Sheriffs from some other states are miffed about Colorado’s law, and not just because they’re jealous of the tax revenue. (Colorado’s weed regulation has been so successful that taxes it has raised have proved to be a boon for state services.)
You don’t need to know exactly what you want.
After your I.D. passes muster, you’ll be shown to the sales floor, where a clerk stands behind a glass case full of the dispensary’s products. Staff members may handle the product, but you can’t.
There may also be a binder or a menu that explains the various strains and blends. They tend to have names reminiscent of racehorses—Dairy Queen, Cheesequake, Kandy Apple, Gorilla Glue, Ghost Train Haze, and that old stoner’s standby, Sour Diesel.
Some businesses, particularly in cities, have special permits allowing designated areas for pot smoking, but don’t dare try bringing a stash onto federal lands. Those include military bases and national parks, so don’t attempt a Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain high unless you want to be convicted of a federal crime, which leaves a mark on your background that can affect your life for years.
But the best strategy would be to avoid breaking the law in the first place.
Be careful if you smoke in a hotel.
Every day for the past six years, hundreds of people walk into a legal cannabis dispensary for the first time. Maybe one opens up down the block, or you drive across town, even over to a neighboring state to see it for yourself. It’s one of the few places you can go right now, since they’ve been deemed essential businesses. Dispensaries have adapted to the COVID-19 retail era with increased delivery services, curbside pick-up, and limits on capacity to maintain safe distances, with many stores are doing more business than usual as people stock up to stay home. The one thing that all first-time customers have in common, regardless of the extent one has enjoyed cannabis prior to this moment, is a shared sense of unfamiliarity. This isn’t like walking into a liquor store at 21, but it also won’t be anything like exchanging $20 for a ziplock on your former dealer’s couch. It’s a completely new kind of experience, and despite how recent its debut, one that has already developed its own standard customs and etiquette.
If you happen to be someone seeking strong effects, don’t get distracted by THC percentages. Without proper storage, 30% THC flower harvested over six months ago will be a weaker smoke than freshly cured and properly maintained flower that happened to test at 18%. The reality is that a single plant contains buds with varying amounts of THC across each branch, and only a handful of random buds determine test results for a whole batch of product. Current testing can somewhat ensure safe product, but it does not accurately assess potency. It’s more effective to ask budtenders about the cultivators behind each strain, and if you can smell before you buy, a rich, complex fragrance is a fundamental indicator of good weed. If you still just want the strongest products on the menu… Just ask the budtenders what they’ve been smoking over the past month.
"The more fluent you are in the language of dispensaries, the more likely you are to get great service and leave with something that delivers the effects you seek."
The other part of the preparations is your mindset. You don’t need to educate yourself in cannabis science in order to shop for weed, but coming in with a clear idea or ideas of what you’re looking for will make a huge difference. Check in with yourself and how you’d like to feel. Do you want to feel happy? Do you want clear-headed focus? Relief for a specific symptom? Something to accompany a particular activity? These kinds of parameters will help you and your budtender navigate the shelves successfully.
Time to bust out that ID. And you have to do that every single time, even regulars. It’s good to keep in mind that state regulations like this one give a clunky flow to every process.
Updated on 4/6/2021 at 5:22 PM
Some California dispensaries only serve medical clients with local addresses, but retail dispensaries are open to the public. Use PotGuide or Weedmaps to locate a facility and call ahead or check the website of the business to verify that it is open to public sales.
Familiarizing yourself with the main varieties helps you know what to buy. Sativa (for cerebrally focused effects), indica (body-focused effects), and a hybrid of the two are the three main schools.
So normal there are even companies, such as West Coast Cannabis Tours, that combine dispensary shopping trips with activities such as yoga, painting, and beer tasting.
Be careful if you smoke in a hotel.
Don’t display your purchase or use it in public unless you want to risk a citation—although Californians are a laid-back folk and you will often catch whiffs of people breaking the letter of the law. Some locals might argue that the rules are theoretical and that officers ignore pot use all the time, but the fact is that you can be penalized.