Dispensaries are a new experience for a lot of people. Whether you’ve been consuming weed illegally in the past (no judgment, a lot of us have been there) or you want to give weed a try for the first time since it’s now legal, you might be unfamiliar with how marijuana dispensaries function.

This guide is designed to help people new to the concept of dispensaries and help them feel comfortable when purchasing marijuana-related products. We’re going to go through everything you need to know so you don’t feel uncomfortable as a customer, whether you are visiting a downtown Los Angeles marijuana dispensary or anywhere else.

General protocols and etiquette

Dispensaries are not some shady shops that sell weed under the counter. They are legitimate, tax-paying businesses with their way of doing things. This means that there are some rules that customers should know about before they visit the shop. Let’s take a look at the essential rules you should be aware of.

The Essentials:

First things first, you’ll need to have enough money on you, your ID, and any relevant paperwork that shows the shop workers you are legally allowed to purchase marijuana at a dispensary. If any of these are not on your person, you can’t expect them to sell you anything as this can put them in legal trouble and cause them to lose their jobs.

Bad manners:

Now, on to the things that are considered to be in poor taste. Snapping photos with your phone is usually not allowed as it conflicts with confidentiality measures most dispensaries take pride in. Using the products you buy in a dispensary is also not allowed as it is a shop but not a “coffee shop” if you get our drift. Take your stuff home and enjoy it in the privacy of your home. Last but not least, have at least a general idea what you want to get from your marijuana product – why are you using it, what consumption method seems most appealing to you, how many people you intend to share it with, all this kind of stuff so you can get what you need from the staff and not waste half their shift.

Good manners:

Finally, let’s talk about what the dispensary employees expect from experienced customers. They are more than ready to discuss what would work best for your particular needs and tastes. The chances are that a dispensary employee has tried almost every product they hold in stock, and they can tell you what’s what from personal experience. Furthermore, if they spend a lot of time helping you find what you need, make sure to tip them. This is not required, but they’ve spent a lot of time helping you, and through that, ensured that you have the best experience possible. It would be best if you give something back.

What choices will I need to make in a dispensary?

Well, dispensaries are very well equipped, and if you are not aware of this, entering this kind of shop can be overwhelming.

Most of them hold more than a dozen different cannabis strains, and each of them has its own particular blend of properties.

The next decision is the form of the plant you want to take home. Do you like raw buds you can use to smoke or make edibles from? Maybe you want edibles to begin with? Are vaping oils more up your alley? Maybe balms or tinctures? Even pre-rolled joints are an option if you don’t have experience with making your own.

Most dispensaries have an online shop or a website that outlines their offer, and if choosing the spot gives you anxiety, you can choose before you even get there. In the end, you should be aware that anything you get in a dispensary has gone through tests and trials. This means that everything you get is safe for consumption and hasn’t been tampered with to give it flavor or potency. With street stuff, you never know what you’re getting, who made it, where and how, and most importantly, was it treated with something that can harm your health.


Well, that’s about all you should know about dispensaries before you visit one. Being that dispensaries are now legal in many places, find the one nearest to you and browse for your cannabis. Remember to be respectful and try not to take away too much of the employees’ time by being indecisive. In many cases, people new to weed tend to go to a shop without their mind being properly made up, making them uncomfortable, and the dispensary workers annoyed. Make sure you want this before you go there, and you’ll do fine!