The notion that cannabis will be coming to a state near you (or even YOUR state) is a rather exciting experience. And who can blame you for being so stoked!? When a plant once considered as hazardous as heroin by the Federal government receives a stamp of approval, suddenly you may find yourself living in heaven on Earth. However, understanding the ins and outs of this once-illegal plant can be admittedly confusing at times.
The number of newbies and cannabis connoisseurs booking long holidays or traveling abroad, all in the name of cannabis, has grown dramatically over the past few years. After all, if cannabis isn’t yet legal in your locale, often you’ll be forced to travel far and wide just to find and consume it. But with that experience comes the reality that you may have to learn a few new things about cannabis along the way.
As simple as it might be to drop by a dispensary and ask for some weed, still there remain some things you should know before you pay a visit to any dispensary. So if you’re considering making a trip to a dispensary anytime soon and want to avoid potential misfortunes, check out these four important details that you’ll need to know before you go.
Customers Must Be At Least 21 Years Or Older
When marijuana legislators first began the process of legalizing recreational cannabis, they designed the general legislature after laws set forth for the liquor and alcohol industry. As a result, the 11 states that have authorized recreational marijuana have done so in a manner similar to booze. This means customers, you included, must be at least 21 years old before visiting a local cannabis shop. And most importantly, no one is exempt from this law.
When visiting a local dispensary for the very first time, expect to be welcomed by security personnel that will ask for an identification card in some form(a valid driver’s license will suffice). At the end of the day, the storefront doesn’t care how charming or wealthy you might be – if you don’t have the documentation that they’re asking for, you will be asked to leave the building immediately. Thus, when visiting a state to legally purchase cannabis, always ensure that you have your driver’s license ready. You will most certainly need it.
Cannabis Dispensaries Only Accept Cash – But Some Take Credit Cards Too
Because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, most local and national banks are afraid to cooperate with the cannabis industry for fear that they might be indicted for money laundering or a similar criminal offense. Sadly, this means that almost all operational cannabis dispensaries are operating on a cash-only basis. While bringing cash to the dispensary makes the most sense, many dispensaries house an ATM, though these will likely add a surcharge fee to your withdrawal. But if working with cash sounds a little outdated, fear not! A workaround has been created to conquer the cash-induced crisis.
Some local dispensaries have discovered a simple but legal means to bypass the cash-only quandary. Doing so simply involves using your credit or debit card to purchase a gift card equivalent in value to the final purchase total, and using that gift card to make the final purchase. That being said, it pays to do a bit of research on your chosen dispensary before arriving, just to be sure your payment method of choice will be accepted. If you’re having second thoughts, know that cash is king where cannabis is concerned. And be sure to carry enough cash for your purchases! Keep in mind that most states will tax cannabis products, and prices may increase at the register to reflect this reality.
Some Budtenders are Welcoming, But Others Sadly Aren’t
Once you set foot in the showroom of the dispensary, a budtender will be there to welcome you. The budtender’s responsibility is to introduce you to all kinds of products, answer queries, and even give recommendations. Think of a great budtender as your cannabis consultant. He or she will ask the important questions to help you find the product that’s perfect for your needs. But just as there are stellar budtenders, there are bad ones as well. A bad budtender is comparable to a lazy employee at a convenience store. In reality, this is the difference between a dispensary that goes the extra mile, and one that’s worth passing over. Find the shops with engaging budtenders to make your experience special.
At the end of the day, you’ll want a cannabis consultant that is well-versed in all the available strains and products. Fortunately, most dispensaries make sure that their staff are qualified and possess exceptional knowledge of diverse product lineups to ensure you make the right purchase. Be sure to ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable. And if the staff doesn’t seem to have any answers, don’t feel pressured to make a purchase! Find the dispensary that meets your needs, and your experience will be far more memorable as a result.
The “No Returns” Policy for All Marijuana Dispensaries
Cannabis dispensaries are retail stores, but they’re not Forever21, H&M or Gap. There’s no such thing as a dispensary return program. Though you’ll examine and study and acquire knowledge of countless products during your visit, only purchase the items you intend to keep.
It’s easy to visit a dispensary for the first time and get a little obsessed when shopping around. Quickly a simple visit can lead to spending hundreds of dollars on bud, edibles, tinctures, one-use vape pens and everything that a budtender brings to the table. When you head home, don’t regret purchasing enough products to equal monthly rent and the whole grocery budget. Sadly, by that point it’ll be a bit too late to feel guilty – going back to the shop and asking for a refund isn’t going to happen. The best advice is to go into the dispensary with a budget, and make purchases that reflect your budget. As heartbreaking as it may be to leave without ALL the goods, the dispensary will be there the next time you return for more.
As states continue to legalize cannabis and the plant’s popularity grows in turn, more and more individuals will be heading to the dispensary for the very first time. Remember the tips above before heading into your first dispensary, and enjoy every minute of the experience while you’re there.