Whether you are new to cannabis, new to a legal state, or just new to the United States, this guide will help you in your purchasing adventure of legal cannabis.
Which States Sell Legal Cannabis?
The following states require a state ID or driver’s license from any state or a passport proving you are over the age of 21. Being at least 21-years-old will get you access to legal dispensaries in 11 of the 18 recreational marijuana states in the U.S.:
Dispensaries have been licensed to distribute cannabis to anyone of legal age. This is possible with fully established recreational marijuana programs within these legal states.
Unfortunately for the remaining 7 states, there are not any operating cannabis dispensaries. This is typically due to no regulations set or no appointed regulators selected yet.
Can Out-Of-State Residents Buy Recreational “Weed”?
If you are coming from a state in which recreational cannabis is not legal (such as Idaho or Alabama) and you travel to a state that legalized weed, are you allowed to purchase any?
The answer is simply yes. Cannabis tourism is a growing part of the progress of the industry in states around the country. More residents from states with restrictive cannabis laws are running to states where recreational marijuana is legal. This allows them to use cannabis products freely without the fear of criminal charges, fines, or other penalties while in the legalized states.
Each state has its own specific laws and regulations regarding legal cannabis. You can just walk into any shop and show them your ID. Then you can purchase from a large variety of products. The biggest worry is always where you can smoke and how much you can carry. The safe move would be to do it on private property and away from public view and always get small amounts at a time. Otherwise, pull out your phone and look up the specific laws in the state you’re currently in.
Can Out-of-State Residents Buy Recreational “Weed” and Bring it Back to Their Home State?
It is illegal to take cannabis from a legal state to a state where cannabis is illegal. As a matter of fact, there isn’t a single state that allows the cannabis purchased in its state to leave state lines.
The biggest reason for this is to avoid issues with federal law. Federally speaking, cannabis is illegal. However, in the United States, states can make their own laws that can sometimes contradict federal laws. So crossing state lines with cannabis purchased legally is still considered illegal.
Finding a Recreational Dispensary
With the power of the internet, finding dispensaries is as easy as finding the perfect burger joint. The most popular way to find dispensaries is by using the cannabis industry’s version of Yelp: WeedMaps.
You can find not only shops nearest to you and the top shops around the area, but you can also see what their inventory looks like and if they have any deals. In fact, most of these dispensaries started delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic. So really it comes down to your needs. Some places do different deals in-store versus their delivery services. Some brands and products may not be available at all the shops or prices may vary depending on where you get it.
With today’s access to information, you should be able to make a great educated choice in choosing which dispensary to go to. Other than a form of identification and proof of age (like your driver’s license), you will typically need cash to make your purchases. Most dispensaries only do cash-only transactions. Though they typically have ATMs, you could avoid additional fees just by hitting your bank before showing up.
Visiting a Shop
Once you arrive at your dispensary, you’ll probably be met at the front door by a security guard. They will likely want to wand you down with a metal detector. This isn’t an indication that a shop isn’t safe — it is simply a precaution and a necessary reality in a marijuana industry that is largely still cash-based.
Once you enter the shop, you’ll need to check in with the front desk. They will scan your I.D. to verify your age and then put you on a list to enter the sales floor. You will then be directed to wait in the waiting room. At any point during your visit, you may experience long lines. As you can imagine, legal cannabis is quite popular, and extended wait times do happen. Try to schedule your visit for when you know you have time.
Once you are called to the back room, you are ready to begin your shopping experience.
If you decide to physically go to a dispensary, you will first bump into the security guard at the front. The level of security is always different because each owner has their own idea of what they need as far as security goes. Sometimes they are just greeting people, but sometimes there might be metal detectors. You can always count on them monitoring traffic as it flows in and out of a dispensary.
Deliveries ruled during the COVID-19 lockdown. People were able to still get their cannabis without having to leave their homes. Furthermore, the cannabis industry was still able to grow and have jobs available for people. Currently, delivery is still a good choice, especially since there are a good amount of Americans who are still working from home. Just like any delivery service, it’s still recommended to tip!
What Products Can I Buy?
Because of the progress of the legalization of cannabis, there has been a wide selection of brands and products that are being created and invented. They will all come with information on percentages and strains. Here are different types of products available from dispensaries:
- Flower: The classic way of getting cannabis is just purchasing the flower. Flower can be consumed through joints and blunts or glassware. There are some tools that will allow you to vape the flower as well.
- Concentrates: These are for the chronic users due to their high potency. Concentrates are typically used on “dab” rig. These are mor sophisticated in effect, chemical make up, and potency compared to just normal flower. Because of the strength and the labor necessary to produce concentrates, they are typical on the expensive side.
- Infused food and drinks: Consuming cannabis through foods/treats and drinks infused with it has been a great alternative for those who prefer not to smoke or vape. However, the high is different and thus, the dosage is different. Remember, it takes some time for edibles to take effect. Always start with a small amount and take more if you feel you can handle it.
- Topicals: These have been a great alternative for smoking and vaping cannabis. Additionally, its a great alternative if you dislike edible flavors or have a strict diet and can’t eat the edibles available at dispensaries. Topicals infused with cannabinoids, like lotion for example, can be applied to and absorbed through the skin.
Which Marijuana Product Is Best for Your Needs?
The best products in general are subjective. Everybody responds to cannabis differently and everybody has different preferences as far as importance. Some people prefer high THC and some may prefer a complex terpene profile. Some people need the cannabinoids to be low because they have a low tolerance. The best bet is to know what you are looking for in a product and search for the brands that match your preferences. Then, see the reviews of the products. Luckily, there are plenty of people testing and reviewing products so that the community can be aware of the products coming out.
*The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease