Vending Machine Promotes Medical Cannabis As Pain-Treating Alternative To Opioids

Posted On: 9/6/2018

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CHICAGO -- Vending machines are at the center of Cresco Labs’ anti-opioid campaign highlighting real-life stories of the positive impact cannabis has combating the national epidemic.
Last week, when the Alternative to Opioids Act, a law allowing for patients to easily fill their medical prescription with cannabis instead of harmful narcotics became law in Illinois, Chicago-based Cresco Labs activated a multi-state awareness campaign. Its message: Cannabis is legal medicine in 30 states and a non-lethal, less-addictive option for treating pain than prescription opioids.
The company's COPE campaign -- Cresco Labs Opioid Prescription Exchange -- is placing vending machines with the message "Got Pain?  Get Relief."  in high-traffic locations. The machines are primarily filled with replica narcotic pill bottles as selections. No matter what item is selected, a "Medical Cannabis" dram is dispensed with the enclosed message:
When you're in pain, opioid prescriptions are the norm. Addiction is the norm.  Overdose is the norm. That's just the way it's been, but we don't need to accept it. Opioid patients deserve an alternative: medical cannabis. Ask your doctor about replacing opioids with medical cannabis products and get relief that doesn't cost you peace of mind.  Pain isn't a choice.  How you treat it could be.

PHOTO: Stephanie Bennett gets dispensed a medical cannabis dram as part of Cresco Labs’ educational campaign about cannabis as an alternative to prescription opioids.

Accompanying the vending machine is an 18-ft. wall with NObituaries -- dozens of vignettes from people whose lives were changed when they switched from prescription opioids to cannabis to treat their medical condition. The campaign will also be activated online with videos and a #NOpioid and #NObituary hashtag. Cresco Labs will also be launching similar efforts in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that states with accessible medical cannabis programs saw 3.7 million fewer daily doses of opioids filled and an overall 6% lower rate of opioid prescribing.
The Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program allows for the recommendation of cannabis to be used in the treatment of over 40 medical conditions.  The Alternative to Opioids Act that was signed in to Illinois law makes the program more accessible by eliminating mandatory finger printing, criminal background checks and provides patients with a doctor's authorization provisional permission to purchase cannabis while the state is reviewing their application.