- Dispensaries sell a variety of recreational and/or medical marijuana products
- Dispensaries can sell cannabis for recreational use, medical use, or both.
- To purchase cannabis products at medical dispensaries, you must provide a valid ID and a medical marijuana card. Minors who have a recommendation for legal marijuana need an appointed adult caregiver to access cannabis products sold at dispensaries
- To purchase recreational marijuana products at a dispensary, you need to be over 21 years old.
- Dispensaries sell a wide variety of marijuana products including concentrates, tinctures, flower, pre-rolls, vapes, ointments, gummies, and other edibles, concentrates, drinks, and capsules.
With marijuana laws enacted in at least 38 U.S. states, chances are you have already seen a dispensary or two. But just how much do you know about what happens in there?
Marijuana laws are complex, and the only way to access legal and reliable marijuana products is to purchase them from licensed dispensaries.
Cultivating and processing quality cannabis is a complex task. At licensed dispensaries such as RISE’s, experienced patient care specialists can can discuss product selections to help you along your cannabis journey.
Want to learn more about what type of products you can find at marijuana dispensaries, what is required to be able to access them, and how to be prepared for visiting a dispensary for the first time? Read on!
What Is a Marijuana Dispensary?
A marijuana dispensary is a store licensed to commercialize marijuana products in a legal state. Marijuana is legal in the majority of U.S. states, but laws vary from one jurisdiction to the next.
Cannabis with over 0.3% THC is federally illegal. Some states with medical marijuana programs strictly limit the amount of THC that medical CBD products may contain. Both CBD and THC, two compounds in the marijuana plant, can be beneficial for human health, but only THC is intoxicating.
Marijuana dispensaries can be focused on recreational or medical marijuana or both. In states where both recreational and medical cannabis is legal (like Alaska, California, New Jersey, and Arizona), dispensaries commonly carry both types of products. The Bloomfield Dispensary in New Jersey is an excellent example of a shop that sells both adult use and medical marijuana.
Medical and Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries
Medical cannabis requires a doctor’s recommendation to aid in symptom relief of eligible conditions, while recreational marijuana doesn’t. Eligible conditions vary from state to state, and an eligible diagnosis is needed to get a medical marijuana card.
The fundamental difference between medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries has to do with the documentation you will need to purchase cannabis products in each type of shop.
Required Documentation to Purchase from a Dispensary
To purchase any type of product from a medical dispensary, you need a state-issued marijuana card, which requires a doctor’s recommendation. Underage patients must have a registered caregiver, who will be able to purchase the cannabis products in their name.
In states that have decriminalized recreational use, if you are 21 or older, you can just walk into a dispensary and obtain various marijuana products.
In the case of states that issue cannabis cards, there are different rules about who can buy medical cannabis. Some states allow out-of-state cannabis patients to buy cannabis products in their jurisdiction, while others don’t.
Are Marijuana Dispensaries Legal?
Yes, as long as they are licensed by the state in which they operate. When we call a store a marijuana dispensary, what that means is that it has been licensed to sell a variety of cannabis products. Of course, you are not going to ask to see the dispensary’s license when you walk into a store or shop online for CBD gummies or marijuana vapes. The only way to be sure that you are buying quality products from a licensed retailer is to buy from an established provider.
How Do Licensed Cannabis Dispensaries Operate?
Marijuana dispensaries operate a bit differently from other retail businesses. At both medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries, you will have to show your ID. In the case of medical marijuana dispensaries, you will also have to register as a patient, providing your medical marijuana card.
Typically, there will be a receptionist who will take your information. If the dispensary offers both medical and recreational products, you may be asked whether you are looking for medicinal or recreational marijuana.
Some companies are both cannabis producers and retailers. These types of companies usually sell a wide variety of their own branded products, from tinctures and ointments to oils, capsules, and chocolate.
Because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, dispensaries tend to be cash-only businesses. Debit and credit card operators “have distanced themselves” from marijuana payments, and traditional banking also shies away from the business to prevent federal prosecution.
What Do Marijuana Dispensaries Sell?
Marijuana dispensaries sell a variety of medical and recreational marijuana products, as well as gear and merch. What you can find at each dispensary will depend on which presentations each state allows.
The most popular products you can find at a modern, well-stocked dispensary include:
- Vapes with different cannabinoid and terpene content.
- Gummies, chocolate, candy, cereal bars, cookies, etc.
- A variety of marijuana-infused drinks are available from dispensaries. RISE carries cannabis drinks flavored with raspberry, orange, lime, acai, etc.
- Concentrates can have upwards of 80% THC content. They come in different forms, including BHO, budder, and resin.
- Tinctures are liquid and typically come in small containers with a dropper, as the dosage is calculated in drops based on each product’s CBD and THC concentration.
- Balms, ointments, transdermal patches
- CBD-only products
- The most common form of CBD is oil, but there are also tinctures, ointments, gummies, etc.
What to Know Before Visiting a Dispensary for the First Time?
Ready for your first dispensary visit? Here is a useful checklist.
- Choose an established, licensed dispensary
- Bring cash or inquire about other payment options beforehand
- Bring your ID and/or marijuana card
- If you are not local, find out if people from your state can legally buy cannabis where you are
- Research products beforehand and make sure the dispensary you are visiting carries what you are looking for
- When in doubt, ask a patient care specialist; they will be able to advise you on the best products for your needs
Where Can I Find a Dispensary?
You don’t have to look very far to find a reliable marijuana dispensary near you. Licensed dispensaries pop up every day all over legal states.
Rise is one of the top retailers in the country, with multiple locations in states like Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Massachusetts.