Buying Weed From a Dispensary in Washington
When one thinks of Washington, one generally thinks of the bustling, artsy streets of Seattle and the fish-scented Pike’s Place Market. Maybe even the Ferris Wheel and the Space Needle. The beautiful architecture, the interesting people, the greenery, and the statues . . . But, let’s be honest here, there’s certainly another type of greenery people think of when they think about Washington.
Yup. You guessed it.
While there are definitely laws and regulations in place (and enforced), Washington does have a pretty relaxed attitude toward marijuana.
Dispensaries are tucked in among other businesses, sitting there in plain sight. There are billboards for big dispensaries, and bumper stickers for others. Virtually every block and every area of Washington seems to be covered with little pot shops or dispensaries.
Washington Pot Shops
First things first -- recreational and medical marijuana may be legal in Washington, but there are still recreational marijuana laws in place that are strictly enforced. It’s a little piece of information, in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the most crucial piece of information you are going to need to know.
This also includes the laws about taking weed across the state lines. As great as bringing home a souvenir or present for someone sounds, it’s illegal. So, don’t do it.
Once you’ve brushed up on your Washington recreational marijuana laws, it’s time to start buying weed from a dispensary in Washington.
I’ve compiled this brief guide, full of tips and tricks to help you along your way when you’re buying weed from a dispensary in Washington for the first time.
Washington has had legal recreational and medical marijuana since 2012. With those laws in place, and with such a large selection of cannabis retailers open to the public, figuring out how to go about buying weed from a dispensary in Washington is actually much easier than it sounds.
This green state has always had some pretty liberal marijuana laws. If you’re looking for a new place to buy some weed, Washington is a great option.
This brief, yet comprehensive guide highlights the best ways to buy and enjoy recreational marijuana The Evergreen State.
Buying Weed in Washington
Step 01: Find a Local Dispensary
Note: You’ve got to be 21+ years of age, with a valid ID, before you can buy weed from a dispensary in Washington or any legal state.
Finding the dispensary or pot shop that best fits you takes a bit of time and research. But, you can start by checking out the dispensaries that are closest to you.
Leafly has an awesome store locator tool that gives you a view of all the pot shops nearby. The site also got details and reviews for each of the stores, so you can get a feel for what others think of them and what type of inventory they’ve got available.
Go on a weed adventure, and explore a few different dispensaries. Just like the way every person is different, every shop is going to be different. Each one has its own staff, branding, atmosphere, deals, inventory, and social engagement.
You may want to check out some of the user reviews to get a sense of what people liked or didn’t like about the dispensaries you looked at. You can also take my word for it, and subscribe to my Booklexia newsletter, where I share recommendations on strains, dispensaries, CBD, and other cannabis-related topics.
Once you’ve found the dispensary you want to buy from and are just absolutely in love with, it’s time to leave a review and follow it over on Leafly or Leafbuyer. Maybe you loved all the great recommendations your budtender made, enjoyed the overall ‘vibe’ of the place, or found a new favorite strain you know you just won’t be able to get enough of.
Whatever the case may be, share your experience!
Step 02: Learn Cannabis 101
Once you’ve honed in on the shop you want to check out, you’ve got a couple of different options.
They also don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
When buying weed from a dispensary in Washington for the first time, you can:
Go into the dispensary you’ve picked out, and just trust the budtender’s recommendations and advice.
Check out the dispensary menu, and pick out some products that sound like things you may like. Then, do some research on each one to discover whether or not they’d really be the best fit for your needs and preferences.
Now: You can pick just one option, or you can do both of those things. If you just go look at your dispensary selection’s menu, you may find yourself a bit intimidated by all the choices.
If you research the strains a bit, then you can offer your budtender more information to go on. This will help them suggest strains and products you’re the most likely to enjoy. This includes desired effects, preferences, THC tolerance, and your lifestyle preferences.
This is a great way to learn more about flower strains. We’ll save the dabs for another time.
Fortunately, there are answers to practically every conceivable question you may have about buying weed from a dispensary in Washington.
Here are some:
You can certainly bring up these topics and questions to the budtender at your new favorite dispensary, but shops get busy pretty quickly. You may feel rushed and overwhelmed as you try to listen what they’re saying and make a decision at the same time.
Get the basics of Cannabis 101 down, and you’ll have a much better experience during your first time buying weed from a dispensary in Washington.
Step 03: Decide On the Products
Okay, so now you’ve got some idea of where you will be buying your weed. You’ve taken the time to learn the basics of marijuana, such as indica or sativa.
Now, it’s time to figure out which products you’re going to picking up.
Flower → Do you want to smoke or vape?
Concentrates → Do you want to try taking dabs? What about one of those awesome cannabis vape pens?
Pre-Rolls → Want to smoke a joint, but don’t know how to roll?
Edibles → Want something discreet and delicious, with a longer high?
Other → From topicals to personal lubricants, what are you looking for?
With these questions in mind, it’s important to remember every strain and every product delivers a totally unique experience.
When it comes to your first few times buying weed from a dispensary in Washington, there is bound to be some confusion.
And that’s okay!
Mix and match with types of products, strains, and brands until you find the best choices for you.
What to Expect When Buying Weed From a Dispensary in Washington
Knowing how to navigate your way through buying weed from a dispensary in Washington is a lot easier with those above tips.
However, that doesn’t really give you a feel for what to expect after you’ve walked through those pot shop doors. Don’t worry, though; I gotchu.
