Tech solution: Personalized entrance secures cannabis dispensaries

Online River, LLC designed a custom cannabis dispensary entrance. Our technology provides a solution for cannabis retailers, who are required to verify the age of their customers at the door and want their entrances to be efficient and secure.

The system, which has already been tested and used by dispensaries in California and Nevada, uses optical turnstiles and allows customers to enter cannabis facilities without contact.

Using our identification license scanners, staff first authenticate a customer’s driver’s license and then print a ticket. The ticket allows users to pass through an optical turnstile and enter the dispensary. The ticket can be pre-designed with your company logo, messaging and a QR code. A correct scan of the ticket automatically opens the turnstile and the customer goes to a budtender and presents their ticket.

Each turnstile is equipped with a barcode scanner installed under the cover. The QR code or ID is sent electronically to a control panel (updated by a central server) and if the ticket is valid, a signal to “open” the turnstile, all within a fraction of a second.

Once the customer enters the dispensary, his ticket is automatically invalid and cannot be reused or returned to another person waiting in line. However, if a second customer immediately follows and attempts to enter without scanning (piggybacking), an alarm will sound and the panels will partially and quickly close (locking, but not actually touching the second customer).

Dispensary owners can count on every person being of legal age, and the system eliminates cheating or even a hint of favoritism. Once customers are inside, presenting the ticket to a budtender is optional. But it can be kept as a souvenir and marketing tool with company social network and website information. Personalization alone, where the customer’s name is known to a budtender, can lead to significantly increased sales and makes repeat business a sure thing.

These optical turnstiles can be custom colored (both the cabinets and lids) to suit any décor or architecture preference. Sleek and sleek, these modern cabinets with clear panels offer instant, touchless access to any dispensary. Logos can be engraved into the panels. Standard panel height or a stately 46-inch tall panel can communicate high security and a rules-based system for fair entry.

At some locations, our system is used to process more than 3,000 customers per day. Large dispensaries may appreciate this solution which is essential for verifying the age of customers and maintaining an organized entrance while minimizing costly staff time.

All bespoke to order, this is a complete entryway solution for cannabis retailers. Online River offers installation and training and will provide architectural drawings to match available space footprint and design elements. Installation can be turnkey or we can work with local electricians, your general contractor and low voltage technicians.

While access control for entry is a specific requirement, free exit will be a default. Each configuration will include at least one ADA lane or 36-inch clear pass for handicap requirements. Similarly, all “lanes” can be connected to a fire alarm system to automatically unlock and stay open in the event of a power failure.

Larger dispensaries may combine a different number of passes, depending on available space, while smaller dispensaries may have the exact same system with only one ADA lane (36″ clear passage) to meet the same code and requirements .

About the author: Todd Landen, CEO of Online River, LLC and its security division,, has overseen hundreds of turnstile, gate and access control installation projects and actively collaborates with dispensaries in the US and Canada. While this system is specifically designed for the cannabis industry, similar solutions ranging from full-height mantraps to metal detector revolving turnstiles are available for low- and high-security environments.

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