With many companies going online in order to cater for the increased demand for online ordering with some offering additional curbside pickup due to the pandemic, one company in Colorado is making sure people can also purchase their cannabis without fear of getting infected with COVID-19.
Anna, a company founded by Matt Frost, who is also the CEO, makes vending machines designed to fill and take marijuana product orders.
The first vending machine debuted at the Strawberry Fields dispensary, located in central Pueblo. Consumers now have the option of purchasing edibles, vape oils, and flower, all without any interaction with a budtender. Later this year, a second vending machine will be installed in the Starbuds dispensary located in Aurora.
This concept was originally developed by Frost, who has a background in healthcare data analytics to adapt the efficiency of a market self-serve system to the cannabis industry. In his home state, Massachusetts, waits in dispensaries range from a few minutes to a few hours with some shops recommending that customers pre-order online then schedule pick-up times for ease of purchase.
Vending machines offer an added advantage to cannabis consumers who have no need to speak to a budtender as they already know what they want. This opens up more time for customers who may have questions and need to interact with a budtender for help and enquiries.
There are four vending machines set up in Strawberry Fields. To access them, consumers are required to display identification in order to check in to use them. Each vending machine shows a digital form of the menu on the 27-inch touch screen where customers can stock up on their purchases virtually. The system also offers the option to pay using cash or a debit card. The machine, dubbed Anna, then dispenses the goods, providing a grab-and-go experience.
The Anna app by the same company, will be launched and may be used if consumers wish to pre-order then check out using the vending machine. For now though, only weed is stocked in these vending machines so you’ll have to find another substitute for when the munchies hit.
Frost has his eye set on the cannabidiol market, with the hopes of putting up Anna machines that sell non-psychoactive cannabis products in retail stores and gas stations in the near future. He also hints at a very lucrative partnership with a company that has significant CBD distribution opportunities. He states that the release is scheduled for fall. If you asked sector players like The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (CSE: WTER) (NASDAQ: WTER) if they thought 2020 would be the year cannabis starts being dispensed by vending machines, it is likely that none of them would have expected this to happen so soon, a sign of how fast the industry is becoming mainstream.
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