High-tech marijuana vending machines coming to Vancouver

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Vancouver-headquartered Kaneh Bosm (KBB-CNSX) will take delivery of two marijuana vending machines in late April 2015.

“The BioCanna ADM is similar to the Best Buy kiosks that you see in airports,” explains Kaneh Bosm President and Director Michael Martinz. “They have back-end functionality that provides oversight to the machine operator as well as regulators.”

The ADM will screen out people under the age of 19, and verify that they are registered users – and it can also set daily maximums. After delivery, KBB will take a few days to install the software, test the machines and load up the inventory.

There are over 2,000 of these specialised vending machines in operation in pharmaceutical markets across Western European. They are retro-fitted for the marijuana market.

“The vending machine allows transactional overview and for the customer, the transaction is a lot quicker and it opens the possibility of making the purchase in a more standard retail environment, like a pharmacy,” explains Martinz.

Kaneh Bosm chose Vancouver to run this pilot project because there is already a mature commercial marijuana market here. Vancouver currently has about 80 medical marijuana dispensaries.

Scientists working at the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions have discovered that endocannabinoids are helpful in treating depression resulting from chronic stress. In a study on stress-induced rats, researchers found that endocannabinoids were linked to reduced feelings of anxiety, increases in appetite and a feeling of contentment.

“This is a very important field of study because stress causes disease, and anything that is going to reduce it is going to lead to a healthier population,” Martinz says.

The marijuana vending machines also give value to customers who don’t want their product handled by multiple employees. “If you have a compromised or weakened immune system, you obviously do not want exposure to pathogens,” states Martinz. Exposure to air degrades the quality of the marijuana and exposes it to bacterial viruses. Vending machines offer a climate controlled environment that preserves the quality of the product.

Marijuana vending machines have already been tested in the Vancouver market. Last summer, the BC Pain Society (BCPS) installed a vending machine and had to immediately upgrade it to a “quadruple size wheelchair friendly vending machine.” Following the installation of the machine the BCPS received 100 new member applications per week.

Vancouver marijuana dispensaries are currently doing a lot of cash transactions – which creates a vulnerability to theft. Kaneh Bosm’s vending machine accepts credit card payments. Also, where regulations permit, it can provide 24/7 functionality. “We think these vending machines will provide good value to the Vancouver public, while radically lowering labour costs for the dispensing of marijuana,” stated Martinz.

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