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Understanding Marijuana Dispensary Basics
Dispensaries, also known as “cannabis stores,” “pot shops,” and “weed shops,” are small businesses that sell locally grown cannabis products. The different types of dispensaries that exist in the U.S. are recreational dispensaries, medical marijuana dispensaries, and CBD dispensaries (sometimes called CBD Stores). These dispensaries are licensed, highly regulated, and are only allowed to operate in states where marijuana has been legalized.
What to Know about Recreational Dispensaries
Recreational marijuana dispensaries, also known as “adult-use dispensaries,” are licensed retail dispensaries that serve recreational customers. In order to enter a recreational dispensary, states require you to be at least 21 years of age or older with a valid photo ID present, such as a driver's license. Recreational dispensary menus will vary by state, depending on the unique marijuana laws and regulations of each state. For example, some states only allow recreational dispensaries to sell cannabis flower. Some states may be allowed to offer a full spectrum menu ranging from edibles to tinctures and concentrates. States may also set strict purchase limits for the amount of recreational weed that can be bought at one time. It’s important to make yourself familiar with your state’s marijuana laws before you decide to visit a recreational dispensary.
What to Know about Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Medical marijuana dispensaries, sometimes called “medical cannabis dispensaries,” are licensed marijuana dispensaries that serve medical marijuana patients. Medical marijuana dispensaries are different from adult-use dispensaries because they require you to have a valid medical marijuana card in addition to a valid photo ID card. In some states where medical marijuana is legal, medical cannabis may be taxed at a lower rate than recreational cannabis. Medical cannabis patients may enjoy less restrictive purchase limits compared to recreational customers. If you’re thinking about visiting a medical dispensary, make sure you have a medical marijuana card.
What to Know about CBD Dispensaries
CBD dispensaries, also known as “CBD stores,” are a type of marijuana dispensary that only sells CBD products. Some states allow adults 18 years old or over to enter CBD dispensaries. Dispensaries that only sell CBD have less restrictions than medical or recreational dispensaries because the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) is non-intoxicating.
Marijuana Dispensary Information
Visiting a dispensary can be a fun and exciting experience. Much like other local businesses, every dispensary has their own operating procedures, offerings, and perks. Before you head out on your cannabis adventure, make yourself familiar with your options and what to look for.
- Dispensary Hours
Most dispensaries have regular business hours, but some also offer special hours such as early morning or late in the evening. You may find dispensary hours in some states have stricter rules than in others and may only be allowed to operate under strict conditions. For example, not every state is allowed to have dispensaries open 24/7, but some states can. In most states, you can usually count on dispensaries being open during most holidays and special events. You can check your local dispensary hours at any time on Leafly.com.
- Dispensary Menus
When you visit a dispensary, you’ll order from a menu. You can view dispensary menus online using the Leafly app, or you can read the in-store menu after you arrive. The size and diversity of dispensary menus varies based on many external factors, such as the marijuana laws of the particular state and the cannabis resources available in the area to create cannabis products. Common dispensary menu items include cannabis flower, pre-rolls, vapes, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and topicals.
- Dispensary Deals
Dispensaries often offer special discounts or deals on weed. Sometimes these deals are targeted at new customers, while other deals reward current customers for ongoing loyalty. Additionally, dispensaries will sometimes offer deals like BOGOs to help move inventory quicker, or to help promote a new grower or brand. Common dispensary deals include first-time customer discounts, early bird specials, loyalty rewards, percent off deals, veteran discounts, and more. You can see what dispensary deals are available near you at any time using the Leafly app.
Dispensary Terminology 101
"Dispensary" is a broad umbrella term generally used to describe a licensed establishment where you can purchase legal cannabis. However, many cannabis consumers talk about dispensaries differently depending on their location. For example, the following terms are widely used in specific regions to describe dispensaries:
"Cannabis store" and "cannabis stores" are most commonly used in coastal states like Washington and Maine.
A "marijuana shop" or "marijuana shops" are most frequently used in western states like Montana and Colorado.
"Weed dispensary" or "weed dispensaries" are often used in the southwest in states like Nevada and New Mexico.
"Cannabis dispensary" and "cannabis dispensaries" are commonly used in Massachusetts.
"Pot Shop" and "Pot Shops" are most frequently used in Alaska.
States that have recreational dispensaries
The following states allow recreational dispensaries:
States that have medical dispensaries
Frequently asked questions
There is not an official limit on the amount of dispensaries you can visit in one day. However, the total amount of cannabis that can be bought collectively cannot exceed the legal limit set by the state you’re buying in.