Startup raises $1M in crowdfunding for high-tech vending machines that could dispense cannabis

A Columbus startup building tech-enabled vending kiosks that can dispense anything from shoes to watches to cannabis has raised the maximum $1.1 million allowed via equity crowdfunding.

The average investment in PopCom was $500.

CEO Dawn Dickson invented the machines to solve a problem for her other business, rollable ballet flats to swap for painful high heels. For a time the shoes were sold through vending machines in an airport and nightclub, but she couldn't find a machine on the market that looked and performed the way she wanted.


Why aren't Ohioans rushing to buy medical marijuana?

Ohio's faltering medical marijuana program has exceeded in one area: signing up patients on the patient registry.

But most of those patients have yet to buy marijuana at one of the state's licensed dispensaries.


Ohio medical marijuana patients may soon be able to buy edibles

Ohio regulators have awarded the state’s first medical marijuana processor certificate. And that means there is now one company in the state, Grow Ohio, that can produce the cannabis products that are standard issue in many other medical-use states. Grow Ohio still has to run a few tests on its THC extractor equipment. But once it does, medical cannabis patients will soon be able to buy edibles, and they’ll have several types to choose from.


Ohio medical marijuana patients claim lack of access is leading to more arrests

Medical marijuana patients in Ohio say that a lack of access to legal cannabis is leading them to seek legal cannabis from other states, and some are being arrested for their trouble. With Ohio’s medical marijuana program in its infancy, so far only eight dispensaries have been licensed by the state to provide cannabis to patients. With short supplies and high prices at those outlets, some patients are traveling to neighboring Michigan for their medicine.


Guns or cannabis? Ohio patients must choose

Guns or cannabis?

That's the choice facing some medical marijuana patients as the first legal cannabis dispensaries in the Cincinnati area prepare to open in the coming weeks.

Federal law prohibits gun purchases or the possession of firearms by illegal drug users or addicts.

Surely, that doesn't include registered medical marijuana patients in Ohio, does it?


Federal law, which supersedes state statues, still classifies marijuana as an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Consequently, using or possessing marijuana and firearms at the same time is illegal, regardless of whether the state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes.


Why is Ohio's medical marijuana so pricey?

Ohio's medical marijuana program is often praised for being highly regulated.

But longtime cannabis activist Amy Wolfinbarger said Tuesday the regulations governing Ohio's newest industry may not be helping the people who need marijuana the most.

"A lot of our patients are disabled," Wolfinbarger said. "They're living on fixed incomes and the cost for their medication is very difficult for them to obtain. ... Nothing is covered by medical insurance, not even your doctor's visit."

New numbers from the state show the average price for a pound of cannabis is $7,528 or $470 an ounce, not including tax.


High prices keep many out of legal cannabis market

As Ohio’s medical marijuana industry finally takes off, some patients and advocates are griping about costs that put it out of reach for many people.

A steep price tag stems partly from the lack of competition, as Ohio only has seven dispensaries spread throughout the state, mostly in rural areas, experts said. Costs are expected to drop as more dispensaries open and the industry finds its footing.

In the meantime, patients openly acknowledge buying the drug on the black market while they wait for prices to come down. And without insurance to cover the expense, some worry that low-income people might never be able to afford medical cannabis.


The crackdown on CBD edibles has begun

CBD, one of the buzziest wellness products of 2019, just hit a snag. New York City has forbidden the sale of CBD edibles in restaurants, bars, and other establishments that fall under the Department of Health's purview, Eater reported Tuesday. Health inspectors in the city are already visiting restaurants to enforce the crackdown.


Denver dispensary caught red-handed trying to have its cake and eat it too

Members of the legal cannabis trade can sometimes still find themselves jammed up in the criminal justice system when they let greed get the best of them.

Just last Friday, three Denver dispensary owners were sentenced to a year in prison after facilitating marijuana sales intended for the black market. It is a case that officials are calling the first local prosecution of a legal marijuana operation in the United States, according to the Associated Press.


Pot owners plead guilty in unique charges vs. legal business

The owners of a Denver marijuana business pleaded guilty Friday to drug and racketeering charges and will spend a year in prison in what city officials called the first local prosecution of a legal pot enterprise in the U.S.

A yearlong investigation of Sweet Leaf’s sales practices centred on a practice known as “looping,” where a customer purchases the maximum amount of marijuana that Colorado law permits and repeatedly returns to the same retailer to purchase more on the same day. Prosecutors believe people using the strategy at Sweet Leaf locations purchased more than 2 tons of marijuana intended for sale on the black market.


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