Cannabis consumers will soon get the opportunity to make their purchase through a cannabis vending machine in select dispensaries in Colorado and Massachusetts. If all goes as expected, these vending machines will be available at dispensaries in other states eventually.
A Boston-based company named anna recently announced that they plan to put self-checkout kiosks for cannabis buyers in two Colorado dispensaries in August. They then plan to deploy more in that state and in Massachusetts in September, with a total of 14 across both states.
“It’s about getting customers through faster with less contact,” anna CEO Matt Frost told Masslive. “A self-checkout solution does lend itself well to these times. There’s a bigger appetite for what we’re doing now.”
How Does a Cannabis Vending Machine Work?
When a customer enters a store, they first are greeted by an “anna agent” who will take their driver’s license and ensure they are of legal age and are who they say they are. The agent then wirelessly unlocks the next available anna machine.
Anna then works just like a cannabis vending machine. Customers can go through the options and choose what to put into their virtual shopping cart. When finished, they request checkout. The agent reviews the purchase items and then requests payment, which customers place directly into the machine.
Once approved, the agent wirelessly dispenses the product from the machine. Anna estimates that most transactions can get done in less than one minute.
Cannabis Vending Machines Already Used in Czech Republic
Another company called CBD Mat has already started using cannabis vending machines in the Czech Republic. They only dispense low-THC products, such as CBD oil, tinctures, cosmetics and edibles. They are in use in Prague, Ostrava, Cheb, Olomouc and the tiny village of Pasohlávky, according to Prague Morning.
The focus for CBD is on providing CBD products for health and wellness. The CBD Mat has plans to expand the number of cannabis vending machines in the Czech Republic to as many as 50 over the rest of the summer and early fall.
The company plans to place the cannabis vending machines in hotels, gyms and airports. Similar machines also became available in Italy earlier this year.
The anna machines may offer CBD products, as well, or whatever products the store wants to promote. Anna designed the machine to accommodate products of different shapes and sizes. It can contain 2,000 products in an eight-square-foot machine.
On the company’s website, Frost said he first decided to investigate the possibility of creating a cannabis vending machine after buying cannabis in 2017 and asking himself, “Where the heck is the self-checkout?”
Frost believes the machine will change how dispensaries interact with customers and bring the marijuana industry in line with modern retail.
“In many traditional retail industries, self-checkout transactions are standard,” Frost said in a press release. “With anna, our stakeholders will see very quickly that prioritizing retail efficiency improves store traffic, and allows associates to spend additional time with more inexperienced customers.”