Buying weed at a vending machine… It definitely sounds like a stoner fantasy but sure, why not? Considering vending machines are already selling cupcakes, gadgets, alcohol, underwear, gold, and who knows what else, might as well add cannabis to the list.
Believe it or not, pot-selling vending machines already do exist, although they’re not very mainstream yet. So far, only one company has cornered this market, Phoenix-based American Green. Their first machine made its initial appearance back in 2015 at a dispensary in Seattle, but even though it operated like a standard vending machine, an employee was still required to verify ID’s before anyone could make a purchase.
But American Green’s newly improved vending machine eliminates the need for human contact altogether. Now, customers will set up an account using their Photo ID and a doctor’s recommendation if they’re a medical patient. Then, each time consumers visit the vending machine, it will simply scan their fingerprint for verification and then they can shop away. This process is referred to as biometric verification.
According to Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, “The technology should make individuals who need it more comfortable because it would presumably rule out the possibility buyers would run into their pastor or kindergarten teacher, or anyone else they know.”
American Green is mostly targeting the recreational cannabis industry, although this technology will be available in some medical settings as well. The company’s machine and the app that accompanies it are still in demo mode, but the company got rave reviews when they debuted their products at the NAMA OneShow 2017 Convention in Las Vegas last month.
Weed is not the only thing American Green plans on selling at their futuristic vending machines; they also hope to one day sell pharmaceuticals, guns, casino chips, and many other age-restricted toys. American Green envisions a future where buying adult-only goodies at vending machines is commonplace.
This technology would certainly be practical, and come on, who among hasn’t wished they could buy a dub and papers, along with their wild berry skittles, hot cheetos, and sprite at one convenient location? The thought might have crossed my mind once or twice. Regardless of how fun that sounds, some legitimate concerns have been circulating.
Customers are skeptical because they’re worried what could happen if their information is leaked. These machines will have some pretty sensitive information stored in the database such as full names, phone numbers, age, and more. A lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea of their personal information being connected to these controversial products.
Many are also worried about how the advancement of technology could affect the job stability of actual humans. With large chains like McDonald’s and Jack in the Box already employing automated, self-ordering kiosks, some believe that robots and artificial intelligence will one day destroy the entry-level job market. But humans are very adaptable creatures with the potential to be very progressive, as technology advances, so will we.
As it stands, these weed-only, fingerprint vending machines should be available by early next year. And hopefully soon after, they’ll be adding some snacks and paraphernalia to their inventory.