First trip to a cannabis dispensary? Here’s what to know

your first cannabis dispensary trip
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Your first time at a dispensary is a big milestone. Being prepared will ensure it’s an enjoyable, educational experience that opens up the world of legal cannabis to you. 

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know and bring for your first cannabis dispensary trip.

Identification and payment

The most essential thing to bring is a valid government-issued ID proving you are of legal age in your state, usually 21+. A driver’s license, passport, military ID, or other official photo ID will be required to enter for the first time at a dispensary and make purchases. Double-check that your ID is current and not expired. The name and photo must match your appearance. A damaged or altered ID may be rejected, so ensure it is in good, readable condition.

Since generally, federal law prohibits banks from working with the cannabis industry, most dispensaries only accept cash payments. Stop by the ATM to take out plenty of cash ahead of time. Call ahead or check the dispensary’s website FAQ to confirm payment methods before going for the first time at a dispensary. You don’t want to be caught short on cash when you find the perfect cannabis products on your visit. Bring small bills to simplify making payments and getting change back.

If you have a medical marijuana card, bring that along too on your first cannabis dispensary trip. It may provide access to discounts, higher potency products, or dispensaries limited to medical patients only. Your doctor’s written recommendation letter may also be required. Having medical documents gets you the best deals and options.

Research and questions

To make the most of your first cannabis dispensary trip experience, do some research beforehand on cannabis products, terminology, options, and pricing. There is so much variety it can feel overwhelming for beginners. Get familiar with the differences between common products like flower strains, edibles, vapes, concentrates, topicals, and more.

On your first time at a dispensary understand key terms for extraction methods, cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes, and dosing. Consider what type of cannabis aligns with your interests and needs – are you seeking euphoria, relaxation, symptom relief, better sleep, appetite stimulation, etc? Knowledge takes the guesswork out of choosing products.

Write down any questions you have so you remember to ask the dispensary staff on your first cannabis dispensary trip. Good questions to ask include:

  • What products do you recommend for my needs as a beginner?
  • How are your edibles, vapes, or concentrates dosed?
  • Can I see and smell flower options before purchasing?
  • Do you offer first-time customer discounts or deals?
  • What are your hours, purchase limits, and membership options?

Experienced staff called “budtenders” will provide invaluable guidance for newbies. When you are for the first time at a dispensary, take advantage by asking plenty of questions respectfully.

Attire and items to bring

When visiting a dispensary, dress appropriately for a medical establishment. Avoid wearing strong odors like perfume that could bother more sensitive customers. Wear comfortable, casual clothes suitable for the weather and potentially standing for a while. Shoes should be supportive if you’ll be on your feet browsing products.

Pack snacks like protein bars, nuts, or fruit in case you get hungry or cottonmouth, common effects of cannabis use. Having a hydrating beverage like water is wise too. Bring any medications or supplements you take routinely to stay on your dosing schedule. A phone charger and backup battery will allow you to take photos, compare products, and take notes if permitted.

If sampling or buying psychoactive cannabis, arrange a safe ride home with a designated driver, rideshare, or public transportation. Consuming cannabis before driving is extremely dangerous. Give yourself several hours before attempting to drive after cannabis use, longer if combining with alcohol, and that too on your first cannabis dispensary trip.

Transport and parking

When arriving for the first time at a dispensary, park in a well-lit area covered by security cameras with decent foot traffic. Avoid shady corners of the lot. Lock purchased products securely out of sight in your trunk before exiting rather than carrying them openly to your car. Keep your keys handy.

Having cash and cannabis products out of sight protects your safety on your first cannabis dispensary trip. Unfortunately, dispensary customers can be targets for theft. Take sensible precautions by locking up purchases discreetly. Ask the dispensary staff for parking tips based on past customer experiences and known security issues.

Dispensary selection

To ensure that your first cannabis dispensary trip goes smoothly, carefully select the dispensary you visit. Search for dispensaries near you that have stellar online reviews, ample parking, convenient hours, and a focus on education for new consumers. Dispensaries with comprehensive websites or online menus make it easier to research products and pricing beforehand.

Choose an inviting, professional dispensary with top-quality products, fair prices, and knowledgeable staff. Well-trained budtenders will provide the guidance newbies need about products, dosing, and cannabis culture. A dispensary focused on customer service and safe, responsible use tends to be best for novices. Do your research to find the right fit.


Dispensaries have rules and etiquette to follow to maintain a safe, respectful environment. Look these up online beforehand to avoid issues on your first time at a dispensary. Common policies include no smoking inside, limited cash on hand, not handling products without permission, age requirements, and more. Photography or video recording may be prohibited. Dress appropriately without offensive or political slogans.

Avoid bringing weapons, recreational drugs besides cannabis, or children on your first cannabis dispensary trip. Most dispensaries will search all bags and make you pass through a metal detector. Follow all staff instructions promptly. Remain patient and polite with staff to give a good first impression. They want to provide great service, so kindly work with them.

At the dispensary

When visiting for the first time at a dispensary, come along with your ID, cash, medical documents, charger, snacks, and questions ready. A staff member will check your ID and welcome you inside. Share it’s your first visit and what you hope to buy. They can recommend top products for beginners and suggest doses or preferred intake methods. Take notes on products, pricing, and effects to compare.

Start slow with a single low-dose item until you get used to the effects of cannabis. After your first cannabis dispensary trip. Don’t feel rushed or pressured to buy more than seems wise. Stick to your budget. Ask the budtender any other questions on your mind. They are there to inform and guide you. Thank them for their help before leaving.

With proper preparation and reasonable expectations, your first cannabis dispensary trip will be eye-opening in the best way. Use this guide to ready yourself for a smooth, pleasant first trip. Entering the world of legal cannabis access is an exciting milestone. Welcome and enjoy!

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