Although medical marijuana cards have been in use in California for what seems like forever, it can still be intimidating as a new MMJ card holder to step into a dispensary for the first time. Even the most confident cannabis card carriers can find themselves to be a little nervous at the prospect of their first dispensary trip.
So what exactly does a new MMJ card holder need to know before they take their first steps into this bright new world? Let us enlighten you!
There are hundreds – if not thousands – of medical marijuana dispensaries in California, so choose your dispensary wisely. The quality of dispensaries differ greatly with significant disparities on price, selection and quality – depending on what dispensary you go to.
Do your homework and check out what dispensaries are available before you make the journey. You can find a list of all of California’s medical marijuana dispensaries here.
Choose Your MMJ Dispensary Wisely
Dispensaries vary in function across California, with some choosing to focus on medical marijuana, some on recreational use and most focusing on a mixture of the two. Make sure to go to a medical marijuana dispensary or a hybrid dispensary, as staff in the recreational dispensary may not be trained to give you correct medical advice on suitable products.
If you elect to go to a hybrid medical recreational dispensary there will usually be two entrances: one labeled ‘medical entrance’ and the other labeled ‘recreational entrance’. Make sure that as a medical marijuana card holder you go through the medical entrance.
A Warm Welcome
When you get into the dispensary you’ll see a staff member seated behind a glass window in a waiting room. This is the person who you’ll show your medical marijuana card to. They’ll quickly appraise the card, make sure you’re the person who the MMJ card has been registered to, and then will grant you access to the main part of the dispensary where you’ll purchase your medical marijuana products.
It is absolutely imperative that you bring your California medical marijuana card with you when you visit the dispensary. Without your MMJ card, you will not be allowed access to the medical part of the dispensary and will not be allowed to purchase medical marijuana products.
While You Wait
Sometimes, you may be allowed immediate access to the main part of the dispensary, but know it is pretty common to have a short waiting period before you’re allowed in. This should last no more than 10-20 minutes. The purpose of this waiting time is to allow each patient ample time with the ‘budtender’, who will advise them on the best products to buy to treat their ailment.
While you wait, it’s a good idea to do a little research into exactly what you want to buy at the dispensary (if you haven’t already done this at home). Sure, browsing the entirety of the dispensary can be interesting but trust us, the dispensary’s budtender will seriously appreciate it if you’re au fait with the product selection before you arrive.
Nowadays, a lot of California dispensaries have online menus, so these are worth checking out in advance of your trip.
Knowing is Half the Battle
Each case in a California MMJ dispensary will be well labeled, but unless you’re clued in as to what strain you’re looking for, these labels will look like gibberish (we’re looking at you Golden Goat!). Know the difference between your indicas and your sativas before you get to the dispensary or know exactly what strain of MMJ you’re looking for. If you’re not sure what strain would be best to treat your ailment, check out our handy guide here.
Knowing what you want doesn’t mean just knowing what strains you want – you should also know through what method you want to consume. Are you looking for some tasty edibles? Some aromatic topicals? Or just a few vape cartridge refills? By knowing exactly what you’re looking for in advance of your visit, your dispensary experience will be as seamless as possible.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you’re not sure exactly what you’re after make sure to ask the budtender for their advice. These people are friendly trained professionals and it’s their job to make your dispensary experience as comfortable as possible. They’ll know what strains or products are best suited for your needs and will deliver their advice with a smile to put you at ease. At a dispensary there is no such thing as a stupid question so ask as many as you need to!
One Last Reminder
As well as remembering to bring your medical marijuana card with you for your trip to the dispensary, remember to bring cash with you, too. Though most dispensaries are starting to become more card-friendly, a lot of them are still strictly cash only establishments. Avoid the stress of being caught penniless by making sure you have enough cash to make your MMJ purchases that day.
Remember, every dispensary is different and it may take you a while to find the one that’s a good fit for you. Shop around your locality and choose your dispensary wisely, basing your decision on which one makes you the most comfortable.