9 Things To Know About Cannabis Dispensaries


Getting buzzed from cannabis consumption isn’t exclusive to modern civilization. According to scientists, psychoactive substances were essential to the Mesoamerican culture. Similarly, ritual cannabis was believed to be a staple among ancient inhabitants of the Central Asian region as early as 5,000 years ago.  

Although still regulated in most states and countries, medical and recreational cannabis use worldwide continues to expand, spurring an increase in licensed dispensaries. Reputable and state-licensed dispensaries like nuEra comply with these local laws to safeguard consumers.   

If you’ve never been to one or are curious about how they work, read on to learn more about the interesting facts about cannabis dispensaries.    

  • There Are Two Types Of Cannabis Dispensaries  

The key to enjoying cannabis products is to choose the best dispensary in your location. Novice marijuana consumers can visit two primary types of dispensaries.     

  • Medical Cannabis Dispensaries  

As the name implies, medical dispensaries cater to medical marijuana users (MMJ), who must present a valid medical marijuana card and state-issued identification documents to access their product of choice. Most MMJ cards are only acknowledged in the state where it was issued.        

States set different qualifying conditions for MMJ use, so review the list of medical conditions eligible for medical card issuance. Application requirements and fees vary from state to state, but patients must obtain certification from their healthcare professional to start the process.  

  • Adult Use Or Recreational Dispensaries  

Territories that allow recreational marijuana use, including Arizona, Illinois, California, Washington, Nevada, and many others, also have recreational dispensaries. These shops accommodate non-medical users so long as they’re state residents and have a government-issued photo ID. Some areas allow non-residents to purchase cannabis products subject to specific rules and limitations.        

Several states have recently approved the recreational use and sale of marijuana this year, with Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, and Maryland leading the roster.    

If you live in a state where medical and recreational marijuana use is allowed, ensure you’re in the right section, as most shops have separate areas for medical and non-medical consumers.  

Similarly, some dispensaries may be more friendly to beginners and less experienced users. As such, it helps to perform due diligence before stepping inside a cannabis shop.  

Selecting the right dispensary is essential in ensuring a positive and satisfying cannabis experience. By choosing a licensed dispensary, you can trust that you can purchase high-quality, tested products in a regulated environment.      

  • Cannabis Dispensaries Are Subject To Local Licensing And Zoning Laws   

As mentioned, dispensary operations, services, and products vary according to local regulations. Some states have less stringent dispensary requirements, while others observe strict rules to regulate the industry further.  

Separate licenses are typically issued to growing facilities, distributors, manufacturers, testing firms, retail stores, or dispensaries. In Nevada, for instance, dispensary workers must get approved for an agent card, which disqualifies former felons or convicts.       

At the same time, zoning laws on the cultivation, sale, and distribution of cannabis vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This means dispensaries can’t simply build or rent commercial spaces to open a shop, especially near schools, public parks, churches, etc. Likewise, local legislation limits the number of cannabis-related businesses in an area and may specify storefront characteristics with size and appearance restrictions for store displays, signages, or lighting.      

  • Dispensaries Sell Different Cannabis Products   

Cannabis is a highly versatile plant that can be used and consumed in many ways. As such, dispensaries nationwide have various products for beginners and users with different experience levels. These are the most common products sold in dispensaries:  

  • Cannabis Flower: Also called buds, this is cannabis in its rawest form. They come as dried herbs or are pre-rolled for easy use–you can also buy pre rolled cones to fill with your favorite strain
  • Cannabis Concentrates: Created by isolating desired compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. They can come in solid, powdery-like diamonds, and thick or viscous liquid forms. 
  • Cannabis Edibles: Beginners may try a variety of cannabis-infused edibles like gummies, cookies, and beverages. Marijuana pills, oils, and tinctures are likewise edible cannabis that can be consumed exclusively or mixed with other consumables.    
  • Cannabis Vaping Products: Smokers can enjoy the immediate effects of cannabis by purchasing vape cartridges, vape pens, dab kits, etc.       
  • Cannabis Topical Products: Users who don’t smoke or take edibles can apply THC and CBD pain relief products in gel, lotion, cream, and balm forms. Those who want to relax can use CBD-infused bath bomb salts, while a transdermal cannabis patch may be required for seeking more potent doses.  

