Vending machines have long dispensed chips and candy bars to Californians. But what if it could also sell the marijuana one consumed before eating said chips and candy bars?

Medical cannabis vending machines are gradually becoming a reality in the Golden State. A number of companies have begun offering their products for sale or lease to pot shops in California, and San Diego's city council will look at approving their wider use later this month.

The city of Los Angleles already has at least three dispensaries using the technology.

Unlike traditional vending machines, ones for marijuana come replete with a host of security features to ensure only legal patients are able to access what's inside. Machines made by Orange County-based Dispense Labs, for example, require users to insert a pre-approved membership card and take a thumb print scan before selecting from some 800 items.

"I think they key is for patients to get their medicine safely and securely, and if this a means for them to do that, then by all means, that's wonderful," Eugene Davidovich, a medical marijuana advocate with Americans for Safe Access, told ABC San Diego.

Dale Sky Jones of Oaksterdam University, "America's first cannabis college," told CBS San Francisco that it's unlikely people will see these vending machines sprouting (like weeds -- har har) in public spaces such as shopping centers or grocery stores.

"I've watched enough 'Cops' episodes to see that people will take a truck and tie a chain around it and cart it off if it's outside," Jones explained. "But frankly, security is such a concern for most dispensaries I simply don't see them taking that risk."

Some cannabis vending machine manufactures have come out against putting their products on street corners for social reasons as well as security ones.

"There may come a time when cannabis is so socially acceptable that it will be sold to the public by vending machines, but we're still a long way from that day," said Dr. Bruce Bedrick, CEO of medical vending machine firm Medbox, in a statement. "That's not what our machines do, and it isn't how we market them."

Bedrick's company released a statement Thursday coming out against San Diego's measure to approve the machines.

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  • Rahm Emanuel

    The notoriously cautious former White House chief of staff, who urged President Obama to stay away from polarizing issues and take a middle-of-the-road approach, <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=176" target="_hplink">pushed through</a> a money-saving marijuana decriminalization law after becoming mayor of Chicago. “We have police officers...arresting people for 10 grams, 11 grams, 12 grams. A huge amount of time dedicated to that. Then, they go to court. That means they're not on the street fighting gangs, fighting gun violence... I think [the decriminalization proposal is] a smart change because I want our police officers focused on serious violent crime.”

  • Rick Perry

    The Republican governor of Texas and former presidential candidate doesn't fancy himself a fan of marijuana, but does <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=71" target="_hplink">support</a> consistently applying the principles of federalism and states' rights, even when it comes to medical marijuana laws. “[If] you want to go somewhere where you can smoke medicinal weed, then you ought to be able to do that.”

  • The Majority of Americans

    You wouldn't know it from the way so many national politicians act like talking about the marijuana issue is some kind of dangerous "third rail" of politics, but polls from respected firms Gallup and Rasmussen both <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/about.php" target="_hplink">show</a> majority support for legalizing marijuana. Gallup has been polling the marijuana legalization question for 40 years but found majority support for the first time in 2011, with 50 percent of voters in favor and just 46 percent opposed. Rasmussen reports that 56 percent support legalization.

  • Bill O'Reilly

    While not a supporter of legalization per se, the Fox News host <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=199" target="_hplink">says</a> he simply doesn't care whether people use marijuana in the privacy of their own homes. This puts some distance between his vision and current law, which allows for police to enter the homes of peaceful marijuana users who don't bother anyone else. These raids, which are sometimes conducted on the wrong houses due to misinformation, often lead to death for people and dogs shot by police. “My philosophy is if you want to smoke marijuana in your basement, I don't care. I'm not going to get a search warrant and kick your door in. I think that's foolish... But...if you get behind the wheel of a car, if you sell the dope to my kid, if my kid sees you smoking...I then will demand that the authorities protect me and my family from you, the marijuana smoker in public. Am I wrong?”

  • Juan Manuel Santos

    The president of Colombia, a country that is one of the U.S.'s most important allies in the "war on drugs," is probably one of the last people you would expect to call the entire global approach to drug control a failure and to support having a conversation about legalization, but that's exactly what he's <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=60" target="_hplink">doing</a>. “A new approach should try and take away the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking... If that means legalising, and the world thinks that's the solution, I will welcome it.”

  • Sarah Palin

    The Republican former governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate is known for speaking her mind, but did you know that she <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=55" target="_hplink">thinks</a> cops have better things to do than bust people for marijuana? “We need to prioritize our law enforcement efforts, and if somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm, then perhaps there are other things that our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society that are appropriate for law enforcement to do.”

  • Tony Bennett

    Who could be more mainstream than this legendary Grammy Award-winning singer? Following the tragic death of Whitney Houston, Bennett <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=74" target="_hplink">urged</a> the legalization of all drugs -- not just marijuana -- to better protect the health and safety of drug users. “I'd like to have every gentleman and lady in this room commit themselves to get our government to legalize drugs -- so they'll have to get it through a doctor, not just some gangsters that just sell it under the table.”

  • David Koch

    While many HuffPost readers may disagree vehemently with Koch's politics overall, particularly his support for the Tea Party, you may be surprised to learn that he is a funder of the criminal justice reform group Families Against Mandatory Minimums and that he <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=89" target="_hplink">supports</a> decriminalizing marijuana. “I have friends who smoke pot... It's ridiculous to treat them as criminals.”

  • Pat Robertson

    Over the years, the Christian televangelist has said some things that many HuffPost readers may find wacky, but his position in <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=47" target="_hplink">support</a> of marijuana legalization is completely sane. “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I've never used marijuana and I don't intend to, but it's just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn't succeeded.”