Feeling a little nervous about your first visit to a dispensary? Fear not—we are here to provide guidance and help you get the best cannabis product for your needs.
First, don’t be shy about asking any questions. There are no silly questions. Be honest about what you are looking for and if you have any concerns. Come with a sense of open-mindedness. If you are new to cannabis or just need guidance, talk to the budtender about what effects or experience you are seeking, and they can make recommendations.
Below, we answer some of the most common questions we hear so you can have a better sense of what to expect during your first visit to a dispensary.
What do I need to bring with me?
You must be an adult aged 21+. Unlike liquor stores, no minors are allowed in a cannabis dispensary. Children cannot enter even with a person 21+. You’ll be expected to show a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport or government-issued ID card.
It’s also important to know that cash and debit card payments are accepted, but because dispensaries are not federally legalized, they cannot take credit cards due to the FDIC regulations. Most dispensaries (ours included) have an ATM on-site or debit processing machines available, which may require a fee, typically $3.50 per transaction.
Can I shop anonymously?
Yes, once the staff ensures you are 21+ and that your credentials to enter are valid, you may request to check out anonymously. However, you will only be allowed in once because the staff won’t be able to monitor how much they sold to you over multiple visits without an account profile to track your daily allotment of 28 grams.
The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) does not allow dispensaries to hold or store any information for any purpose other than in-store transactions. Your name and date of birth will be used to create an in-store account profile at most dispensaries to allow businesses to ensure they do not oversell to anyone, along with being able to provide exchanges as necessary on any faulty or disliked product.
Are there long waits at dispensaries?
You should expect to have to wait in line. Wait times depend on where you are visiting, the day of the week, holidays and more. Weekday wait times can range from 0–15 minutes, and weekends from 10–30 minutes depending on the time of day. Some places are slower or are overwhelmed, and may take longer, 30–60 minutes, to serve patrons. There are usually enough dispensaries with quality products that you can find a dispensary that is more efficient. Holiday wait times may be longer than normal, varying from 15–45 minutes.
Some dispensaries allow you to reserve your products to reduce wait times. Once we’re operational, you’ll be able to use our convenient online menu to check our daily selection and reserve products for same-day pickup. You’ll also be able to call our reserve-ahead line and one of our budtenders will take your order and prepare it for you to pick up that day.
What kind of products are typically sold at a dispensary?
You can find a wide range of products at most dispensaries, including:
- pre-rolled joints
- edibles, such as fruit chews, hard candy, chocolate bars and even beverages
- concentrates sold as waxes, oils, distillate, resins and more
- infused products like balms, cooking oils and tinctures
- accessories including rolling papers, pipes and bongs
Selection and products vary by dispensary, and can even include transdermal patches, bath bombs, lotions and more.
Dispensaries typically display products under glass in locked cabinets, but budtenders can bring samples out to allow you to better see them, smell them, and read packaging while answering your questions.
Some dispensaries allow you to purchase your full daily allotment of 28 grams on any day of the week, but most are limited in supply and may have product type limitations. You can find most limits listed online for each location or give them a call to ask before your visit.
Do budtenders have training?
Budtenders are very familiar with the products they offer and can help you find the right product based on your needs and goals. For example, they can recommend specific strains of cannabis that can help induce relaxation, reduce anxiety, help with sleep, assist the focus, boost mood or reduce pain. They can explain the differences between products and methods of consumption, assist with dosage and answer any of your questions.
Employees are required to complete at least 8 hours of cannabis training along with a Responsible Vendor Training course to ensure patrons can be helped adequately. All dispensaries offer educational materials as well, per the CCC regulations, for your review.
I’m new to cannabis. Any advice for my first trip to a dispensary?
Remember that marijuana affects different people in different ways, so a friend’s experience or preference may not be the same as yours. It’s best to get advice from industry experts and then form your own opinions based on your experiences. We often recommend new users start with a low dosage.
It’s also important to know the laws in your state around usage. For example, it’s illegal in every state to drive while under the influence of marijuana, but many states also have other laws as well. For example, in Massachusetts, you can only purchase and use cannabis purchased in the state. It is illegal to bring in products from other states or to take Massachusetts products across state lines.
When you are driving, you must store your cannabis in a closed container in the trunk or in a locked glove compartment. Open containers of cannabis in the passenger area are not permitted.