For those planning to travel with cannabis products, note that it is only allowed if legal in your origin and destination states. Unfortunately, carrying one can become a felony if the substance is prohibited at your destination. Meanwhile, FDA- approved medical marijuana products and those with less than 0.3% THC content are allowed for air travel.      

  • Dispensaries Must Comply With The State’s Cannabis Purchase Limit 

States likewise regulate the sector by setting restrictions on the amount of cannabis a dispensary can sell to individual consumers. Separate limits are imposed on each product type, including plants, flowers, concentrates, and THC-infused items. In states where non-resident purchases are allowed, buyers are typically restricted to lower buying limits.    

For instance, California recreational users can buy up to 28.5 grams of non-concentrated cannabis, 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, and six cannabis plants in one day. MMJ patients are limited to 8 ounces per day.  

In addition, states can likewise set other possession and purchase limits on a user. As such, they can purchase a smaller amount but keep more in their homes.  

Knowing your purchase and possession limits by researching state laws is vital to avoid legal problems.       

  • Dispensaries Need To Track All Purchases    

If you want to purchase weed while staying anonymous, licensed dispensaries can’t help you. Regulatory rules require dispensaries to track their sales. Additionally, these retail stores are subject to strict auditing, so they will need your ID and other requirements before dispensing any product.  

When transacting with dispensaries, expect a significant amount of time to review your ID and requirements, as these stores need to update their records about their consumers. All these are done to ensure users don’t purchase more than the law allows.  

On the brighter side, this rigorous record-keeping can help consumers keep track of their purchases and choose which products appeal most to them based on their purchase history.      

  • Dispensaries Have Budtenders To Assist You    

First-time cannabis buyers don’t have to worry about picking a good product, as budtenders are found in all dispensaries to assist you.  

Budtenders are dispensary staff tasked to assist consumers with their purchases. They’re also assigned to address customers’ concerns and queries and recommend ideal cannabis strains and products. Lastly, these vital dispensary staff must ensure the display or selling area is filled with available products.  

Budtenders are trained to ask recreational consumers about their usage level, consumption goals, and methods. They will likewise ask for the kind of experience the user wishes to have. Note that each product and strain provide varying results in an individual because of body chemistry, consumption patterns, and other factors.  

Buyers, especially novice users, are encouraged to ask questions and express their concerns to budtenders. To ensure that all pertinent questions are raised, it’s a good idea to list as many questions as you can before buying anything. 

  • Dispensaries Don’t Accept Credit Card Payments   

Aside from a government-issued photo ID and the medical card for MMJ users, buyers must also bring ample money to pay for their dispensary purchases. That’s because most stores only accept cash payments for in-store buyers. Note that cannabis is still federally illegal, which makes bank transactions challenging for dispensary purchases.   

However, some dispensaries accept debit cards with minimal fees. Hence, contacting your chosen dispensary to ask for payment options before dropping in is essential.    

  • Dispensaries Don’t Accept Returns Or Refunds  

Some states allow consumer goods to be returned, depending on the circumstances. However, this may not apply to consumable cannabis products because they’re classified as special items. Some local laws explicitly state that refunds, returns, and exchanges aren’t allowed for medicinal and recreational marijuana use, especially for perishable items like edibles, flowers, and plants.  

Some dispensaries may consider replacing a defective non-perishable product with another one. For instance, if your vaping device doesn’t turn on because of a manufacturing defect, the store might get you a new one. However, if the device works but you want a refund because it’s too strong for your liking, you can’t expect to get a free downgrade.    

It’s best to ask the budtender about the store’s warranties for non-consumable items and what return or exchange policies apply, if any. 

  • Not All Dispensaries Have Delivery Services 

While dispensaries are created to fulfil their customers’ needs, some stores aren’t allowed to perform door-to-door deliveries. So, even if you pre-order online, you might need to visit the store to pay for them and pick them up. 

As of November 2022, dispensaries in states like California, Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Nevada, allow cannabis delivery services. Meanwhile, only medical-use cannabis deliveries are permitted in New York and Arkansas, while Illinois, Washington, and a few other states prohibit such service.  


Dispensaries are the go-to places for medical and recreational cannabis users. With the wide range of strains and products available, getting the right one is easy but sometimes overwhelming.  

If you’re a newbie, don’t be afraid to explore and speak with a budtender to discuss your questions and concerns. In addition, take the necessary precaution by starting low and slow and staying updated with the local regulations. Doing so is crucial to making an informed and safe decision in such a regulated environment.     




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