Why it matters to you
If this tech catches on, it could make weed, alcohol, and guns more accessible than ever — for better or worse
What if sandwiched between the Cheetos and gum the next time you walked up to a vending machine you also had the option of buying marijuana, a beer, or a handgun? Well, that is a real possibility thanks to a so-called “smart vending machine” developed by American Green, a Phoenix-based company working on technological advancements in the legal cannabis industry.
Yes, weed is why the company decided the world needs this vending machine — but the machine itself is designed to sell just about anything that you’d otherwise have to buy from a human who can verify you’re of a certain age, have a necessary prescription, or have a clean enough history to purchase a firearm.
How? Well, for starters, you’ll have to register online with an official ID so that American Green knows who you say you are. You then couple your profile with your vein architecture. A biometric vein scanner on the front seems like it takes your fingerprint, but developers insist vein architecture, as in how the veins are stacked, shaped, and run through your finger, is an equally unique attribute. Plus, unlike a fingerprint, which can be spoofed in a few ways, vein scanners are harder to cheat, and wont work if someone decides they’re willing to cut your finger off to get your share of weed or alcohol or whatever.
American Green says it’s just producing the vending machines, and that it’s up to the actual vendors to determine what goes inside and fight whatever legal battles come with, say, putting an unmanned box full of guns on the street. Creators say, though, that with its sturdy construction, extra layers of metal, a camera up front, and an alarm that’s trigger the second someone starts messing with it; this vending machine is at least as safe as a convenience store — if not more.
The company insists you’ll start seeing these out in the wild in as soon as a couple months as it finalizes talks with some casinos, professional sports teams, and marijuana dispensaries.