Is America ready for marijuana vending machines?

Posted at 6:31 AM, Nov 14, 2014

The legalization of recreational marijuana in four states and Washington, D.C., has opened the door to a slew of enterprising businesses such as marijuana food trucks, cannabis cooking classes and potentially….pot vending machines.

Bio-tech company Kaneh Bosm is working to bring Automated Dispensary Machines—or ADMs—to the U.S. and Canada. The company’s plan is to fix what it says are some noticeable issues plaguing the current marijuana dispensary industry—such as disappearing inventory, improper handling of the product and loss of the cash-only profits.

“It’s such a simple elegant solution to dispensing this product,” said Michael Martinz president of the company. “In a nut shell dispensers are very similar to a deli. There are a lot of products open behind and in front of the counter. There’s a cleanliness issue there as well as a loss issue. If it’s sitting there open, it’s drying out, the product is losing weight and it’s getting oxidized.”

He says the ADMs can fix all of these problems as well as provide convenience for customers on the go. 

Think of them as tricked-out vending machines that can hold multiple cannabis varietals, edibles and other products such as THC spray. Kaneh Bosm does not build the ADMs but distributes them through a manufacturer in Europe.

If introduced in North America, buyers will be able to scan their IDs into the machines to prove they are of legal purchasing age and then choose the product they want from an LED screen. Some specialty machines will be equipped with Wi-Fi and GPS locating technology, so customers with apps can find the nearest location. All the machines will have special climate control options to ensure that cannabis is kept in prime conditions.

In addition to their practicality, Martinz hopes the machines could give customers peace of mind.

“From a medical side—particularly suffers with AIDS who have a compromised immune system—it’s a big deal for them to have other people handling their product,” he said.

The sealed, pre-weighed products in the ADMs would get rid of that problem.

An ADM will cost $40,000, but Kaneh Bosm is planning to offer leasing agreements to dispensaries that will run about $2,000 a month, depending on the chosen bells and whistles.

The ADMs might seem like a big upfront expense, but, Martinz says, they will save businesses in the long run. First they can replace traditional employees who have to hand-measure orders. And second they could potentially run 24/7 depending on local regulations. That money, he says, could add up.

“If the machine sells 1 lb per day—and they do that 360 days a year, that’s 1.6 million in gross revenues just out of the machine,” Martinz said.

Kaneh Bosm is not the first company to market marijuana vending machines. In 2010, entrepreneur Vincent Mehdizadeh patented a product in California called Medbox.

While the product is not yet available for public use, Mehdizadeh told Adweek in July it is being used behind the counter as a secure safe by dispensaries. Mehdizadeh said he won’t offer Medbox as customer-facing product until “social sentiment catches up to us.”

Kaneh Bosm on the other hand, is moving full speed ahead.The company just started to rollout its trial ADMs in Canada. It has yet to offer any systems in the United States but is currently fielding interest.

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