The cannabis vending machine is revolutionizing the cannabis industry. To use one, you simply select the product you want, insert your money, and have your product dispensed. That’s exactly the experience you will get when you come to the Terrapin Care Station dispensary in Aurora, CO.

Read on to find out how the cannabis vending machine works and the changes it is bringing to the world of weed.

The Cannabis Vending Machine Experience

Terrapin Care Station’s cannabis vending machine was developed by the company alongside BMC Universal Technologies. It was first unveiled at the MJBizCon trade show where it was met with positive feedback.

As of now, consumers must still show their ID to store employees before making a purchase. So, you can’t just walk up to the machine and start using it.

But once you are approved, you have the option to purchase any one of the 1,152 cannabis products stored inside. The machine even has refrigeration allowing for the storage of concentrates, edibles, vapes, and oil cartridges.

Pros and Cons of the Cannabis Vending Machine

The cannabis vending machine is a handy device as it is helpful to the many dispensaries that are dealing with staffing shortages. The machine can take care of simple sales transactions allowing the staff to concentrate on other matters.

However, the machine also poses certain issues.

A similar machine, called Anna, was rolled out in several dispensaries in Colorado in 2020. But one dispensary manager, Ben Tafoya of Star Buds in Aurora, said it did more harm than good.

“Everything has to be accounted for and everything has to be stickered after it’s been purchased to prove there was a legal transaction made, and so someone had to be standing at the vending machine at all times. It was not as successful as we wanted it to be, so it didn’t stick around long. I think we only did a handful of transactions out of it,” Tafoya said.

However, many people see the cannabis vending machine as a sign of positive things to come. Colorado Governor Jared Polis tweeted about it on February 12. And Terrapin Care Station believes the cannabis vending machine could revolutionize the industry.

“It’s not crazy to think in a few years from now- with regulation changes, you might see these at Union Station, or like ATM expresses where you swipe cards to get into the use the ATM,” said spokesperson Peter Marcus.

The Cannabis Vending Machine Situation in Other States

Colorado is not the only state to have a cannabis vending machine. They are legal in Oregon, California, Massachusetts, and Florida. They are allowed near dispensaries that sell recreational and medical weed products.

The Greenstop company launched its first cannabis vending machines in California in 2020. Although the devices were first created to allow customers to access weed quickly, they turned into a good way to keep cannabis sales going during the pandemic. Weed was deemed an essential industry at the time and the vending machines helped customers make contactless transactions.

The Greenstop machine features an interactive display that allows dispensaries to upload their entire menu along with media. Consumers can take their time to read information about the different strains and cannabis types that are stocked. This eliminates the time salespeople would need to discuss products with customers freeing them up to take care of other tasks.

During the pandemic, the machines were outfitted with plexiglass shields to further reduce the spread of germs.

Greenstop execs are expecting to launch a mobile app that allows customers to research and pre-purchase orders from a mobile device.

Cannabis Vending Machine Legalities

Cannabis vending machines are only permitted in certain states. If you have a license to sell cannabis products, you should check with your local government to find out if you can set one up in the location you have in mind.

A cannabis vending machine will only be authorized if the person or organization requesting it is licensed to sell cannabis. However, the machines aren’t only found in front of dispensaries. You may also come across them in malls, gas stations, and outdoor shopping centers.

Even if you have access to a vending machine and are licensed to sell weed, you can’t put your weed in any old machine. You can only put cannabis products in a machine with other cannabis products. That includes CBD. Even though CBD is not psychoactive, that doesn’t mean you can put it in a vending machine with candy or any other non-cannabis product.

Cannabis Vending Machine Costs

A cannabis vending machine will cost a pretty penny. Used models cost $1200 to $3000 while a new one typically runs $3000 to $10,000. And you can expect to pay in the upper ranges if you are thinking of equipping your vending machine with refrigeration to keep your products safe.

In the future, it is expected that the machines will be equipped with technology to check the IDs of people that buy the products. This will be done with scanning technology or facial recognition. While this will make the buying process easier for dispensary staff members and consumers, it will also further increase costs.

Cannabis vending machines are handy devices. With the weed market growing in leaps and bounds, you can expect to see more of these babies on the streets in the next few years. Hopefully, they will hold many advantages for dispensaries and consumers as time goes on.