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01.31.08

Prepaid Goes to Pot; Cards Used to Obtain Medical Marijuana

marijuana_icon_cVending machines that dispense medicinal marijuana and require the use of a proprietary prepaid card are popping up in California, according to a news story by the Associated Press (AP). The news agency said the vending machines, which are bolted to the floor and solidly encase the medicinal herb, require fingerprint identification and a prepaid card with a magnetic stripe. Once the card and fingerprint are verified, a “bright green envelope” with 1/8th or 2/8th of an ounce of marijuana is dispensed. Vincent Mehdizadeh, the inventor and owner of one of the marijuana vending machine companies, is quoted saying cardholders that are approved for medical marijuana and registered in the company’s computer database can load value to the cards through the company. Marijuana use is illegal under federal law, which does not recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and 11 other states. The DEA and other federal agencies have been cracking down on the dispensaries throughout the state over the last two years and charging operators with felony distribution charges, the AP reports.

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