For Matt Frost, a case study on what causes bottlenecks in lines during his MBA program at Boston University first got him thinking about opportunities in the emerging cannabis industry.
Frost ended up putting his MBA on hold in 2017 to create “anna,” a mix between a vending machine and a self-checkout machine that can get customers in-and-out of a dispensary in less than a minute while keeping compliant with state marijuana regulations.
“Three short years later, here we are with a process that sort of solves the problems that we identified back in 2017,” Frost said.
The machine was designed with each state’s regulations, Frost said, and won’t dispense items beyond local purchase limits. In Massachusetts, for example, customers are limited to purchasing one ounce of marijuana.
Anna has already launched in Colorado, Frost said, and the company plans to have 23 total machines in Colorado, Nevada and California by the end of the year.
Frost, a Massachusetts native who grew up in Kingston before moving to Boston for college, said the company plans to bring anna to his home state in the first quarter of 2021, hopefully in January or February.
While Frost was not ready to say which local dispensaries are considering anna, he said anna may be available at three or four dispensaries when it launches.
Consumers can use anna through pre-order or just in-store.
In the dispensary, first, a budtender unlocks the anna screen. From there, customers can scroll through a 27-inch touch screen menu of products. After adding products to the cart, the customer can insert cash or card and the products will be dispensed.
Pre-order customers will receive a QR code to scan at the machine, Frost explained, which will then dispense the previously selected products.
Inside anna, dispensaries can customize shelve sizes