A Guide to Dispensary Etiquette

A Guide to Dispensary Etiquette

When it comes to marijuana dispensaries, creating a memorable and positive shopping experience for customers is their top priority.  But the reality is, it’s not always clear what to do, and – perhaps more importantly – what not to do if you’ve never been to a dispensary.  Here is a guide to dispensary etiquette to ensure a great customer experience.


Most dispensaries have a “no photo” policy. When it comes to proper dispensary etiquette, please leave your phone or camera in the car. To some, buying marijuana is a private affair & lots of people don’t like having their pictures taken without their permission.

Bring Your ID

Dispensaries require you to have a valid, state-issued picture ID before you enter the store. It doesn’t matter how old you look or how well you know the staff at the dispensary you’re going to, you need that ID to get shopping for legal weed. No, they can’t make an exception, and no, your library card does not count. These are the annoying little rules we have to follow to buy weed legally.

Prices & Payment

Depending on what state you’re in, or even what county you’re in, the tax rates on cannabis purchases can vary greatly. Combine that with the fact that every store has their own processes and pricing structures, it would be worthwhile to look up the dispensary you’re headed to beforehand and check out what their menu looks like. Some stores are going to roll the taxes in with their pricing so you end up paying an even $40 when you check out, for example, while other dispensaries don’t include the tax in their advertised prices.

And, as expected, legal states are putting high tax rates on the sale of cannabis, so make sure you have enough cash before getting into the dispensary.

As for how you can expect to actually pay, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand before you head to the dispensary. Because most banks are abiding federal law, they do not typically provide their services to marijuana businesses. Whether or not a dispensary takes payment in the form of credit or debit cards is up to that dispensary, but many have decided not to deal with the headache.

No Haggling

Just because your “guy” could be flexible with his prices doesn’t mean that your budtender is going to cut you a deal. Don’t expect to get the hookup.

Luckily, just like any other retail business, marijuana dispensaries run an array of daily deals, happy hour specials, coupons, and blowout sales all throughout the year. Find out what some of those deals are before you head out to the dispensary, and don’t be afraid to call and ask them what deals they’re running at the time. Just like other retail businesses, marijuana dispensaries have specials on holidays and other out-of-nowhere sales that can get you some extra value for your cannabis dollar.

Illegal Activities

There’s really not much you can do to get in trouble at a dispensary as long as you’re following the basic courtesies of a retail environment. That being said, here are two things you should keep in mind while shopping: don’t touch any the weed without asking and don’t implicate your budtender in any illegal activities you have planned.

The most common mistake seems to be people talking about bringing their newly purchased marijuana products back home to their state where pot is still illegal. This puts the budtender in an awkward position, and they could choose to not sell you anything at that point. And, as for the no-touching-the-weed policy, every place will have their own set of policies. Some places will only have small samples of their bud out on display for smells, while other places will have giant jars ready to be picked from and weighed out. If they have the giant jars, there’s a good chance that they don’t want you handling the marijuana. Most dispensaries like this will have a set of chopsticks for you to do some closer examining of the buds.

Tipping your Budtender

Most marijuana dispensaries are going to have a tip jar on the counter where your budtender is serving you. You will definitely run into a few that don’t accept tips, but in general you should be tipping your budtender in a similar way to how you would tip your bartender. Depending on how much, or how excellent the service was, it’s encouraged that you tip accordingly.