Cannabis vending machine trialled

COIN-OPERATED: The cannabis vending machine.
COIN-OPERATED: The cannabis vending machine.

Vending machines normally cure the munchies with shelves laden with chips and chocolates, but one being trialled in West Auckland may well cause them.

New Zealand's first cannabis club, the Daktory, has been using the machine - which sells one gram bags of cannabis for $20 - at it's New Lynn headquarters to avoid any of their members being charged with dealing the Class C drug.

The hired vending machine is a standard dispenser but has been filled with cannabis rather than confectionery or toys.

IN JAIL: Dakta Green, 61.
IN JAIL: Dakta Green, 61.

The Daktory was opened in November 2008 and boasted a membership of several thousand before its founder Dakta Green was jailed for eight months for possessing, selling and for allowing the Delta Ave warehouse to be used for drug taking in June 2011.

The Solicitor-General later appealed the 61-year-old's sentence and it was more than doubled to 23 months.

Following Green's sentencing the Daktory announced it was closing its doors to the public and would be used as the headquarters for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml).

But Norml president Julian Crawford confirmed the club was again open for business from Wednesday to Sunday.

He said the vending machine had been a hit with guests with ''a few hundred sales'' taking place on busy nights.

''It has been very popular, quite a few people come here.''

While conceding the machine had attracted some people simply interested in buying cannabis, Crawford hoped once inside the premises Norml could educate users on cannabis reform and sign them up to the cause.

''We want to grow the number of activists we've got, not just be like a tinnie house,'' Crawford said.

Norml's membership had dwindled in recent years.

Crawford said the vending machine was ''an example of how things could be'' if cannabis was legalised.

It seems the Daktory's new invention hasn't gone down well with everyone.

Crawford said a New Lynn police officer visited last week and informed him police would soon set-up a check point outside the clubrooms and speak with people coming and going from the premises.

''[The officer] said that there had been some directives higher up to take some action against the Daktory.''

Crawford was relaxed about the impending sting and ''respected they had a job to do''.

He has warned members not to leave the club with cannabis or to smell like they had consumed it as that would give police reason to search them.

''The presence of police is likely to drive people away but we don't see the club as a business so that doesn't matter... We'd prefer it was just the hardcore members here that support the legalise cannabis movement.''

A Waitemata police spokesperson said the club was being monitored as part of ''normal routine policing''.

''Like everything, we keep a close eye on things.''

Dakta Green, who changed his name from Ken Morgan in 2008, is expected to be released from jail in June and Crawford said he would return to the Daktory and cannabis activism.

Auckland Now