Finding a dispensary is easy. Finding a dispensary that you like is not as easy as we all have different tastes. Once you find the right dispensary for your needs, it’s important you act like an adult buying medicine, not a kid scoring some drugs. That way, you’ll be met with a smile every time you enter–and maybe even a free joint. Here are some ways to display proper “Dispensary Etiquette”:
1. Always Tip Your Budtender
Let’s start with the most important rule of thumb. Budtenders are typically entry-level employees that rely on some TLC in return for the TLC they provide for patients daily. Most dispensaries have tip jars right next to the cash register, and these jars should all be filled to the brim by end-of-day. Whether it’s a spare $20 (if it was a good week) or you’ve got a buck back from your purchase, do your part and give back to the people who take care of you. If there’s not a tip jar in place, bringing your budtenders holiday presents is another thoughtful option.
2. Bring Cash
Until banks really start working with marijuana businesses, dispensary transactions remain, for the most part, cash only. In Colorado, certain dispensaries offer debit or card purchases, but it’s still relatively rare. While many collectives offer in-store ATMs, you’ll be hit with one of those annoying charges to use that ATM. The smartest move is to hit your bank’s ATM beforehand and take out more cash then you’ll need. Because odds are, you’ll see something you didn’t initially plan on purchasing.
3. Don’t Loiter
You know what’s gross? Walking through a cloud of cigarette smoke on your way into your dispensary (especially when you consider many patients have cancer). When a group hangs out in front of a dispensary, it not only looks suspicious, but it likely scares away passing-by would-be customers from that dispensary. You don’t want to be like that the group of kids that used to hang out at the local 7-11 on a Friday night.
4. Don’t Light Up (Or Even Ask To)
By law, dispensaries forbid on site consumption. Medical marijuana clinics are places to obtain medication and make use of informational resources from like-minded activists. These are not places to bring your dab set up to and set-up shop. Especially if you ever want to return to that shop.
5. Keep Your Cell Phone in the Car
Even if the trip to the dispensary is the highlight of your week, it’s not the best time to check in on FourSquare. By not even bringing your cell into a dispensary, you can avoid being told to mute your annoying ringtone before it even goes off inside. It’s discourteous both to your Budtender and the dispensary to start Instagramming buds while in store (especially before making a purchase) or to message your friend on Facebook that “hey I’m getting that loud now.” Spending 15 minutes a day without your phone will actually improve your life. What happens in dispensaries (lots of love) should stay in dispensaries.
6. Don’t Touch Those Nugs!
Your fingers are covered in oils, dirt, cookies and whatever else. Physically handling the marijuana flowers is frowned upon. Usually the dispensary will provide a tool for gripping such as tweezers or chopsticks. There should also be a well-lit heavy-duty magnifying glass for you to use. When you’re smelling a jar, be careful not to breathe heavily on the nugs or allow your mouth to touch the lid–it’s easier than it sounds.
7. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service
This old adage still applies to most public places in this country, and your local dispensary is no different. Just because you may have once bought bud on the beach in Jamaica doesn’t mean you can walk into a Venice Boulevard shop post-surf session. With that in mind, don’t wander in to your local dispensary with no shirt or shoes on: not only will you look silly, but you won’t get in. Also, you should always bring your state issued ID and medical card, or you won’t get in!
8. Respect Your Surroundings (and Fellow Patients)
At the pharmacy the everyone stands behind the red line so that the person at the front has privacy. The same concept applies at the dispensary. You’ll typically have to hang out in a waiting area before your information is processed and you can enter the room. As soon as there’s a spot for you, you’ll be told to enter. Badgering the dispensary staff won’t speed this process up–and they don’t care you’ve got a ball game to catch. Just wait patiently for your turn and don’t be bothersome to the Budtender. If you notice a huge line behind you, try to be quick with your purchase, especially if you’re familiar with the clinic. No one can stand the guy who asks to look at every sample jar on the shelf–and then proceeds to buy a gram of Blue Dream.
9. Plan Ahead
It’s always a good idea to make a budget and decide what you want to buy beforehand. You save money and get a better deal when you don’t impulse buy. Try to get a feel for which medication works best for you.
You can get a great deal on some quantity by shopping around for the best price. Online services like Weedmaps allow you to check out all the available services in one area. Each listing includes a menu, prices, contact information and other specials.
Signing up for the newsletter or texts is another great way to stay on top of limited time offers. Most dispensaries have some sort of weekly specials or coupons, and they are a great way to score extra goodies. Oftentimes you may qualify for free pre-rolls, edibles, lighters, extra grams or even grab bags.
10. Act Like an Adult
That’s just a little weed joke. Now that you know more about proper social interaction at the cannabis collective you’re ready to go get ‘em! Remember your sandals this time.