How to Find the Best Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Three Parts:Assuring Your Basic Needs are MetFinding a Safe and Supportive AtmosphereLooking for High Quality Marijuana

Medical marijuana, or medical cannabis, is an alternative medicine for various medical conditions. It can be eaten like an ordinary food or in capsule form, smoked, or vaporized. Medical marijuana is sold at outlets called dispensaries. If you are a medical marijuana patient, you want to make sure you find a dispensary that meets your needs. Not all dispensaries are created equal, and you want to go somewhere with a warm and supportive environment. Visit a variety of dispensaries and ask the staff and doctors questions. Find a dispensary that seems professional, supportive, and works with the local community to raise awareness of the benefits of medicinal marijuana.

Part 1
Assuring Your Basic Needs are Met

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    Look for dispensaries near you. If you live in an area where medical marijuana is legal, there should be a variety of dispensaries that are conveniently close to you. You can use a variety of online services, like WeedMaps, Potlocater, and THC List, to find dispensaries near you. With luck, you should find several in your area. The best way to gauge whether a dispensary is a good fit for you is to visit a variety and see how if they feel safe and comfortable.[1]
    • In the event there are not any dispensaries close to you, you may have to travel a bit to find one. This can be inconvenient, but keep in mind it's worth taking a day to travel to find the best place to get your medicine.
    • Even if a dispensary is a significant distance from you, many dispensaries offer delivery services.
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    Make sure dispensaries are following legal protocol. You do not want to go to a dispensary that is at risk of getting shut down due to illegal operations. When you get to a dispensary, they should ask for a photo ID and also check for verification that you are a legitimate medical marijuana patient. A dispensary that simply lets you walk in without any kind of identification is probably not following legal protocol. It may be best to take your business elsewhere. An illegal dispensary can get shut down at any time, leaving you without access to your medicine.[2]
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    Check privacy and patient rights policies. It's vital you review a dispensary's privacy policies, as well as its policies regarding patient rights. You want to make sure your information will be kept securely at the dispensary you choose. You can usually review a dispensary's website to find information regarding privacy and patient policies, but you can also ask for a copy of these policies when visiting a dispensary.[3]
    • There should be a policy that states clearly your information will not be shared with outside parties without your consent.
    • When visiting a dispensary, you want to make sure your privacy rights are stated up front when you see a doctor or purchase a product.
    • A dispensary should operate like any other health organization. It's privacy and patient rights policy should be as extensive as those found in a hospital or a pharmacy.
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    Make sure the staff and the onsite doctor are knowledgeable. When you go to a dispensary, you should first make a visit to the staff doctor. Staff doctors at dispensaries may give out medicinal marijuana cards or provide information to patients regarding different strains of marijuana. You want a knowledgeable doctor who conducts him or herself in a professional manner. You should also make sure the a dispensaries staff members are well-informed as well.[4]
    • The doctor working at the dispensary should be a physician (MD), a naturopathic doctor (ND), a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (DTCM), or a nurse practitioner. These are medical professionals authorized to hand out medical marijuana cards. Talking to a doctor who prescribes medical marijuana should be just like talking to your regular physician.
    • The atmosphere of a dispensary should be similar to that of a pharmacy or hospital. If you have any questions for the staff, they should be able to answer them professionally. A dispensary with a doctor or staff members that seem to lack knowledge of the science behind medicinal marijuana is a bad sign. You want a dispensary where all your questions can be answered easily.

