As Colorado moves forward with implementing Amendment 64, ganjapreneurs are busily trying to figure out ways to cash in on what some are predicting will be a million customers in these parts once the recreational retail system gets rolling. Among the brainstorms: marijuana vending machines. But while Colorado's sophisticated pot users may be fine grabbing Cheetohs from such devices, it remains to be seen whether they'll be willing to do the same when it comes to weed.
The concept is far from brand new. A video below featuring Medbox, arguably the best known manufacturer of the gadgets, dates back to 2011, and over recent years, such vending machines have turned up at medical marijuana dispensaries in a number of states. Here's a look at a Medbox model shared in a recent piece on the topic published by the Huffington Post....
...while this one is manufactured by Phoenix-based Endexx:
Even so, the recreational laws passed in Colorado and Washington open up the possibility of an untapped and lucrative market -- at least according to execs at Medbox and Endexx.
Don't expect to see pot vending machines next to Westword racks outside your neighborhood King Soopers anytime soon, though. With even more-or-less pot-friendly communities like Denver looking to put the brakes on rapid cannabis-biz expansion, not to mention concerns about underage people lighting up, there's little chance they'll be installed anywhere other than licensed marijuana retail outlets -- many of which will likely prefer to sell their own stuff directly to consumers rather than cutting in yet another outside vendor.
Moreover, anyone who's ever read a review by medical marijuana critic William Breathes knows that all cannabis isn't created equal. The variations even among the same strains can be enormous, and proud pot nerds wouldn't think of laying down green for green without smelling and physically examining samples for seeds, bugs, trichome coverage and more. And prepackaging pot can negate many of its best qualities even as it recalls the bad old days when future connoisseurs had to make do with Mexican brick weed.
In short, marijuana isn't like a Kit-Kat bar -- the same every time. As such, marijuana vending machines are likely to be more popular in places where that fact isn't as well known as it is in Colorado.
Here's the aforementioned Medbox video.
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More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana revenues in Colorado for 2012: $199 million-plus."