Are you looking for the perfect dispensary? This guide will help you get started.
A store that legally sells cannabis and cannabis products? For many consumers, this is a hard concept to believe, but in more and more states, it is becoming a reality.
Dispensaries range in style from clinical to spa-like, boutique to superstore, and everything in between. Finding the type of store that fits your personality, meets your needs, and has an ethical approach to selling cannabis is important in feeling comfortable and confident in your marijuana purchase.
How do I find a good dispensary? And what makes a dispensary “good”?
What Makes a Good Dispensary?
This may end up being a personal decision for each consumer, but things you may take into account when searching for a dispensary are prices, quality of products, proximity to your home, sense of safety, experience and knowledge of the staff, and more.
Your Health and Safety:
Whether a recreational or medical consumer, your own health and security should come first when shopping for marijuana.
Due to zoning laws that keep dispensaries away from schools and daycare, parks, and churches, cannabis shops are usually located in industrial and commercial business parks.
Security system parameters, including armed or unarmed guards, are covered by specific regulations in most markets. Considering cannabis is largely a cash-based industry, this keeps both the dispensaries and their customers safer. Beware of shops where the security feels heavy-handed. This may be an indicator that the shop is in a bad neighborhood.
Marijuana dispensaries should abide by standard health and safety regulations when handling cannabis products, including flower and edibles. All cannabis products should be dispensed in a clean environment. Cannabis flower shouldn’t be handled directly with exposed hands. Gloves or tongs protect the integrity of the buds.
You should also look for shops that offer lab tested products that are tested for both potency and for contaminants. Some shops and cannabis product companies only test for potency, which they can use as a selling point. This is helpful for consumers to gauge the strength of the products for sale and understand how they will dose each product. However, testing for contaminants, which is only required in certain markets, helps guarantee the health of a product’s end user. Choosing a reputable dispensary can also help you avoid being sold fake marijuana products.
Cost and Quality of Products:
Typically, price and quality go hand-in-hand, but that is not always the case. Spend some time shopping around until you find a dispensary that has the quality of products you prefer at the prices you can afford.
Dispensaries should also have a nice variety of products to fit a wide range of consumer needs- from flower to shatter and everything in between. Equally important is that you find a dispensary that carries the products for which you are looking.
You can learn more about the prices of cannabis flower HERE.
At some marijuana shops, the retail associate or “budtender” that will be helping you shop, answering your questions, and ringing up your purchase is a minimum wage position. While this may not necessarily be a direct correlation to product knowledge, it is worth keeping in mind.
Instead, find a shop where the budtenders have more expertise with the products. It is not too much to expect answers on questions regarding strain effects, knowledgeable feedback on dosage details, and suggestions about ideal products for your particular needs.
Finally, your chosen dispensary should be convenient for you. Try to find a shop with a location nearby your home, work, etc. Buying your cannabis shouldn’t have to be a chore.
Some dispensaries offer a grab-and-go service, allowing you to call your purchase in ahead of time and picking it up at the front desk without needing to wait in line. This is a great option for those who know which products they want ahead of time.
Another choice for consumers is delivery. While it is more difficult to browse products and ask questions when placing a delivery service, the convenience of having your order delivered straight to your door is a plus for busy or homebound consumers.
There are a number of online tools similar to Yelp that help cannabis consumers find, rate, and review local dispensaries. Accessible through websites and smartphone apps, these crowdsourced tools give users the information they need to find their ideal dispensary.
Weedmaps, Leafly, BudTrader, and more offer searchable indexes of cannabis dispensaries, sometimes providing “menus” of local shops’ product selection and prices. These sites also provide photos and user reviews, giving an insight into the quality and atmosphere of a shop.
Licensed or Unlicensed?
Under most contemporary cannabis regulations, marijuana dispensaries must obtain a license from either the state or local governments in order to operate. There are usually large fees, tight restrictions, and government inspections tied to becoming a licensed shop. All this helps ensure that marijuana consumers are given the opportunity to safely access cannabis products.
However, the booming cannabis industry is a chance for unlicensed shops to pop into existence, make as much money as possible, then close up or get shut down. These unlicensed shops often don’t pay taxes, don’t follow regulations on security and testing, and don’t perform background checks on their employees, making for a potentially unsafe situation.
It is best to support only licensed marijuana dispensaries when shopping for cannabis. These stores are held to tight restrictions, including mandatory product testing, security guidelines, and more, all designed to protect you, the end user.