How to Prepare for Your First Medical Dispensary Trip

Here’s what you can expect from your first-time pick-up experience…

First of all, congratulations! If you are beginning to plan your first trip to a dispensary, this means that there is a good chance the state or region you reside in has legalized cannabis, whether on a medical or recreational level, and every step in this direction adds to the ultimate goal of marijuana being readily available for all who need it.

If your state has already been legal for a while, but you only just recently realized that cannabis helps you in whatever way it does, then this is also magnificent progress.

The dispensary experience can be a confusing one for first-timers; for many it appears to be complicated and intimidating, but that is why here at WayofLeaf, we will do our best to clarify the process and break it down into a series of simple tips so you can be ready and feel confident.

Keep reading to discover what to prepare for before heading to the marijuana dispensary for the first time…

Differences Between a Medical Marijuana Dispensary and a Recreational Marijuana Dispensary

Depending upon how cannabis is legally recognized in your state, you may have either a medical marijuana dispensary present or a recreational marijuana dispensary. Both of these options do sell dry herb and other weed goodies, plus plenty of accessories to go along with this medicine, but they are tailored to different demographics.

If your state recreationally recognizes marijuana, then the only requirement for purchasing cannabis from this type of dispensary is that you have to be 21 years of age and possess a valid ID stating that this is fact. The identification card can be from out of state, which is huge news, especially if you are vacationing from a stricter cannabis state to one with looser laws.

On the other hand, states accepting legal marijuana use for medical purposes only offer medical marijuana dispensaries, which are tailored specifically to those that have debilitating conditions that can benefit from the consumption of cannabis.

If you are planning on heading to a medical marijuana dispensary, then you must have a doctor’s recommendation and a valid medical marijuana certification, as well as an identification card from the state you are registered in that matches the information on your MMJ card.

This process is a bit more complex, and certainly will not work for everyone, but those that need cannabis for its healing effects will benefit immensely.

One important thing to keep in mind in both situations – security will be present. This typically involves some guards, cameras and extra measures to ensure the safety of all patrons and those who are working in the dispensary as well. Try not to feel intimidated by these necessary precautions; this system is in place to keep those who are dangerous out, while welcoming in the good-intentioned guests who simply want to check out some dank product and leave with brilliant, “green” purchases.

The Necessities for Your First Visit Can Be Broken Into Categories

There are plenty of factors to consider before heading to a dispensary, but certain necessities are by far the most important and should not be forgotten no matter what – otherwise you’ll discover that you will not even be granted access into the medical marijuana dispensary or recreational cannabis shop.

What you should prepare before your first visit can be broken down into a few categories…

The vitals:

These are by far the most important aspects about your first dispensary experience; you will need to be able to identify yourself and have the proper documents on hand when asked (and you will be asked).

For first-time patients of medical marijuana dispensaries, various forms are to be filled out, as well as your MMJ card scanned and your ID. Copies of both these documents are kept on file by the facility for future use and for safety purposes.

For a recreational shop, you will simply need to be able to prove you are 21 years of age or older, which can be done by showing a form of legal ID.

These “vital” requirements are so important, without them you will not even be let into the dispensary; you will be turned away at the door, which is not a fun way to spend your first dispensary experience!

So do not forget:

Medical Marijuana Patients: Bring your MMJ certification/card and identification card (ID).
Recreational Cannabis Patients: Bring your identification card (ID) that shows you are 21+.

Without this requirement you will be let in, but likely won’t be taking anything home:

For those who do not attend dispensaries frequently, or who have never stepped foot in one, it may not be a known fact that some of these businesses are run cash only.

Although most of them have begun accepting cards and digital forms of payment, due to some legal restrictions and issues that arise with banking systems, it is difficult for most of them to operate in any way other than cash.

Many dispensaries have an ATM onsite, just in case you forget to stock up and bring some dough, but these machines tend to charge a fee, which could be avoided with some extra preparation and planning.

If you know about how much money you intend on spending during your first purchase, then it is highly recommended to bring that amount of money with you in cash, so that you can easily get the exact products you need.

If you really do not feel like carrying around a wad of cash with you, call your dispensary in advance and ask them if they are run cash-only and if they have an ATM on site. This will help to paint your picture a little clearer, so you can understand better the type of environment you will be stepping foot into.

You will not need these things to purchase cannabis, but they certainly help:

The following elements may not be necessities, but they certainly do make your first time dispensary experience that much smoother.

First off, many dispensaries are not located in easy to find places, and for this reason you may want to research in advance how to get to the location and maybe even have a copy of conveniently accessible directions, whether this be in old-school paper form or simply on your smartphone.

In case these directions do not do the trick, which can sometimes happen when you first try to find a discreetly located dispensary, you can always call the place and ask them for directions from a nearby marker; if they are not located in plain sight, there is a likely chance that many other patrons have also called and asked the exact same question.

It may be helpful to also “understand yourself” before stepping foot into a dispensary. By having a clear idea of the type of effects you would like to experience, as well as any medical conditions that you may want to use the cannabis for, it will speed up the entire process of selecting the right strain type so you can walk out of the dispensary feeling happy and secure with your purchase or purchases.

If you are not so familiar with the different classifications of marijuana, specifically the differences between indicas, sativas and hybrids, then the knowledgeable budtenders will be able to assist you and help with your decision. Be sure to ask plenty of questions if you feel inclined to do so, and do not feel ashamed about any information you may want to obtain from these knowledgable folks.

One final aspect that is beneficial to look into before heading out the door and on your way towards the dispensary is to observe the location’s menu offers.

Dispensary menus tend to change from week to week, and sometimes even day to day, meaning that you may not always be able to find a specific strain type that you had in mind. By looking up the menu in advance, which is typically kept up-to-date on the dispensary’s website, you can choose selections that are right for you, and some strains you have never heard of may even spark your interest, causing some new possible favorites to arise.

Remember to wait until you get home or to a private space to enjoy your purchases – consuming your cannabis right outside of the facility does not look professional, and does not help the dispensary’s business.

And finally, be respectful to those who you are purchasing from and make the choice to consume the marijuana once you are in your own personal environment — you will feel more comfortable this way too.

Final Thoughts on Your First Time Dispensary Experience

If you have recently obtained your MMJ card or are planning your very first trip to either a medical marijuana or recreational cannabis dispensary, then there are certainly a few factors to consider and prepare for before heading to a weed shop for the first time.

Hopefully, we have gone over these few things clearly so that you’re ready (and excited!) to venture into your first dispensary voyage.

In all honesty, the employees/budtenders in every dispensary we’ve ever been in have been extremely friendly and welcoming, and more than happy to answer any questions you might have — even if you’re a complete rookie and have no clue about marijuana whatsoever!

We hope you not only found this article to be entertaining, but also educational and informative. It is important to remember that the consumption of cannabis is the sole responsibility of the user, and discretion should always be taken.

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