It’s a pot smoker’s dream and an opponent’s worst nightmare. That’s right, the marijuana vending machine could soon be coming to a location near you.
Vending machines serve almost everything imaginable: candy, soda, past-due milk and gas-station-quality lunch products, to name just a few. But weed? Thanks to Dispense Labs of Aliso Viejo, it could soon be stocked behind glass in rotating compartments.
Joe DeRobbio, founder of Dispense Labs, took a design his company uses on industrial tools and instead built a marijuana vending machine with it. And he has an investor who is making the plan a reality.
Endexx Corp., a publicly traded firm from Cave Creek, Ariz., bought Dispense Labs in late July. Endexx owns another marijuana vending company, CannCan, that it bought in April. Together the two producers could supply machines to medical marijuana dispensaries across the country.
The machines built by Dispense Labs use a system known as AutoSpense. It works by using thumb print scanners and card readers to identify medical marijuana patients. Once identified, a customer would select product from a touchscreen menu. There are nearly 800 compartments to choose from.
Software in the machines keeps track of what a customer buys, when and how much. Dispensaries can use this data to make sure they obey sales laws.
The machines are protected by additional security features, including a steel cage. They are designed primarily for use by medical pot dispensaries, though they may also be used in Colorado and Washington, the two states that have legalized marijuana for recreational as well as medical use.
DeRobbio told the Orange County Register he has only a few machines built so far but has orders coming in from several western states, including California, Colorado, Washington and Arizona. Endexx aims to become a major provider of medical marijuana technology and “one of the key companies in the sustainability and growth of the medical marijuana industry,” according to a company press release.
It isn’t clear yet how various governments will react to the weed vending machine. Localities across California have already banned dispensaries and would be likely to try to prohibit the machines as well. State laws don’t specifically address the possibility of vending machines, but that doesn’t mean those laws can’t be used to stop them.
Any kind of cannabis sale is still illegal under federal law, and it remains to be seen how federal law enforcement will treat the machines. But Endexx CEO Todd Davis said he wants his company to be ready in case the legal status of pot changes at the federal level.