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Automated Cannabis Kiosk Spells Change for Retail

As automation continues to change the way we get our cannabis, the future of this booming industry is growing even more exciting. 

Due to COVID-19, social distancing is crucial. That’s why so many people prefer contactless options, particularly for items like groceries or take out. Why can’t we do the same with cannabis? Exciting new developments in the world of automation are making contactless cannabis a reality. 

For instance, anna debuted the world’s first AI-powered self-checkout technology for dispensaries earlier this week. Matt Frost, founder and CEO of anna, notes on the company website that he was inspired to create the concept after asking himself where the self-checkout was when buying cannabis at a dispensary. 

An anna unit in full operation in Colorado. Image courtesy of anna.
An anna unit in full operation in Colorado. Image courtesy of anna.

Designed similarly to a touch-screen self-checkout at your local grocery store, customers can browse and select their desired cannabis products and simply check out, creating a fast and effective transaction

“The retail technology available to dispensaries has inhibited the cannabis industry’s path to normalization. In many traditional retail industries, self-checkout transactions are standard,” said Frost. 

According to anna’s website, the retail automation industry is projected to reach $19 billion by 2022. With a number so staggering, the legal cannabis industry needs to continue to adapt to the automated world we’re living in. 

The retail industry has embraced the use of automation technology. In 2019, Walmart announced that in a few, select stores, they would be using robots to perform tasks such as checking inventory, store maintenance, sorting products, and fulfilling online orders, so that sales associates could spend more time with the customers. 

As the old adage says, “The customer is always right.” By utilizing technology to create a faster, more enjoyable experience for the buyer, it won’t just be the cannabis they’ll be coming back for. 

After August 10, two dispensaries in Colorado will be the first to test out anna. Strawberry Fields in Pueblo, Colorado and Starbuds in Aurora, Colorado. anna is sure to be one in the first of many new automation solutions entering the cannabis market as COVID-19 continues to change the face of retail. 


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