Recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states and medical is legal in 33 states, and we can expect that number to grow to 50 and 50 within the next few years.
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 live in California, the first state to legalize medical cannabis, I’ve had the opportunity to shop at many different dispensaries and stores over the last decade. I’ve had the pleasure of taking numerous friends and out-of-state relatives to dispensaries for their first time, and noticed a few things that are important to keep in mind if you want to make that first visit as smooth as possible.
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Familiarize yourself with the local market
First things first, get to know the legal cannabis market in your area. What you can buy and how you can buy it largely depends on where you live. For example, I live in a small community in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. Cannabis is 100% legal in my state, however, walk-in/storefront dispensaries are NOT permitted in my area.
If I want to buy weed, whether it’s THC or CBD dominant, I have to order it online to be delivered to my home or I have to drive 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. Other states only have medical cannabis, other states prohibit certain products (concentrates for example), and the variations go on. You don’t have to go very much in-depth, but a bit of research will certainly be to your advantage.
Also keep in mind that CBD Flowers/Hemp Flowers are 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, The CBD Flowers Weekly, 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 scenarios. For me, it was over 10 years ago, 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. And just wow at the sheer number of options, stepping into a truly high-end dispensary for the first time will probably blow your mind.
Take my favorite shop for instance, The 420 Oasis in Palm Springs – 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.
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. It’s 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 world of options. Someone who has been strictly buying flower on the street might be unfamiliar with 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 be a bit pricey. Plus, when you’re bombarded with so many new and interesting products 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 cannabis products. Most dispensaries require a current form of identification, nothing to personal. 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. A lot of places these days let you pay with a card and many 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 first trip to a dispensary might go (because, let’s face it, everyone’s experience will be different – even shopping at the same store sometimes), it’s some basic things to remember that will help you get the best out of your first adventure to a legal cannabis store.
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