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Vending machines are going to pot


In Seattle, pot is going the way of candy bars and Coca-Colas-- meaning people can now zip over to their local dispensary and purchase marijuana products from a vending machine.

But unlike your typical soda machine, these marijuana vending machines won't be in shopping centers or public places, reports CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO. Instead, they're available at the Seattle Caregivers medical marijuana dispensary, where they can be accessed only by people who are 21 and older, with a valid ID and medical authorization.


Many precautions are in place to make sure the contents of the machine are only accessed by people who can buy it legally. Bar code information on the back of the buyer's driver's license is used to verify age.


Once you put in your ID, you can choose from any number of products on the touch-screen display, from cold pot-infused drinks to edibles to vacuum-sealed containers of marijuana.


"You're swiping your ID, we've got a variety of different ways we can check that ID against who's standing in front of the machine. And as we like to say, if there's any doubt, no cannabis comes out," said Stephen Shearin, president and COO of American Green, the Arizona company behind the machines.


Other security measures include a camera can scan your face to match it with your ID, and a weight-sensing mat in front of the machine that helps ensure that the ID and the actual buyer are the same person. The machines are also specially reinforced to prevent break-ins.


For now, there are only a few of the machines in Seattle, but the manufacturer has high hopes for expansion in the years ahead, foreseeing potentially hundreds of outlets throughout the country.


© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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