Photo: Joe Seer/Shutterstock

Cannabis Dispensary Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts to Know Before You Go

by Amanda Gabriele Apr 25, 2019

If you’ve never been to a recreational cannabis dispensary before, the first time can be a little daunting. But according to Amy Andrle, the co-owner of Denver’s L’Eagle dispensary (one of Matador’s Denver favorites), there’s nothing to worry about, even if you’re a newbie.

“As consumers, I think there are too many people who are nervous about going into a shop, but they are the reason the shop is open,” she says.

In other words, the dispensary salespeople are there to help you on your cannabis journey, whether you’re a seasoned user or are new to marijuana. And even though shops like L’Eagle are welcoming to everyone, Andrle suggests knowing the proper dispensary etiquette before you walk inside. Catch up on some basics you need to know before your first dispensary visit, and be sure to follow these essential dos and don’ts before you go.

Do ask the right questions.

If you’re walking into a recreational marijuana dispensary, you already know you’re going to find a variety of flower, edibles, and topical products. But knowing where the cannabis is coming from is just as important to make sure you’re buying a reputable brand and product. “Ask about testing,” Andrle says. “Ask where it’s cultivated.” Educating yourself on the full range of products available will make you a better cannabis consumer.

Do understand dosing.

One of the best things about legal marijuana is dosing regulations. Gone are the days of picking up a magic brownie and taking a wild guess as to how much cannabis is actually lurking inside. While there’s still a minor margin of error allowed in things like edibles, you know what you’re getting for the most part. But even so, knowing what a standard dose is will help guide you in your shopping experience, even if you’re new to cannabis.

“You don’t go shopping for a car, walk in and say, ‘uh, I’m looking for a car,’” Andrle says. “Because you’ll probably be taken advantage of. There’s more research to do on your part.” Familiarize yourself with dosage and be honest about your usage with the sales attendant so they can help you find the proper products instead of selling you something that could be way too strong for your body.

Don’t bring your pet inside.

Unless you require a service dog, Andrle explains that although they love animals, they don’t allow them in the store for sanitary reasons. “Understand why some people would say no,” she says. “For me, this is stuff I’m either eating or lighting on fire and smoking. I don’t want someone else’s pet fur and dander all over it.” L’Eagle has a shaded patio in the front of their store where dogs are welcome to hang while their owners shop. If you’re unsure of the pet policy, call the store and ask, or simply leave Fido at home.

Do know where you can consume legally.

Even if you smell cannabis wafting in the streets, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to light up in the middle of the sidewalk. Even in the best cities for recreational cannabis consumers, there are strict laws that determine where you’re allowed to smoke your purchases. “Know where you can consume legally in the state in which you’re purchasing it,” Andrle says. “When you walk out the door, you can’t just light up a joint walking down the street. It’s not the coolest thing to do because you’re jeopardizing the compliance of the store where you bought it. So that would be rude.”

Do come with the appropriate photo ID.

This seems like a no-brainer, but Andrle explained that people forget to bring proper identification more than you might think. Cannabis dispensaries are running a tight ship, so you won’t be able to sweet talk your way inside without proper ID, no matter how mature you may look. Just like you check for your passport before leaving for an international flight, triple check that you have your ID before going to a dispensary.

Jars of weed at a dispensary

Photo: Brandon Crawford/Shutterstock

Don’t purchase more than you should have.

If you live in a state where cannabis isn’t legal, we understand how exciting it is to walk into a dispensary and have so many amazing products suddenly at your fingertips. But states with legal recreational marijuana have purchasing limits, and Andrle explains that knowing those limits is important when you visit a dispensary. Familiarize yourself with the law so you don’t put yourself or the store in a compromising position.

Do be able to articulate what you like or don’t like.

“Talk openly about your previous experience with cannabis so that whoever is helping you can be informed,” Andrle says. Perhaps you had a bad experience with a particular strain, or maybe you stick to one type of flower because it’s tried and true for you. Whether it’s explaining a pleasant cannabis experience or talking about one that you don’t want to relive, that information is important in helping the salesperson guide you in the right direction and suggesting the appropriate products for you. If your previous cannabis experience is little to none, that’s okay too, just make sure they know so they can recommend flower and edibles that are suitable for a first-timer.

Don’t take a photo without asking.

We’ve been in stores where photos are allowed, and we’ve also been in some where they are discouraged. If you’re unsure, always inquire. “Ask the proprietor or salesperson if it’s appropriate or not because that varies from store to store,” Andrle says. “Some people are going to love it, social media wise. We’re protective for security issues because you don’t know if the person asking to take photos is really taking a picture of the room to try and check out where the camera locations are. Do be respectful that it’s somebody’s space, but don’t be afraid to ask.”

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