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Issue Date: Vol. 54, No. 3, March 2014, Posted On: 2/11/2014

Canada Installs Crack Pipe Vending Machines

Hank Schlesinger
TAGS: crack pipe vending machine, automated retailing, Portland Hotel Society, crack pipe venders, Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

VANCOUVER -- In what just might be the worst vending concept ever, a charitable organization in British Columbia is placing crack pipe machines. The program, started by the Portland Hotel Society, has installed the machines in hopes of curbing transmission of infectious diseases.

Two polka-dotted crack vending machines, which sell glass pipes for a quarter, are located in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. According to local news reports, the machines hold 200 pipes and are refilled every five days.

Not surprisingly, the venders have sparked some controversy. Seen at odds with the government's official tough stance against drugs, some have claimed the low price and easy access to paraphernalia promotes drug abuse.

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