What to expect when visiting a dispensary
If you’re lucky enough to live in a cannabis-legal state, finding a dispensary is easy. Aside from the billboards that have seemingly popped up overnight, doing an internet search makes shopping for pot products a breeze.
But if it’s your first time visiting one, dispensaries can feel a bit overwhelming. Your best bet is doing your research, both on the products you want and the dispensary itself. Then, take a deep breath and remember – it’s just a store.
Keep these 10 things in mind before making your debut entrance:
- You’ll get carded
You must be 21 to buy cannabis at a dispensary. Some store employees will check at the door, but most operate like a bar – and check your ID before you order. Depending on the state, you may also be asked to provide a medical marijuana recommendation. Make sure both are readily available and up-to-date.
- There are state-set rules and regulations
Knowing the cannabis rules set for your state will cut out confusion at the counter. Some have amount limits, some require medical marijuana prescriptions and some can sell travel-ready products (depending on local airport rules). Dispensary staff will be well-versed, but it’s a good idea to know the rules before walking in the door.
- You may be required to pay cash
These days, most dispensaries accept a variety of payment methods. But some still prefer cash. Play it safe and have cash on-hand, as it’s not always easy to find an ATM.
- You probably can’t take pictures
Dispensaries are still somewhat of a novel thing – creating temptation to take photos of the experience. Most dispensaries discourage this. Photos can be a nuisance for staff, and cause anxiety for fellow customers who prefer not to be photographed.
- You won’t be able to handle the product
Dispensary staff will often show you various products, but you can’t touch it unless you buy it. Handling cannabis interferes with the integrity of the product, and can be unsanitary.
- Be prepared to share your primary goal
Unless you’re an expert or a regular, dispensary staff won’t expect you to know exactly what product you want to buy. They will, however, expect you to know what you’re hoping the product will do. Are you treating a medical condition? How “high” do you want to get? What kind of “high” do you want? Based on your needs, staff members can make recommendations.
- Know the difference between indica and sativa
The two main types of cannabis plants are indica and sativa. Sativa tends to be energizing – perfect for socializing and daytime use. Indica is more mellow, best suited for relaxation. Knowing the difference beforehand will help staff pinpoint the product that’s best for you.
- Consider consumption options before you get there
Most cannabis comes in the form of “flower”. This is the most mainstream and classic consumption method. But dispensaries typically offer other options, like vape pens, oils and a variety of edibles, from cookies to candies. If you’re curious about a consumption method that’s new to you, ask a staff member to make recommendations on amounts.
- You can’t consume cannabis on the premises
While not all dispensaries adhere to this standard, most discourage cannabis use on premises. A dispensary is a store, like any other. The same way you don’t cook meals in a supermarket, you don’t smoke or consume cannabis until you get it home.
- Be kind, be considerate, be patient
Remember that if you’re visiting a dispensary, anything you purchase is a legal exchange. Just like a pharmacy, staff is there to address your needs and ensure you’re getting the right product. You’ll be speaking to experienced staff members, surrounded by serious customers. So if it’s your first time experiencing a dispensary, take your time and be kind.