In the age of COVID-19, people are understandably wary of other people. Contactless delivery is the new norm for receiving food and groceries. Now, Marijuana enthusiasts in Colorado can avoid human contact without their stash suffering. Introducing Anna, the AI-powered contactless cannabis vending machine. What a time to be alive. As the cannabis industry continues to boom and evolve, it only makes sense that it’s finally beginning to catch up to our increasingly automated world. The marijuana dispensing machines carry up to 2,000 products, giving customers the options that they’re used to while allowing them to adhere to social distance guidelines. Matt Frost, the founder and CEO of Anna (a play on the word “analytics”), has a background in medical analytics. In an interview with The Know, Frost describes the “tricked out vending machines” and says that they offer edibles, flowers, and vape – all without much interaction. Frost created the system after recognizing the long wait times with scheduled pick-ups coupled with the fear of contracting COVID-19. “Anna’s vision is simple: Provide retailers and consumers with cutting-edge technology that enables fast, compliant transactions customized to their unique and growing needs,” Anna’s website explains. Anna is geared toward experienced users who don’t need or necessarily want the one-on-one help of a budtender. The first Anna machines debuted in Pueblo, Colorado, at Strawberry Fields Dispensary. The next dispensary the Anna will soon appear in is Starbuds, in Aurora, Colorado. The company announced a September 2020 launch in Massachusetts. Anna is set to expand to markets in Nevada, California and Canada sometime next year.  Anna isn’t only for the betterment of consumer experience; it intends to increase sales, too. On the website, it says that anna’s personalized experience helps to drive new sales, while also using “predictive analytics and decision-making support.” Customers can pre-order on the Anna app or check-in and use Anna’s touch screen to complete an order. Anna accepts cash or debit. Then, after you’ve made your selection, the machine dispenses your cannabis. As of now, customers still need to show ID to a dispensary employee and check in to use an Anna machine. Frost plans to venture into the non-psychoactive world of CBD very soon. “The partnership that we’re about to strike I have to keep under wraps for now, but [it’s] a very significant CBD distribution opportunity that we’re excited about,” Frost told The Know.  “I think you’ll be seeing this rollout absolutely in the fall.” Anna could debut in retail stores and gas stations in the not so distant future.

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