'Legal Cannabis Will Prevail': Dispension Co-Founder Corey Yantha

In preparation for the upcoming World Cannabis Congress, Civilized is taking the opportunity to help you get acquainted with the exciting people who will be involved with this summer's event.

Dispension is a company out of Halifax, Nova Scotia seeking to shake up the established means of distributing cannabis. "Legal cannabis will prevail," largely because companies like Dispension will make it much easier to buy, says co-founder Corey Yantha:

"Just like prohibition with alcohol, not many people are out purchasing alcohol from the black market anymore. Some people still want to make their own wine and beer but overall, the black market has disappeared altogether. Several decades from now the same should apply to cannabis. Many people will attempt to grow their own plants, and some may be very successful. The time spent, hassle and costs associated will deter the average consumer from growing at home, and many will purchase cannabis through legal retail channels."

Dispension has introduced a new kind of cannabis dispensing device, one that operates on biometric vein verification. The goal is to have these devices set up in areas that would otherwise not be able to support a traditional dispensary, allowing people to access cannabis products in a number of locations across the network of devices, at their fingertips!

What made you interested in taking part in World Cannabis Congress?

We are interested in taking part in the World Cannabis Congress, first and foremost, to showcase our product, the Verified Identity Dispenser (VID), and our unique business model for rural cannabis access. We believe the World Cannabis Congress is a perfect platform to introduce our business and technology to other people in the industry. We also feel it will be a great place to learn and connect with others involved in this exciting field. Being a Halifax-based company as well as long time advocates of cannabis legalization, we felt like it was fate that such an event was taking place so close to home and we simply had to be involved.

What are you looking forward to most about the event?

We look forward to learning about the many aspects of the cannabis industry, connecting and networking with other businesses and organizations as well as inviting people to learn about Dispension and the many benefits our technology can contribute to supply and distribution strategies across Canada. Mostly, we are looking forward to taking in all the event has to offer and connecting with all the great people we are sure to meet in the beautiful city of Saint John.

Dispension

What’s one thing you want readers to know about Dispension?

One thing we would like readers to know about Dispension is how our product and business model can be the perfect solution to a new industry that we feel is ill-equipped to handle the impending legalization of cannabis in Canada.

A responsible health tool that will educate consumers discreetly, improve transaction efficiencies, and ensure every sale is traced to exactly who purchased it. The VID will be a vital part of a robust and comprehensive rollout of legal cannabis infrastructure and will provide more Canadians with access to top-quality legal cannabis, which will reduce the impact of black market operations in rural communities, and steer revenue away from illegal operations. Our product lowers overhead costs to any business by efficiently, discreetly, safely and securely dispensing the highest quality cannabis to a biometrically verified user only. Simply put, the VID is a retail store in a box… it's Verified Convenience.

From a social responsibility standpoint, it will restrict youth access to cannabis, protect young people from promotion and enticement, help support a responsible legal cannabis industry and ensure continued access for medical patients. It will establish a safe and traceable supply-chain and enforce public safety and protection. Importantly, the VID is a comprehensive solution for a fast approaching legalization deadline, it's modular for quick rollout, and it meets all the purposes of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act.

What problem(s) are you solving?

Our system has many benefits which will help solve a number of contentious issues relating to cannabis distribution, and provide a more secure means to supply legal cannabis and measure the success of implementation in Canada. The VID:

  • restricts youth access while providing secure verified access to registered users;
  • can restrict users 18–25 from accessing higher potency products to protect their developing brain;
  • can be deployed in rural or urban locations to provide verified access to legal cannabis;
  • is integral to a comprehensive strategy to deter black market operations by providing more access;
  • reduces overhead of retail operations by 40% while improving transaction efficiencies;
  • gives consumers the ability to purchase online from our app and pick up at the nearest machine;
  • standardizes strain information and consumer packaging to ensure the best product;
  • has refrigerated units that ensure all products meet FDA food safety guidelines and maintain freshness;
  • is a great education tool that doesn't require intensive employee training;
  • gives licensed producers a chance to tell story about their product on-screen, to differentiate their products;
  • allows for a more streamlined customer experience;
  • decreases wait times for returning customers who just want convenience; 
  • requires no membership cards or passwords.

