vending machineUp in Seattle, Washington, a particular medical marijuana dispensary called Seattle Caregivers has unveiled a new and trendy feature: a marijuana vending machine. The machine is called a ZaZZZ machine, and it’s produced by a company called American Green. The president of American Green says he based the idea on cigarette vending machines. These vending machines have already been deployed in Colorado, and American Green has plans to expand along with the frontlines of marijuana legalization.

The machines are temperature-controlled and contain different kinds of marijuana for smoking and eating, along with marijuana merchandise. For safety purposes, the machines are set up to check ID and verify the age and identity of the user before dispensing any product. However, this doesn’t mean that the vending machines are a good idea.


1) Having a vending machine is ridiculous when marijuana laws require a person to be present anyway. At a marijuana dispensary, someone is required to check the customers’ ID before allowing them access to the store. Even in states with full legalization of recreational marijuana use, it’s safe to assume that it will never be cleared for use by all ages with no restrictions. There’s no substitute for a live human being verifying the age of the customers involved. If human interaction is already required, why put the marijuana into a vending machine? Perhaps, like self-checkout lines at the grocery store, they’re catering to the modern American’s desire not to interact with others. But customers could easily take advantage of this fact.

2) Who says the purchaser is buying for him or herself?? In states with legalization of marijuana only for medical purposes, there has already been a thriving black market of traded, sold or borrowed medical marijuana IDs, doctors providing them with much more leniency than the law intended, and other methods for eager users to get their hands on the drug.

With a vending machine as the sale point rather than a human, who’s to say how much a buyer is going to load up on and then carry out onto the streets? The person checking IDs at the door of the dispensary may become complacent once the customer is inside the dispensary. After all, it’s safe to assume that someone in the business of selling marijuana isn’t overly concerned about whether it’s dangerous. Just like some people buy alcohol for underage users, this would be a very easy way to procure marijuana for them.

3) Marijuana vending machines make this drug, which is already surging in popularity nationally thanks to all the legalization efforts, even more eye-catching. Vending machines are used for casual treats like soda, candy bars or bags of chips. Putting marijuana on par with these incorrectly minimizes the additional health risks associated with marijuana use.

4) There is an increased risk of burglary. Marijuana dispensaries are usually cash-based businesses, which makes them already a popular target for robbery. Adding a giant box full of marijuana blends and marijuana-infused snacks (with money stored inside as well) increases the appeal of a dispensary as a robbery site.

5) Part of the purpose for legalizing marijuana was to bring it under government regulation and control. Per this reasoning, marijuana should be about as regulated as cigarettes (since they’re both controlled substances for adults to smoke). In 2010, the FDA issued additional regulations on selling cigarettes: they can only be sold face-to-face. They can’t be sold in packs of fewer than 20. They can’t be sampled, and if the buyer appears to be younger than 27 they must be carded.  Comparing that with “Buy it from a vending machine” for marijuana, it’s nowhere near a fair regulation level.

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