Need This New Innovation? Marijuana Vending Machine

As of January first the state of Colorado is either going to pot or up in smoke. Maybe both! The state had already made history by becoming one of the first two states to legalize the medical use of medical marijuana. As of the Autospense by Dispense LabsAutospense by Dispense LabsNew Year the state became the first to legalize the drug for recreational use. Within days the marijuana dispensaries faced shortages and sold out. It may be time for a new distribution system for this hot (or pot) commodity -- vending machines.

Although the idea of marijuana vending machines has been around for several years, they were facing a major uphill battle  When the states of Colorado and Washington legalized the use of pot for medical use things started looking up for the fledgling industry. There are still a host of issues they face, not the least of which is that federal laws still prohibit the use of marijuana, medical or otherwise.

Some machines are designed to just deliver uniform packets of weed. Others offer a variety of marijuana products from joints and eighths to pot-infused baked goods. You won't be finding these machines alongside the soda machine at work. They are designed for secure access.

Some machines, like those offered by Medbox, will be located in dispensaries and accessed only by the employees as a secure deterrent to the theft of the product that is now kept in jars on shelves. Medbox keeps the weed in a darkened, temperature controlled environment to keep it fresh and ensure quality.

MedboxMedboxOthers, like those offered by Dispense Labs, are designed to be secure stand-alone kiosks similar to ATMs. For this type you would need to be pre-approved to be allowed to access both the kiosk and the machine itself (see video). For this machine customers need a key card and the machine uses thumbprint identification technology to ensure that the user of the card is the right person.

A few years ago there were some machines out there for use in dispensaries with general access, but the dispensaries using them pulled back on their usage because of the feeling that consumers just weren't quite ready for that yet. The tide may be turning in states where marijuana is becoming legal, at least for medical use.

This is still an emerging industry like a baby learning to everything will be done in baby steps for a while. You may not be seeing the vending machines right away, but their time is coming. Snack vending machines may be on the upswing as all those people taking a toke get the munchies. Perhaps they should be installed by one another just for convenience -- and a handy bit of cross-selling.

Source: Denver Post