perhaps I should phrase it, "how/when/where you can worship", since of course the conservative is a good Christian... I mean, come on, this is a movement that's known for wanting to amend the Constitution to keep people from burning the flag and marrying each other. IMHO there's no greater appeal to the Fed than trying to make something like this an amendment, right next to the Bill of Rights! Also, I have to say that I have been shocked at the extent to which the anti-UN-black-helicopter-NWO guys of the 1990s turned into the Gitmo-wiretapping-SWATteam cheerleaders of the 2000s. Guess that sort of thing is just fine so long as it (starts with) the "other" guy getting the stick...

At any rate, there's something larger going on here than "keep the feds out". Conservatives have, as a group, been very into the feds when it suits them to be, and the marijuana laws are a fine example. The attitudes behind the Marijuana Tax Act had very little to do with marijuana itself, and a whole lot to do with passing a Federal law to keep blacks and hispanics in their place.

Agreed on the labels, though, they have become worse than useless. People call me "conservative", and I get pissed because I'm lumped in with crap like the above; people call me "liberal", and I get pissed because I'm lumped in with crap like hate crime laws and gun control. Then people call me "libertarian", and I get pissed because I get lumped in with people whose economic cheese has slipped off their economic cracker. This country's one-dimensional politics suck.
posted by vorfeed at 9:36 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman writes "Odd how if you apply that conceptualization in an argument on nearly any other subject - privacy, economics, social decisions, etc, etc, “I don’t want the fed telling me I can’t own a business, I don’t want the fed taking my private property, I don’t want the fed telling me how/where/when/if I can worship” - you are a conservative.

It's not consistent. How about, "I don’t want the fed telling me whom I can marry."

"Apply it to medical use of marijuana and you’re some sort of free thinking anarchist (you’re not wearing a pink shirt - are you?).
"(I really have no idea wtf any of those labels even really mean anymore.)"


Well, I'm more libertarian than liberal, but the way I understand it that makes sense to me, is that some liberals feel that the government has a right to regulate and intervene where there are externalized costs, such as limiting pollution from a business, zoning restrictions so that your neighbor can't open a retail store next to your house overnight, thinking of healthcare as a public health issue rather than a free enterprise issue, etc. But the problems come into play where this idea gets overextended into laws that don't do anything but allow others to lord over us, that give the government too much power with the best of intentions. Most elected Democrats have consistently supported The Drug War since its inception, even if most of their constituencies don't support such policies when polled about it. In my experience, however, suburbia is still terrified of weed, even if a lot of the parents smoked it when they were younger (and some still do). It's easy to play to that fear in order to garner more support during elections. And the prison system is largely privatized and driven by profit, so the sweetheart deals involve our penal system. It's obvious how we ended up here, but it's really hard to slow the inertia, even knowing what we do.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:34 PM on January 31, 2008


Smedleyman: "Odd how if you apply that conceptualization in an argument on nearly any other subject - privacy, economics, social decisions, etc, etc, “I don’t want the fed telling me I can’t own a business, I don’t want the fed taking my private property, I don’t want the fed telling me how/where/when/if I can worship” - you are a conservative."

Wait, you're telling me that a lot of self-described conservatives are blatant hypocrites? Say it ain't so!

There's a whole wing of the so-called 'conservative' movement that's kissing cousins with fascism, and I mean that without much exaggeration at all.* Since the U.S. has no history of this sort of thing, it's difficult to see how you can call such a stance 'conservative.' They'll argue for personal liberty when it suits them and government control when it doesn't. I'm not even sure that you can tease out any internally-consistent philosophy there, because the 'good' and 'bad' behaviors are basically arbitrary, being based on religious or cultural dogma. It's one of the reasons why I hate the label so much.

As vorfeed points out, "libertarian" is in the process of being similarly co-opted. Libertarianism (as opposed to conservatism) has the advantage of at least having an identifiable, generally consistent philosophy behind it, but it's arguably something that doesn't translate well into practice. You need to twist it pretty dramatically to get something people will vote for (e.g., Ron Paul, who's a "pro-life Libertarian"; a contradiction that ought to cause him to spontaneously combust). IMO, strict libertarians make great judges but poor politicians.

The best solution for voters is to reject all labels, particularly self-imposed or -adopted ones by candidates, look directly at issues, and vote based on principled, long-term self-interest. Voting based on strict ideology or dogma seems like a recipe for bad government and disaster in the long run.

* After all, what is "fascism"? Wikipedia gives a pretty good definition of it as "an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers the individual subordinate to the interests of the state ... usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, racial, religious attributes. The key attribute of fascism is intolerance of others ..." Listen to some religious-right talk radio sometime and that's exactly what you'll hear, particularly from the callers if not the host himself.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:33 AM on February 1, 2008


krinklyfig: In my experience, however, suburbia is still terrified of weed...

Agreed. A friend of mine related a story where he was afraid that a fellow might get violent because he smelled marijuana on him. I had to say, "Dude, if he's stoned, you might lock up your munchies (stereotype, I know), but you DON'T have to worry about him fighting." I didn't have the "anger management" example at the time; that would have been perfect. It's something about OHNOES it's a DRUG!!! or the "gateway drug" argument or its counter-culture roots or something. I don't really get it.

TheWhiteSkull: [In Canada, i]t is also very difficult to get arrested for personal possession and use (although Harper is pushing back on that one).

I'm curious: what are his stated reasons for that?
posted by LordSludge at 10:54 AM on February 1, 2008


UN Board Says Marijuana Machines Illegal

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Marijuana vending machines in Los Angeles violate international treaties and should be shut down, the U.N.-affiliated drug control board said Friday.
Oh yes, that UN...
...the UN's goal of "eliminating or substantially reducing" the global supply of marijuana had failed and that "the only practicable way to realize the UN's goal of eliminating the problems illicit cannabis supply and demand is to eliminate its illicit status."
posted by prostyle at 4:41 PM on February 8, 2008


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