Is This Biometric Pot Vending Machine “the Future of Marijuana in Colorado?”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 14 2014 7:06 PM

Biometric Marijuana Vending Machine Unveiled in Colorado

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Soon you may not even need a "budtender" to buy marijuana in Colorado.

Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images

The free market has done wonders for the marijuana entrepreneurial spirit in Colorado. But, could the state position itself as the Silicon Valley of pot? Perhaps. Enter the marijuana vending machine. Developed by a Colorado company, the vending machine called Zazz, debuted in Avon, Colorado on Friday.

The machines aren't operational yet, but that hasn’t stopped some from daydreaming about their disruptive potential on the pot market. “They’re calling it the future of marijuana in Colorado,” Denver’s KDVR muses. “No long lines and no sales person needed.” The Zazz machine looks much like your run-of-the-mill snack machine, except it’s slightly more hi-tech—and doesn’t sell Doritos (although perhaps it should).

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Here’s Stephen Shearin, the CEO of the company that manufactures the machines, on how the buying process works via Denver’s KUSA:

"[Customers] would swipe their driver's license at which point multiple cameras would allow us to use some advanced biometrics to make absolutely certain that the person who swiped the card is the owner of that card," Shearin said. The ZaZZZ machine could contain marijuana, pot edibles, and other pot-related products. But, it will not be located in the open public.

The first machine, which at the moment would only cater to medical marijuana users, is set to be installed at the pot dispensary, Herbal Elements, in Eagle-Vail. “We’re looking forward to using the ZAZZ machine to easily track all this inventory … we’re gonna eliminate the middle man. It’ll go straight from the budtender right into our machine.” Herbal Elements owner Greg Honan told KDVR.

And everyone knows the middleman is a total drag.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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