In other words: Simple, responsible, destigmatized cannabis sales.

What technology do you incorporate into your machines in order to ensure security and compliance? How does the technology work?

Access to regulated products is controlled through an advanced vein authentication platform, creating a biometric profile unique to the individual. Compared with fingerprints, vein reader technology has the highest degree of certainty and biometric security on the market. The robust utilitarian steel-clad design reduces the appeal to youth, and administrators are able to control and monitor retail sales nationwide through a connected network of VID systems. A built-in CCTV camera provides additional protection to the VID and surrounding premises. In addition to security regulations already in force at government approved retailers, the VID systems act as a secondary locked safe for cannabis products and further deters theft. These features are what separate us from existing vending machines.

The technology works by having a registered user simply scan their finger to gain access to the machine which allows them to purchase regulated products such as cannabis. Every person has a unique biometric pattern much like a fingerprint, except the vein pattern never changes, so it is a very sophisticated form of biometrics that cannot be stolen or manipulated.

Signup is a quick and easy process where a user has a one-time, in-person consultation and initial vein registration to gain access to the VID. The machine will only grant access to verified users that are predetermined to be legally allowed to purchase products hidden from view inside. Unauthorized persons or youth would not be able to access the machine.

How do you ensure high-quality products and maintain quality control?

Quality control is of the utmost importance to our company and is a pillar of the potential success of cannabis legalization. Licensed producers must qualify in order to have their products sold in our machines. We closely monitor the quality of all product stocked in our machines by reviewing lab test results from the licensed producers and submitting random 3rd party tests to ensure all standards are being met. It is important to ensure the customer is always getting the best consumer experience and quality. Our machines keep the product to the FDA food safety temperature standard of 4ºC to preserve the terpenes, and flavor profiles of flower, edibles and other cannabis products.

Where are you currently operating? To which markets are you looking to expand?

We are currently expanding operations from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, Alberta, British Columbia, PEI, and Quebec.

If you could change one thing about Canada's legalization regime (or regime in province/state where you are based), what would it be?

If we could change one thing about Canada’s legalization regime it would be an amendment to subsections 36 & 37 of proposed Bill C-45, aka the Cannabis Act [Editor's Note: these subsections of the bill prohibit self-serve dispensing methods of cannabis distribution]. We have had very promising and productive dialogue with federal legislators who have expressed openness to review the relevant sections of C-45, or more likely, establish clarity during the drafting of regulations that will support the Bill. Recent meetings with several Nova Scotian MPs have resulted in commitments to address this matter with Ministers and Senators in Ottawa. 

Our impression following these discussions is that the intent of both the recommendations of the Federal Task Force and subsequently the provisions in C-45 were to prohibit the proliferation of rudimentary candy-bar style vending machines in unlicensed dispensaries, or even on street corners, and in bus stations, etc. These machines have no security features, no measures to track data, or source quality assured products, and are completely unlicensed and unregulated. The VID system is incomparable to the type of machines we believe the legislation intends to combat, and their incorporation into a government-run retail framework or within licensed retail outlets would provide regulators, policymakers and law enforcement with powerful tools to meet the objectives of C-45, and supporting provincial legislation.

Which country do you think will legalize cannabis next — after Canada?

The country we think will legalize cannabis next is (hopefully) our neighbor, the United States of America. With some states already having legal recreational cannabis we feel it is only a matter of time until the rest of the country gets on board. After all, they are the land of the free and people should have the right to legally consume the wonderful medicine that is cannabis.

You can stay up to date with the World Cannabis Congress by visiting the official website.

Latest.

Citing supply shortages, Ontario announced Thursday that they would now be taking a “phased approach” to issuing cannabis retail licenses. Despite earlier claims that they would not be capping the number of licenses for retail pot shops, they announced Thursday that they would, in fact, be limiting the number of licenses dispensed in April to 25. The province says that the licenses will be issued though a lottery system overseen by a third party to “ensure equality and transparency.” This, of course, is following the Progressive Conservative’s stark change in cannabis policy for the province after defeating the Ontario Liberal government in 2018.