Marijuana vending machines might be coming to Washington stateon April 15, 2014 @ 11:18 am (Updated: 11:59 am - 4/20/14 )
They'll make their debut next month in Colorado's medical marijuana dispensaries and the company says they're "gearing up" for Washington.
Zazzz is the nation's first marijuana vending machine because as pot becomes legitimate, so should the buying experience, says Chief Operating Officer Stephen Shearin.
According to Shearin, part of what he hopes the vending machines will do is help people understand that shopping for marijuana is a part of every day life, and even though you have to be legally able to purchase pot from the vending machine, it's just as simple as buying a can of soda.
The state liquor control board says it is considering the possibility of allowing the machines in recreational pot shops, but there are a lot of issues to consider such as the location of the machine and restocking.
In order to purchase pot from Zazzz, you swipe your driver's license, and technology in the vending machine, including cameras that capture your face from multiple angles, would make sure you're the person you say you are.
"You can't send the little brother or sister, or someone else in your stead," says Shearin.
Once you've been cleared, you can select the desired products and pay with cash, bitcoin, pre-loaded cash cards, and in some cases where regulation allows it - credit cards.
If you're a parent, Shearin says you won't need to worry about finding a Zazzz vending machine in public. If you're thinking about performing some Fonzi-like jukebox-starting magic and just hitting the machine, won't cause pot to dispense.
"I know in a lot of medicinal places, the average time for a consultation and then purchase is 15 minutes, so now I'm going to sit there 15 minutes, but I know exactly what I want," says Shearin, explaining why pot users might be more intrigued by the vending machine than buying it at a dispensary.
He says it would also appeal to people who feel shy, don't want to stand in line, or just want to get their pot more efficiently.
"This narrative is important and getting it out there and having this platform and talking with people about it - it has an exciting name." That's why Zazzz, sounds like "pizazz," has such a flashy name, according to Shearin.
"This isn't something that's in the shadows that you need to hide from everybody. We should erase the stigma, embrace it wholeheartedly, and talk about something that's fun and exciting for people," says Shearin.
KIRO Radio's Dan Restione & Zak Burns and MyNorthwest.com's Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.
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