Nervous about your first visit to a cannabis dispensary? Don’t be. It’s this easy.

It’s O.K. to be nervous if you’ve never been to a cannabis dispensary before and you’re contemplating your first visit.

But also know this: Once you’re inside your local shop — checking out their selection of cannabis flower and chatting up the friendly budtender about his or her favorite brand of edibles — you’ll soon realize that your nerves were unnecessary.


Shopping for cannabis is still shopping. You know how to do this, and we’re here to make you comfortable throughout the entire process.

The triumphant passage of Proposition 64 in California has helped diminish the decades-old taboo surrounding cannabis. Now we’re riding a new and diverse wave of societal interest in this noteworthy plant.

That a majority of California voters believe adults should be able to legally consume marijuana the same way they do a glass of wine has created quite the national buzz. From the studious college coed
seeking a way to cope with anxiety to the successful middle-aged working mother and the retired boomer who are revisiting marijuana after decades without, the allure of cannabis is more alive now than ever before.

So if you, too, are curious about cannabis but have no idea where to begin, we’ve outlined a few simple steps that will help you prepare for your first trip to a dispensary. So here it is: Your cheat sheet to having the most stress-free experience on your first cannabis dispensary visit.

Step 1. Secure a medical cannabis recommendation

Yes, adult-use cannabis is legal in California, but those sales have yet to begin. California cannabis dispensaries currently only sell marijuana to those with a medical recommendation from a doctor. For some this might seem like an intimidating step, but what if I told you there were several ways to do this from the comfort of your own home?


We’ve gone through the motions at three of our most trusted websites and listed the easiest steps to help you get your MMJ (medical marijuana) recommendation online today. So give that story a quick read and you’ll see that it’s quite simple to secure your medical recommendation — from your living room, no less.

Step 2. Find a dispensary near you

Now that you’ve secured an MMJ recommendation you’ll want to get shopping, but with so many dispensaries opening all the time it can feel overwhelming to find the best fit for you. A few good places to start: Weedmaps and Leafly use your location to provide you with a list of nearby dispensaries. Some of the most helpful features on these platforms are the customer reviews and the dispensary menus. Check out the dispensary menu before making your visit and save yourself a trip, in case that particular location doesn’t have the products you’re looking for. Check out the reviews, too, to make sure you know what to expect before even entering the dispensary.


Bonus points: Enter your zip code on our website to find out what dispensaries or delivery services near you carry Bloom Farms products. (I’d recommend the easy-to-use Highlighter vapor pen loaded with a Single-Origin Reserve cartridge. It’s ready to use right out of the box!)

Step 3. Allow enough time for registration

Even with an MMJ recommendation or card you must still register to become a member of the dispensary before you can make your cannabis selections. This process is painless, but it becomes even more of a breeze for both you and the dispensary staff when you’ve come prepared. Most dispensaries require that patients provide a valid license or identification as well as a copy of your paper recommendation or medical card.


Make sure to allow up to 15 minutes for the registration process. The last thing you want is to feel rushed. This wait time is another great opportunity to peek at the dispensary’s online menu.

Have enough cash?

After registering, it would be a shame to be turned away at checkout for lack of funds. While many dispensaries now offer cashless ATM systems, many remain cash-only.


So hit the ATM beforehand and be prepared.

The Apothecarium, San Francisco

Don’t feel pressured, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

You’ve made it this far! You’ve had your appointment with a medical doctor, passed through security and now here you are, in a medical marijuana dispensary for your very first time.


It’s very likely that even after reviewing the dispensary’s online menu you are still unsure what products are right for you. The good news: It is a budtender’s job to help you find the cannabis you desire. So remember to think of the budtender as a concierge or sommelier — so ask lots of questions. (Don’t worry, they’re used to it — and they generally like to help new folks out.)


So ask to smell a couple different jars of cannabis flower, or buds. Tell the budtender about any medical conditions you’re hoping to alleviate, as they might be able to help you with the right strain or product. Ask the budtender about proper doses, especially when purchasing edibles and concentrates, which are cannabis extracts.


As they say, there are no stupid questions. So have at it, and hopefully your first dispensary experience — and the sesh that follows — is a positive one.

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