The governor of Colorado is promoting the state’s first-ever marijuana vending machine, which can package, label and dispense cannabis products to adult consumers—with transactions being completed in as little as 50 seconds.
The Automated Cannabis Experience (ACE) recently launched at one of Terrapin Care Station’s retailers in Aurora. Gov. Jared Polis (D) said in a Twitter post on Sunday that it’s the “first fully automated cannabis kiosk on the market.”
“You still need proof of ID and age to be granted entry,” he stressed, sharing a Denver Post article on the vending machine.
This dispensary in Aurora is the first Cannabis vending machine and the first fully automated cannabis kiosk on the market.
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) February 12, 2023
According to Terrapin, the machine “provides a ‘triple check’ to ensure only those eligible to purchase cannabis are doing so.”
“It is the perfect option for consumers who know exactly what they want to purchase while making life easier for budtenders who can focus on customers who need more attention!” the company said.
It also emphasized that the machine can “be programmed in multiple languages” to reach a broad array of consumers, and argued that it can free up retail staff “to take more time to support shoppers seeking deeper consultation” while more familiar customers utilize the technology.
At the same time, some people responded to Polis’s tweet by expressing concerns that automating the retail experience could ultimately lead to fewer jobs for humans.
In any case, the marijuana vending machines might be new to Colorado, but other state cannabis markets have adopted similar technology, including California where a machine that can serve four consumers at once launched in 2020. The company behind the technology said it was an especially timely innovation at the time amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A New Hampshire lawmaker responded to Polis’s tweet about the vending machine, writing that the technology “is the future New Hampshire deserves” as the legislature works to advance a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state.
This is the future New Hampshire deserves https://t.co/fWo7nqRiNn
— Rep. Jessica Grill (@jessica4nh) February 12, 2023
Polis has been an active supporter of the state’s marijuana industry, issuing pardons for prior cannabis convictions and advocating for federal reform to allow licensed marijuana businesses to access basic financial services available to other traditional markets, for example.
At the same time, he’s joked about wanting other states like Texas to maintain prohibition so that Colorado can reap the tax revenue benefits of having tourists come to buy cannabis.
The state has also taken steps to promote energy efficiency in the cannabis sector and also ensure social equity in the industry is prioritized as it continues to grow and diversify.
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Last year, Polis signed an executive order to provide broad professional licensing protections for workers who use marijuana in compliance with state law. The move also prevents state agencies from assisting in any out-of-state investigations related to lawful cannabis conduct that could result in employment penalties.
Meanwhile, the governor recently named members of a Natural Medicine Advisory Board that will help inform psychedelics policy after voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize entheogens and establish psilocybin “healing centers” last year.
Polis said following the vote in November that he’s “excited” about reform, calling psychedelics a “promising” treatment option for certain mental health conditions.
He cheered the approval of the psychedelics ballot measure, despite having declined the opportunity to endorse to proposal ahead of the vote.