Having legalized the recreational use of marijuana, Colorado and Washington are now wrangling with how to manage a safe, legal pot market in those states. And entrepreneurs are eager to lend a hand.
Medbox, a California-based company, has been manufacturing pot vending machines to facilitate the sale of medical marijuana in those states where it's now legal, according to NBC News. The company is now eyeing the lucrative markets for marijuana in Washington and Colorado, which legalized recreational use of pot in 2012 ballot initiatives.
"One day, we envision these machines to be accessed, when it's allowed, 24 hours a day," Vincent Mehdizadeh, the founder of Medbox and a vending business consultant, told NBC News.
"One day in the future that may happen, but for now these machines sit behind the counter as an inventory control and compliance tool," Mehdizadeh said, referring to vending machines' current use: Marijuana dispensaries rely on the security of the heavy steel machines to prevent theft and keep tax records.
The vending machines are also computerized and require a fingerprint scan to confirm the identity of the customer; the scan links to a prescription on file, reports NBC News.
Though the issue of legalized marijuana remains controversial, a recent USA Today/Gallup poll finds that 64 percent of Americans think the federal government should butt out, trusting individual states to make the call on pot's legal status.
However, 48 percent of those surveyed in the poll believe marijuana should be legal, while 50 percent don't think it should be, revealing the legal status of pot is likely to continue to be a divisive issue.