Let’s be honest, legalized medical marijuana may just be the best thing to happen since the invention of sliced bread. For many people the idea of being able to go to a store and purchase cannabis without fear is something that would only happen in our wildest dreams. The first time shopping at a dispensary can be intimidating. Most people aren’t used to having an entire store full of options. Those who consumed cannabis prior to legalization were subject to what they could get, and it wasn’t always good. To make the experience more overwhelming, this new found freedom and these vast choices come with a list of rules and regulations. Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered! Here are some tips for shopping at a medical marijuana dispensary.
The first step - Getting your medical marijuana card
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the first step to shopping at a dispensary in Missouri is obtaining a medical marijuana license. In order to get a Missouri Medical Marijuana Card, you must be 18 years of age or older or have parental consent and have a diagnosis of a qualifying condition from a physician prior to meeting with a marijuana doctor. Qualifying conditions include:
- Intractable migraines
- Any terminal illness
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Some Debilitating Psychiatric Disorders (must be diagnosed by a psychiatrist)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Wasting Syndrome
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Alzhimer’s Disease
- Some Other Debilitating Conditions
Once you have your medical marijuana licence, you can shop at one of Missouri's numerous licenced dispensaries.
Different kinds of products that you’ll find at the dispensary
Like we’ve said before, the first time shopping at a dispensary will most likely be an overwhelming “kid in a candy store” experience, and that can be a beautiful thing. There are a few general categories of cannabis products that you’ll see in the dispensary.
Flower refers to pot that you can smoke in a joint, pipe, bong, or vaporizer. This is what the other cannabis products are made from. There are three categories of marijuana, sativa, indica, and hybrid. Sativa strains are uplifting while indica strains are sedative, and hybrid strains are anywhere in between.
Concentrates are made from the resin inside the trichomes. They come in many forms, but the most popular types of concentrates are wax, shatter, live resin, and co2 extracted oil such as distillate. The list of the different kinds of concentrates is ever growing. Concentrates can be “smoked” on a dab rig, with a dab pen, or in a cartridge. We use quotations with the word smoke because there is little to no plant matter in concentrates so they vaporize rather than combust. The only time concentrates burn is when they are consumed at too high of a temperature. Concentrates are a great option for people who don’t wish to inhale smoke and prefer to taste the natural terpenes of the plant.
The world of cannabis infused edibles has come a long way from the stereotypical “pot brownie” that so many people are used to. It has been said that the top choice for edibles was the brownie because the chocolate covered up the underlying marijuana flavor. Edible makers in the modern cannabis industry have mastered the art of removing the undesirable herbal tasting notes meaning, most of the time you can’t taste the cannabis. While you can still get brownies, there are cookies, gummies, mints, hard candies, chocolates, tinctures, drinks, and so much more! Be warned though, edibles have a delayed onset of an hour and a half to two hours! Many new cannabis consumers are intimidated by smoking and turn to edibles. Proceed with caution because edibles are more psychoactive. If you don’t know how many mg of THC is right for you, start small and wait a few hours before eating more. You can always eat more, but you can’t un-consume an edible.
Topicals are great for people who don’t want to ingest or inhale cannabis to get its benefits. Topicals are cannabis products that are applied to and absorbed by the skin. The most popular topicals are salves and lotions. These products are applied to the skin and provide pain relief in that localized area. These types of topicals don't typically provide any psychoactive side effects. THC patches on the other hand do offer psychoactive properties as they work in the same way as a nicotine patch.
Dos and Don’ts of shopping at a dispensary
DON'T - Consume cannabis of any kind inside a dispensary. Another no-brainer, but it’s fundamentally important against the law in Missouri to consume on licensed property. People consuming cannabis on site could cause a dispensary to get shut down.
DON’T - Touch the cannabis unless your budtender says it’s OK. Cannabis is medicine and it’s bad form to touch other people’s medicine.
DO - Bring the right paperwork and identification. This may seem like another no-brainer, but you may be surprised at how many people forget.
DO - Bring cash. Since cannabis is still federally illegal dispensaries are cash only establishments. While a dispensary will have an ATM, those fees add up, and it’s much more fun to spend your money on cannabis than ATM fees. Some dispensaries may offer a debit card solution known as Cashless ATM, but better to be safe than sorry the first time you go.
DO - Ask questions. Your budtender is there to sell you medical cannabis, but they can also be fantastic educators.
DO - Tip your budtender! Chances are they have worked hard to provide you with a pleasant and educational experience in the dispensary.
DO - Pay attention to dispensary-specific rules. Some dispensaries might have rules that others don’t.
Shopping at a dispensary is a new and wonderful freedom that we have the privilege of experiencing. It can be scary, but once you discover what works for you and what doesn’t, the experience gets better and better. Your friendly local Clovr budtender will be able to guide you through each dispensary experience. If you are unsure about what you need to do or bring, feel free to call ahead and ask.