Many of us have fond memories of our youth in which we were allowed to purchase our first item from a vending machine. It could have been a bottle of Coke, bag of chips or candy bar. It may have even been a sandwich or coffee from the hospital. Regardless of the item, vending machines have come a long way. In the late ’80s to early ’90s, I remember entering a pool hall on my military base and coming face to face with a vending machine for beer. Who would have thought such a thing was possible?

Now, here we are at the end of 2021, and not only can we sell an iPhone or buy clothes from those same vending machines, but now you can add marijuana to the list. That is right! While not available everywhere, for obvious legal reasons, these machines started to appear in 2020 thanks in part to the great state of Colorado. Currently, there are both vending machines and kiosks specifically designed to dispense retail grade, climate-controlled marijuana and CBD products as needed. While Covid-19 and social distancing is still necessary, this provides an effective alternative for the knowledgeable user who does not need assistance to purchase their favorite products.

CBD -vs- THC

The major difference between these machines is where they can be placed based on the main components: CBD or THC. 

CBD products can be placed in malls, shopping centers, grocery, and convenience stores, to name a few. However, THC products would be limited to dispensaries or adult-use locations.

Both can carry a wide variety of products, such as flower, edibles, pre-packaged, lotions, etc. Also, both types of machines have ID Scanners or facial recognition software to regulate sales, but if located inside a dispensary or adult-use facility, the ID would be checked at the entrance desk before access to enter and to purchase were allowed.

While brick-and-mortar dispensaries will always be available, this vending machine revolution is predicted to turn over a projected $19 billion (about $58 per person in the US) dollars in 2022. As of this writing, machines are currently being used in Colorado, California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Oregon. With the possibility of many other states going legal, it is not a hard push to see this trend go global in a noticeably brief time.