Is it your first time visiting a medical marijuana dispensary? Here are 7 ways to prepare.
So you’ve made the effort, gotten your ducks in a row, and obtained the doctor certification necessary to get your medical weed card in Maryland. The next step, as you might imagine, is to go purchase medical marijuana. It is sold in specific, highly-regulated businesses known as dispensaries. While these businesses do vary a bit from state to state, but many of the general ideas of a dispensary will be similar if you’ve visited one in a place you previously lived.
If you envision using your medical marijuana card in order to purchase and consume marijuana in a cafe-like setting such as those located in Amsterdam, you’ll need to remember that Maryland dispensary experiences are going to be a little more like visiting your local pharmacy for a prescription refill than like a recreational experience.
That being said, you still will have options and the opportunity to find the marijuana products that fit your medical needs. Here are just a few things to expect from your first visit to a medical weed dispensary in Maryland. We made a Maryland marijuana dispensary guide so you have all the details!
1. Be Ready for Intake
If you walk into the weed dispensary and realize that you cannot start shopping immediately, don’t panic. Intake often happens in a separate waiting room and that’s completely normal. One way that dispensaries handle high-demand times is by having people wait to enter the shopping area until after they’ve had their ID checked. With valuable products that are highly regulated, you may also see some kind of security system or security guards, but again, it’s about protecting the business and its transactions.
2. You Cannot Enter Without Your Card and ID
As you might expect, you need to prove you are the actual person who applied for your medical card! You will need to have your medical marijuana identification card with you, and the person working intake may have other questions or information for you. For instance, they are likely to share with you the limits of how much you can purchase that day.
3. You’re Not in a Sample Shop
As we mentioned before, once you’re in the shopping area of the dispensary, you’ll be looking at pre-packaged items, not things you can open, smell, or sample. While some dispensaries do sell some products in small quantities to help you verify what helps you, you’ll need to sample at home, not in the dispensary itself.
That being said, there are plenty of resources online to help you learn more about the variations among different kinds of marijuana products, helping you to understand the language you’ll see on packages, including things like Indica and Sativa and other descriptors. These variations may be subtle when using the product, but many medical marijuana patients find that certain products, as well as the method of consumption, impact how well the product assists them with their medical condition.
4. Budtenders Are Here to Help
In most dispensaries, there will be a representative, colloquially called a “budtender,” who is aware of the types, strains, and delivery methods of the products available in the dispensary. If you know what has been helpful to treat your condition in the past, you can talk to the budtender and get some recommendations for which products to consider. Be aware, however, that budtenders are going to be busy offering personalized recommendations and guidance to the many customers at times, so you may have to wait a bit if you’re wanting their advice.
5. Be Patient and Recognize the 30 Day Limit
Basically the same thing as above, you may have a little bit of hurry-up-and-wait, especially the first time you visit a dispensary and learn about the packaging and information included about the products you consider. You’ll always want to understand what your 30-day limit means and how to stay below it since medical marijuana cards don’t entitle you to purchase unlimited quantities of medical marijuana products.
6. Expect to Experiment a Bit At Home to Find What Works Best For You
If you really aren’t sure what medical marijuana products will help most with your condition, many dispensaries will have small or single-use products that aren’t a long-term supply of a single strain or type. You can purchase these medical marijuana products to use in your own home and note which ones help your medical condition most. If you end up using a different dispensary in the future, or even the same one, they may not always have the same product, so if you find something that works very well, save the packaging so that they can use the information to find you something similar.
7. Purchases Will Be in Cash Due to Regulations
Due to federal regulations about using credit cards, you’ll need to bring enough cash to pay for your purchases; however, remember that this is a very highly regulated industry and even cash transactions are thoroughly documented. Since any ATM at a dispensary is likely to be popular and may assess fees for not being associated with your bank, just plan to bring the cash you wish to use with you.
If you’ve never been to a medical marijuana dispensary in Maryland before, that’s completely fine – the process is easy to learn and once you are there, you’ll get your bearings and be able to get the medical marijuana you need periodically with little fuss. If you have further questions about Maryland dispensaries or other factors in obtaining a medical marijuana card, remember that obtaining doctor certification through Green Mind Physicians comes with a lifetime of support and information if you have questions.
Dr. Eric Lee, a registered cannabis physician in Maryland, is here for all of your marijuana questions!
If you haven’t obtained your medical marijuana card in Maryland or another state yet, consider Green Mind Physicians when you need a simple telemedicine appointment to discuss whether your condition qualifies for a medical marijuana card. Your doctor is knowledgeable about the research regarding marijuana as a treatment for medical conditions, and they are ready to help you understand the application process for the card as well as the rest of your journey with medical marijuana, providing great customer care in the long term.