Photo: See the ZaZZZ marijuana vending machine -- and others it's beating to Colorado

Is a device dubbed ZaZZZ a new convenience for medical marijuana patients? An attention-getting gimmick? Or a little bit of both?

We'll soon find out. ZaZZZ, a vending machine designed to dispense medical marijuana, is only weeks away from debuting at a shop in Avon -- and about a year after such items were the subject of coming-soon hype.

As we reported in June 2013, the concept has been around for a while. 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....

...as well as another MMJ vending machine from a Phoenix company, Endexx: However, neither of these machines will be installed at Herbal Elements, based in Avon. Instead, the store is slated to be the first dispensary in the state with its very own ZaZZZ. According to the Vail Daily, this honor comes as a result of a partnership with a company called Tranzbyte, which developed the contraption.

No, the machine won't allow customers to skirt state requirements to provide proper identification prior to purchase. Far from it.

According to the paper, a buyer must first have his or her ID and red card checked by an employee at the shop. Then, the ZaZZZ will check it again before a purchase can be made.

Here's a full-size look at the item, courtesy of Tranzbyte.

Despite the second check, Herbal Elements owner Greg Honan thinks the ZaZZZ will help shop employees serve customers more efficiently, even as it frees up floor space, provides storage for stock and prevents crime. Stealing the ZaZZZ won't be easy, given that it weighs around 1,000 pounds.

The ZaZZZ is expected to be installed and fully operational within a few weeks. But its already paying off in terms of publicity, as evidenced by the following 9News report:

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa June 2013: "Marijuana vending machines coming to a recreational pot shop near you?"

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