Do not expect to see vending machines offering marijuana products being introduced outside your local Colorado grocery store anytime soon. The first pot vending machine has made an appearance though in the small town of Avon, Colorado and will be available for use soon.
The biggest concern regarding a vending machine is to keep the marijuana products out of the hands of minors. Stephen Shearin, a parent of a 12-year old, was concerned of that potential issue. Shearin is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Tempe, Arizona based Tranzbyte Corporation. A subsidiary of Tranzbyte, American Green, may have come up with the answer for parents worries over a marijuana vending machine selling to children.
American Green developed something called the YO! Debit Card, which was intended to be used by individuals over 21 years of age to purchase pot products from age restricted vending machines. The company seems to have abandoned the YO! Debit Card and focused on a new technology to make the purchase of marijuana products more secure, if not impossible for anyone under age to buy.
On Saturday at Montana’s Smokehouse Barbecue restaurant in the town of Avon the first of the marijuana vending machines in Colorado was displayed. The machine, called Zazzz, is very impressive. The technology to keep under-aged customers from buying from the vending machine starts with the user swiping their driver’s license. Once the license is swiped, a series of cameras scans to user to verify the picture in the driver’s license database matches the person who is using the machine. This biometric like technology should be a big step in keeping the marijuana products dispensed by the vending machine out of the wrong hands.
Beyond the technology used to sell the products in the machines, Zazzz is a pretty impressive unit. Zazzz is climate controlled to keep the products fresh. The machine is designed to offer marijuana edibles like brownies and drinks. And while the machines seem to be pretty well secure from selling pot infused products to minors, the first machine will not be open to the public.
The Zazzz is currently planned to only be used in medicinal marijuana dispensaries. The first location will be the Eagle-Vail, CO medical marijuana dispensary Herbal Elements. The products in the Zazzz will be made by the store. These products inside the machine will be tracked by RF chips. This would potentially make it difficult for someone who may have actually bypassed the high security purchase procedures to stay in possession of the product too long.
The Zazzz marijuana vending machines in this small Colorado dispensary is just a start. It could end up in recreational dispensaries in the future and really help make sure that the products being sold go to the right people and not to minors. You will not see one of these machines next to the soda machines or candy vending machines as you walk out of Wal-Mart. However, when the laws evolve over time allowing the placement of Zazzz machines in more public locations, the devices are sure to have even higher security features to keep the product safe and in the right hands.
By Carl Auer