You were eager for recreational cannabis to be legal in Canada and when it finally happened you placed your first online order through the Ontario Cannabis Store. You enjoyed the selection, the information about the different products and how easy it was to get your delivery, but now you’re ready to take cannabis purchasing to another level as more legal dispensaries are beginning to pop up all over the country.
Ordering online was convenient, but it’s another thing completely to be able to walk into a brick-and-mortar dispensary and pick out the cannabis products you like. Yes, you can now truly ‘shop’ for weed, but it’s a bit different than going to a convenience or grocery store. There are a few rules and a bunch of etiquette that we recommend you follow to make the experience successful for you and the retailer.
Your first visit to a dispensary
Your first time in a legal dispensary can be a bit strange and overwhelming because you won’t really know what to expect. Compared to online ordering through the OCS, retail dispensaries offer some notable advantages including things like being able to inspect and smell the product before you buy it, not having to wait for shipping delivery, and being able to speak with knowledgeable budtenders that are available to answer questions and help you make informed choices.
Have your ID ready
Before you’re allowed to enter a legal cannabis dispensary in Ontario, you must provide a valid ID to prove you’re at least 19 years of age. There may be a line to get into the store, so having your ID in hand can help speed up the process for everyone.
Even if there was a long wait in a queue, there’s no reason to be irritated once you get inside the store. You’ve made it in and all your favourite strains are within your grasp. Being respectful and welcoming to everyone in the store, including your budtender, will let you reap the reward of a pleasant shopping experience.
Have a plan
Before you head to the store, think about what it is you’re looking for. Things like strain type and quantity should be considered beforehand, so you’re not as overwhelmed with all the choices you’ll be presented with.
Legal Ontario retailers are supplied by the Ontario Cannabis Store, so head to their online website (OCS.ca) and familiarize yourself with the available options. Knowing what you want, or at least having a starting point when speaking with your budtender is a good idea to help your experience be a positive one.
In Toronto, at the Hunny Pot on Queen St., the moment you walk into the store you’re greeted by your own personal budtender armed with an iPad. Their job is to guide you around the store, answer your questions, give advice, and generally make sure your shopping experience is successful. If you have questions about anything, just ask – budtenders are ready to convey their knowledge and help you make a decision you’ll be happy with.
Don’t be a weed snob
You might have been into cannabis for a long time, and you might know a lot about it, but the thing is that your budtender does too, and besides that, opinions on cannabis strains differ – a lot. If you’re a ‘canna-pro’ you should, by all means, be clear and concise as to what you like, but don’t be a snob about it and shoot down the suggestions or opinions of others.
Legal weed might be more expensive than some people are used to. We’ve gone over the many reasons for this (product quality, safety, lab testing, etc.) in other articles. Keep the price in mind as you head to pay for your order, and don’t freak out if it wasn’t quite what you expected. It should go without saying that all prices are government mandated and are not up for debate so don’t haggle – it won’t be a good look.
Don’t bring your pets
There’s a lot going on inside a pot shop, so unless you require a service dog, don’t try to bring your furry friend inside. Pets are not allowed inside a dispensary due to sanitary reasons, so don’t be surprised or get angry if your pet’s entry is denied.
Give the process time
Retail cannabis is still a new thing in Ontario so you can expect to find some areas of the process that may need some work. Whether it be product availability, shortages, long waits in a queue, or customer service issues, it’s especially important to be courteous and respectful to how things work at a cannabis retail store, even if you don’t agree. Give retailers time to get things running smoothly and help out by doing your part to make the whole process as pleasant a shopping experience as possible for everyone.