Technology Solution: Customized entrance protects cannabis dispensaries

Online River, LLC designed a bespoke cannabis dispensary entryway. Our technology offers a solution for cannabis dealers who need 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 access cannabis facilities hands-free.

Using our ID license scanners, staff first authenticate a customer’s driver’s license and then print out a ticket. The ticket allows visitors to pass through an optical turnstile and enter the pharmacy. The ticket can be pre-designed with the company logo, a message and a QR code. A successful 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 lid. The QR code or ID is sent electronically to a control panel (updated from a central server) and if the ticket is valid, a signal “buzzes and opens” the turnstile – all in a split second.

Once the customer enters the pharmacy, their ticket will automatically become invalid and cannot be reused or returned to another person waiting. However, if a second customer follows immediately and attempts to enter (piggyback) without scanning, an alarm will sound and the panels will partially and quickly close (block but not actually touch the second customer).

Pharmacy owners can rest assured that each person is of legal age and the system eliminates fraud or even a touch 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 information about the company’s social network and website. Personalization alone, where the customer’s name is known to a budtender, can lead to significant increases in sales and make repeat business a sure bet.

These optical turnstiles can be custom colored (both the cabinets and the lids) to suit any decor or architectural preference. Sleek and sleek, these modern see-through paneled cabinets provide hands-free and instant access to any dispensary. Logos can be etched into the panels. A standard panel height or a stately 46 inch panel can convey high security and a rules based system for fair entry.

At some locations, more than 3,000 customers are processed daily via our system. Large pharmacies can appreciate this solution, which is paramount for verifying customer age and maintaining an organized lobby while minimizing expensive staff time.

Fully custom built, this is a complete entrance solution for cannabis dealers. Online River offers installation and training, and provides architectural drawings to fit your available space and design elements. Installation can be turnkey, or we can work with local electricians, your general contractor and low voltage engineers.

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

Larger pharmacies may combine a different number of passages depending on the space available, and smaller pharmacies may have the exact same system with only one ADA lane (36 inches of 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 works with pharmacies in the US and Canada. While this system is specifically tailored for the cannabis industry, similar solutions ranging from full height human traps to turnstiles with metal detectors are available for low to high security environments.


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