How to Feel Prepared Going to Shop at Your First Legal Marijuana Dispensary
As of January 2020, there are 34 states in the United States where adults can legally buy and use marijuana. Eleven of those states have legalized cannabis for recreational adult use, while the other 23 now permit the use and sale of medical marijuana. In the latter case, patients need to have a qualifying condition (according to the list approved by their state) and a written recommendation from a doctor. In all other states but three (Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota), people can legally purchase CBD oil, or low thc high cbd seeds.
Current trends indicate that more states will be moving to full legalization in the foreseeable future, meaning that more and more Americans will have access to safe and legal cannabis products from local dispensaries. The following are some tips for purchasing cannabis in a legal state.
Know Your State’s Laws
In the eleven states where recreational marijuana is now legal, buyers must be 21 and over in order to buy, possess, or consume it. If you’re planning to visit a dispensary, make sure to bring a state-approved ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, that will verify your age. In states that approve only medical use, the same age restriction applies, and an ID is required in addition to medical documentation.
In addition, each state has its own particular rules regarding how much you can buy and where you can consume it. For example, in Michigan, it is legal to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and keep up to 10 ounces of it at home. Alaska, on the other hand, limits possession to a single ounce. Also, not every state has the same laws about carrying cannabis seeds in dispensaries, so you may have to end up buying online.
In the state of Washington, it is legal to consume marijuana outside the home in certain clubs or hotels; however, most other states prohibit the use of cannabis in public places. It’s important to remember that even in legal states, there can be stiff penalties for violating laws that limit marijuana possession or use.
Choose Your Local Dispensary
When ordering medical marijuana first became legal in the U.S., the businesses that sold it to the public were known as dispensaries, similar to pharmacies in that they dispensed medically necessary products. The word is still used even in states where recreational marijuana is legal, although the word “shop” or “store” is becoming increasingly common.
In most legal states, there are many dispensaries to choose from, and it’s a good idea to do a little research before making a visit. Most people want to find a convenient local shop with good reviews, but there are a couple of other factors to consider.
First of all, make sure that the dispensary you choose either sells the strain of cannabis (i.e. blue dream or ak47 weed) you’re interested in or has a wide selection to choose from. Most stores post their menus online, so you can get a feel for the options. In addition, if you’re not very experienced with cannabis products, you may want to choose a dispensary that caters to beginners, with staff members (known as “budtenders”) who are able to spend time with customers and make helpful recommendations.
Learn the Lingo
Every sub-culture has its own specialized vocabulary, and that includes the culture of cannabis professionals and their customers. If you’re new to buying cannabis, here are a few terms that will be good to know
- Budtender: a cannabis salesperson. Ideally, a budtender is more than that; many stores and dispensaries train their budtenders to be experts on the products they sell and to offer personalized recommendations according to their customers’ needs and desires.
- Cannabinoids: the chemicals in marijuana that have an effect on the human body. There are at least 85 distinct cannabinoids in a cannabis plant, but you really only need to know two of them: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which produces the sensation of being high, and cannabidiol, or CBD, which is considered to have health benefits but no psychoactive effects.
- Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis: the three species of cannabis. Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are both high in THC, while Cannabis ruderalis is higher in CBD and lower in THC. In general, indica is considered to be more relaxing while sativa produces a more energetic high. However, each species is subdivided into many strains, including hybrid strains, and each one has a distinct chemical profile and effect.
- Vaping: a popular method of consumption that involves inhaling a vaporized liquid extract of cannabis. Considered safer than smoking, vaping offers the same potency as a joint, but with less irritation to the throat and lungs.
- Dabbing: a method of consuming marijuana by inhaling a vaporized concentrate. The thick, waxy concentrates used for dabbing, such as butane hash oil (BHO), are much higher in THC than other products. If you’re new to cannabis, dabbing is probably not the best method to start with because it provides a strong dose very quickly. It’s better to start slowly and learn how your body reacts to THC. Commonly grown from high thc marijuana seeds, strains like gorilla glue #4 or bruce banner are popular choices for making concentrates, having optimal THC % and flavor.
- Edibles: products containing cannabis that can be ingested. Edibles are the second most common method of consuming cannabis after smoking, and there are many appealing options on the market. Kush Cookies, white widow bud brownies, and various forms of candy are all popular edible products.
- Pre-rolls: marijuana cigarettes. Also known as joints, pre-rolls are available at most dispensaries. And in most sativa and indica varieties
Study the Menu
It’s a good idea to check out the menu online before you visit a dispensary. Even if you’re not sure what you want to try, you can get an idea of what your options are and learn a little bit about the ones you aren’t familiar with. This can help you ask the right questions when you meet your budtender for the first time.
There is so much variety nowadays in the ways that people consume cannabis as well as in the specific products offered for sale, and a long menu can seem a bit overwhelming to a beginner. To better understand the products and what they’re for, it’s important to know the main methods of consumption. These are inhalation, ingestion, and topical application.
- Inhalation includes smoking, vaping, and dabbing (more about those below). If you’re interested in smoking, look for pre-rolls or flower. The term “flower” refers to the dried blooms of a female cannabis plant. For vaping, look for liquid extracts. For dabbing, look for butane hash or CO2 oil.
- Ingestion includes the use of tinctures, which are drops of oil placed under the tongue, capsules containing ingestible oils, and edibles, including gummies, hard candies, cookies, brownies, and chocolates. Though most edibles are sweet, there are a few savory options out there, like marijuana-infused bison jerky.
- Topical products are applied directly to the skin. They include lotions and oils that are infused with cannabis, and they are used mainly for medicinal and relaxation purposes rather than for getting high. Topicals are a popular delivery method for CDB, which is often used to help with pain and inflammation. The only topical product known to have any kind of psychoactive effect is a transdermal patch.
This is important to remember, since most people don’t carry a lot of cash anymore. It’s hard to find a store or even a sidewalk vendor that doesn’t accept some form of plastic. However, marijuana dispensaries and adult recreational-use stores are cash-only businesses due to federal marijuana laws. Even though many states have now legalized some form of marijuana use, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug, and therefore credit card companies refuse to do business with cannabis sellers.
If you show up at a dispensary without enough cash, you’ll be able to use an in-store ATM; however, be prepared to pay higher fees than normal. Some businesses also offer specialized mobile apps, similar to PayPal or Venmo, that allow customers to make online payments.
Expect to Wait Once You Arrive
Many dispensaries have a waiting room where customers can study the menu before placing an order. Depending on the state, stores may limit how many patrons can be inside the store at one time. A store in Illinois, for example, allows only five customers in the sales area at once.
While you’re waiting, think about what you want from your experience with cannabis and how you can describe it to the budtender who will be helping you. Do you want something that will relax you or energize you? How long do you want it to last? Do you have health conditions that you would like to improve?
Place Your Order and Take Your Products Home
It’s important to be honest and upfront when you talk to the budtender. Make sure he or she understands what you’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Good budtenders understand that beginners have a lot to learn, and they are usually more than happy to introduce someone to the products they are passionate about.
Once you have your products in hand, you can go home and enjoy them. Keep experimenting with cannabis to learn more about what you enjoy and how cannabis can enhance your life.