Even though marijuana is legal in Washington, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to shake that “I’m doing something wrong!” feeling. That can really make it intimidating to step into the dispensary, ask questions, and buy some weed.
To make things a bit easier, I’ve included this next section that’s all about what to expect during your first trip buying weed from a dispensary in Washington.
Here are some tips to help take the mystery out of things:
Tip 01: You WILL Get Carded
Regardless of whether you’re buying recreational or medical marijuana, you’re going have to show your ID at the door. Some places also make you show your ID at the counter as well.
If you have a medical marijuana card you wish to use, make sure it’s valid and in your name. Expect to show that along with your ID when you get in - - and possibly again at purchase. If you have it out and ready as you walk up, you’ll make things easier and run more smoothly for everyone.
Tip 02: Look Up Products First
Buying weed from a dispensary in Washington is always going to be a million times easier if you do your homework first. Look up your local dispensaries and pot shops, and read some reviews before choosing one.
Take a look at the menu for that pot shop, and find names that sounds delicious or interesting. Decide if you want indica, hybrid, or sativa. Do you want flower or concentrates? Want some pre-rolls? Maybe you want to give edibles a shot?
Whichever products stand out to you, make a note of. Dig around online and check out what others have said about it. Is there any grower that seems to be getting a lot of love? Do your research, and find the best strains and products for you -- including budget, THC level, effects, and experience
It may seem like a bit much, or maybe even just tedious. However, all of this research and prep is going to seriously make a difference when you are buying weed from a dispensary in Washington.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about being that dude. You know, the one who shuffles in the door, and then stands at the counter with his mouth agape. There’s a line growing behind him, but he still takes his time and asks a bunch of questions.
Perhaps the biggest rule about buying weed from a dispensary in Washington? Don’t be that guy.
Tip 03: This Isn’t Fast-Food
Once you walk in and show your ID, you may have to wait a bit before there’s an available budtender to serve you.
In fact, many states require dispensaries only serve one person at a time, so waiting is fairly common. But, don’t be discouraged! This short wait provides a prime opportunity to look over the dispensary menu, check out whatever deals they have going on, and glance around to see all the neat products and glass pieces.
Tip 04: It’s Okay to Ask Questions!
In fact, it’s pretty much encouraged that you ask questions. This will help your budtender recommend the best strains or products to fit your budget, lifestyle, and preferences.
Whether you already knew what you wanted to get before coming through the doors, or you had no idea what you were doing, one of the absolute best ways to get acclimated is to ask the budtenders.
Ask them what strains they like, or what strains would best fit your needs. Need something to help anxiety? Ask. Let your budtender help you navigate your first trip buying weed from a dispensary in Washington.
If you want to know something, it’s totally okay to ask ! How else are you supposed to learn? There are no foolish questions and, believe you me, the budtenders have heard it all.
Tip 05: Bring Plenty of Cash
Marijuana isn’t always cheap. If it is, you may not like it.
Even though there are steadily more dispensaries and retail pot shops that are offering electronic payments for their purchases. However, most of the time you’re buying weed from a dispensary in Washington, you’ll find it’s a cash-only establishment.
Before you head out to the dispensary you’ve chosen, take a quick look at their website to check whether or not they accept electronic payments. If they don’t, check for an onsite ATM. If that’s also a no-go, be prepared with cash (and plenty of it). This will help your trip and first time buying weed from a dispensary in Washington to go smoothly.
Tip 06: Remember, There's No Pressure
Change your mind about buying that 95% THC, Ultra Orange concentrate? That’s understandable.
Did the budtender just rub you the wrong way? That’s okay.
There’s no pressure to buy anything, especially if it’s a cannabis product you’re not all that familiar with. After all, returns are illegal.
There may be some budtenders who don’t know much about the strains. It’s 100% okay to dismiss their recommendations. Tell them what you want, what you are looking for, and what your budget is. Then, if they recommend a product that isn’t something you’re interested in, it’s totally okay to say, “No, thank you.”
There’s no pressure to buy a single thing. Not even some rolling papers.
Tip 07: So, How Was It?
Once you’ve accomplished buying weed from a dispensary in Washington for the first time, take a moment to reflect on the level of customer service you received.
During your visit:
Did you feel out of place, or not very welcome?
Did you have a hard time being honest with your budtender?
Were they trying to push products on you?
How informed were they about the different products?
Answer these questions and more, so the dispensary you chose can receive feedback they can then use to improve. You can also check out the dispensary’s page on Leafly and leave an honest review.
All of that helps the dispensary improve their customer service skills, makes it possible for you to give credit to an exemplary budtender, and it provides future dispensary visitors with some insight into what they can expect - - along with what customers (like yourself) liked and disliked.
Who knows? You may be saving them money!
Closing the Book
It can definitely be pretty daunting when you're first buying weed from a dispensary in Washington. Fortunately, you just finished this handy guide to navigating your way through the cannabis world for the first time.
Do your homework on the dispensaries around you.
Check out their menus and see which products stand out to you the most.
Look up reviews, photos, and even videos about the product(s) and the dispensary you plan to buy them from.
Have a list with you, and jot down any questions you may have for the budtender.
Bring cash, as most places don't accept card.
Be prepared to show ID at the door, and possibly again when you get run up.
You may have to wait a bit.
You don't have to even buy anything. It's okay to change your mind.
These tips will all ensure your first experience buying weed from a dispensary in Washington is a good one, and that everything goes smoothly.