Across the country, 33 states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use. Colorado and Washington became the first two states legalizing recreational use for adults 21 and over. California soon followed in 2016, with the passing of Prop 64. There, adults 21 or over and those who are 18 with a valid medical card can buy from the cannabis dispensary.

Medical and recreational cannabis can be purchased from a licensed cannabis dispensary. Visiting a cannabis dispensary isn’t like visiting a regular store. If you’ve never been before, the experience can be overwhelming. To help make your first visit a success, here’s what you can expect at the cannabis dispensary.

Look Before You Go

Before you head to the closest dispensary, you should do a little research. Take a look at nearby dispensaries, make sure they are licensed, then check out what they have to offer. Most have online menus. This way, you can get a better idea of what you’re looking for and you’re less likely to be overwhelmed when you walk through the door.

green buds

Bring Cash to the Cannabis Dispensary

While some cannabis dispensaries can process debit and credit card payments, not all of them have this ability. You’ll likely need to pay for your purchase using cash. Take a look at your chosen dispensary’s website before you go to see what payment methods are available. If the website doesn’t specify, you should stop by an ATM just to be on the safe side. 

You’ll Be Carded at the Door

Recreational cannabis users need to be at least 21 years of age to purchase, possess, and use cannabis products. The age to purchase medical cannabis varies by state. Most states require the individual to be at least 18 while others require the purchaser to be at least 21.  

You’ll need to provide a legal form of identification to prove you’re old enough to make a purchase. For recreational cannabis, you just need to provide your driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID card. For medical cannabis, some states require that you also provide a medical marijuana card. In California, this card is no longer necessary if you’re over 21, but you can still have one. 

Waiting Is Normal

Don’t be surprised if you have to wait a bit before you can speak to a budtender. Many dispensaries have waiting rooms. Waiting rooms may be informal, with a few chairs to relax until the next budtender becomes available. Others may be set up like a physician’s office waiting room with magazines and television. Some may not have a waiting room at all. Instead, you can browse the products while you wait for your turn. 

Everything Is Sealed

While “sampling” may have been a common practice for medical cannabis a few years ago, the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis comes with some very strict regulations. Included in these regulations is that all cannabis products be sold in sealed, tamper-resistant packaging. 

You Can (And Should!) Ask Questions

Your budtender wants you to have a positive experience at the dispensary. They want to help you find the best products to meet your needs. To do this, they may ask you several questions, such as what type of experience you’re looking for and what your experience is. At the same time, you should also feel free to ask questions. The more knowledge you have (and the more knowledge the budtender has about you) the more likely you are to find a product that provides you with exactly what you’re looking for. 

Cannabis dispensaries aren’t like regular stores. The experience is something entirely different. Taking some time to research what the dispensary has to offer, formulating questions, and having everything you need before you go can help to make your visit a pleasant one. 

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