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What is a Marijuana Dispensary?

The ins and outs of a marijuana dispensary.

What is a Marijuana Dispensary?
Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Marijuana Dispensaries exist because federal law prohibits cannabis from being prescribed and filled at pharmacies. What is a dispensary without the marijuana? A place that specializes in carrying and selling a specific type of product. So, a marijuana dispensary is where you want to go when you need any type of cannabis product. There are recreational as well as medical marijuana dispensaries depending on which state you are in. We’ll go over the differences between the two as well as everything you should know about a marijuana dispensary.

What Is A Medical Dispensary?

The first public marijuana dispensary in the United States is the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club which the late, great Dennis Peron operated when it started in 1992. Since then, hundreds of medical dispensaries have opened all around California. There are now medical dispensaries in more than half of the states in the country.

How To Enter A Medical Marijuana Dispensary

What is a Marijuana Dispensary? what is a dispensary what is a medical dispensary

Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock

You’ll need the necessary documentation before you can enter most medical marijuana dispensaries. So have your recommendation before your first visit.

Unlike a trip to the doctor, you’ll likely be greeted by security when stepping into a medical dispensary. This is due to the fact that banks won’t take their money forcing them to deal only in cash. Having that much cash around at all times requires more security than you’d find at a pharmacy.

Upon entering, there is usually a receptionist that you’ll have to check-in with before being allowed into the dispensing area.

The receptionist will ask for your ID and a medical marijuana recommendations or ID card from a doctor. If your ID is from another state you may be asked to provide proof of residency. Many dispensaries offer deals and discounted prices to medical marijuana patients. Anyone that smokes regularly may end up saving money in the long-run by purchasing a medical marijuana card.

What Is A Recreational Dispensary?

A recreational marijuana dispensary allows anyone from anywhere above the age of 21 to purchase cannabis products legally. Depending on the state, the supply of medical and recreational cannabis could be completely separate or nearly identical. The benefits to recreational dispensaries are that you won’t have to pay for a medical marijuana recommendation.

However, recreational taxes are putting a strain on the legal market in certain states. In some states, there is no tax or less tax for medical marijuana. As a result, some people continue to renew their medical marijuana recommendations.

How To Enter A Recreational Dispensary

What is a Marijuana Dispensary? what is a dispensary what is a medical dispensary


Entering a recreational marijuana dispensary is much simpler than a medical one. You will still have to show security your ID proving you’re of age. If it is a medical and recreational dispensary, the receptionist will ask you if your visit is recreational or medicinal.

Those with a medical marijuana recommendation that are visiting for the first time will have to register with the receptionist before entering. Everyone else can proceed to the dispensing area to pick their products and pay.

What Products Are At Dispensaries?

The products you see in a dispensary will vary from state to state. For example, states like New York don’t allow dispensaries to have smokable flowers. You’ll only find cannabis derivatives like tinctures or vape pen cartridges.

Recreational dispensaries will have cannabis in flower form as well as concentrated forms like kief, BHO, sauce, budder, RSO, CO2 and everything you can find at a medical dispensary. There are also edibles if you want a longer high without the smoke.

Now you’ll have an idea of what to expect when visiting a state with legalized marijuana. If you’re planning to purchase regularly, a medical recommendation could save you some money in the long run. If you’re just visiting, you’re better off with a recreational dispensary visit.

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