Recreational cannabis is legal in 18 states and medical is legal in 39 states, and we can expect those numbers to grow to 50 and 50 within the next couple of years most likely. Every time a new legal market opens up, hundreds of thousands of people gain access to cannabis for the first time. They’re exposed to a whole new world of flower shopping which includes new storefronts, innovative technology, delivery options, different products they’ve never heard of, and so on. It’s a completely different ball game and, as expected, people new to the industry might have some questions.
As someone lucky enough to have grown up in California, the world’s largest cannabis market, I’ve had the opportunity to shop at many different dispensaries and stores over the last decade. In taking numerous friends and out-of-state relatives weed shopping for their first time, I have noticed a few things that are important to keep in mind if you want to make that first visit to a pot dispensary as smooth as possible.
Weed is the best; and what’s particularly fun about today’s industry is the sheer variety of products you can find online or in most dispensaries. In-fact many of the top cannabis dispensary products could be found online, if you know where to look for them. If you would like to learn more about how to find them online, or try out different products make sure to Subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter to learn more and for exclusive deals on Delta 8, Delta 10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC.
Familiarize yourself with the local market
First things first, get to know the legal cannabis market in your area. What you can buy, how you can buy it, and how much of it you can buy, largely depends on where you live. For example, I’m from a small community in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. Although cannabis is completely legal in the state of California, walk-in/storefront dispensaries were NOT permitted in my area. As a matter of fact, numerous CA cities have moratoriums prohibiting cannabis dispensaries from operating within their limits.
All this to say, If I wanted to buy weed, whether it was THC (marijuana) or CBD (hemp) dominant, I would have needed to order it online to be delivered to my home or I could have driven down to Coachella Valley to buy some, as that area is one of the most lenient area in the entire state when it comes to cannabis cultivation and retail (and this is what I usually opted for). Then we take a look at other states – some only have medical cannabis, other states prohibit certain products (concentrates for example), and the different caveats go on and on. You don’t have to go far much in-depth, but a minimal level of research will certainly be to your advantage.
Also keep in mind that CBD Flowers/Hemp Flowers infused with other cannabinoids like delta 8 THC are technically, federally legal, so you can order those online no matter where you live. If you need help finding a reputable online retailer, subscribe to our newsletter above or below for helpful tips, deals, reviews, and relevant news articles.
2. Prepare to be amazed
If you’re like me and love weed, that first time stepping into a legal cannabis store really is one of those kid-in-a-candy-store moments. For me, it was on my 18th birthday – back when the selection was scarce and the storefronts were shady, but it was still amazing no less. The freedom of being able to legally buy whatever product I wanted was, and still is, a great feeling (one that I realize I took for granted, now that I live in Indiana, one of the strictest prohibition states in the nation). Trust me, you will be wowed at the sheer number of options and the quality of the products – everything from the product itself, to the hardware you consume it with, to the packing it comes in. Stepping into a truly high-end dispensary for the first time will probably blow your mind.
Take one of current favorite shop for instance, Fire & Flower in Palm Springs. As far as building design and decor goes, they’re no frills, but inside you will find hundreds of products to choose from including top-shelf flower, edibles, vapes, concentrates, and topics; technologically adept shop with interactive digital SKUs on each product so customers can learn (in detail) about what they’re buying, online ordering options, and every other retail convenience you can imagine. For anyone that remembers cannabis prohibition or is still going through it now in certain regions, the legal pot shopping experience of today will truly blow your mind. Some of these shops will have you thinking you’re in an Apple store for weed, it’s game changing when you’ve never seen a place like this.
3. Go in with an open mind, and wallet
Contrary to common belief, you don’t have to know what you want before you get there. A lot of people are completely unfamiliar with anything having to do with cannabis or CBD flowers, and that’s totally fine. After all, it is a big part of the budtender’s job to educate customers and help them choose products. Of course, the process is quicker and easier if you do go in with an idea of what you’re looking for, but don’t feel bad if you’re a novice user, we all start our cannabis-learning experience somewhere!
Not to mention, going from black-market shopping to a legal recreational market is an exciting transition. You go from buying whatever your dealer has on hand, to a myriad of product options. Someone who has been strictly buying flower on the street might be unfamiliar with real edibles or legal and safely made concentrates, so these customers will likely be seeking guidance when shopping for these products
All that said, high-quality legal products that have been lab-tested for safety and transparency, can sometimes fetch a higher price tag than what many people anticipate (there is often an expectation that these products will be cheaper because they’re legal, but that’s not always the case). Plus, when you’re bombarded with so many new and interesting things to choose from, it can be easy to spend a bit more than you originally planned.
4. Be prepared
Cannabis is a controlled substance, and as such, certain documentation is required when purchasing weed products. Most dispensaries require a current form of identification, nothing too personal, and you will often need to fill out a short form with some additional info upon arrival. Some places are only open to locals, so you will need a state-issued ID. If you’re shopping at a medical dispensary, you will also need a doctor’s recommendation.
Another thing you’ll want to have with you is cash. Several locations these days let you pay with a card and most shops will have an ATM on site for an alternative option, but there is a possibility that you will end up in a store that only accepts cash and has no way for you to get it. So, if this is your first visit to a particular dispensary, remember that cash is king
As far as hemp and CBD products go, companies generally won’t sell to anyone under 18 years old. It’s federally legal, but there are still some rules as far as who can sell what. In California, dispensaries that are licensed to sell THC products cannot sell hemp. Not sure why that is, but it’s something to prepare for when organizing your shopping trip.
While it’s not a complete run-down of how your initial visit to a dispensary might go (because, let’s face it, everyone’s experience will be different – even shopping at the same store sometimes), there are a few some basic things to remember that will help you get the best out of your first adventure into a legal cannabis store. But the most important thing to keep in mind, is that you’re a stoner among stoners, so have fun and enjoy the incredible world of legal weed.
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