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Medical Marijuana: California Vending Machines Draw Ire of UN Narcs

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #523)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

When medical marijuana vending machines appeared at a handful of Los Angeles-area dispensaries a couple of weeks ago, the press attention they received was enormous -- so enormous that it was heard deep in the bowels of the UN anti-drug bureaucracy in Vienna. Roused from its dogmatic slumber by the clamor, the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) issued a statement last Friday saying the machines violate international drug treaties and should be shut down.

medical marijuana vending machine on CBS News
"The International Narcotics Control Board is deeply concerned about reports that computerized vending machines to dispense cannabis (marijuana) have been put into operation in Los Angeles," said INCB head Philip Emafo in the statement. "We know that the use of cannabis is illegal under federal law of the United States and we trust the authorities will stop such activities, which contravene the international drug control treaties," he added.

The federal government may not recognize medical marijuana, but it is legal under state law. So far, there is no indication that providing it via vending machines violates the state's medical marijuana laws, much less international treaties which only prohibit non-medical use. And so far, the DEA has not acted against them.

The machines have appeared in three Los Angeles dispensaries, and supporters say they are convenient for patients, secure, and could provide medical marijuana at lower prices. Qualified patients who wish to use the vending machines must provide documentation and fingerprints to the dispensary, which then issues them a card to insert in the machine.

While the INCB reiterated that marijuana is illegal under federal law, it also seemed to suggest that if marijuana was going to be used, its use should be controlled by a federal agency. "The control measures applied in California for the cultivation, production and use of cannabis do not meet the control standards set in the 1961 Convention to prevent diversion of narcotic drugs for illicit use," the INCB said. "Such standards require, inter alia, the control of cultivation and production of cannabis by a national cannabis agency, and detailed record keeping and reporting on the activities with cannabis, including reporting to INCB."

The INCB also took pains to note that it "welcomes sound scientific research on the therapeutic usefulness of cannabis," although it claimed that "so far, the results of research regarding the potential therapeutic usefulness have been limited." But in the same breath, it then complained that Canada and the Netherlands have authorized medical marijuana "without reporting conclusive research results to the WHO" and that "cannabis is used for medical purposes in some jurisdictions of the United States without having definitive proof of its efficacy."

Whether the INCB's "concerns" will spur action from either federal or state authorities remains to be seen. But with each new dispensary, each new delivery service, each entrepreneurial innovation like the vending machines, the medical marijuana industry is becoming ever more deeply entrenched in the social fabric of the Golden State. It may be too late for anybody to stop it -- even the UN.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


David Dunn (not verified)

According to hemp-advocate Alexander Hamilton, "ardent spirits" were to be a source of revenue--not something to be prohibited. In Federalist Paper 12, Hamilton wrote:

The single article of ardent spirits, under federal regulation, might be made to furnish a considerable revenue.

INCB seems to think that states have no say in the matter of substance use. According to cannabis-smoking James Madison, the federal government's

jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.

The specious sophists of the Supreme Court have ruled that "illicit substances" come under the catch-all Commerce Clause of the Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 8 Clause 3 -

If such substances are under the Commerce Clause, then they are legitimate objects of commerce. If the federal government chooses not to regulate and tax them, then the states have inviolable sovereignty to regulate their sale and to tax them if they so desire.

In the case of medical "marijuana," if the state doesn't tax prescription medicines, then it would be a violation of the Constitution to tax medical "marijuana."

Apparently UN Narcs aren't too familiar with American values and obviously don't like them. They seem to think that the federal government has absolute authority over all matters. That's not the way our system of government was set up to run.

States have as much of a role to play over these matters as does the federal government. States are a part of the system of checks and balances.

If federal law, or Court rulings, don't promote the happiness of the people, then the states are perfectly within their rights to say to the feds, "You have gone too far. Back off, and get the hell out."

The people are the ultimate source of authority under our form of government. In Federalist Paper 46, Madison wrote:

the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone, and that it will not depend merely on the comparative ambition or address of the different governments, whether either, or which of them, will be able to enlarge its sphere of jurisdiction at the expense of the other.

So UN Narcs, don't come in here spouting off your anti-American values.

