A bag of marijuana being prepared for sale, sits next to a money jar at BotanaCare in Northglenn, Colorado in this December 31, 2013 file photograph. The Colorado state Senate passed a bill on May 7, 2014 to create the nation's first state-run marijuana financial cooperative, with the ultimate aim of opening newly legalized cannabis retail outlets to key banking services through the Federal Reserve. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files
Canada has opened its first ever cannabis marijuana vending machine in Vancouver.
The machine is installed in a local dispensary known as the BC Pain Society. It only accepts cash. Holding a host of strains and flavours, including "Purple Kush, Bubba Kush" and a range of sativa and indica strains, the good thing, if at all, from the machine is that it doesn't ID the buyer.
Chuck Varabioff, the dispensary's director, told Canada's Global News it will be the staff who will verify buyers' identity.
"Our regular members, they already know what they want, they can walk up straight up to the vending machine and get in and out quickly," Mr Varabioff said.
The cannabis marijuana, before being placed into the vending machine, is put into a bag and zip-sealed. The bag is then heated allowing the contents to stay fresh longer as well as making it tamper proof, Mr Varabioff said.
"When it's packaged and put into a vending machine, it's only handled once," he said. "It's safe, it's secure and your product does not get contaminated."
Access to the marijuana vending machine, located at 2908 Commercial Drive, is restricted to B.C. Pain Society members only.
Varabioff said the bags are currently selling for $20 for an eighth up to $50 for a half-ounce of "Master Kush."
"It's completely gated off," Varabioff said. "When you walk in, our staff and volunteers will verify your ID card, and only if you're a member will you have access to the machine."
Two re-purposed gumball machines also offer smaller quantities of marijuana at $4 and $6.
Varabioff did not disclose the source of his cannabis marijuana.
"All of our product is sourced from confidential sources," Varabioff said. "That's pretty much all I can say about that." The only hint he gave was that it was sourced just from the Vancouver area. He assured the items were inspected in-house and did not come from drug traffickers.
Health Canada, however, pounced on B.C. Pain Society's setup, calling it illegal.
As per legislation that took effect on April 1, Canada's source for legal medical marijuana should be a small network of large-scale, for-profit growers that has been certified by the health agency.