Technology Solution: Customized entrance protects cannabis dispensaries

Nov. 17, 2022
Online River, LLC has a customized entryway technology that provides a solution for cannabis retailers

Online River, LLC has designed a customized entryway for cannabis dispensaries. 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 relied on by dispensaries in California and Nevada, uses optical turnstiles and allows customers to enter cannabis facilities touch-free.

Using our ID license scanners, staff first authenticate a customer's driver’s license and then print a ticket. The ticket allows patrons to pass through an optical turnstile and enter the dispensary. The ticket can be pre-designed with the company logo, messaging, and a QR Code. A successful scan of the ticket automatically opens the turnstile, and the customer proceeds to a budtender and presents their ticket.

Each turnstile is equipped with a barcode scanner installed under the lid. 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 “buzzes-open” the turnstile - all within a split second.

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

Dispensary owners can count on each person being of 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 a marketing tool with company social network and website information. Personalization alone, where the customer’s name is known to a budtender, can significantly lead to increased sales and makes repeat business a sure thing.

These optical turnstiles can be custom colored (both the cabinets and lids) to meet any décor or architectural preferences. Slim and sleek, these modern cabinets with clear panels lend touch-free and instant access to any dispensary. Logos can be etched into the panels. Standard panel height or a stately 46” tall panel can communicate high security and a rule-based system for fair entry. 

At some locations, our system is used to process more than 3,000 customers daily. Large dispensaries can appreciate this solution which is paramount to verifying customer ages and maintaining an organized entryway while minimizing expensive staff time. 

All custom-built to order, this is a complete entrance solution for cannabis retailers. Online River offers installation, and training and will supply architectural drawings to match your available space footprint and design elements. Installation can be turn-key, or we can work with local electricians, your general contractor and low-voltage technicians. 

While access control for entry is a given requirement, free exiting will be a default setting. Each configuration will include at least one ADA Lane, or a 36” free passageway for handicap requirements. Likewise, all “lanes” can be connected to a fire alarm system to unlock and stay open during loss of power automatically.

Larger dispensaries may combine different numbers of passageways, depending on available space, and smaller dispensaries may have the exact same system with only one ADA lane (36” free passageway) 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 installation projects of turnstiles, gates and access control and is actively working with dispensaries in the USA and Canada. While this system is specifically tailored for the cannabis industry, similar solutions ranging from full-height mantraps to revolving turnstiles with metal detectors are available for low to high-security environments.

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The shifting legal landscape aside, the dynamic increase in legal cannabis businesses represents a new growth market for commercial security providers.
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Strong security is the law in almost every market with specific regulatory requirements dictating how security is handled and facilities are constructed.