An Open sign on a cannabis dispensary

Guide: How To Buy Weed at a Dispensary

The legalization of cannabis has been a hot debate topic over the past several years. As of November 2020, Esquire reports that 15 states have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, 20 states have legalized only medical marijuana, and the remaining 15 states have not legalized marijuana for any use. 

Even though marijuana is still not federally legal, the market is most certainly on the rise and dispensaries are becoming much more accessible than in years’ past. In fact, some states went so far as to deem cannabis an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you happen to live in a state that has recently legalized weed, check out our tips for going to a dispensary for the first time. 

TechCrunch conducted a study in December 2020 that resulted in these noteworthy statistics:

  • Legal cannabis sales in the United States totaled close to $20 billion in 2020.
  • The legal cannabis market employs over 243,000 people nationwide.
  • By 2021, the legal cannabis industry is expected to be worth $24.5 billion.
  • More than 1/3 of the country (111 million people) live in a state with legal recreational cannabis.
  • Oklahoma leads all states in the number of dispensaries–a total of 2,129!

Have you noticed dispensaries popping up in your state? These are exciting times for cannabis newbies and aficionados, alike. But because cannabis isn’t federally legal yet, it means many dispensaries are not insured and take on quite a bit of risk to operate. This is why it is important to be prepared before going to a dispensary for the first time. Our dispensary guide is here to help you! 

If you’re stepping into the world of cannabis for the first time, it can feel overwhelming. We share Where to Start When You’re New to Cannabis.

How To Buy Weed at a Dispensary:

Buying weed at a dispensary isn’t as simple as buying food from the grocery store. There are steps you need to take before you visit a dispensary, actions you must consider while you’re at a dispensary, and rules to follow once you leave a dispensary. Check out our dispensary guide, below, for our pro-tips!

Before You Go:

  • Find a dispensary near you! Remember, if your state only legalizes medical marijuana, you must first qualify for a medical marijuana card in order to shop at a dispensary. Leafly will help you find out if you qualify, here.
  • You must bring a valid, state-issued i.d./driver’s license or passport.
  • You must be 21 years of age.
  • Bring cash. Many dispensaries are still working out relationships with credit providers and will not accept credit cards as a form of payment.

It’s also a good plant to have an idea of what you’re shopping for. You don’t need to be an expert on every cannabis strain or know exactly what to buy at a dispensary, but it will be helpful to the budtender (a dispensary employee well-versed in cannabis products) if you have an idea of what you’d like to achieve with your purchase. Ask yourself these questions to start: 

  • Do I want to feel happy?
  • Do I want to feel relaxed?
  • Do I want to be able to focus better?

The budtender will guide you from there! 

While You're There:

  • Dispensaries are NOT serve-yourself. Budtenders will be happy to have you smell a product and explain the effects of specific weed strains.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. It is the budtender’s job to study and sample the products so that they can best guide you in your dispensary purchases. 
  • Explain any health issues you might have. Budtenders will be able to guide you toward or away specific weed strains depending on your medical history.
  • Be patient. The experience of going to a dispensary for the first time should be enjoyable and you should also expect to walk away having learned quite a bit about the dispensary’s products!

After You Leave:

  • Wait to get home before you light up. Dispensaries are already taking a risk selling you the best-cultivated products, so it’s best to avoid consuming the product the second you leave the store. It’s just good etiquette!
  • Sample your products and take notes. You might love some of the marijuana you purchased, or you might hate it. Either way, take notes on the products you’ve sampled so you can discuss it with your budtender the next time you visit the dispensary. 
  • Store your marijuana properly in order to keep it fresh. This will give you the most bang for your buck.

Do you feel like you have a better idea of how to buy weed at a dispensary? Going to a dispensary for the first time doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, it should be an enjoyable, discovery-based experience perfect for introducing newcomers to the world of cannabis and deepening the novice’s appreciation. Being prepared will help you get the most out of your experience, and budtenders will appreciate it if you show up to the dispensary prepared and eager to learn. 

As the marijuana industry continues to flourish, our hope is that marijuana becomes legal throughout the entire nation. In addition to the health benefits of medical marijuana and the industry’s success through economic uncertainty, national legalization will only benefit users and experts alike. 

Stay in-the-know as more states continue to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in 2021. When you sign-up for our 421 Club newsletter, you’ll receive news about the industry, promotions for Cannabolish products, and more!

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