8 Things You Should Know Before Stepping Into a Marijuana Dispensary

cannabis dispensary

We’re willing to bet that more than a few of you out there are still trying to wrap your head around the legalization of cannabis.

That’s okay. It can take some getting used to.

We’re still reeling from the backlash of anti-cannabis laws, so it’s easy to forget that it’s a serious industry with law-abiding citizens as users.

Perhaps you’ve decided to take part.

Perhaps you’re interested in trying out a cannabis dispensary near you.

If that’s the case, we present a series of tips and etiquette to follow to make your experience go smoothly.

We’ve already talked about some obvious things like bringing cash and what to expect when you get to there.

The list below is more about what you can do before you even head out.

Bring Your Medical Papers

We could’ve gone with the more obvious rule of bringing your proof of age ID.

That kind of goes without saying, but what’s not always obvious is remembering to bring your medical authorization papers (AKA “green card”).

Not all states require it though, especially if they exclusively sell recreational marijuana.

However, if you’re looking to purchase for medicinal reasons, the walk-in dispensary you choose may need to see your green card.

Of course, bring your ID as well!

Thoroughly Research the Cannabis Dispensary

Remember, legalized cannabis is still relatively new to the US.

Walking into a cannabis dispensary is not going to be the same as walking into your local grocery store.

If you’re looking for the recreational stuff, you need to be making sure that the dispensary you’re interested in (or that you’re close to) offers it (or both).

You don’t want to be making a faux pas as soon as you walk through the door.

If you’ve got the freedom to travel, a good idea is to perhaps brush up on which states have actually legalized cannabis in the first place.

Research the Type You Want

Your budtender may expect you to already have some understanding of what you’re after. It’s best to have an idea beforehand.

This could be as simple as knowing the type of feeling you want to experience (if you’re using it recreationally).

Do you want to feel relaxed? Focused? Something else?

You could also research the type of strains you want. Nothing too in-depth, though.

For a visual guide, you can check out this handy infographic for more insight into which strain does what.

Look into CBD

Cannabis doesn’t always come in the form of a smokeable.

CBD (otherwise known as cannabidiol) is an oil which induces the benefits that cannabis has, while holding back some of the negative aspects caused by THC (such as paranoia).

It’s extracted from the hemp plant and is used as a pain relief, as well as to treat some neurological disorders.

It’s also said to be beneficial to pets too!

Know Your Method of Consumption

When most people think of cannabis, they tend to think of the likes of Cheech & Chong or Jay & Silent Bob; the stoned hippy types who smoke joints like it’s nobody’s business.

But when researching a walk-in dispensary, it’s good to get a grasp of the different methods of consumption that are available.

Some examples a place may offer include:

  • Pills
  • Drinks (tea, coffee etc.)
  • Edibles (cookies, cakes etc.)
  • Herbal vaporizer pens
  • Flower
  • Tinctures
  • Bath bombs
  • Suppositories

Yes. Suppositories.

You really do have your pick when you go into a dispensary, so we’ll say it again: do some research first.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Okay, nobody is going to expect you to have a detailed encyclopedia of how you should approach a natural dispensary.

An important tip to remember before you go in is to never be afraid to ask for some help.

Your budtender is there to assist you.

Likewise, don’t ever feel ashamed to be there.

The days of being stigmatized for consuming cannabis are falling behind us at a rapid rate.

No one should feel embarrassed that they’re choosing to purchase (and use) cannabis, even for recreational purposes.

Just know that if you’re unsure about something, always ask.

Obey the Rules

Remember that the legalization of cannabis does not mean the legalization of other laws.

There are also rules of etiquette that will ensure a more friendly visit for you and your budtender.

For example: you might be too excited and decide to bust open your purchase as soon as you get it. You might decide to smoke it right there in the parking lot.


Public consumption rules may still apply, and you definitely don’t want to be getting fined before you’re even off the premises.

It should also be noted that you should never smoke and drive.

This is known as ‘riding dirty’ (yes, like the Chamillionaire song), but this may be referring to the consumption of strictly illegal drugs.

Either way, don’t do it.

Likewise, don’t be obnoxious while in the dispensary.

Some places operate a ‘no photo’ policy so probably won’t take too kindly to you snapping pics of all the products for your friends to see.

What are you even doing on your phone while you’re being served?

And finally…

Have Fun with It

We know. That does sound like a bit of an empty piece of advice, but we truly mean it.

You should be having a good experience.

This is a great time to be alive for cannabis consumers across the US.

Having the option to walk into a cannabis dispensary and legally buy a product over the counter (or on prescription) is something many of us didn’t think would happen in our lifetime.

It’s no longer the cloak and dagger tactic that it used to be. At least not in a lot of states.

Obeying the rules, doing a little bit of research, respecting those around you and, above all, enjoying what’s on offer will make things that much more interesting for you.

If you’re interested in reading more about legal cannabis, you can click here to see our section on it.