Smart Marijuana Vending Machines: A Peek into the Near Future


marijuana_vending_machineThe 21st century has brought us a number of high tech gadgets from smart phones, smart TV’s, smart cars that run without human interaction, and smart refrigerators to now smart vending machines. The American consumer can now purchase snacks, cigarettes, soda, beer, and weed all contained within a single machine.

Marijuana is quickly becoming mainstream, and the public is beginning to witness a wide variety of innovative advancements that are revolutionizing how we procure our pot. Not long ago we were forced to slink through dark alleys on the down low to get our hands on a dime bag. Now we’re able to walk up, put money into a machine, and pick from an assortment of your favorite strains.

The prices are about the same, and the quality is far superior to anything your old “dope man” used to sell you. For $20 you can pick up an eighth and $50 will buy a half-ounce. You’ll be able to buy edibles too.

Seattle was the first city in the U.S. to allow vending machines that dispensed weed in 2015. The slick touch screens, coupled with information about cannabis strains and even games have made the machines a huge hit. These pot producing machines have opened a whole new realm of opportunities for the cannabis consumer.

Imagine it, you can buy everything from edibles to strains to hash oils to bowls to rolling papers. While the machines have been around for a while in states that have approved marijuana, the technology that supports them might make this next generation unique appliance a common sight.

Of course, these vending machines can determine whether you are of age to purchase pot and other age restricted items. One vending machine created by a company called American Green is biometric and is able to confirm a buyer’s age through fingerprint identification. Other models require a medical marijuana card and a driver’s license.

Like most contraptions in today’s world, it all begins with an app. Potential customers will need to create a profile and log into the machine. The QR Code (Quick Response Code) will then be generated that will allow the individual to make a purchase at the vending machines.

Although the technology has been available for some time, companies that make the vending machines had to wait for the right time to introduce their app-based security programs to the machines. Since consumers are already accustomed to apps, there will be quick adaptability.

Touchscreen_Vending_Machine_lbHowever, it may go well beyond cannabis. Conceptually, the vending machines can also be used in casinos to disburse chips, pharmaceutical companies to sell controlled substances, alcoholic beverages, and even fire arms. It also allows many to avoid the face-to-face transaction reducing the likelihood of bumping into your bishop, teacher, or even your boss.

Now, hold your horses before you start imaging one of these fantastic creations in your dorm or outside the grocery store. They won’t dispense your favorite edibles, drinkables, bongs, pipes, or every form of cannabis just because you have the correct change. Right now, most are aimed at the medical marijuana user. It can be licensed for dispensaries. In this case, it is designed to be a self-serve checkout much like most grocery stores today.

So the cannabis user will ideally be able to buy weed, a beer, and pack of rolling papers in Denver on Monday and get a shot of bourbon, a half ounce and a bong in Portland on Tuesday using the same app containing their account information. It represents a giant leap forward in the area of automated sales and smart retail of regulated products.

There are concerns over security, however. Here’s this vending machine with thousands of dollars in every plausible grown up place. It makes for an extremely enticing target for criminals. Therefore, they would need to be placed in well lit, heavily trafficked, safe locations where thieves won’t have time to whip out power tools to break in.

In addition to American Green, there are other major players in the marijuana vending distribution business. An Arizona based company called M3Hub and another out based in Los Angeles by the name of Medbox are primed to provide some healthy competition. These smart vending machines reportedly sell in the $50,000 range.

This new technology will benefit dispensaries by easing the tedious task of record keeping. Also, it encourages a high level of interactivity which among customers. This will provide the business with a great deal of high-quality consumer data. Beyond that, the vending machines are designed for gamification. By turning the buying experience into a game-like experience businesses will be able to improve their business performance by better understanding consumer behavior.

Therefore, companies that are early adopters of this new technology will be ahead of the curve when it comes to offering options to their customers and better their chances of long term success in the marijuana vending machine market.


Article By: Alfonzo Porter