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Marijuana Vending Machines Get Even Smarter

Photo by Don MacKinnon/AFP/Getty Images

It seems that, depending on where you are, you can find almost anything in vending machines: Scantrons in colleges, cigarettes in bars and, hell, even live crabs.

Sure, weed in vending machines has been a thing for a while, provided that you have a valid medical card. What’s much harder to find are age-restricted items—where’s my beer vending machine?

The idea and implementation has always been limited by technology.

But now, American Green is bringing out a biometric vending machine, which uses fingerprint identification to allow you to buy any number of age-restricted items.

American Green introduced the first marijuana vending machine, called the ZaZZZ, into a virtually empty market. The machine required a medical marijuana card and driver’s license and operated primarily in medical states, until it underwent a rebranding to become “The American Green Machine.” The significant thing about these early machines is they only dealt marijuana, making them limited in their overall use.

The new machine, however, opens the door to a wide variety of new items.

Customers will create a profile through the company’s app. When logging in near a machine, a QR code will pop up that allows the customer to use the machine. Though one of the obvious uses is convenient weed (and, being HIGH TIMES, that’s all we think about), the age recognition aspect opens the door to all kinds of adult-level goods.

“A baseball fan could buy a beer at the game in New York and cannabis from a dispensary in California the next day through the same app utilizing their verified account,” said David Gwyther, chairman and acting president at American Green. “This is a huge step forward for smart retail and the automated sale of regulated products.”

Though the technology might have already been there, American Green was waiting for the right time to introduce its app-based security settings to the consumer base.

“The adoption of smart phones, familiarity with apps on those phones and improvement in related vending technologies have now merged with a concept that the public could easily grasp before but are much more prepared to use now,” Gwyther noted.

American Green hopes to eventually have the machines in all legal marijuana states, and depending on the demand of the age-restriction technology, it could be coming soon to a store near you.

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