Colorado Launches First Automated Cannabis Vending Machine

The first cannabis vending machine has become reality in Colorado, which became one of the first states to legalize cannabis (along with Washington) in 2012.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis Tweeted an image of the first Automated Cannabis Experience (ACE) vending machine, hosted at Terrapin Care Station dispensary in Aurora, Colorado.

The vending machine allows customers to purchase cannabis at Terrapin Care Station without interacting with a budtender. However, customers are still required to check in and provide proof of identification and age to a dispensary employee.

ACE, which is marketed and distributed by Terrapin, can contain Terrapin’s cannabis products or be branded with another dispensary, according to a company release. ACE can hold up to 1,152 products, depending on size and packaging, and features a 38-in. x 30-in. observation window for consumers to watch the bagging process.

Terrapin Care Station developed the ACE vending machine in partnership with BMC Universal Technologies, a Canadian-based vending machine company, according to The Denver Post. The ACE vending machine debuted at MJBizCon 2022 in Las Vegas this past November.

“As public opinion on cannabis continues shifting in favor of decriminalization and legalization, we believe solutions like ACE illustrate the increasingly mainstream nature of the cannabis space,” said Terrapin Care Station CEO Chris Woods, following ACE’s launch. “ACE not only improves sales but also provides unique benefits to consumers, including faster checkouts and the ability for them to engage in multiple languages. We are thrilled to be leading the charge to introduce this first-of-its-kind, genuinely game-changing way for consumers to purchase cannabis.”

Colorado, which launched recreational cannabis sales on Jan. 1, 2014, reached new records in cannabis sales during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Cannabis sales in Colorado eclipsed $2.19 billion in 2020 and $2.23 billion in 2021, according to the state’s Department of Revenue. However, following the highs of 2020 and 2021, Colorado cannabis sales dipped to $1.77 billion in 2022 – which is closer to on par with 2019 sales figures ($1.75 billion).

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Zach Mentz

Zach Mentz is an editor at Flavor Fix, covering cannabis, CBD and alcohol news and featured stories. Previously, he worked as senior editor of Cannabis Business Times (CBT). Mentz is a graduate of the Tim Russert Department of Communication at John Carroll University.

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