CBD Vending Machines: Coming To a Mass Mall Near You

“These machines allow us to meet consumers where they are, and help them discover products that can really benefit them.”

Take it from a crew that has reported on cannabis, CBD, and hemp in the Bay State since the days when head shops were regularly raided when we reminisce about how damn far the culture has come. Just the fact that it’s cliche to say how mainstream all things relative to these magical plants have grown shows how commonplace not only cannabinoids but also their great many benefits finally are.

So with things already this great, imagine how much better life will only become with the introduction of … wait for it … CBD vending machines. Call us monkeys who like to insert payments into large boxes that light up and then subsequently receive goodies in return all you want, but shit, if you send us information saying that you’re “launch[ing] a new, fully-automated, CBD retail experience in more than 30 premium Simon malls across the US, including in Massachusetts,” we’re going to have questions for you.

That’s basically what happened when we heard from the Florida-based CBD wellness company Green Roads, which is partnering with the Canada-based kiosk experts at Signifi Solutions on the Simon initiative. Below are the questions we sent them along with responses from Green Roads Chief Marketing Officer Lee Sosin. 

Things went pretty smoothly until we asked about using their machines for weed that gets you stoned. In any case, we appreciate Sosin’s time, and can’t stress enough that these machines are CBD only. Sorry folks, we’re still years away from copping dabs, pre-rolls, and dosed Doritos from a self-standing machine next to Manchu Wok at the South Shore Plaza.

There are a million kinds of vending machines already out there that do different things. What was your starting point – to build something from scratch? Or to find something out there and fit it to your needs?  

For CBD wellness products, a regular candy or soda vending machine won’t work. We partnered with Signifi Solutions, who already had a state-of-the-art line of intelligent vending machines, all with large interactive displays. Their tech is fantastic and makes for an easy but robust experience.  

Which obviously leads me to ask – what are your needs for this? 

A lot of people have heard about the benefits of CBD products but still haven’t tried them. We want these machines to deliver a friendly, helpful consumer experience that lets people easily find the products that will solve their specific needs, be it sleep, stress, focus or muscle pain.

Why does CBD work well in a vending machine model?

Sleep, stress, muscle aches and pain… these are widespread issues that Americans deal with on a daily basis. These machines allow us to meet consumers where they are, and help them discover products that can really benefit them. What’s more, there’s no shipping delay. The delivery of the product happens right there, which means they could be putting that pain relief cream on their neck in minutes.

How are you incorporating an educational element, interface-wise or however else, that will help people decide what to buy?  

Education is crucial in any wellness space, and we want our customers to buy with confidence. That’s why the touch-screen navigation is arranged by solution, which makes it really easy for anyone to find the products that can help address their specific needs. Then within each product view there is education to help consumers understand what it is, what it does, what the ingredients are, and how to use it, all before they make the purchase.

These are going into malls. Besides showing how accepted and mainstream CBD is at this point, why is this an ideal venue?  

According to the research firm Brightfield Group, CBD users are dispersed across every adult age group, gender, marital status, political affiliation, and several income brackets. Malls provide an excellent opportunity to engage with such a wide cross-section of America.

Where else might we see these pop up?  

The possibilities are endless but we feel that these mall locations are a great start.

There’s a lot of bunk CBD out there. What will you be selling and how will you communicate with buyers why it’s a particularly good product?

The vending machines are stocked with products to help people with some of the most pervasive issues of modern-day wellness, such as stress, sleep, focus, relaxation, immunity support, and muscle pain. There are plenty of options for trial sizes below $10 and most products are under $40.

How will you communicate with buyers that it’s a good product:

The vending machines are wrapped with real customer testimonials, and important callouts like the fact that we’ve earned more than 30,000 five-star reviews. In addition, Green Roads has an excellent customer support team and there is a number on the front of the machine and throughout the ordering process that will connect a purchaser with these knowledgeable individuals who can answer questions. 

And finally, it goes without saying that we will see THC vending machines around here sooner rather than later. Or at least at some point. Do you feel all the work put into this project will transfer well to the rest of the market when that ultimately happens?  

Our CBD products are not intoxicating, are federally legal, and are focused on solving wellness issues for Americans. There is no plan for these vending machines to carry THC-focused products.