The San Diego mayor's office accepts the use of some marijuana vending machines, according to a major manufacturer of the drug-dispensing devices.


Mayor Bob Filner proposed banning marijuana vending machines earlier this month after Medbox Inc. announced it obtained leases to put the machines in up to 30 locations around the city.

In a statement released Tuesday, Medbox said an attorney working on behalf of the mayor's office had clarified that only certain types automated dispensing machines would be prohibited.

"The Mayor's opposition is to 'vending machines' that do not have a human element of security," the attorney told Medbox. "The Medbox technology is a device that goes behind the counter to provide the dispensary owner additional inventory control and oversight, and in the office's opinion, is not a vending machine and would not be banned by the proposed City ordinance."

Though the company's automated dispensing machine resembles typical vending machines, it differs in key ways. The touch-screen Canna MedBox can only be accessed via a special pre-paid card and fingerprint scan. The machine is also armored to prevent thefts and keeps a record of every transaction.

"We needed to make the rounds in San Diego and demonstrate how our technology is similar to what hospitals use to control sensitive medications," said Bruce Bedrick, CEO of Medbox. "We applaud the Mayor's office for differentiating our technology from imposters that infringe on our patent and ruin the image of the technology by offering 24-hour pot vending machines. We look forward to bringing transparency, compliance, and unparalleled tax reporting to dispensary operators and the patients they serve in San Diego once their new ordinance is adopted."