With a growing number of states legalizing recreational marijuana use, it’s easier than ever to get your hands on that sticky icky. Cannabis startups and well-established brands are all trying to get involved in this new age of pot in the U.S., which means dispensaries are popping up everywhere you look. A convenience that was once only reserved for medical marijuana card holders is now available to anyone over the age of 21 with a photo ID. From large chain shops and brand owned retail stores like Dosist, to independent dispensaries that grow their own bud, smokers have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to legally acquiring their cannabis products of choice. But don’t be fooled, not all dispensaries are created equal.
How many dispensaries are in the U.S.?
There are nearly 7,500 marijuana dispensaries across the country. This number will continue to rise as more states legalize and new players enter the weed game. Surprisingly, Oklahoma has the most dispensaries of any state and the highest number of dispensaries per capita (it’s also the fastest growing). Can you guess what city has the most dispensaries? It’s Missoula, Montana! The city has 18.1 licensed dispensaries for every 50,000 residents.
Visiting a cannabis dispensary for the first time
Maybe you’re visiting from a more conservative state or you’re just beginning to dip your toes into the world of marijuana, either way, visiting a dispensary is a simple and straightforward process. Here are our top tips so you’ll have a great first experience:
- Don’t forget your ID - Only adults 21 and older with a valid ID are allowed into any dispensary. That means you can’t bring along your children or your friend who forgot their wallet at home.
- Ask about new customer discounts and other deals - Most dispensaries will have some sort of discount for new customers such as 20% off your first purchase. It’s common for shops to also have one off holiday sales or weekly deals like buy one eighth and get the second for $1. Check their website in advance.
- Remember to consider the cannabis tax - Turning into a legal business means consumers have to pay additional taxes which can really add up. For example, the marijuana tax in California is 20% in addition to local and state sales taxes.
- Pay in cash if you can - It’s just easier since shops that do take cards have to use loopholes like charging it as a cash withdrawal or adding extra fees.
- Don’t be shy to ask questions - Budtenders are usually very knowledgeable about different cannabis strains and other products in the store like vapes and edibles. Feel free to ask for recommendations and their personal experiences so you spend your money on a product you love.
- Check out your goods once in the car or at home - There’s a reason dispensaries often tape up your bag. They don’t want you to open any products or smoke on or around the premises, so avoid any problems and inspect your goodies when you get home.
Have a Heart Skyway in Seattle, Washington
Travelers can make this highly acclaimed dispensary their first stop in town since it’s just a few minutes away from Sea-Tac Airport. With great prices and stellar customer service, it’s no wonder that Have a Heart has started to expand into other regions of Washington, Iowa, and California with more locations opening soon. Recreational and medical users appreciate their generous business hours, commitment to local social causes, and daily deals of up to 50% off select products like vape cartridges, pre-rolls, and flower. Smokers can learn about new brands and purchase products at a discount during the special vendor days.
Simply Pure in Denver, Colorado
It may not be the most extravagant and luxurious shop, but this Colorado dispensary is known for its high-quality bud and budget-friendly prices. Simply Pure started out selling homemade edibles for medical patients and now grows their own small batch organic flower, which won the 2018 Colorado Grow Off Competition. They also have a very popular line of CBD products including tinctures, topicals, and drinks as well as ongoing deals at the shop like $4.20 pre rolls during the daily happy hour.
Original Cannabis Cafe in West Hollywood, California
This trendy spot in WeHo has been all the rage since it’s officially the first of its kind in the United States. Part restaurant, part dispensary, the Original Cannabis Cafe is the only place in the country where it’s possible to order Peanut Butter Breath and carnitas tacos at the same time (vegan and keto options available of course). Diners are handed a ten page cannabis menu with dozens of pre-rolls, concentrates, flower, edibles, infused drinks, and accessories for rent (you can’t bring your own glassware). Smoking your own bud will cost you a $30 tokage fee. Both the food and cannabis menus are on the pricier side (I mean, it is in West Hollywood) so it’s a good choice for special occasions or just for the unique experience.
Pacific Gold Cannabis in Portland, Oregon
With two locations in the city, Pacific Gold Cannabis maintains a long list of loyal customers because of their knowledgeable budtenders and wide selection of quality goods. The friendly neighborhood shop is family owned and caters to every budget with some of the best prices in town. They even have their own homemade line of tinctures. If a more upscale experience is what you’re looking for, visit Serra in Downtown. Expect higher prices, luxury brands, and bud showcased in greenhouse boxes which accentuates the hipster vibe.
Barbary Coast in San Francisco, California
Often cited as the best dispensary in California, Barbary Coast takes prohibition-era chic to new heights. Complete with leather bar stools, exposed brick walls, and wood furnishings, Barbary Coast looks more like a trendy bar than a dispensary. The once medical cannabis shop reopened to the public after legalization, but still carries medicinal products like topicals and oils. Pick your poison at the main dispensary area before moving over to the dab bar and smoking lounge to indulge in your new purchases.
Whether it’s vaping, concentrates, CBD oil, or traditional flower, dispensaries have everything you need for your next smoke out. For cheap bongs, dab rigs, and other high-quality smoking accessories to go with your new bud, take a look at our online headshop.