How to Prepare for Your First Massachusetts Dispensary Visit
So, you’ve seen the buzz about cannabis online, you hear your friends are using it regularly, you’ve researched all the benefits and risks, even your favorite Celtics player is getting into it, and you’ve finally decided: I’m going to do it. I’m going to visit that dispensary near me and I’m going to buy myself some cannabis.
But then, you realize you have no idea what it will be like. What do you need to do to prepare for your first dispensary visit? Will it be like the liquor store? Or more like airport security? What can you expect? What should you bring with you?
First, take a breath. Your worries are valid! The cannabis industry may be booming, but it’s still new, and each state has different rules and regulations for purchasing products. That’s why we’re walking you through everything you need to know about preparing for your first Massachusetts dispensary visit. 1. Chronic Pain is the Largest Marijuana Use Case
A 2017 survey published in the Journal of Health Affairs found that 84.6 percent of respondents with a qualifying condition to consume medical marijuana found symptomatic relief for “evidence-based conditions.” Chronic pain stood at the top of the list, with 62.2 percent of people using marijuana for chronic pain.
Before You Go
Due to the legal status of cannabis, there are many restrictions around its purchase, including age limits, possession limits, and more. To comply with all these laws, dispensaries have to be careful about who they let in, what they buy, and how they buy it.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bring a valid government-issued ID.
Whether you’re exploring cannabis for the first time for Adult Use or Medical Use, you will need to present a valid government-issued ID at the dispensary. This includes a driver’s license, a state issued photo ID (if applicable), or a passport.
In Massachusetts, your driver’s license or passport are both appropriate forms of identification. If you’re purchasing cannabis for medical use, you will also need to provide a Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Authorization card, also known as your ‘med card’. Learn more about registering for a med card here.
2. Browse the dispensary’s online menu.
Most dispensaries will have an online menu that is regularly updated for you to browse. This will show you what brands of edibles or strains of flower they have in stock. You can also find more information on each product and even read reviews.
Knowing what type of product you’re looking for can be helpful for when you actually enter the dispensary so the staff can more easily help you find what you’re looking for. View our full breakdown of every single way you can consume cannabis to learn more about each type of product.
If you don’t know what you want to try, that’s okay too! Dispensary budtenders and technicians are highly equipped with knowledge about their inventory to help you select the right product. Viewing the dispensary menu just helps you get familiar with what you’ll be looking at when you head inside!
3. Make sure you have cash.
Due to the federal status of cannabis, many banks are hesitant to allow association with the cannabis industry. That means, at least for now, most dispensaries in Massachusetts: no credit card!
Either bring cash, bring your debit card, or sign up for CanPay to be ready to make your purchase. While ATMs are almost always available nearby or in-store, it is worthwhile to be prepared before you go to avoid any transaction fees.
When You’re There
Most people expect a liquor store type experience, but a dispensary is nothing like that. Think more of a jewelry store or an Apple store. Instead of products being displayed on the shelves, they will be stored behind glass or in a display case. In fact, at the right dispensary, you’ll even get an attentive team member to help find the right product for you!
In most cases, you won’t even be allowed to touch or sample products before making a purchase. Moreover, Massachusetts state law requires cannabis products to be sold in opaque, resealable, child-resistant packaging, which means you likely won’t be getting a glimpse of what you’re getting either.
Here’s how you can get the most out of your experience while you’re in the dispensary:
1. Ask questions.
Viewing the online menu or speaking to the in-store staff is a great way to get to know more about a product before you decide to make a purchase. Budtenders have great experience and can help you make an informed decision based on what you’re interested in trying or what effect you’re looking for.
If you’re visiting Fine Fettle, you can also check out our FAQ section to get more information about shopping at our dispensaries.
2. Be aware of the limits.
Don’t go overboard! Although cannabis is legal, it does not mean you can buy it without limit. Massachusetts legislation outlines clear limitations on both dispensaries and individuals, meaning that dispensaries can only sell you a limited amount and you’re only allowed to be in possession of a limited amount.
According to Massachusetts General Laws c.94G § 7, which covers the personal use of cannabis, the current possession limit is one ounce, where not more than five grams can be in the form of concentrate. Anything above this limit is considered to be possession with intent to distribute which is a punishable offense.
For medical cannabis patients, there is a limit of no more than 10 ounces every two months.
Once You’ve Left the Dispensary
You may be excited to try your new products right away, but for your safety and that of others, avoid consuming your cannabis until you’re at home. Any public consumption of cannabis is considered a violation of the law.
With varying rules and regulations from state to state, it is important to be sure you’re informed of what you can and cannot do once you’re in possession of legal cannabis in Massachusetts.
1. Drive safe.
According to state law, you may possess up to one ounce of cannabis outside of your home, including in a motor vehicle. However, this is under the requirement that the product is in a sealed container and/or secured in the trunk or locked glove compartment of your vehicle.
Note that driving while under the influence of cannabis is not legal in any state.
2. Take it slow.
Remember: cannabis has different effects on different people. Your friend’s experience or preference may not be the same as yours, so be sure to start low and slow. That means, no matter what product you choose to try, start with a low dosage and, even if you don’t ‘feel’ anything, be slow about increasing your pace or amount.
Read more from our industry experts about Trying Cannabis for the First Time.