How to Buy Weed During a Pandemic

Scott Lentz
Even in the midst of a pandemic and social shutdown, buying weed has never been easier. Not only did dispensaries get to stay open as essential businesses when other retail stores had to close, but the state government allowed Colorado residents to order weed online and buy it to go. We're still waiting on delivery, but all things considered, that's not a bad hand to be dealt.

All this doesn't mean that shopping at a dispensary is business as usual, however. 
Social distancing guidelines and mask orders are still in effect across the state (some municipalities are more stringent than others), and many stores have additional requirements to avoid human interaction. While these new safety changes can lengthen and add stress to your errands, they don't have to. Simply follow these easy steps.

Order ahead

Dispensaries are no longer confined to curbside and to-go ordering, but many are keeping these quicker options in place. Take advantage of them. Pre-ordering online helps you avoid the waiting room and gets you in and out faster. Most pot shops are still unable to accept payment online, though, because of the whole Schedule I thing, so have your cash ready. If you didn't pre-order, conduct yourself as if visiting Soup Nazi or Lao Wang Noodle House: All due respect to novices, but now is not the time to ponder and ask for a look at everything. Do that research before visiting, or as you wait in the lobby. And since many dispensaries are actually updating their online menus with some frequency, you have no excuse for not being ready.

Follow the new rules

Per local and state orders and federal guidelines, dispensaries have to follow social distancing rules, and most require customers to wear masks while inside. If they ask you to do either, don't make a scene. Dispensaries aren't very big, and the floor plans are segmented, so they don't have a lot of room to begin with. You're allowed to legally buy weed when barbershops are closed, and the weather is nice for the next five months — this small part of life isn't that hard. Follow the rules for fifteen minutes, for weed's sake.

Don't expect others to look out for you

Some people like to talk in the waiting room. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they blab at you from across the room...but you might have to remind them to stay back, because most waiting rooms are small. And don't plan on hand sanitizer always being available at the reception desk or cash register, even though the majority of dispensaries will have it. Bring your own to be sure, especially if you shop at a highly trafficked store.

Cut the budtenders some slack

Dispensaries have undergone a lot of rule changes and adopted new procedures over the last two months. Most of them didn't initially offer online ordering, and customer traffic has been on a roller-coaster ride since March for a variety of economic and seasonal reasons. Smelling jars is off limits right now, unfortunately, and that can be especially frustrating when trying new growers, but try to understand where the employees are coming from. They're also humans — and essential ones, at that — so stay calm in the face of an honest mistake.

Tell your weed dealer to drop it off at the door

Not every town has dispensaries, and not everyone likes buying their weed from dispensaries. If you are one of those people (or a medical marijuana patient in Boulder and Superior, the only towns in Colorado allowing pot delivery), try to set up a drop-off system with your dealer, whether that's grabbing your bags from a pre-determined spot outside of their homes, or vice versa if they come to you. It's not like you enjoyed hanging out with them after the obligatory smoke session, anyway.

Store your buds in a new container

Plastic and paper can harbor viruses long after the car ride home — which is something I've learned after far too many food deliveries — so put those buds, edibles and extracts in a new container immediately, dispose of the store packaging, and wash your hands. Don't smoke before doing this, or you might forget. You might want to adopt this change for the long term, as Mason jars are much better for preserving flower than a plastic bottle.