A Guide For Your First Trip To A Cannabis Dispensary

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In my lifetime I have been labeled many things, both good and bad.

Now that I am a writer for Cannabis & Tech Today, the parents in my neighborhood don’t call me a “writer,” but “the dad who writes for the weed mag.”

An odd phenomenon has started occurring, parents are asking me to take them on a trip to visit a dispensary, since many of them have never been.

I try to explain they don’t need a guide and our local dispensary (because America now has local dispensaries, like Dairy Queens) Greenhouse is a great place to visit and very friendly to the Muggle (first timer).

Yet they insist. I get it, it’s a new experience, but it doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating.

Dalwhinnie Farms Dispensary in Aspen, Colorado.

Dalwhinnie Farms Dispensary in Aspen, Colorado.

As more states legalize cannabis, more first timers of all ages and demographics are considering their first trip to a dispensary, but they aren’t sure what to do.

Instead of me taking all of you on a personal trip to a dispensary, we reached out to some of the best dispensaries in the country and their experts to put together a list of advice and tips to make your first trip, and every trip, easy and fun.

The Experts: 

Brandon Zimmer from Planet 13

Talley Wettlaufer from Greenhouse

Ashley Grace from Dalwhinnie Farms

Alex Levine– from Green Dragon

Robbie Wroblewski from Seed & Smith

Take a Deep Breath

Robbie Wroblewski (Seed and Smith)

“You should never be nervous. Think about what your needs are and start from there. 

Start asking your questions and if people aren’t responsive, that’s definitely not the place you need to be.  

Greenhouse Vice President of Retail Talley Wettlaufer.

Greenhouse Vice President of Retail Talley Wettlaufer.

That’s customer service 101. You should never be afraid to ask questions, especially when it pertains to the products.”

Ashley Grace (Dalwhinnie Farms) 

“Come with an open mind, be able to put aside your insecurities and share what you’re looking for.

It’s really just about being open and being willing to communicate.”

Talley Wettlaufer (Greenhouse) 

“Our team is there to help and to listen and are excited to share their knowledge and figure out what the right products are for each individual customer.

One of the benefits of coming from a medical program is empathy.

The team at Greenhouse worked hard to hire, train, and develop teams that are empathetic, good listeners, who want to help and make sure that we get you the right products.”

Come Prepared

Robbie Wroblewski

“You absolutely have to have your ID and you do have to have that updated and make sure that it is that it is not a vertical.

While some dispensaries might serve you if you have a vertical ID, most insist that you have an updated, valid ID.”

Brandon Zimmer

“What are we doing with their ID information once they get checked in?

We don’t keep any information, we’re not taking any data, we’re not sending your information to the government.

We’re just here to make sure that you’re 21 years of age, your ID is valid, and you’re able to legally purchase products.”

Alex Levine 

“We are trying to normalize and destigmatize the entire experience.

We check IDs, that’s a requirement.

We can’t get around that, but once you’re in the store it is a normal sales experience.

That’s a big differentiator at Green Dragon, our goal is to destigmatize or take away the scary aspects around the cannabis experience.

There’s really no reason why the cannabis experience can’t be as close as possible to a regular retail store in the mall.” 

Is Cash Still King? 

Seed & Smith Director of Community Outreach Robbie Wroblewski

Seed & Smith Director of Community Outreach Robbie Wroblewski

Robbie Wroblewski 

“Yes, cash is king because that is the easiest way to get you in and out without having to wrestle with anything.

Because of COVID-19 we’ve actually started doing curbside pickup, given the extent to which our state has allowed us to act in these times.

We are allowed to take debit charges at your car and deliver your product to you.”

Alex Levine

“Historically, dispensaries have not had access to any sort of financial services.

So, people still come in with wads of cash and think that’s what they have to do.

We have ATMs, we take debit, we take credit.

There aren’t many dispensaries that do take credit, but I think these days most take debit or at least a version of debit.”

Ok, You’re In, Now What?

Talley Wettlaufer

“Start ‘slow and low.’ Ask a lot of questions and think about what you are comfortable with. 

There are so many different products to try, so that’s a conversation you have with the team.

What’s your comfort level, what’s your experience level?

Our goal is that you leave feeling comfortable and confident with what you’ve purchased.”

Ashley Grace

“The selections can just be overwhelming.

How do you throw 500 different products at them to figure out what the right one would be, and still help them?

They end up relying on the discretion of the budtender, and that’s why they’re there —  to help you find what you need.” 

Alex Levine

Alex Levine

Co-CEO of Green Dragon Alex Levine. Image courtesy Green Dragon.

“Low and slow. That’s a pretty good motto to stick with.

I think the key takeaway with cannabis is, over the past few decades, [the potency] has gotten a lot stronger.

So people haven’t tried cannabis since decades ago, but it’s a lot stronger since those days.

The genetic research wasn’t really there. In the past decade or two, it’s gotten pretty high.

Take less than you think you need. The recommended serving for edibles in Colorado is 10 milligrams.

