first time dispensary visit

Going to a Dispensary for The First Time: How to Make the Most

If you’ve never visited a dispensary before, it can be quite intimidating going to a dispensary for the first time. You may not know the dispensary rules and what sort of behavior is expected. You might feel like you’re doing something wrong even though what you are doing is totally legal.

For instance, if you visit a Los Angeles marijuana dispensary, you may be wondering “How do dispensaries work in California?” or “is there a certain way I am supposed to act here?”

How do dispensaries work in California? Even if you know the Cannabis Law Regulations in California, it is a good idea to follow the steps below to make sure that you fit in and don’t make a fool of yourself.

Come Prepared With ID

You will need to provide an ID to prove that you are allowed to buy marijuana. Though cannabis is legal in Los Angeles and the whole of California, you will still need to show that you are of legal age. This is one of the dispensary requirements that will be in place no matter where you go.

Respect the Store’s Security Measures

In recent years, stores have become more conscious about security measures involving health, and also just making sure that people don’t steal their cannabis products. Marijuana, and the derived and related products, tend to be pretty expensive, and there is a market to shift them even if they are stolen, so stores need certain security measures. For instance, a store may not want you to wear a helmet while you are visiting. Dispensary rules are totally fair, especially when you consider some of the events of recent years.

Understand How Much Cannabis You Can Legally Purchase

dispensary rulesThe cannabis laws in the state explain that you can “possess, transport, process, purchase, obtain, or give away, without any compensation whatsoever, no more than one ounce of dry cannabis or eight grams concentrated cannabis”

Remember this applies to people 21 and over. It’s good etiquette to know how much marijuana you’re allowed to have so you don’t have the awkward problem of asking for more than the dispenser is legally allowed to sell you.

Come Prepared With Cash

One of the issues with marijuana dispensaries and the fact that there are so many different rules and cannabis regulations depending on where you live in the US is the fact that federally regulated banks often refuse to deal with cannabis businesses. This means that even though dispensaries operate completely legally, they may be forced to deal in cash. Make sure you’ve got enough to cover anything you want to buy.

Be Ready to Talk About Cannabis

If you want to know the best things to get at a dispensary then it is vital that you’re prepared to have a chat. Dispensary employees tend to be really good at having these discussions and recommending cannabis products based on your own needs and what sort of marijuana effects you’re looking for. Even if it is your first time going to a dispensary, don’t be afraid to chat and ask for help.

A lot of dispensaries have really good communities, and people are passionate about the products that are sold, so being able to chat about it is a great thing to ensure you enjoy your marijuana experience to the maximum.

Don’t Take a Photo Without Asking

Dispensaries are competitive businesses, and they might not want you to take a picture of the things that are on display. They would often rather you didn’t take pictures. Often, rival dispensaries will want to see displays and marketing materials to see what is working, and even if you can sneak a photo, they might not appreciate you doing so.

Look But Don’t Touch

There are a lot of reasons why cannabis dispensaries don’t want you to touch the products, including hygiene. Would you want to buy marijuana that has been touched by someone else beforehand? There is a reason why dispensaries have such strong hygiene practices and are not willing to let you touch the product, you simply don’t need to.

Dispensaries understand that you might want to look at the products before you buy. They usually won’t take this as criticism, and if you ask, they will usually be happy to show you. Looking at marijuana could be as simple as wanting to see what the buds look like. Is the Purple Haze strain really as purple as the pictures you’ve seen?


If you’ve been wanting to visit a Los Angeles marijuana dispensary, but you’ve been putting it off because you simply don’t know the dispensary etiquette, following the steps above will help you to make those early steps. It’s likely that the employees will be more than happy to help out, and are happy to chat about marijuana, and your experiences.

As long as you have the relevant ID and you are willing to stick to dispensary rules and regulations then you don’t have too much to worry about. Cannabis is totally legal in California and adults can enjoy dispensaries as long as they stick to the state’s laws, such as only smoking in designated public areas and in the privacy of your home. Marijuana is not unregulated, but it is flexible and totally allowed under the law of the state.

Written By

Ian Baker

Ian Baker does content and customer communications with Happy Leaf Collective through the website and blog. With 5 years of total experience working in cannabis niche, 3 were spent as a budtender in Arizona. 2 years ago, following his passion of writing and educating, Ian made the move into content and communications.