Everything You Need to Know Before Going to a Cannabis Dispensary

Feb 15, 2021

The legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2018 paved the way for the industry to boom. Currently more than 1,000 licensed cannabis dispensaries are open for business and a further 500 Ontario-based stores are waiting to be approved by provincial licensing. According to Statista, 52% of Canadians purchase cannabis from legal sources, otherwise known as your local dispensary. 

Authorized cannabis dispensaries are popping up everywhere – one might say similar to weeds (pun intended). Chances are, you’ve thought of walking inside one, but turned back because you’re unsure what requirements are needed for you to be allowed inside. 

With that in mind, let’s dive right into the stuff you need to know before going inside cannabis dispensaries.

An individual inspects dried cannabis flowers in a cannabis dispensary

First Time Going Inside a Cannabis Dispensary? 

Walking into a cannabis dispensary for the first time shouldn’t be an intimidating experience. There’s absolutely no need to worry. To aid you through the trip, here are some tips to help you navigate your way around local cannabis dispensaries. 

1.You Must Have a Valid ID 

The legal age to purchase any cannabis product varies from province to province. In most areas including British Columbia, you must be at least 19 years old to buy. In Alberta, the minimum legal age is 18. At the beginning of 2020, Quebec’s government raised the minimum age to 21.  

To purchase cannabis from a dispensary, you must have a valid ID ready. Know that the personnel will not sell you anything if you don’t have a government issued ID with you. Your ID must show your photo, full name, date of birth, and signature. 

Here are some examples of valid ID’s that you can bring when you visit a cannabis dispensary:

  • Passport
  • Citizenship card
  • Driver’s licence (provincial or territorial)
  • State-issued medical marijuana card

For more information about other types of valid identification cards, visit this link

2. Limit Your Purchase

Browsing through the choices inside cannabis dispensaries can be overwhelming, and it’s no surprise why first timers just want to buy everything. While that’s an entertaining thought, you can’t. Know that there are limitations on the amount you can buy.

Adults are allowed to purchase, carry, and share for up to 30 grams. However, laws on recreational use varies by province and territory. It might help if you run through these regulations and check what the deal is with your local area before visiting a local cannabis dispensary.

To help you measure it out, one gram of dried cannabis is also equivalent to:

  • 5 grams of fresh cannabis
  • 15 grams of edible product
  • 70 grams of liquid product
  • 0.25 grams of concentrates (solid and liquid)
  • 1 cannabis plant seed 

Expect to spend between $24 to $40 per 3.5 grams. Of course, prices are dependent on the value of the strains, and can change at any given time.

A glass filled with dried cannabis buds

3. Have an Idea of What You Want

Are you looking for dried flowers that are sativa-dominant, indica-dominant, or a mixture of both? Do you prefer edibles or vape pens? Do you have some bodily discomfort that you want to ease? Have you been experiencing stress and want something to take the edge off? 

These are just some guide questions that you can answer to help you determine what you’re looking for. Cannabis dispensaries hold a wide range of products that cater to different needs. While cannabis affects each person differently, registered cannabis dispensary personnel (commonly known as budtenders) will be able to choose a strain that best matches what you’re looking for. 

Raising important preference points, such as the needs mentioned above, will help your budtender offer you the right kind of product.

Speaking of budtenders…

4. Don’t Be Shy to Ask Questions

A lot of first-timers want to seem like they know everything upon entering a cannabis dispensary. This is probably one of the most common mistakes beginners tend to make. If you’re unsure about something, ask your budtender about it.

Remember that there’s no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to purchasing cannabis. Budtenders are equipped with ample knowledge and can answer questions about anything that’s for sale inside the dispensary. Whether it’s about specific strains, regarding THC or CBD content, or the kind of vape pen you’re thinking of buying, they’ve got it all figured out.

They are, after all, trained to assist cannabis newbies. It’s part of their requirements to become one. This means that they are always willing to answer any kind of question you might have.  Think of them as cannabis sommeliers or concierge – they will assist you in every step you make inside the dispensary.

5. Check the Excise Stamp of the Product

You’ll know that you’re purchasing from a legal cannabis dispensary when the product packaging has an official Canadian excise stamp. 

Only producers who have obtained a licence from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can purchase and use these excise stamps. It could be useful to know that the CRA is responsible for approving licences for cultivators, producers, and packagers of cannabis products. Everything goes through them before they are sold in retail form. 

Each province and territory has their specific excise stamp colour. Double-check which one is yours, and if you can, take a photo of it. You can then compare it to what the product has once you’re ready to buy from a cannabis dispensary.

For more information on laws and regulations of purchasing and using cannabis in Canada, visit this link or this link.

6. Visit Other Cannabis Dispensaries

If you visit a cannabis dispensary and don’t see what you’re looking for, you shouldn’t feel pressured to make any purchases. It could take a few trips to other nearby retailers before you feel at home.

Try researching cannabis dispensaries near you, or ask friends for their recommendations. If there’s a dispensary you want to visit for the first time, check out their website, social media accounts, or call them to familiarize yourself with their offerings. It always pays to do a little bit of research. 

To help you find licenced cannabis dispensaries all across Canada, visit this link.

Not Quite Ready to Visit Cannabis Dispensaries Yet?

That’s okay. Smokey’s has got you covered. Browse our online selection of dried flowers, edibles, smoking accessories, extracts, vapes, and topicals fit for every need. Pick what you want and we can have it delivered to you. If you have any questions regarding specific strains for your needs, feel free to contact us today to get you started!