First and foremost, even those most-seasoned cannabis dispensary customers all started off as dispensary novices, so the fact that you’re looking up tips for how to not “sound dumb” when going into a dispensary is nothing to feel embarrassed about.
In fact, remember that even the really nice, seeming walking-cannabis encyclopedia of a budtender behind the counter was once a dispensary newbie! So, now that you’ve left any sense of shame at the door, let’s jump into some tips on some dispensary do’s and don’ts so that you can feel confident when you approach your budtender.
The Do’s at a Cannabis Dispensary
Do ask lots of questions:
The most important thing to know before going into a cannabis dispensary is that there are no stupid questions, but there can be stupid people, as in–no question you have to ask is “stupid,” so long as your behavior in the dispensary and towards your budtender is not stupidly disrespectful.
Do know what you’re seeking:
Go in knowing what it is you’re seeking out of your purchase, be it to help with insomnia, relieve back pain, get housework done, deal with social anxiety, get an extra creative boost, etc. The more you can tell your budtender what effects you are wanting and not wanting, the more they can present you with options that best suit your specific needs.
Do be honest about mental and/or physical health issues:
If you have any preexisting medical conditions, it might be smart to check in with your doctor first. For example, if you have lung issues, your physician or your budtender might recommend that you go with edibles over smoking or vaping, or if you are prone to panic attacks, your budtender will then know which strains to make sure not to offer you, etc.
Do know the basics of state laws:
Every state has different laws around IDs and dispensaries. For example, in Oregon where recreational marijuana is fully legal, dispensaries require non-digital, government-issued photo IDs from the U.S. and its territories and Canada proving that you are 21. Whereas, in Minnesota, only medical marijuana is currently legal, and you have to have proof that you are a resident of the state before applying to obtain a medical marijuana card, which must be presented at the medical marijuana dispensary.
And finally, one quick and easy way to remember the general difference between indica and sativa is an oldie but a goodie–For sleep/rest when you want to sink into the couch, remember the phrase: “I wanna sink indica couch.”
The Don’ts at a Cannabis Dispensary
Don’t be rude:
This goes back to the first “Do.” While you should never hesitate to ask anything you need to, just remember to do so in the same way you want to be spoken to. I know that might sound obvious, but every so often I’ve been browsing the selection at a local dispensary and overheard a customer talking to the budtender as if they, the customer, were medieval royalty and the budtender their indentured serf.
Don’t feel ashamed:
Nothing you have to ask is “silly” or “dumb.” Like I mentioned at the start of this piece, even your incredibly knowledgable budtender was once a dispensary newbie, and the truth is, companies are always releasing new products, etc., where even those of us in the industry have to ask a lot of questions sometimes. It’s fine if you aren’t clear on the difference between vaping or smoking or what CBN is or even does or which tincture does what, etc. Trust me, your budtender is not judging you, nor are they annoyed by your questions, as one of the biggest components of their job is sharing their expertise with you, the customer!
Don’t expect to put it on your card:
While some dispensaries in some locations have found loopholes around this, because cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, the general rule of thumb is to go in either with cash on you or your ATM card so that you can make a withdrawal at the dispensary. If you’re unsure, just call the dispensary ahead of time and ask what payment methods they accept.
I am a lifelong advocate for trying most everything at least once before deciding whether or not I like it. However, with marijuana, while trying new strains is definitely worthwhile, remember that unless it pertains to a defective product (i.e., your new vape pen battery doesn’t work, or the tin of edibles you bought is empty–true story! It happened to me once!), there is a no return / no refund policy. So, don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a strain you’ve never tried before, because once you open it or light it up if you end up not liking it, you can’t get a refund. In fact, I know that out on the West Coast, some dispensaries will sell small samples of tincture for around $7, so that if it isn’t to your liking, you haven’t just wasted $60-$80 on an entire bottle.
Don’t forget to tip your budtender! The general rule of thumb is $1-$2 for a small purchase, $5 for a larger one, and if your budtender really went out of their way then tip as generously as you’re inclined! Not only is this good customer etiquette and a great way to support small, local business workers, but it can also help you establish a good relationship with your local dispensary for the next time you go in!
Some parting advice…
Budtenders and dispensaries want you to have a positive experience with the products they sell, so, you don’t ever need to feel “dumb” when you go into a cannabis dispensary; all you need to do is say what you need, ask any questions no matter how silly you might think they are, share any medical concerns, and treat your budtender with the same respect that they treat you with.
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