The Baltimore City Council will wait until Sept. 9 to see if
ecoATM, the maker of reverse cellphone vending machines, will be able to comply
with the same rules as pawn shops before moving ahead with legislation to ban
Councilman Bill Henry introduced a bill banning the machines, but said he will wait to see if San Diego-based ecoATM will be able to assuage the Baltimore Police Department’s concerns about the machines following a committee hearing on the bill Tuesday.
"If [ecoATM] can convince the police department that these things are just as well regulated as any second hand good store, yeah, I’ve got no problem with that. Then the hard parts is that then we have to go try and sell that bill to Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County where, frankly, the machines actually are," Henry said.
He said he introduced the bill because police officers were complaining about the machines to community leaders in his district.
“There’s always the possibility that by Sept. 9 they don’t come up with something, in which case that tells me, it isn’t going to be easy for these machines to actually match second hand good requirements, and if that’s the case we’re better off not having them at all.”
Although it may not be ecoATM the city is dealing with this fall. The company was purchased by Outerwall, formerly known as Coinstar, for $350 million cash, according to Gigaom.
The city bill banning the machines received a serious setback last week when David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, decided not to introduce a bill banning the machines in Baltimore County. Marks said that he decided not to introduce the bill after county law enforcement officials told him the machines were not an issue.
Henry has expressed concerns that a bill banning the machines will not work unless nearby counties do the same.
Senior Field Editor Bryan P. Sears contributed to this story.