That’s pretty standard in most states. I say take five, start with five. If you start with five and you can always do more.

If you start with more, you can’t can’t undo it. Low and slow.”

Are There Free Samples? Like at a CostCo?

Robbie Wroblewski

“Unfortunately, no, not at this time. We definitely want to move in that direction.

We’ve certainly tried in the past year or so to talk with the city about getting an on-site consumption lounge.”

Brandon Zimmer

“We can’t give out samples for people to try but what we try to do in many cases is utilize our non-infused samples so they could see what it would taste like.” 

Talley Wettlaufer

Greenhouse dispensary, Northbrook IL location. Photo courtesy of Greenhouse.

“No, we are not allowed to give away product.

We have a variety of price points, from the teens all the way up to the hundreds of dollars.

So there are tons of options for people to test and try without a giant financial commitment.”

Indica or Sativa?

Brandon Zimmer

“So the best way to remember the difference would be, indica equals ‘in the couch.’

You don’t want to move off the couch, your body feels sedated.

Whereas with sativa, you get the head high and feel more motivated and inspired.”

Robbie Wroblewski

“It is about growing styles.

So, we don’t we don’t have the necessary hours to go through all that science, but here are the basics.

Sativa is an energizing strain and indicas are supposed to be the relaxing or sleepy kind of strain. 

I try to tell people upon their first time visiting that indica and sativa are more about growing style.

It’s how these plants grow within our production facility that really gives them that title that people are referring to.

Again, every person is different so we have to speak on these things at an anecdotal level.”

What’s Good For You?

Alex Levine

“The average person in the U.S. hasn’t been to a dispensary.

There’s a big expectation when we train our team that  people will be coming in for the first time and there shouldn’t be any sort of stigma around it.

They should be able to ask any questions.

So, we really encourage you to please ask questions, please comment. We are here to help you.”

Brandon Zimmer

“We are a tourist attraction for cannabis, being located in Las Vegas.

A lot of times we get people who have never even tried cannabis.

So we make sure our budtenders are trained and ready to help you. 

As soon as you walk in, you’ll work with a budtender who will answer any questions you have so that you feel a little more at ease making these kinds of purchasing decisions.”

Ashley Grace

Greenhouse dispensary, Melrose Park IL location. Photo courtesy of Greenhouse.

“There are a lot of times people have a hard time articulating what they are looking for, and that’s okay.

Our budtenders really love to help people, you know, they love to share their knowledge and their passion.

These people are generally people that have a passion for the plant and are always educating themselves about the industry.

In doing that, they want to be honest in what they’re describing and have good data to rely upon to help the customers.” 

Robbie Wroblewski

“You have to have those conversations with yourself.

That’s the biggest piece of advice that I give to  anybody when it comes to their first time, no one will have the answer for you.

It’s going to be an exploration and that shouldn’t be scary.

That should never be scary.

Especially when you have people that give you good advice for that. You have people that will answer questions for you.”

Consuming at the Dispensary 

Robbie Wroblewski

“We do want to give you the best advice possible, which is to follow your state’s rules.

Here in Colorado it’s illegal to consume in open spaces and illegal to consume in public spaces.

The best advice that I give people when it’s when it comes to exiting the building is put your product in your trunk and lock it up and then get to your place, wherever that may be, and consume in the privacy of your own area with the knowledge that you are free to do so.”

Ashley Grace

“That’s  a big no-no for you. No consumption, smoking, or edibles on premises.

Colorado is exploring some cannabis lounge models that are extremely interesting and I know some folks in Boulder that have one, may not yet have broken ground with it, but they have the license.

I think that is coming and we’re very interested in how that will develop and if there’s a way that we can play a role in it.

For now, you cannot consume on premises.”

Green Dragon Dispensary in Colorado.

Green Dragon Dispensary in Colorado.

Let Your Freak Flag Fly!! You Don’t Need An Excuse

Alex Levine

“There’s a stigma like that around all drugs with the exception of alcohol. I don’t think that’s fair.

Voters have overwhelmingly approved these recreational ballot measures because taking cannabis just for cannabis sake is fine.

That said though, if you want to take it for a real medical reason, like trouble sleeping or chronic pain, it’s very good for these things as well, as we know.

I mean most of these recreational ballot measures start as medical programs in these states. 

I don’t think people need to work themselves up into a “I need a reason,” like I can’t just go there just “because.” 

You don’t need a reason to go to a liquor store, don’t need a reason to go shopping, you just go do it — and that’s the same level of stigma really, there shouldn’t be any stigma at all around the cannabis experience.”

Talley Wettlaufer

Greenhouse dispensary, Skokie IL location. Photo courtesy of Greenhouse.

“Feel free to share what your needs are.

We focused our team on making sure they are there to listen and answer your questions so that you feel confident in what you’re purchasing.

You don’t need an excuse, be open.

What are you looking for, how do you want to feel?

Are you working to help you sleep? Are you working just to feel good?

There’s a  wide variety of products and ways you can consume and our job is to listen and help you pick out products that achieve what you want and make you feel comfortable in the process.”

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