Part 2
Finding a Safe and Supportive Atmosphere

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    Find a dispensary that's involved with the community. A good dispensary will be invested in raising community awareness of the benefits of medicinal marijuana. An involved dispensary is more likely to have staff and doctors who genuinely care about their patients' well-being.[5]
    • Ask the staff about how the dispensary is involved with the local community. Do they do any community outreach or education programs? Do they ever work in conjunction with local hospitals?
    • A dispensary should also be willing to advocate for patients. Ask the dispensary if their staff and doctors would come to your aid if your status as a medicinal marijuana patient were to be questioned. A solid dispensary should be filled with passionate people committed to making sure patient needs are met and that people are assured access to their medication.[6]
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    Visit dispensaries to make sure there's a professional atmosphere. A dispensary should be professional. You do not want to work with staff and doctors who do not value professionalism when it comes to providing medicinal marijuana.[7]
    • The dispensary should want to make sure they do not violate any laws or interfere with the community. There should be signs that forbid smoking on site. If the dispensary is near a school or anywhere that children congregate, you should see warnings against using medicinal marijuana close to young children.
    • The dispensary should not feel like a liquor store or a head shop. It should feel on par with a hospital or pharmacy. Strains of marijuana should come with instructions on what type of ailments they treat.
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    Strive for a supportive environment. You want to feel welcome at your dispensary. Many dispensaries have a harsh atmosphere. They may be located in a bad part of town, and have heavy security and unfriendly staff. You want to feel 100% safe and comfortable walking into a dispensary.[8]
    • The staff should be warm and welcoming. They should encourage you to ask questions if you have them, and the layout of the dispensary should be easy to navigate.
    • Many dispensaries offer smoke-free lounges where you can look over your medication options before making a decision. Ideally, a dispensary should provide reading material for patients regarding the types of products they sell.
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    Watch for warning signs of a bad dispensary. There are a couple of things you should watch out for when it comes to dispensaries.[9]
    • Pay attention to how a dispensary advertises itself. There should not be gaudy signs with a lot of colors and other loud advertisements. A dispensary should advertise itself as a hospital or pharmacy and not a place for entertainment.
    • People should not be smoking inside a dispensary. A professional dispensary generally does not allow smoking inside.
    • Heavy security may indicate a dispensary is in an unsafe part of town, or that they deal with unprofessional dealers.
    • A dispensary should have consistent hours of operation. You do not want to rely on a dispensary with unpredictable hours.

Part 3
Looking for High Quality Marijuana

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    Make sure the dispensary provides adequate upkeep of its products. You should ask at the dispensary what means are used to assure a high-quality product. You should be able to tell, by reading dispensary policies online or at the store, how they assure quality.[10]
    • For instance, the dispensary should follow a series of food safety protocols regarding its edibles. They should assure patients that edibles are made in a clean environment, on par with a professional kitchen.
    • The dispensary should double check any products not grown onsite. Products should be checked for signs of age, mold, or any other potential contaminants.
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    Check to see if a dispensary has the products you need. There are a vast number of strains of medical marijuana available. If you're a new patient, you may not know what you need yet. Find a dispensary that has a great variety of strains of marijuana, as well as edibles and balms. Check to make sure the dispensary sells those strains, balms, or edible options.[11]
    • Ideally, a dispensary should sell indicas, sativas, and hybrid blends of marijuana.
    • A dispensary should also offer alternative means of consuming marijuana, as not everyone takes to smoking. Edibles, balms, tinctures, and inhalants may also be offered.
    • You can usually check on a dispensary's website to see what they carry. You can also browse the selections when visiting the dispensary.
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    Read reviews online or test products on your own. The best means to tell if you like a dispensary's product is to test them out yourself. Buying a few strains from each dispensary can get expensive, however, but some dispensaries may offer free samples if you ask. If you cannot afford to try out the marijuana yourself, try reading reviews.[12]
    • Yelp, Leafly, and Weedmaps provide user reviews of dispensaries. People may make notes here about the quality of the product.
    • If you know any other medicinal marijuana patients, try asking them for advice about the quality at a variety of dispensaries.
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    Ask how the medicine is prepared. A good dispensary will know where its products come from. Staff members at the dispensary should be able to answer any and all questions you have about where and how the marijuana was grown. They should have an open and working relationship with their growers. Be wary of a dispensary that dodges questions about their product's origin, as this may be a sign the medicine is potentially unsafe.[13][14]
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    Consider your price range. If price is an issue, there are many online tools you can use to find the cheapest strains of medical marijuana. The site Wikileaf allows you to put in a specific price range and search for dispensaries in your area that offer that range. Keep in mind, however, not all dispensaries will have their prices listed online.[15]
    • The average price is around $15 per gram. Anything more expensive than this may not be worth the money.[16]


  • Make sure to understand the state law and even the federal law before you try to use this alternative medicine. In most states with medical marijuana laws in place, you need a doctor's authorization to use marijuana legally. Make sure you review your state's guidelines before attempting to purchase marijuana at a dispensary.

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Categories: Alternative Health