If you’ve just gotten your hands on a medical marijuana card, the idea of going to a dispensary can be a bit daunting. What do they look like? How do you act? Are the cops going to bust in? Don’t worry. Your first visit to a dispensary should be no more stressful than a trip to the grocery store. If anything, it should be better! (You’re buying weed, after all.) To help ease your anxiety about trips to Missouri’s pot shops, we’re walking you through what to do on your first visit to a dispensary.  

First, Who Can Visit a Dispensary?

It’s essential to establish that not every person can walk into an MO dispensary and just purchase some bud. If you’re 21 years or older, you’re welcome to visit dispensaries to buy adult-use cannabis and cannabis products. 

Medical patients are also welcome at dispensaries, of course. You do not have to be 21+ to be an MMJ cardholder, but make sure you have your ID and MMJ card on you to make the process smooth, easy, and lawful. 

Any person who isn’t 21 and doesn’t have a Missouri medical marijuana card cannot visit or shop from a dispensary. So, consider yourself lucky!

What You Can Expect On Your First Visit to a Dispensary

If you’ve never been to a dispensary before, your mind can go a bit wild imagining what the shop or the experience is like. Here’s everything you can expect from a typical Missouri dispensary. 

The Atmosphere

Of course, the atmosphere of each dispensary will be different depending on the store. Likely, your local dispensary isn’t going to be large; instead, dispensaries are usually quaint shops that do their best to feel cozy and welcoming. Products will be on display for you to see, likely organized by consumption method. 

If you’re visiting a quality dispensary, the atmosphere will be friendly and eager to help you out. Dispensary owners understand that not every person is comfortable with the idea of purchasing cannabis at a store. That’s why many do their best to ensure you feel safe and welcome, whether it is your first visit to a dispensary or your hundredth. 

The Budtenders

When purchasing medical cannabis, you will buy your products through someone called a budtender— creative, we know. This budtender’s job is to help you find the perfect cannabis product depending on your medical needs, comfortability level, tolerance, experience, and budget. 

Because you cannot handle products yourself at dispensaries, your budtender is in charge of selecting them. Some dispensaries allow you to examine the products up close if you want to see the details, while others just allow you to look without touching. Likely, your budtender will pick out a few different products depending on what you were looking for and help you pick from there. 

If you ever have questions or just need more clarification surrounding medical marijuana, your budtenders are there to help. Don’t ever feel shy or strange inquiring about products— that’s why they’re there! Budtenders understand the Twilight Zone factor that dispensaries can have to first-time patients; so, take your time and find out everything you need to know.

The Products

As we mentioned above, you won’t pick and choose items off dispensary shelves yourself. Due to the legality factors of it all, the products will be located in a separate, closed-off area that only budtenders have access to. However, these products will still be readily visible, usually situated just in a clear glass case. This will vary for every shop, though. 

An excellent way to get familiar with a dispensary’s products before even stepping foot inside is by looking up their menu online. Most dispensaries have their inventories listed so customers can see what they have to offer. After all, every shop has a different product selection. You can keep a few products or brands in mind and then ask your budtender about them as soon as you show up. This can save you time and even a little bit of stress, too. 

Walking You Through Your First MO Dispensary Visit

When You Arrive

Now that you have a roundabout idea of what to expect from a Missouri medical dispensary, let’s walk you through what your first visit to a dispensary might look like. Keep in mind that COVID precautions are likely in place, so shops will have limited capacity and require face masks. 

When you show up, there’s a good chance you will see a security guard sitting outside. This is both to ensure that only qualified people enter as well as to keep the building and all patrons safe. Don’t be alarmed! With something like medical cannabis, this is just a smart precaution that most dispensaries take. 

After entering, if you’re going to a medical-only dispensary, you will have to provide your MMJ card to a front desk worker and wait in a waiting room. Medical dispensary waiting rooms look a lot like regular medical waiting rooms; only, you’ll see advertisements for strains, products, and potentially even a menu to help you get familiar with what they provide. Once they’ve processed your card and have an available budtender, you will get called back to the sales floor. 

Man using tongs to pick marijuana buds out of a jar at a medical cannabis dispensary.
Budtender Serving at a Dispensary

The Sales Floor

Most dispensaries in states that have gone from medical to recreational cannabis don’t have those medical dispensaries anymore. These shops welcome both medical and non-medical patients by merely checking your ID and/or medical card once getting called up to a budtender. There likely won’t be any waiting room in these medical-turned-recreational shops. Instead, you just walk in and start looking just like any other store.

As soon as you’ve been called over to be helped by a budtender, you can start shopping. This is when you’ll let the employee know what you’re looking for, how much you want to spend, what kind of effects you’re hoping to experience— whatever comes to mind. From there, the budtender will pick out potential products, and you can purchase whichever ones appeal to you most. 

Most dispensaries operate cash-only because of federal legalities, so be prepared to have some cash on you. If you don’t, most shops have ATMs for you to use. 

Finally, you’ll make a purchase, and the budtender will bag and seal your products up for you. Do not open this bag until you are safe at home. Open cannabis containers in the vehicle are grounds for legal fines. But, once you’re home, you’re free to enjoy your medical cannabis and rejoice in the fact that Missouri dispensary visits are simply a walk in the park. 

Get an MMJ Card and Start Shopping

See, we told you that dispensaries weren’t all that intimidating. Here at Elevate Holistics, we strive to make every aspect of medical marijuana and MMJ card-holdership as smooth-sailing as possible. So, schedule a telehealth visit through our site today and make your first visit to a dispensary easy, comfortable, and oh-so rewarding.