What to Expect When You Visit a Local California Medical Marijuana Dispensary



Are you new to marijuana? Maybe you are making the transition to cannabis for medical reasons or recreational use. After all, California is one of the eight states, along with the District of Columbia, where weed has been legalized for recreational use. Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. Given all of the controversy and various stipulations surrounding ganja, it can be overwhelming for newcomers to find their way in this world. To help ease the anxiety, here are some tips on what to expect when you visit a local dispensary.

1. Looks Can Be Deceiving–In all likelihood, your local dispensary will not look as you might expect. There are often two schools of thought when it comes to envisioning how a dispensary will appear. Some believe it might resemble their local pharmacy while others harbor images of a ’70s psychedelic head shop from a Cheech and Chong video. However, in actuality, most modern-day dispensaries are quite professional and feature a sleek, art deco design. They are usually located in more suburban areas, as opposed to being in the heart of the city, and will frequently be part of a business complex or strip mall structure.

2. Let Mapquest or GPS Be Your Guide–Make sure you have a firm grasp of where you are going prior to heading to the dispensary for the first time. This is because most dispensaries have very limited signage. Bet this is a fun fact that you likely were not anticipating. While cannabis might be legalized in your state, most state regulations prohibit dispensaries from displaying prominent signage. In fact, you will rarely find the dispensary listed on the large main menu present at most complexes and/or strip malls in which these establishments are located. The front door and windows of the dispensary will have signs, but you need to be eagle-eyed. This is why Mapquest and/or GPS should be your friend and guide, especially if you are traveling any distance or will be venturing into an unfamiliar area. Make sure you have mapped out the route in advance and confirm the directions when you contact the dispensary in advance for your first appointment.

3. Appointments Preferred–In most cases, you must contact the dispensary prior to your first trip. They will usually require a scheduled appointment for first-timers. They want to allow time to process your paperwork, go over their inventory, and familiarize each new customers with the procedure. The staff also wants to allow time to introduce the newbies to the weed world and address any questions, concerns, etc. prior to administering the first supply to a new patient. Moving forward, the dispensaries generally prefer a call in advance from return customers who are coming in for a new supply. This gives them a heads-up and provides them with a perfunctory headcount. Unfortunately, there are always those individuals who feel the rules do not apply to them and/or they are not familiar with the procedure. You can always tell how many renegades and/or newbies are wading into the world of cannabis via how packed the waiting area is at my dispensary. However, here is the real kicker–those without appointments and/or advance notice go directly to the back of the line. Justice served!

If you new to marijuana or interested in finding out more information about the weed world, this article should provide you with some helpful hints on what to expect when you visit a local dispensary.

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