News, Culture & Society

How to Prepare Before Visiting a Cannabis Dispensary

You might know how to choose a dispensary that provides high-quality products and service — but what do you do once you know which dispensary you want to visit? Whether you have been a cannabis user for decades or this is your first time trying the drug, you might need to prepare before your first visit to a legal marijuana dispensary. Here are a few tips that could improve your dispensary experience:

Optional: Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Your State

Not all cannabis users everywhere need to take this step — but if you live in the United States, it is most likely that you live in a state where marijuana has only been legalized for medical use. In that case, you won’t be allowed to enter a dispensary without a medical marijuana license.

Processes for acquiring a medical weed card vary from state to state. Every state requires a health care provider to attest that cannabis will help a certain patient better manage their health condition. Most states have a list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana use; these conditions include things like cancer, AIDS, anorexia, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and others. However, in Oklahoma specifically, marijuana is available to anyone whose doctor deems the drug medically necessary.

Some doctors will complete the license application for you and send your information to your state’s board for review. Doctors do charge for this service, and all state applications require processing fees. The total expense of acquiring a card can vary between $50 and $350 dollars. Unfortunately, it isn’t likely that your insurance will cover any of these costs.

Bring Your Identification and Any Relevant Documentation

After you choose a dispensary to visit, you will need to check and double-check that you have the right documentation. If you are visiting a recreational dispensary, you will need identification that shows you are over 21 years old — and that’s about it.

On the other hand, if you are visiting a medical dispensary, you will need identification, your weed card and any information your doctor provides about your condition and how to treat it with marijuana. Some doctors might offer dosing guidelines or suggest types of cannabis products to use. Budtenders working inside the dispensary can use this information to guide you to purchases that are more likely to address your health condition.

Know the Purchase and Possession Laws in Your State

You shouldn’t buy more marijuana products than you are allowed to possess. Otherwise, you could receive a fine, or worse depending on the amount of cannabis goods in your possession. Though dispensaries are unlikely to allow you to buy more than the legal limit, it is still a good idea to look up the laws in your state — and to remember that regulations may differ for recreational and medical users.

Write Down Any Questions You Have for Budtenders

Visiting a dispensary can be overwhelming for more than a few reasons. Before you go, you should jot down any questions you have about cannabis, to ensure you don’t forget to ask budtenders while you are there. Some common questions from newbies include:

  • What is the difference between indica and sativa?
  • How do I dose edibles properly?
  • Are there advantages to vaping over smoking?
  • Does CBD alone have any effects?

You might also take the opportunity to learn more about the dispensary itself, asking about how the shop sources its product and whether it runs any regular sales. If a budtender seems unwilling to answer your questions, you should ask to speak to someone else — or you might want to find a different dispensary with better customer service.

Bring Enough Cash to Cover Your Purchases

Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and because banks don’t want to risk their FDIC insurance, most marijuana-related businesses are unable to open accounts or use financial services. Thus, most are only to accept payment in the form of cold hard cash. It is a good idea to bring at least $100 in twenties; the cost of cannabis products vary from place to place, but you should be able to get enough goods to try for less than $100.

Recreational dispensary experiences are akin to visiting a liquor store — there are some funny rules but its basically just shopping. Medical dispensaries are a bit stricter, but if you prepare adequately before your visit, you are certain to have an informative and interesting first adventure into the community of cannabis.