On June 6, the Canadian company International Cannabis Corp (ICC) announced the acquisition of 100% of VendaPharm EU LLC’s issued and outstanding shares.
In practical terms, this acquisition gives ICC exclusive control over VendaPharm’s software licensing, distribution and international rights. Among those rights is a proprietary tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) delivery system.
VendaPharm’s international rights, which now belong to ICC, allow the company to exclusively establish a THC/CBD dispensing technology in the form of an automatic kiosk, to which they refer to as ‘vending machine’.
As stated in the ICC website, this technology is designed to “facilitate a contemporary, intuitive and educational purchasing experience for the modern consumer”, and the company plans to deploy the vending machines to high-traffic retail locations and pharmacies across its European network.
The benefits this will bring to the company are clear. According to David Shpilt, Chief Executive Officer of ICC, this technology will be available in roughly 80.000 retail points and pharmacies. This will allow the rapid integration of ICC’s branded products into the European market, increasing demand for ICC products and business-to-business distribution, as well as brand awareness.
In terms of social impact, this decision may also have interesting results.
“More people than ever, including millennials, are choosing convenience stores as their primary source of produce”, Shpilt says. ICC’s goal is to leverage this tendency, by placing vending machines in “high traffic locales, particularly chains or franchises along major thoroughfares”.
The company has already successfully introduced a vending machine at the Women in Medical Cannabis conference, held in London in May, and Shpilt is confident that the positive experience is a reflection of what will happen once this dispensing technology is set throughout Europe.
According to ICC, each vending machine is equipped with top-performance software and security mechanisms. Some of the features include an inventory management software, acceptance of debit/credit cards and local currency, facial recognition software, security cameras, high definition customer interface, sanitary delivery areas, secure and quality storage, silent alarms, among others.
The vending machines will give consumers access to a wide variety of THC and CBD legal products, including ICC’s own licensed products. The available products will include enhancing-performance products, formulations to increase CBD absorption, therapeutic CBD products for topical application (such as relief balms, roll-ons, and healing sticks), hemp-derived cosmetics, CBD gels and tinctures for pet health, CBD vaporizers and pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes.
Although this type of technology isn’t exactly new, it is scarce in Europe. A few CBD vending machines already exist in Germany, Austria, Greece, and Luxemburg, but only in very specific and confined areas. The implementation of CBD vending machines throughout ICC’s entire network will boost the medicinal cannabis market in Europe even further.
Also, the vending machines further address other important concerns, such as those of security and safety. The products available through this type of technology need to be legal in the country they’re being distributed in and conform to all of EU’s safety and quality guidelines. For example, all products need to have a very low percentage of THC (usually lower than 0.2 or even 0.1% in certain countries) and come from certified and trusted medicinal cannabis manufacturers.
This way, even if consumers wish to buy over-the-counter CBD and other cannabis-derived products, they can do so in a safe environment with trusted and high-quality products. This is, of course, dependent on whether governments and other entities will be able to successfully work in educating the population about the benefits of cannabis and CBD-derived products, as well as safety concerns and measures.
Moreover, and although there’s nothing that can replace human interaction and specialized advice, automatic dispensaries also address environmental issues, since they present a much lower carbon footprint than traditional walk-in dispensaries.