Colorado Rolls Out State-of-the-Art Medical Marijuana Vending Machines


26th May 2014

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

With all the astounding therapeutic benefits of cannabis, and its subsequent legalization in a number of states, it was only a matter of time before a resourceful entrepreneur seized the opportunity to create a technologically advanced (and secure) way to obtain medicinal marijuana. And this is exactly what manufacturer American Green has done. Unveiled at an event in Avon, Colorado, the ZaZZZ is the first vending machine of its kind that dispenses pot-infused snacks directly to consumers.

Eliminating the middleman

Climate-controlled to keep the cannabis fresh, and using biometrics to verify identity and age, the ZaZZZ is geared for registered marijuana patients. Stephen Shearin of American Green explains during an interview with Denver blogger The Cannabist:

“We imagine it filling the needs based on the dispensary and their client needs/wants ultimately, but for now, I see someone who knows what they want approaching the machine, purchasing and departing — all within regulatory guidelines, but without the counter lines. Great for shy folk as well. Swipe ID and get verified. Select products and pay. Retrieve products and depart using appropriate bagging solution. … It uses the same technology that checks age/ID fraud under the Control Meth Act. Your identity is confirmed against active biometrics. The machine on display will not be taking medical cards, but we are prepared to integrate.”

It will be licensed to stores and will serve a need, similar to an automated checkout line in a grocery store. The first model is designed for selling snacks and other items at Herbal Elements dispensary in Eagle-Vail, Colorado. That is, after the company is sure that all regulations have been met.

Herbal Elements owner Greg Honan notes that the machine will eliminate the middleman and help dispensary owners reduce employee theft. According to Denver’s Fox 31, Honan said the snacks will go directly “from our budtender, right into the machine. There’s no room for theft by patients, by employees — there’s no way to lose track of the inventory.”

Shearin adds, “I don’t think we’ve dreamed what it can do yet, and that’s the whole point. You start with this and you start making your way into the future. I think this is a great starting point, and we’re excited about it.” He also believes that the ZaZZZ will likely boost business too, solely for its “wow factor.”

Granted, there are other marijuana vending machines on the market, like Endexx in Arizona and California’s Medbox, but ZaZZZ is the first completely self-service option not kept behind a counter.

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About the author:

Carolanne Wright

I’m Carolanne — a writer, chef, traveler and enthusiastic advocate for sustainability, organics and joyful living. It’s good to have you here. If you would like to learn more, connect with me at or visit

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