Your first visit to a dispensary can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Your first visit can also be exciting and informative as well. In the newly legalized market dispensaries are a fixture that every legal cannabis consumer will soon find “indispensable.” Okay, that was a terrible pun, but you get my point. If you are going to navigate the “indispensable dispensary,” then you need to know a few basic do’s and don’ts before you go:
Do Research About the Dispensary
While you could certainly wander into a dispensary without any prior knowledge of marijuana or your local dispensaries, I’d recommend doing a little research before you go. Know the difference between sativa and indica strains. Know what type of experience you are looking for- strictly a pain relieving high, a recreational high, a glued-to-the-couch high, or a euphoric, happy high. Compare nearby dispensaries. Compare their product and their prices.
Expect the Dispensary to Have Security
Due to the continued federal prohibition on marijuana, access to standard banking products is iffy in the cannabis industry. As such, many dispensaries are cash businesses carrying a highly regulated product. That is a winning combination for heavy security. So don’t let the extra security measures you’ll encounter come as a surprise. It may be as simple as extra cameras or as rigorous as armed guards. It depends on the dispensary itself.
Do Expect a Professional Environment
Dispensaries are not the head shops of yesteryear with a little ganja sprinkled in.
They are not a collection of dealers with a shop front
Dispensaries are designed to be professional, with well-labeled, carefully curated selections and experts available to offer guidance and answer questions. As such, don't be surprised to find a well thought out customer experience when you walk in. Dispensaries take it to the next level.
Do Be Prepared to Prove Your Identity
You should be prepared to prove you are who you say you are and that you have the proper authorization to purchase marijuana in your state. This means you will need to ensure you bring a state issued ID and your medical marijuana recommendation, if applicable. Keep them handy as soon as you arrive so that you don’t have to hold up a line digging for your ID.
Do Be Prepared to Wait
It is not uncommon to encounter a wait since many dispensaries only serve one customer at a time, giving the budtender’s current customer the time and space to discuss their needs and ask questions. This is especially important for medical patients to have the privacy to discuss their symptoms and other sensitive medical information.
You’ll probably have the opportunity to peruse a menu while you wait
So, take advantage of your wait time to narrow down the products you are interested in.
Do Bring Cash to The Dispensary
Again, banking limitations dictate that this is still a largely cash business. Very few dispensaries take anything other than cash. So make sure you research prices before hand and bring enough cash to cover your selections. You may even want to bring a little extra for those impulse buys at the counter *wink wink.*
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Your budtender has likely heard it all and is equipped to help you make the right product decision, no matter what your prior experience level may be. Your budtender can recommend strains based on the experience you are pursuing, explain differences between products, and even show you the finer traits of the available flowers. Your budtender is a great resource. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Do Expect a Large Selection
There is so much more to a dispensary than flower. In fact, the selection of products may even overwhelm you. Most dispensaries carry a wide array of products including: Concentrates- these are essentially the essential oils of the cannabis plant. These can include vape cartridges, dabs, shatter, etc. These are known for being very potent. Edibles- these consist of all cannabis-infused foods, candies, or drinks. Not only are these very potent, but they have a delayed effect that typically does not kick in for about 2 hours. You’ll want to pay close attention to the serving size and dosage and make sure you start small and wait before consuming more. Transdermal Products (Topicals)- creams, lotions, massage oils, balms, salves, and soaks infused with cannabis. Because these products do not cross the blood/brain barrier, they cannot get you high but are excellent for pain relief and skin care. Seeds and clones- you’ll probably find several strains of product that you can use to grow your own supply at home.
Don’t Feel Pressured to Buy
Just because you go into a dispensary does not mean you will make a purchase.
You may not find a product that works for you
You may not be ready to move forward yet. You may not jive with your budtender. You may want to check out other dispensaries first. Whatever your reason, it doesn’t matter. Just remember that you do not need to feel pressured to make a purchase or to purchase something just because the budtender recommends it or doesn’t.
Don’t Expect to Smoke at a Dispensary
This is not Baskin Robins and you’ll likely won’t be sampling 31 flavors before you make your choice. Generally speaking, consuming marijuana within the dispensary is akin to smoking in public and won’t be allowed.
Do Be Prepared to Tip for Excellent Service
While it’s not necessarily expected and in some dispensaries not allowed, if you receive exceptional service in a dispensary that allows for tipping, then be sure to let your budtender know that you appreciate their work by providing a reasonable tip. This is especially true if they’ve spent a lot of time answering your questions and making recommendations. It’s just the nice thing to do.