The Vending Machine has Gatorade, Twinkies and… Weed?

February 21, 2023

Noelle Harling, SVP – 02/17/2023

Imagine your surprise when you’re feeling a little peck-ish and head to your local vending machine only to find… weed! Yes, that’s right, Terrapin Care Station dispensary in Aurora, Colorado, has debuted the first Automated Cannabis Experience (ACE for short) machine.

Okay, so you’re not going to find these vending machines popping up at your local laundromat or bowling alley anytime soon, but if you’re in Colorado, you may start seeing them in other Terrapin Care Station dispensaries in the not-so-distant future. Terrapin Care Station plans to eventually install ACE machines in its five other dispensaries with a long-term goal of selling the technology to other struggling retailers throughout the state and country.

If talking to a bud tender makes you a little uncomfortable, the ACE machine allows you to scan your ID and make your selections via a touchscreen. You can then watch through a 38-by-30 inch glass window while the ACE grabs, bags, seals, and places a purchase sticker on your order before dispensing it like a Twix Bar.

Not only does ACE provide anonymity to users, but it’s expected to help the dispensary deal with a common HR challenge – staffing. Bud tenders are available to assist ACE users if they have questions, but the design of the ACE machine makes the autonomous purchase process completely compliant with Colorado cannabis sales laws without a salesperson manually tracking and tagging the sale. That’s a game changer.

While we don’t expect to see employers installing ACE machines in their breakrooms, this is something to keep an eye on. Cannabis is the most used federally illegal drug in the United States. A study published in August 2022* revealed that more than 141 million Americans live in a state with recreationally legal cannabis and cannabis use in states where recreational use is legal has increased by about 20% since 2014.

*Impacts of recreational cannabis legalization on cannabis use: a longitudinal discordant twin study first published 24, August 2022. Study funding information: National Institutes of Health Grants, Grant/Award Numbers: DA038065, DA012845, DA011015, DA035804, DA032555, DA037904, AA023974, DA036216, DA013240, DA005147, MH066140, AA009367, DA046413, DA042755; National Institute on Drug Abuse

Frasco® Profiles is NOT a law firm. The information contained in this post is for general informational purposes only. We are not providing legal advice and strongly recommend consulting with your legal resources before taking any action.

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