Medical marijuana patients usually buy their cannabis medicine at a dispensary, where
budtenders help them choose the best products for their ailments. Dispensaries are often set up
like medical offices, where patients walk through the door into a waiting room, where a
receptionist verifies their medical status. Then, the patient enters through to the sales floor and
receives individualized attention from a dispensary staff member, commonly called a budtender.
Some dispensaries even have nurses on staff to discuss the most beneficial cannabis products for
the symptoms for which patients seek relief.
Retail stores, on the other hand, cater to recreational customers. These facilities are geared
toward a more cultural experience, with shops focused on serving their own niche clientele; adult
consumers find the shop that fits their vibe. Both medical dispensaries and retail stores offer a
variety of cannabis strains, concentrates, edibles and paraphernalia. The biggest difference
between them is the individualized attention medical cannabis patients receive from their
In some states, like Colorado, dispensaries divide their space between medical and recreational
products, with separate entrances; at others, like in California, both clients are served in the same
space. Medical users generally pay lower taxes at retail, which may not be immediately apparent;
shops often fold the taxes into the end cost instead of showing the line item differences between
medical and recreational taxation.
Delivery services allow customers to order cannabis by phone or online and have it brought to a
home address. Some dispensaries offer their own delivery service to patients, while other
delivery businesses have no brick-and-mortar storefronts. Not every state in which cannabis is
legal offers delivery; currently, the service is only available in California, Oregon, and Nevada.
Also, not every dispensary is licensed to deliver, so before you place your order, do your
research to ensure you’re ordering from a reputable, legal business. This is the only way to
guarantee you receive exactly the high-quality product you want.
Before placing your first delivery order, visit the dispensary or shop in person if possible.
Purchase a single dab, or a pre-rolled joint, or a gram each of a few different strains. Sampling
allows you to find the best-quality cannabis, and interacting with budtenders allows you to find
the best service. Ask what the business does to support its community. If you find a location that
provides great cannabis, great service, community support, and delivery, stick with it – you’ve
hit the jackpot!