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medical or recreational dispensaries

Medical or Recreational Marijuana Dispensary, What Is the Difference?

How Do Medical Dispensaries Differ From Recreational Dispensaries

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Tuesday Feb 7, 2017
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Medical vs. Recreational Dispensaries




If pot recently became legal in your state, I don’t blame you for wanting to visit the nearest dispensary in order to get hold of some pot. But before you do, knowing what kind of dispensary you’re visiting can help you make the most out of your experience especially if it’s your first time.



While the experience is generally the same, these are the differences that you should know about:





Medical Dispensaries


The primary difference between the medical and recreational, or adult-use dispensaries, is that you need a medical prescription to visit a medical dispensary. You need to be at least 18 years old, see a doctor, and carry their written recommendation along with you.



When you arrive during your first visit, a copy of your prescription will be entered into the system together with other paperwork. Prepare to answer different questions about your illness. Your recommendations should be renewed every year, and with each renewal you’ll need to present it to your dispensary.



Medical dispensaries tend to have a different ambiance compared to adult-use dispensaries. Some of them are are designed to have the look and feel of a typical doctor’s office. This is because these establishments have been built with the purpose of providing sick patients with a secure and discreet location to obtain the information they need about cannabis as medicine, as well as a place for them to procure it. Medical dispensaries are taxed differently, this is why the price of bud may differ.



Keep in mind:


  • Bring your recommendation, prescription, and other documents required by your state for legally purchasing medical cannabis.


  • Most medical dispensaries have a waiting room, which helps them efficiently control the influx of patients. It also provides patients with discretion through the use of a thin wall, so that they can privately discuss medical issues with budtenders.


  • It’s not uncommon for medical dispensaries to keep a file of purchases made, which helps them keep track of products that you have used or adjustments you’ve made to your medication. These practices help make follow-ups and references more efficient for the future.


  • Depending on your state, some medical dispensaries may allow patients to get up close and personal with the bud before purchase.






Recreational Dispensaries


At adult-use or recreational dispensaries, prescriptions aren’t needed to purchase cannabis. The minimum requirement is to be at least 21 years of age, and you’ll need to present a valid ID. Restrictions on the maximum amount of pot to be purchased with each visit will differ depending on state regulations.



Keep in mind:


  • Valid and unexpired passports will suffice as an ID.


  • Most recreational dispensaries share their menus online which you can review before your visit, or while you’re waiting in line. Cannabis products are usually divided according to method of consumption, such as raw flower, edibles, concentrates, topicals, etc.


  • The most expensive kind of pot offered doesn’t always translate to the best nor will it mean that it has the highest THC content.


  •  Remember that cannabis affects people in different ways, so do some experimentation before seeking out strong products such as concentrates and strains that have a high THC content.


  • If you aren’t sure about what to buy, feel free to ask the knowledgeable and friendly budtenders at recreational dispensaries. But generally speaking, budtenders at adult-use shops don’t have the same amount of time to invest in talking to customers who use the plant for recreational purposes. While budtenders can spend as much as half an hour talking to patients to understand their specific needs to cure their ailments, adult-use shops cater more to adults who are visiting to get a hold of cannabis for fun so it isn’t always the most polite thing to do to keep budtenders servicing you for a long time while others are waiting.





Other things to keep in mind during your visit to either kind of dispensary:


  • Always bring cash; most dispensaries operate on an all-cash basis so save time by withdrawing enough money at an ATM.


  • Be prepared with a valid ID otherwise this can result in a dispensary refusing your entry.


  • Practice patience, compassion, and politeness at all times especially if you are visiting a medical dispensary. Some may be using cannabis for fun, but most depend on it as a life-saving medicine.



Do you have any tips on how other customers can improve their experience at either kind of dispensary? Share with us in the comments below!












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