( dpa ) - Authorized medical marijuana users in Los Angeles no longer have to worry about running out of their medicine in the middle of the night.
Two licensed marijuana dispensaries in the west coast city this week unveiled 24-hour medical marijuana vending machines.
The machines are filled with small sachets filled with glistening buds of different sizes and strains. Though they might seem like a stoner's hallucination, access to the machines is strictly controlled by round the clock security guards.
Users must register with the dispensaries and have their fingerprints checked before every use of the machine. The guards also verify that users have a medical marijuana prescription, are on the dispensary list and have the special pre-loaded debit card needed to operate the machines.
Purchasers will be limited to some 28 grams of marijuana a month, dispensed in packets of 7 or 3.5 grams.
Inventor and owner Vincent Mehdizadeh says future plans include machine-vended pharmaceuticals like Vicodin and Viagra that offer the same benefits of "convenient access, lower prices, safety and anonymity."
Mehdizadeh said he spent seven months developing and patenting the black, armored box, which he calls the "PVM," or prescription vending machine.
Medical marijuana is legal under state law in California but is still considered illegal under federal law.