Following on from our article last week about finding the right dispensary, here are some tips for what to expect from your first visit. Every trip to your dispensary should be great (within reason, of course – Acts of God don’t count), not just your first. You should be listened to and have your questions answered, preferably by someone who knows the dispensary products inside-out and who knows a little bit about cannabinoids, growing and the effects of each of the strains they hold.
Now that we have that out of the way, here are three things you should expect on your first dispensary visit…
1. Expect to Be Carded
In a medical marijuana dispensary, they will ask to see a medical marijuana card and recommendation letter, so expect to hand these over. Should you become a regular and the dispensary starts recognizing your face, then they may not ask to see your rec letter all the time, but it is worth carrying around both MMJ card and recommendation letter when you go to a dispensary whether you’re a familiar face or not.
Those who enter a dispensary without a valid MMJ card and rec letter may be turned away. However, a good dispensary will likely ask you, “Would you like to see if you can get a rec?” before taking you to a private room where you can go online and get a recommendation from a doctor right there and then.
Once you have this recommendation, it becomes valid immediately and you can start using the dispensary. We do, however, recommend getting a card as well, as this can potentially save you all sorts of legal headaches. Should you not have a card/rec and want to get one, have your state-issued ID and proof of address with you. Any medical records and list of current medications can also help – be prepared.
2. “This Place Doesn’t Look Like What I Expected”
When most people think of medical marijuana dispensaries, they think of head shops and places with an extremely hippie-ish decor. Alternatively, some may have been on a trip to Amsterdam and thought the cafe-style system would have been imported to the US. Granted, there are some dispensaries that do look like this, but a lot of them are sleek, high-end places that look like pharmacies.
Others may feel more like a sports bar, and others still have a serious living room vibe going on. In California, you can pretty much find a dispensary that suits the type of environment you prefer. Of course, the first thing on your mind should be, “Are the products any good, preferably lab-tested” and “Do the people who work here know what they’re doing?” If the dispensary has these right, then they should have good reviews and a loyal following.
3. Be Patient
Some dispensaries and states have rules where they can only serve one patient at a time, so be prepared to wait your turn in line. This is usually a good time to peruse the dispensary menu, ask your medical marijuana-related questions and read a book. This time will also help you save time for other patients as well, as they’re not waiting for someone standing at the front of the line looking through hundreds of products in order to find the right thing.
We highly recommend getting your recommendation letter and MMJ card before you enter a medical marijuana dispensary, then calling up your dispensary of choice so they know you’re coming. This way, they can cater to your needs more fully, and they will definitely appreciate the politeness and decorum!