Stepping into a Dispensary for the First Time

Stepping into a Dispensary for the First Time

A first time dispensary visit can be a little overwhelming or intimidating for new users. Depending on the state and dispensary, there will likely be security officers on site. You’ll be asked for your valid government ID at least once or twice. Keep in mind that this isn’t to annoy you, but to keep a track on everyone’s purchasing limit and ensure nobody is checked out under the wrong name. You will typically wait in a lobby until a budtender becomes available. Their role is to guide you along the way as you pick products out, answering any questions and making product recommendations.


Once you are brought to the sales counter, you’ll be shown a menu with a long list of items. Having an idea of the sort of cannabis products you’d like to use will give your budtender some guidance during the consultation. Common options available at most dispensaries include flower, edibles, tinctures, concentrates, and topicals. If you plan on purchasing buds of cannabis flower to smoke, the most traditional way of using cannabis, then you will want to familiarize yourself with the following terms:


Gram = Typically the smallest quantity you can purchase of whole buds
Eighth = 3.5 grams, and the most common quantity sold
Quarter = 7 grams
Half = 14 grams
Ounce = 28 grams
Pre-rolls = Flower already rolled into a joint or blunt for your convenience


You should also consider the effects you’d like to feel. Cannabis products that provide you with cerebral effects which are mood-enhancing, euphoric, and energizing will be referred to as sativa. Sativa effects tend to be the most social and can be great for a daytime high, depending on the person. On the opposite end of the spectrum are indica products. These will provide a body high that is relaxing and pain-relieving. Many people use indicas in the evening to unwind, but those who suffer from chronic pain may be more inclined to indulge all day long. Hybrid products will have a combination of effects. Some may lean more indica or sativa, but the idea is that the effects will be a bit more balanced. Not overly relaxing, not overly euphoric.


Now your last step after picking out your products is paying. I bring this up because payment methods offered can be pretty scarce due to cannabis still being federally illegal. Most banks comply with federal law and regulations which means it’s common to not be able to use debit or credit cards at pot shops, though there are a small few that do. Some dispensaries have cashless ATMs that allow you to swipe a debit card at checkout instead of taking out the cash at an ATM, essentially saving you an extra step. You may even be able to use a money transfer service, such as CanPay, which allows you to transfer money straight from your bank account to the business. If you’re unsure of what to expect then bring cash just in case.

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