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

— Thomas Jefferson

Fri, 02/15/2008 - 1:17pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The UN should concern themselves with the true issues affecting this world like genocide, poverty, the environment, clean drinking water for everyone and suffiecient food to thrive. Their stance on the "drug war" makes all of these issues worse somewheres

Fri, 02/15/2008 - 4:56pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

why they can use killer alcohol but other good people can't use cannabis, which is far less dangerous to life and limb?That's not just a request, to any decent person, it would be an obligation, to any decent American it's required by that sacred pledge to 'liberty and justice for all'. Do you jokers know what the word all means? Where's the justice in the more dangerous drug being legal and legal to promote, and the less dangerous drug verboten?

Sat, 02/16/2008 - 2:22am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Why is it that the FDA claims Marinol, an anti-nausea drug, is 100% safe but the DEA considers it a detrimental drug if it's in a plant???

Sat, 02/16/2008 - 1:59pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The UN law banning cannabis is stronger than California state law. and I guess rather than debate fine points we shall just wait till the Feds come in and break up the robot dealers. IIts pretty easy to obtain a warrent for the address where the machines are, just walk in, and take these machines away..and then destroy them..a couple of wacks with a sledgehammer would pretty well do it

I am sure these machines are expensive, how long can this robot resistance go on? . Its straight forward legal research to determine who owns the property where the machines were operating, then and bust them for allowing drug sales to occur on their property and if necessary.. seize the property .I am sure real estate in California and is expensive- how long can pot robot retail resistance go on?

it is pretty amusing to watch the pot people take on the coyote role in this prohibition roadrunner cartoon .........................beep beep !

Sat, 02/16/2008 - 3:05pm Permalink
991 (not verified)

.. But, the 'why' is always simple, essentially, isn't it?

I have been to L.A. County jail THREE TIMES over ONE DUI.. And I certainly know for 'FACT' that 'third time offenders' certainly do 'not' get a "private licensed drug treatment provider", "Massage" or "Accupuncture"...(!?!?)

I'm blown away. First time offenders have to pay for years, receive jailtime - anywhere from three months to a year 'Third' time is now considered a third strike (as in, 'life')

- Anyone want to read the full publication, I am willing to provide.

Scottish Executive publishes the 'International Experience of Drug Courts'

Page 37

Page 38

Mon, 02/18/2008 - 9:33am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

everybody just needs too smoke a blunt and releive there mind and take a break and get wasted

Fri, 03/07/2008 - 12:17pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

prison guard's union

California Correctional Peace Officers Association
The California Prison system is the third largest penal system in the country, costing $5.7 billion dollars a year and housing over 161,000 inmates. Since 1980 the number of California prisons has tripled and the number of inmates has jumped significantly. In the past few years controversies involving prison expansion, sky-rocketing costs, and claims of mismanagement and inmate abuse have put the California prison system under heightened public scrutiny.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) is the California prison guards' union. In recent years the CCPOA has become a major player in California politics. Its political influence has grown to the point that it is widely considered to be one of the most powerful political forces in Sacramento. Its lobbying efforts and campaign contributions have greatly facilitated the passage of legislation favorable to union members.

Mon, 03/10/2008 - 2:52am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)


Attorney Gen. File #: 2007-064
California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative 2008

Legalization of Marijuana-Related Activities. The initiative provides that no per-son, individual, or corporate entity could be prosecuted for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp, including hemp industrial products, hemp medicinal preparations, hemp nutritional products, and hemp religious or recreational products. All of these products use as an ingredient the hemp plant commonly referred to as cannabis or marijuana. This measure also provides that the manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sale between adults of equipment or accessories associated with the above products shall not be prohibited.

California Hemp Initiative Volunteers is looking for volunteer petition signature collectors

Results 1-10 of about 41,600 for vindictive santa clause

Mon, 03/10/2008 - 2:59am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

fuck the un! weed rules and its never going away so they can stop trying!

Tue, 03/11/2008 - 12:55pm Permalink
you will never know (not verified)

I'd steal that vending machine then drop it from a plane on top of the UN premises. I bet They would open that bitch up and smoke every bit of budd in it ;]

Mon, 02/28/2011 - 8:24pm Permalink

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