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Cannabis Dispensary Etiquette: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

  • At a cannabis dispensary, basic etiquette applies: come prepared for your visit, wait patiently, expect a few questions from your budtender, and tip when appropriate.
  • Take care to use budtenders’ time efficiently and (in most cases) leave children and friends at home.

So, you’ve received approval for a medical cannabis card, and you’re ready to visit a Louisiana dispensary (or a pharmacy in another city) to stock up, ask questions, and start your treatment journey.

But what etiquette tips should you keep in mind if you’ve never visited a cannabis purveyor before? Luckily, common courtesy forms most of the basis for dispensatory social norms.

In this guide, we’re breaking down cannabis dispensary etiquette in more detail to help you prepare for your first visit.

Dispensary Dos

First, let’s cover a few courteous behaviors to remember ahead of your next dispensary trip: some simple things you can do to support a seamless visit.

Do Come Prepared

Before you head to the pharmacy, grab a few key supplies:

  • Identification: Some form of state or federal photo ID is required at almost every dispensary to verify your age and identity. A driver’s license, state ID, or passport will suffice. Keep in mind that non-state IDs (like student ID cards from your university) or IDs without photos (like a Social Security card or voter ID) may not be accepted at your dispensary.
  • Your medical marijuana card: In Louisiana, you won’t need to worry about bringing a physical or digital card to the dispensary—recommendations are sent digitally, like a traditional pharmacy. Most other states issue either digital or physical medical cannabis cards, and you’ll likely need to present these to your budtender before you complete your purchase.
  • Payment: Although medical cannabis programs are expanding in multiple states, many establishments are still cash-only to avoid potential regulatory conflicts. However, this isn’t always the case. To make sure you bring the right form of payment, call ahead to ask if your dispensary accepts plastic.

Do Wait for Your Turn

Arriving at the dispensary is a lot like sidling up to the bar at your local watering hole: depending on the crowd, you may need to pack your patience. If there are other patrons ahead of you, patiently wait for your turn to be served.

Every dispensary handles service lines differently, so you might encounter:

  • A formal line (like you might find at a bank)
  • An informal counter-approach system (like a bar)
  • A numbered system (like a deli or butcher shop)

For dispensaries with more informal line systems, you might be able to browse the product selection as you wait your turn. If this is the case, feel free to peruse your options—just make sure to give any customers being served enough space to speak with the budtenders as confidentially as possible.

In other words, keep a courteous distance—when it’s your turn, you’ll want the same from other patrons.

Do Expect Questions

Once your number is up, it’s time to speak to a budtender: a dispensary professional with expert knowledge about cannabis mechanisms of action, active ingredients, dosages, and more.

Budtenders are your connection to your cannabis supply, and their knowledge will be invaluable throughout your treatment journey.

To help you choose the best possible product, budtenders will likely ask you a few key questions, like:

  • Which symptoms and health issues are you treating with cannabis?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What are you looking for in a marijuana experience?
  • What are your goals with medical cannabis treatment?

Preparing answers to these potential questions ahead of time will speed up your visit and give you time to consider your journey.

However, there are two things to remember about these common queries:

  • You don’t have to have all the answers. You might not know how much to expect to spend on weed. You might not be sure what your long-term treatment goals are (though this is certainly an important topic to discuss with a medical cannabis doctor). It’s okay to be unsure about certain aspects of your cannabis treatment, but being honest and up-front with your budtender will improve your service experience and their product recommendations.
  • Only share information you’re comfortable with. If you’d like to maintain as much privacy as possible, you don’t have to share every detail of your health plan with your budtender. Instead, you can describe your symptoms and goals in general terms.

Do Tip Your Budtender

Many dispensaries have tip jars. This is because budtending is a service, and it’s customary (though not required) for patrons to tip.

You’ve likely left a tip for a bartender, barber, or nail salon technician before, and you should take the same approach with your budtender when possible.

Here are some nuances to consider about tipping at your dispensary:

  • No tip jar? Ask for guidance: If you don’t see a tip jar or the dispensary’s point of sale system doesn’t prompt you to leave a tip during checkout, ask your budtender if tipping is customary at that dispensary.
  • Not sure what to tip? Ask your budtender: If there is a tipping system in place at your dispensary, you might not be sure what to leave. In truth, tipping conventions are different at every establishment—asking your budtender about best practices can help you get a feel for what’s appropriate.

While it might sound awkward to ask your budtender what to tip, don’t worry—budtenders are used to chatting with cannabis newcomers, and they’ll be honest about industry expectations in your area.

Plus, asking about tipping (even if it’s not available at your dispensary) is a sign of good faith; it’s a way to show budtenders that you appreciate their expertise, even if you don’t have an opportunity to tip.

Dispensary Don’ts

We’ve covered a few courtesy tips, but let’s touch on two behaviors to avoid the next time you visit the pharmacy.

Don’t Monopolize Budtenders’ Time

During your first dispensary visit, you might be tempted to ask your budtender every possible question about products, effects, pricing, and administration. But if there are other patrons behind you in line, try to save less pertinent queries for your next visit.

In general, focus on accomplishing these primary goals first:

  1. Finding one or more strains or product types to try
  2. Asking about dosage and timing
  3. Asking for any administration tips

Once you have a clear picture of what product you’re using and how to use it, you can ask follow-up questions if your dispensary isn’t busy.

While you should take all the time you need to cover the basics, remember to show courtesy to patrons behind you in line.

Don’t Bring Unauthorized People to the Dispensary

While it might be tempting to share your dispensary experience with a friend or family member who doesn’t have their medical marijuana card, this isn’t the best approach.

There are two key reasons why you shouldn’t visit the dispensary with an entourage:

  • Unauthorized patrons may not be allowed to enter. Anyone under your state’s legal age and patrons without medical cards may not be allowed to enter your dispensary. Dispensary workers and owners can face legal consequences if they allow unauthorized patrons to enter the premises, so most facilities are very strict about ID policies.
  • Non-shopping patrons take up space. Bringing a friend who won’t be shopping to the dispensary is like bringing a friend who doesn’t need a haircut to the hair salon—while they can certainly wait for you in a designated area, they’ll take up valuable space that could be used by card-carrying patrons.

The most courteous approach is to shop alone or with another paying customer. While dispensaries are welcoming, friendly spaces, they’re not social venues—they’re places of business.

Discover Plant-Based Healing with TeleLeaf

While there are certainly dos and don’ts to consider before heading to the dispensary, don’t worry: even if you’re not clear on all of the cannabis shopping minutiae, your budtender can help you navigate your first experience with ease, convenience, and efficiency.

But before you can head to a dispensary, you’ll need a medical cannabis card. If you’ve been wondering, “Can I apply for a medical card online?” the answer is yes”.

TeleLeaf is making medical card applications more accessible than ever—all you have to do is request an appointment, and we’ll connect you with a licensed medical cannabis doctor from the comfort of your home.

Our focus on patient access and convenience is what makes us the best online medical marijuana card service on the market today.

Ready to start your treatment journey with medical cannabis or want to learn more about the process? Reach out to us to get started.


GreenState. Cannabis Dispensary Etiquette: A Beginner’s Guide.

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