There should probably be a law—of marketing, of psychology, of thermodynamics—holding that every commercial product, given a long enough tenure on the planet, will eventually end up being sold in a vending machine. Cupcakes. Kale. Crabs. Caviar. Lobster. Beer. Pizza. French fries. Smartphones. Underwear.
And now… pot.
After medicinal marijuana was legalized in Washington state in 2012, dispensaries sprang, almost fully formed, from a previously underground market. In short order—the second law of vendodynamics being what it is—something else sprang up to sell edibles while avoiding the awkward middleman of a human: the vending machine, gone to pot.
This week brings yet more disruption, in the form of a machine in Seattle that cuts even more to the chase: It sells only buds. (Well, buds plus some strategic accessories: vaporizer pens, hemp-oil energy drinks, and the like.) The machine, situated against a wall of the Seattle Caregivers medical marijuana dispensary, was manufactured by the craftily named tech firm American Green, Inc. It is called ZaZZZ. It features, user interface-wise, a touchscreen and little else. It is, obviously, painted green.
Every vending machine is a small miracle of radically efficient design. And every one comes with its unique set of problems and solutions. Machine-sold salads, for example, must be kept fresh. French fries must be served hot and crisp. T-shirts and underwear must be vacuum-packed to volumes that will make them small enough to suit vending machines' particular economies of scale.