After all, you’re not just picking out a couple t-shirts at H&M—you’re legally buying something that is federally illegal. Be prepared to wait a few minutes as budtenders input information into unintuitive software required by state law and print compliant receipts. Your friendly patience may just result in an extra discount as checkout or a heavier weight on your flower. You never know.
The other part of the preparations is your mindset. You don’t need to educate yourself in cannabis science in order to shop for weed, but coming in with a clear idea or ideas of what you’re looking for will make a huge difference. Check in with yourself and how you’d like to feel. Do you want to feel happy? Do you want clear-headed focus? Relief for a specific symptom? Something to accompany a particular activity? These kinds of parameters will help you and your budtender navigate the shelves successfully.
Every day for the past six years, hundreds of people walk into a legal cannabis dispensary for the first time. Maybe one opens up down the block, or you drive across town, even over to a neighboring state to see it for yourself. It’s one of the few places you can go right now, since they’ve been deemed essential businesses. Dispensaries have adapted to the COVID-19 retail era with increased delivery services, curbside pick-up, and limits on capacity to maintain safe distances, with many stores are doing more business than usual as people stock up to stay home. The one thing that all first-time customers have in common, regardless of the extent one has enjoyed cannabis prior to this moment, is a shared sense of unfamiliarity. This isn’t like walking into a liquor store at 21, but it also won’t be anything like exchanging $20 for a ziplock on your former dealer’s couch. It’s a completely new kind of experience, and despite how recent its debut, one that has already developed its own standard customs and etiquette.
Updated on 4/6/2021 at 5:22 PM
In anticipation of stopping by the dispensary, there are preparations to be made both literally and figuratively. You absolutely need to grab your state-issued ID (driver’s license is best) or passport, and you need to have cash on hand. Most dispensaries will have an ATM on-site, but you can expect a stiff additional withdrawal fee. Some shops have successfully established a card reader and can swipe a debit card for payment, but those services are always intermittent as providers like Square shut down an account as soon as they realize it’s a cannabis dispensary. Just bring cash.
Most dispensaries aren’t allowed to have products on the sales floor, available for grab and go. In almost all cases, you’ll have a dedicated budtender serving you who will guide you through the section of the store’s offerings and pull out flower samples for you to smell. This is when you share what effects you’re looking for or what type of products you seek. It’s also when you can embrace your curiosity. While budtenders are not licensed medical professionals, they do know these products. They’re the only ones who’ve probably sampled every product in that store, and they listen to testimonials all day, every day. So while budtenders aren’t doctors, they are the most equipped to answer any questions about what you see on the shelves. Don’t underestimate their insight. Budtenders aren’t therapists or your personal drug dealer either. Don’t ask where to smoke weed nearby, or how best to fly this purchase home. You could cost them their job, and there’s the internet for those questions.
Now that you’ve got your goodies, resist the urge to light up any combustibles near the shop. In every state that has legalized cannabis so far, it still isn’t legal to consume in public. And for all these shops operating under strict regulation, it’s especially un-chill to smoke the stuff you just bought directly out front.
Some dispensaries only serve medical clients, but retail dispensaries are open to the public. Use PotGuide or Weedmaps to locate a facility and call ahead or check the website of the business to verify that it is open to public sales.
To read the official warnings and rules about marijuana use in Colorado, check out the state’s FAQ page by clicking here.
There may also be a binder or a menu that explains the various strains and blends. They tend to have names reminiscent of racehorses—Dairy Queen, Cheesequake, Kandy Apple, Gorilla Glue, Ghost Train Haze, and that old stoner’s standby, Sour Diesel.
Hey, it’s perfectly legal. Colorado doesn’t require a medical reason to purchase pot—and tourists can partake as well. But there are still rules. Here’s what you need to know to buy a high.
The eternal tussle between states’ rights and federal law puts the burden on you. Credit card companies are wary of running afoul of federal law, which still classifies marijuana sales as illegal, so most credit card issuers are unwilling to risk prosecution (unlikely as it would be) by facilitating sales.