Some people have few choices when it comes to choosing a dispensary. If you live in a nonlegal state, you have no choices: it’s the pot growing in your uncle’s greenhouse or nothing. Even setting up residence in a legal state doesn’t always leave you swimming in possibilities: while places like Denver have a pot shop on every corner, other towns are limited to one or two or sometimes no dispensaries at all.
But, when the dispensaries line the streets like 1990s Osco Drugs, deciding where to go can make or break your experience. In short, not every dispensary – just like not every restaurant or bar – offers you the same perks.
This isn’t to say you need to do hours of research before deciding what store to patronize. Instead, look for some of the following:
We all know that people go to the Internet to air their complaints. While some bad reviews are valid, some aren’t.
Posting a fake review is pretty easy: some sites actually hire writers to write fake reviews for cash. And it’s difficult to spot a liar, liar pants on fire from a real person who used the relevant service; some bogus posts are obvious, some aren’t.
Fake reviews usually serve one of two purposes: to build up your own company or tear down competitors. This is why a dispensary with across the board five-star reviews that each sound alike should raise the same number of flags as one with similar-themed zero-star reviews.
According to TIME, around 30 percent of online reviews for products are fake while about 10 percent of other reviews are fake
These estimates come from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Cornell University, respectively.
What it’s best to look for are specifics: a poster who says they didn’t like a dispensary because they found the same strain for a lower price elsewhere conveys much more legitimacy than one who says nothing other than the workers were all poopy-pants.
Looking for patterns is helpful as well. If several reviewers consistently complain about a dispensary’s customer service, odds are there’s some truth behind their anger.
Adherence to Dispensary Rules
Every time a budtender scans your ID, somewhere George Orwell smiles. Okay, so maybe it’s not full-on “Big Brother,” but dispensaries have very strict governmental rules they must follow or risk losing their right to sell.
It may seem annoying to customers – especially when they scan your IDs once to get inside and another as you make a purchase – but an adherence to the rules is good. Maybe not when it comes to your patience, but when it comes to their product.
If they follow the rules, they make sure that marijuana is handled correctly, grown under the correct methods, and handled with care. They take seriously health and safety regulation which, for customers, is something highly desired.
A Wide Selection
The best dispensaries have several products for you to choose from; there are no leaf-limitations. Not only do they offer strains with a mixed variety – some that are indica and sativa, some that are hybrid– but they offer a range of edibles, balms, and patches in addition to traditional buds.
A good dispensary also appreciates that THC isn’t the only cannabinoid
They offer products high in THC, but they don’t forget about CBD or the others, either.
When a dispensary is the only show in town, it makes sense that its prices stay higher than dispensaries located next door to other dispensaries. When supply is lower than the demand, businesses can charge more than usual.
If you live somewhere with only one local shop, you might not care about paying a few extra bucks – you’ll do it in the name of convenience and gas money. But if you reside near pot shops o’plenty, look around for the best prices before making a purchase.
A sign of a good dispensary is one with competitive pricing and the occasional sale or discount.
For first-time buyers and some well-seasoned, walking into a dispensary is intimidating. Cannabis is an industry rich in history and information and a helpful budtender can mean the difference between an enjoyable experience and one you’re never going through again.
Customers, from newbies to those who’ve been smoking weed since Wood Stock, should never be expected to know everything in the world about marijuana: that’s the budtender’s job.
A good dispensary understands this and employs people who have the passion and the patience to answer any question they’re asked
Every year, businesses lose customers because of poor customer service. An irritable budtender or one who makes a customer feel inferior because they don’t know the difference between Sour Jack and Sour Diesel isn’t cultivating a relationship. They’re only being a Moby Dick.
Rewards for Customer Loyalty
For most of us, buying cannabis is like buying milk: it’s not a one-time purchase. When we run out, we run out for more. Because of our repeat shopper tendencies, a good dispensary rewards us for our loyalty.
This doesn’t mean they need to roll out the red carpet every time you walk inside, but there are certain gimmicks that make patrons feel worthwhile. Referral programs, buy one get one free, in-store contests, and special sales and discounts keep customers coming back for more.
A good dispensary also remembers their customers – naturally, this is difficult as many shops see hundreds of people a week.
For customers who come in regularly and repeatedly, recognition is important
For more bonus points, a good dispensary is proactive in meeting their customer’s needs. If a man who lives in town always stops by looking for patches and none are ever in stock, a good shop has the foresight to call when a new shipment arrives.
Customer loyalty is essential to the success of a business. If dispensaries are devoted to their patrons, the patrons will reciprocate.