Visiting Colorado and want to check out a dispensary for the first time? We know it can be daunting. There are hundreds of them, including many near the airport, so how do you decide which one to go to? And once you're inside of one, how do you know what to get? Here are some general rules that every tourist should know before heading to a recreational marijuana store.
1. Find the right dispensary
Whether you're looking for a stop on your way into town from the airport, want a store close to where you'll be staying, or need some backup when you head to the mountains, Colorado has nearly 500 recreational dispensaries — plenty to choose from. Once you've searched out the dispensaries in your desired area, explore their websites or even call ahead to get a feel for the place.
2. Bring your ID
This should be a given, but understand that you will not be allowed past the waiting area without valid identification. If your ID has expired, you won't be allowed in. If it's not government-issued, you won't be allowed in. The rules are rigid because dispensaries can lose their license if they don't scan IDs. Even when budtenders know repeat customers, they're required by law to scan an ID every time.
3. Ask questions
There's going to be a lot of product, an overwhelming amount of product, from different strains of flower to varieties of edibles to accessories.The budtenders are there to help, so ask questions. They know every product, they know what's popular, and they genuinely want you to have a good experience with what you purchase.
4. Be honest
We recommend that you let the budtender know if it's your first time smoking or eating edibles. They won't make fun of you or judge you (really!). In fact, they'll be excited to guide you through your first time with good advice for achieving the ideal experience.
5. Research beforehand
If you're feeling nervous or uncertain, look up a few terms before you walk into a store. Knowing whether you're looking for the high from a sativa or indica, whether you want to smoke or eat edibles, and whether you want pre-rolls or loose flower: Those are all good things to think about before you chat with your budtender.
6. If you're not a smoker, that's okay
One of the best things about the dispensary experience in Colorado is that it's not just about the weed. Stores stock everything from chocolate to honey sticks, so if you want the buzz without the smoke, that's easy. Plus, the dispensary shelves are likely to be stocked with products you can't get anywhere else, so enjoy trying a few out while you're in town.
7. Don't let your eyes get too big for your stomach.... or your tolerance
It's easy to get excited in a store and to want to try everything that looks intriguing — but remember to take it slow. Even seasoned tokers have been known to overdo it (especially at our altitude), so pace yourself and don't treat your goodies like candy that you need to try all at once. That's one way to ruin your trip and inspire you to never enter a dispensary again.
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8. Bring cash
Most dispensaries are all about cash. Many have ATMs inside, but we recommend bringing more cash than you think you'll need. There's always something on the shelf enticing enough to add at checkout, so do some research on pricing and other products you might be interested in to cover additional costs.
9. Check for deals
Most dispensaries have weekly deals that are usually pretty good. Whether they're discounts on flower, concentrates or other infused goodies, you'd be wise to check coupons online on this site (or in the pages of Westword) to see if you can save a few bucks.
10. Write a review
If you had a great experience (or a bad one), let the owners/managers know on their website. This is a competitive market, and if you can help the next person or give feedback to the staff, that's always going to prove useful.