After you’ve gone through the process of actually getting your medical marijuana card, it’s time to start shopping for your cannabis products. But, if you’ve never been to a dispensary before, feeling comfortable and confident can be a bit of a challenge. After all, so many of us have seen the evolution of cannabis go from demonized to widely accepted. Thus, this shift in attitude can be a bit jolting. Thankfully, feeling comfortable at your local dispensary is a whole lot easier than you might think.

Two people examining cannabis plant
Embracing Diversity at Your Local Dispensary

The Stigmas of a Medical Dispensary

Before we talk about feeling confident at your local dispensary, let’s discuss why so many of us still fight against the decades-old stigma about medical cannabis.

Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the cannabis plant family thrived. People from all corners of the globe found use and benefit in this plant family, discovering both the psychoactive and medicinal properties. Quickly, society normalized cannabis use of this kind, and growing hemp helped civilizations flourish. Unfortunately, most of this changed around 1910.

During this time, Mexican citizens underwent severe persecution and violence during the Mexican Revolution. By the time the revolution ended in 1920, many Mexican immigrants had traveled across the border to seek refuge from their war-torn country. With them, many immigrants brought cannabis. But, not just cannabis for spiritual or medicinal purposes: they enjoyed cannabis for fun. 

Thus, the idea of recreational marijuana spread across the US. While some Americans supported and embraced this, most did not. Soon, high-profile American figures crafted racially-driven rumors to slow down—or even stop altogether—the use of cannabis in the US. The country coined “Marihuana” a hazardous substance and one that the US blamed almost wholly on POC. The concept of Reefer Madness started spreading and, before the country knew it, the US government criminalized the plant, and minorities were to blame. 

This was how the idea of cannabis was perceived in the US for decades.

Shifting Perspectives

Finally, the country began seeing some changes in cannabis regulation in the 80s and 90s. During this time, scientists started looking deeper into the plants themselves, learning more about their properties and how they work in the body. Finally, states like California, Oregon, and Washington began recognizing these plants’ potential. This change did help stem some erasure of the demonized, racist stigmas that the country had placed there initially. Unfortunately, it is still alive and well in some parts of the country.

Today, both medical and recreational cannabis use is much more widely accepted across the country, but those harmful stigmas are still present. For many, this is why walking into a dispensary and purchasing weed isn’t a super comfortable thing. For POC primarily, white-run dispensaries will not always act as a welcoming place for purchase because of the deeply rooted racist ties the cannabis industry holds. (In fact, nearly 80% of dispensaries in the US are white-owned and operated.)

That being said, it’s not surprising to know that people feel overwhelmed, intimidated, and often scammed by dispensaries and their prices. That’s precisely why diversity in local dispensaries is so integral in this industry.

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Cannabis Industry

As we mentioned above, diversity within the dispensary sphere seriously lacks in the United States. With so many dispensaries across the country employing almost exclusively young white Americans, this leaves out huge population groups from feeling welcomed or comfortable at their local dispensary. 

Thankfully, various organizations and civil rights groups are fighting tirelessly to ensure the inclusion of POC within the cannabis industry. Sadly, it is a slow and arduous battle, especially seeing as though law enforcement is still disproportionally jailing Black men for cannabis crimes. 

Diversity in cannabis dispensaries not only helps others feel comfortable, but it helps break down the barriers that have existed in this industry for far too long. Again, this isn’t an end-all-be-all solution. However, it’s one step we can take to help move on from the cannabis plants’ tumultuous past. Make sure to take the time to see if you have any minority or LGBTQ-owned dispensaries in your area. Then, support them at any chance you can and spread the word!

How to Feel Comfortable at a Dispensary Near Me

In general, it can take time to feel comfortable at your local dispensary. That’s why it is vital to select a shop that aligns itself with your values and beliefs. We promise that this is easier to find out than you may think! 

While there, try reminding yourself that, no matter how it feels, what you’re doing is 100% legal. (As long as you have the proper identification.) Budtenders are there to help you! A good employee will not make you feel dumb or lesser for asking a few questions. After all, cannabis is confusing! If you come across something you haven’t heard of, let them know, and they’ll explain. 

An excellent way to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed or even taken advantage of at a dispensary is to check out their online menu before heading over. This will give you a good inside look into what the shop offers, their price points, and any products you want to try. This way, you can walk in feeling prepared and confident. 

Why Elevate Wants to Diversify the Dispensary Experience

With the cannabis industry exploding more and more each day, it’s becoming more apparent how crucial it is for us to welcome diversity into the dispensary experience. Here at Elevate, we have customers from all walks of life, with ages ranging across the board. No matter who you are, we want to make sure you feel comfortable, confident, and excited when walking into your favorite local dispensary.

In case you’re feeling a little intimidated about the medical marijuana card process, Elevate can help you out here, too. We specialize in telehealth MMJ appointments, allowing you to meet with a doctor from the safety and comfort of your home. They will walk you through every step of the process, answering any questions you may have. With us, learning about medical marijuana, getting your card, and even going shopping has never been so easy. 

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