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The state of weed vending machines in 2024

Weed products inside vending machines

Last updated on May 22nd, 2024 at 01:26 pm

The concept of a cannabis vending machine has been a popular one for many years, due to its efficiency, and ability to add a new revenue stream to dispensaries without large additional startup costs. Gone are the days of old vending machines where you press B3 in order to get a bag of chips. Now, these vending machines are large, elaborate units with interactive touch screens that offer an endless array of product options, among those are cannabis, tobacco, and alcohol.

What are weed vending machines?

These sophisticated pieces of equipment combine the classic vending machine with modern technology to create something truly unique. The weed vending machine features a fully interactive touch screen display that displays the product options housed inside. Inside the machine itself, the inserts are completely customized and molded to the specific products being sold. While that is already an impressive improvement from the old school vending machines we all grew up on, the checkout process is what makes these weed vending machines truly unique.

How do weed vending machines work?

The checkout process combines various technologies to ensure a seamless and secure experience while ensuring compliance for your business. As you well know, the regulations around cannabis are strict, and failure to meet those regulations result in hefty fines. This is why the checkout process has a built-in age verification process that begins with the simple insertion of your ID. Once the ID is inserted, the scanner will run a series of light checks on the ID known as ID authentication. Those checks are then compared against a known database for security features via our VeriScan software.

While this is happening, the machine will then walk the user through face matching and liveness checks to ensure the person inserting the ID is the same person on the ID. While this might sound like a lot of steps, the entire process runs simultaneously and is done in 30 seconds or less.

Benefits of weed vending machines

While the benefits of weed vending machines and unattended retail in general seem to be endless here are some of the top ones:

  • Reduce wait times for customers during peak hours
  • Serve customers outside of normal business hours
  • Reduce staffing needs
  • Reduced up front costs

Are weed vending machines legal?

As with most things cannabis related, the legality depends entirely on what state you’re in. While it is legal in some states with minimal regulations, other states have much stricter regulations surrounding unattended retail.

States where weeding vending machines are legal

  • California
    • Available in select dispensaries but must comply with state and local ordinances.
  • Colorado
    • Must be inside the store, reasonably monitored, and in compliance with rules set forth by the Marijuana Enforcement Division.
  • Florida
    • Must have an MMTC license, obtain state and local approval for vending machine location, and ensure seed-to-sale tracking.
  • Massachusetts
    • It looks like vending machines were set to be implemented in the state in 2021, however, upon further investigation it seems like the “vending machines” are more of self checkout options. 
  • Oregon
    • Available only on premises where persons under 21 years of age are not allowed.
  • Texas
    • Available in select dispensaries and must comply with strict state regulations.

*Please note, the above states do not include states where CBD, tobacco, or alcohol vending machines are legal. This is strictly representative of cannabis.

Examples in the field

Released in late 2023, ZAR BOX was released in Texas. This fully ADA compliant weed vending machine was the first cannabis dispensing machine to be deployed with AI facial recognition technology. It is also important to note that this process extends beyond mere ID authentication to encompass the intricate realm of compliance with local and federal regulations.

ZAR BOX automated cannabis dispensary machine

Another recent example is the Terrapin Automated Cannabis Experience (ACE). While not exactly the same as the ZAR BOX, due to the type of scanner they used, it is still a good example of how advanced these weed vending machines have become.

Terrapin Care Station's weed vending machine

Compliance and PII

Compliance and PII are both important factors to consider when looking to purchase a weed vending machine. Be sure to check your state’s specific laws when it comes to data storage and retention. That being said, our VeriScan platform allows for customization on what data is collected and how long it is stored. It can just collect name and DOB, or it can collect all the information available in the barcode of an ID. It can also just read and verify the ID without collecting any information at all. The length of time PII and other sensitive data can also be customized to fit your state’s specific needs.

Conclusion

The legality of weed vending machines is an ever-changing landscape. New legislation is being passed all the time, and as it does, we ensure our solutions remain compliant. Our team is always happy to help should you have any questions on how to get a weed vending machine set up in your dispensary.