Walking into a marijuana dispensary for the first time can be equal parts intimidating and exciting. The space is more than a smoke shop, however. In parts of the country where dispensaries are purely for medicinal use, the customers are also patients seeking a reprieve from pain or other uncomfortable symptoms. This makes a dispensary a unique environment, and understanding the etiquette helps your first visit go off without a hitch. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your first trip to a dispensary:
You Need a Valid Government ID
Yes, you’ll need your doctor’s recommendation for cannabis, but you also need a verified photo ID. And, sorry, a Costco card won’t cut it. Bring in your driver’s license, passport or state ID so your budtender can cross-check the information. Age doesn’t matter — even if you’re clearly of age, your ID is necessary.
You’ll Probably Need Cash
For a variety of sticky red tape reasons, even dispensaries that are totally legal often operate on a cash-only basis. The discrepancy between federal and state laws regarding medical and recreational dispensary operations leads to cash sales being easier for everyone. Stop at an ATM before you get there!
It’s OK to Ask the Budtender Questions
There are many strains of cannabis at any dispensary, so go ahead and ask some questions of the expert behind the counter. The laws in many states prohibit open containers or the smoking of cannabis in the dispensary, but you can still get a quality recommendation and learn a lot by explaining your needs.
You Should Treat the Counter Like a Pharmacy
When you’re picking up meds at the pharmacy, you stand back to give the patient in front of you some space — and the same goes for a dispensary. The person in front of you may be describing a medical condition or asking other sensitive questions, so don’t loiter nearby when the budtender is assisting another customer.
Your first trip to the dispensary may be the beginning of a very fruitful relationship, as long as you follow the basic rules of etiquette and respect the law. Your budtender is there to help, so when in doubt — turn to the in-house guru!