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Colorado Introduces First Marijuana Vending Machine

The future of cannabis may come in the form of automated vending machines as the industry continues to try and improve the buying experience for customers.


With Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology starting to infiltrate more and more aspects of daily human life, the cannabis industry is beginning to dip its toe into the deeper end of the high-tech pool to meet consumers' needs better. As first reported by High Times, a Colorado marijuana company is introducing the first completely automated vending machine to age-verify, label and dispense products to customers.


Boulder-based Terrapin has installed its first ACE (Automated Cannabis Experience) vending machine at its Aurora Terrapin Care Station location. The ACE machine removes any need for human interaction. Instead, customers scan their ID to provide age verification and follow easy-to-understand instructions on the screen pad to purchase and pay. They even see their products bagged and labeled via a 38 x 30-inch viewing window.


In an interview with 9News, Terrapin CEO Chris Woods says, "ACE not only improves sales but also provides unique benefits to consumers, including faster checkouts, expanded education, and the ability to engage in multiple languages. As the cannabis industry evolves, companies must pivot to meet changing consumer preferences and demands. ACE offers a genuinely game-changing way for consumers to purchase cannabis."


"ACE not only improves sales but also provides unique benefits to consumers, including faster checkouts, expanded education, and the ability to engage in multiple languages. As the cannabis industry evolves, companies must pivot to meet changing consumer preferences and demands. ACE offers a genuinely game-changing way for consumers to purchase cannabis."

- Terrapin CEO Chris Woods


The machines live-label each product and allow for programming in multiple languages. They also include other advantageous features like the human-less "triple check" to verify that only adults aged 21 and over can purchase marijuana products. In addition, ACE helps increase sales efficiency by providing faster checkouts and allowing budtenders to spend extra time with customers requiring more detailed assistance.


Another impressive aspect of the ACE machine is its capacity. Depending on package size, one vending machine can store up to 1,152 cannabis products. In essence, each machine is a mini dispensary.


Terrapin developed the new machines in partnership with BMC Universal Technologies and unveiled them at MJBizCon 2022 this past summer. The Aurora store location will serve as a litmus test to evaluate how well the new machine meets customers' needs. If all goes well, the plan will be to install more ACE machines at Terrapin's other five locations in Colorado.


In a statement regarding the collaboration, Robert Schwarzli, BMC Universal Technologies' President, said, "ACE is the first vending solution on the market that requires zero human assistance, truly transforming how people shop for cannabis products. While ACE is a first for the cannabis sector, we've brought dozens of other one-of-a-kind projects across myriad other industries to life—and are excited about the future of cannabis retail."


"ACE is the first vending solution on the market that requires zero human assistance, truly transforming how people shop for cannabis products. While ACE is a first for the cannabis sector, we've brought dozens of other one-of-a-kind projects across myriad other industries to life—and are excited about the future of cannabis retail."

- Robert Schwarzli, President, BMC Universal Technologies


While the idea of zero human assistance, particularly in the case of cannabis sales, is somewhat controversial, Terrapin's careful approach through the measured introduction of their new ACE machines is being received with cautious optimism by those in charge of public health and safety.


As Trevor Vaughn, Manager of Licensing for the city of Aurora, shares, "Our highest priority is public safety, and Terrapin acknowledges this with their implementation of this retail option by adding an automated layer of safeguards to human verification to ensure that only those legally allowed to consume cannabis are purchasing those products."


"Our highest priority is public safety, and Terrapin acknowledges this with their implementation of this retail option by adding an automated layer of safeguards to human verification to ensure that only those legally allowed to consume cannabis are purchasing those products."

- Trevor Vaughn, Manager of Licensing for the city of Aurora


Always at the forefront of innovation and transformation in the recreational marijuana sector, Colorado cannabis companies like Terrapin continue to push for the normalization of marijuana in American life. These new remarkable vending machines are just another example of the ever-evolving nature and imagination that typifies the potential economic and cultural impact of the expanding American cannabis industry.


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