VR Dispensaries are the Future of Cannabis Point-of-Sale
Virtual reality is here, it’s real, and it is developing at an astonishing speed. Could VR dispensaries be the next best thing for cannabis points-of-sale, or a problem for society?
My husband and I recently began watching Black Mirror, a Netflix original series. The show is self-described as a sci-fi anthology series exploring “a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide” (1). Each episode is like a mini sci-fi movie, with thriller plots that leave you totally flabbergasted.
The show provokes interesting discussions about how technology, such as virtual reality, may have unintended, harmful side effects. These discussions are becoming more relevant as virtual reality technology becomes more and more a part of our daily lives.
Think about how taking a roller coaster ride would make your body feel: Your heart rate increases, your eardrums adjust to the altitude, and your inner ear equilibrates to your changing position as you swing to and fro. But when having the same experience in VR, your body is not physically a part of the experience. While you may see a rollercoaster, your inner ears do not equilibrate to your body’s movement. This causes a desynchronization between stimuli from your eyes and stimuli from the rest of your body.
This sounds worrisome, but VR can also be a really cool experience. If we combine VR with dispensaries, we could transport ourselves to a virtual dispensary with the same social interactions without the hassle of finding parking.
One company called Weed VR has announced a project for the first ever virtual reality dispensary coming soon to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive (3). According to the Weed VR team: “We provide a custom service for licensed producers by creating realistic 3D representations of [their] products…” (4).
Since this is the first of its kind and still unreleased, we have numerous unanswered questions. For example, would the packaging be included in the VR store? Would we only be looking at the product? Is there a people limit? Would this take more permits to stop people from different states from joining the store? Only time will tell as the laws adjust to these technological advances.
The way I see this unveiling is an opportunity to make it big. The VR dispensaries would probably have an incredibly large amount of inventory since the products would ship directly from the suppliers, and the interaction would allow us to learn more about each product. In terms of packaging, it would probably become just something that your product comes in, rather than a point of sale. Also, I see it as being highly regulated so people in states or countries where it is still illegal can be denied access to the store, same with a 14-year-old accessing his father’s VR.
Will cannabis packaging companies benefit from VR? Only time will tell.