Dispensaries and Collectives, Lifestyle

Shopping at a Dispensary for the First Time? Here Are 3 Tips

September 28, 2021 08:00 am ET
Shopping at a Dispensary for the First Time? Here Are 3 Tips

Shopping at a cannabis dispensary is truly an experience unlike any other! If you’ve never been to one before, it can feel even more intimidating than visiting a Starbucks or Apple store for the first time. What do I need to bring? Are there any specific rules I need to follow? How will I know what to pick out? 

If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, then this article is for you. I’ve worked with thousands of folks who are new to cannabis shopping, and these three tips will help you feel prepared and enjoy your trip to the dispensary. Remember: We’re all somewhat new to this! The legal cannabis industry hasn’t been around for very long, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about if you feel like you’re falling behind. Here are three tips to know before you head over to the dispensary. 


Come Prepared 

Whether a dispensary opened up in your town or you’re going out-of-town to shop, make sure to come prepared. Here are a few of the basics for shopping in the United States:

Bring a Valid ID

Dispensaries in the United States require you to present a valid driver’s license or state ID in order to shop for cannabis. This is a MUST—you won’t be able to get inside most dispensaries without an unexpired ID. If you’re not sure about your specific form of ID, you can call ahead of time and talk with someone at the front desk.

Bring Cash With You

Since cannabis isn’t federally legal in the United States, many dispensaries are not able to bank like other businesses and have to use a cash-only system. I always recommend that folks bring $50 to $100 in cash for their first cannabis shopping trip (or ensure that the dispensary has an ATM on-site). Cannabis can get expensive, and in some states, it’s hard to find items under $25. If you’re shopping for the first time and want to explore some different products, I recommend bringing $100 so you can shop comfortably.

Call Ahead of Time

If you have questions about anything from COVID-19 restrictions to accessibility for wheelchairs, give the dispensary a call. It’s the dispensary’s responsibility to provide you a space where you feel comfortable and safe to shop, so don’t be afraid to consult the employees on anything you’re confused about. Most dispensaries in 2021 have an online presence too, and their website will typically tell you their working hours, show their menu, and let you know about any specific policies.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time  

I always recommend going to the dispensary on a day when you’re not in a hurry and can enjoy the shopping experience. Think of it like getting a hand-crafted drink from a bar or ordering a customized latte at a local coffee shop; these things take time and are worth the wait. Shopping at a dispensary for the first time is very similar.

When I worked at our town’s first dispensary, it was WILDLY busy when it first opened. It would be normal for folks to wait one to two hours just to get inside. We’d often get people who were frustrated because they came to shop for cannabis on their lunch break or in between meetings, and it took longer than they expected. Avoid stopping by the dispensary when you’re crunched for time, as it typically takes at least 15 to 20 minutes for a visit, and it could be as long as an hour if there’s a line. 

When you arrive, someone will look at your ID and guide you into the shopping area, where you’ll generally work one-on-one with a budtender to secure your goods. If you’re not provided a menu, the budtender will walk you through all the cannabis products and specials for the day, from edibles to flower to concentrates. Do you want a pre-rolled joint to just light up and go? Or do you seek a more discreet method like a vape or edible? To speed things up, it can help to think about what method of ingestion meets your needs ahead of time.  

Don’t Stress

You’ve looked into the rules, explored the range of products, and set a good time to go. Now comes the fun part: Don’t forget to enjoy your first dispensary trip! Remember that we all had to start somewhere, and no one just wakes up as a dispensary expert. It might seem daunting, but we’ve all been there—even your budtender was probably nervous the first time they shopped at a dispensary!

Understanding the ins and outs of the cannabis industry is not a requirement for dispensary shopping. Due to the stringent laws surrounding cannabis sales, every dispensary has a solid structure in place to guide shoppers through each step of cannabis shopping properly. Additionally, budtenders are trained to educate shoppers on all the products, so don’t feel like you need to inundate Google with cannabis queries the night before.

Many people are surprised at how friendly the dispensary employees are and how stress-free the visit goes. I’ve had folks say to me, “Everyone here has been so helpful and kind!” and “Wow, I didn’t expect this experience to be so easy!” Over time, you might bond with a favorite budtender or even help other folks shopping for the first time—dispensaries are great places to connect with other cannabis users and learn tips and tricks along the way. Before you know it, you’ll be shopping for cannabis like a pro!

Post Your Comments

John Calkins says:

September 28, 2021 at 2:05 pm

Hi Haley, I think you should talk about pricing and product as well. A lot of first timers can’t tell what is and isn’t good cannabis. It’s easy to spend a lot, and not get much. I think if you include some discussion of that, it would make this article more complete and universal.

Reply
Lo says:

September 28, 2021 at 3:26 pm

Hi John! Please check out this article that is aimed to help those new to cannabis. Cannabis consumption is one of those things that are unique to the individual because dispensary inventory, prices, available products, and overall quality differ greatly across the country. So, unfortunately, it’s hard to dole advice on those specific points efficiently, however, we do have articles that touch on them.

Reply
Fred says:

September 28, 2021 at 2:11 pm

Best recommendation for tincture product for helping with stress levels.

Reply
Eddie melendez says:

September 28, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Didn’t wana do this but I have to,let’s see who gona step up to the plate from veriheal an help out cause I talked to people from veriheal an thr state quiet a few times in a Year an 2 months an I still have nt head any thing positive about my weed lic I paid in full an have to proof I did pay 259 Bucks by Debit card on JULY 8 OF 20 20 AN STILL HAVE NT GOTIN SHIT FR MY MONEY NO CALLS NO NOTHING FROM STATE OR VERIHEAL, SO THE ONLY THING I COULD THINK OF IS I JUST GT ROBBEB FR 259 BUCKS,SO WAT DA FUCK DO I DO.AN YEA I SHOULD BE PISSED AN I AM, EDDIE M CALL IF U GIVE A SHIT,😔

Reply
Cesar Gallegos says:

September 29, 2021 at 12:17 pm

Hey Eddie!,

I’m sorry to hear about the delay that you have been having with our services. Could you please provide me with the email that you used to sign up for our service so that we can start looking into what happened?

Reply
Terrie McCane says:

September 30, 2021 at 11:30 am

You will only get an email. I got mine the next day – then you print the card and you are on your way – so check your email or go to the Ohio Medical Pharmacy on line

Reply
Mary Shiring says:

September 28, 2021 at 11:51 pm

I am fairly new to the dispensery experience.I will say this much everyone where i went were very helpful.I enjoy the flower bud to smoke but i have a few questions.How the heck do you chose the right bud to smoke( there are so many to chose from)

Reply
Terrie McCane says:

September 30, 2021 at 11:28 am

That is my question also! I have tried a variety of flower and vaping and I get nothing from it – am I picking the correct ones – also I did try the edibles too – nothing – didn’t even take the pain from my arms. How do you know what to get –

Reply
Laura says:

September 29, 2021 at 3:40 pm

I’ll read others then comment

Reply
Richard Schlegel says:

October 2, 2021 at 2:57 am

True it’s a bit pricey for the value of grams. Thc. %

Reply
Rachel says:

October 6, 2021 at 3:55 am

Cannabis has helped so much with my ocd symptoms!

Reply
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