Delivery Map


Airfield Supply Company

How Do Dispensaries Work? A Guide for First-Time Visitors

How Do Dispensaries Work? A Guide for First-Time Visitors element

How do dispensaries work? We hear this question a lot in the cannabis industry. Dispensaries are a new thing, and for many, change is hard, especially when the federal government hasn’t made it the easiest process. Well, don’t stress. We got you. Just follow this guide to how dispensaries work and learn how to shop for cannabis like a pro at Airfield Supply Co!

Bring Your Pre-Flight Dispensary Essentials

First things first. You’re going to need to bring some things for your dispensary trip. Think of these like your boarding pass. You can’t get on this flight without them!

Recreational Consumers: A Valid State ID Or Passport

For recreational consumers, the legal requirements state that you must be at least 21 years old and present a valid driver’s license, state identification card or passport at reception. This is non-negotiable. If you don’t have a valid form of ID, the store cannot let you in or sell cannabis to you. 

Medical Marijuana Patients: Your Original Doctor’s Recommendation

If you’re a medical patient, you still need a valid ID, but you must also bring your original, stamped recommendation to purchase as a patient (medical patients get a tax break and higher purchase limits).

Paying For Cannabis

Cash is king. Cannabis is still federally illegal, so credit and debit card transactions are illegal. While some dispensaries have workarounds, they charge hefty service fees. Many dispensaries also have ATMs, but there’s typically a fat transaction fee. So, if you’re even a little cost conscious, bring cash. And don’t forget to calculate the tax!

Prepare for Your In-flight Dispensary Experience

Visiting a cannabis dispensary is a magical and educational experience, and there’s a lot to look forward to and some things you can expect.

Be Prepared for the Dispensary Check-In Process

When you walk into a dispensary, the first thing you will see is the check-in desk. Here, a dispensary employee will ask to see your ID and verify your age. They will then ask if you are a medical or recreational customer.

If you are a medical patient, they will ask to see your original doctor’s recommendation. The employee will make a copy of this document for their records and then give you a Patient Membership Card (if they offer one). With this card, you will not have to show your recommendation every time you visit the dispensary.

If you are a recreational customer, the check-in process is pretty straightforward. The employee will just need to see your ID to verify your age.

Just like the DMV, dispensaries can get busy. Many shops have a waiting room with a receptionist who will let you into the sales floor after checking you in. Once you’re on the sales floor, it’s first come, first served. However, many dispensaries allow you to place an order online for pickup.

What to Know Before You Go

In addition to having your boarding pass essentials, it’s best to show up with some idea of what you want and how you want to consume cannabis. Sure, budtenders are great guides but don’t expect them to run through all 1500 SKUS on the menu. Try to narrow things down to the effect you’re looking for or a product category. One way to get a grip on things is to check a store’s online menu before you visit to know your options. This way, you can confidently walk in with a short list of what you want to try.

What to Expect at a Dispensary

While you can prepare all you want for the dispensary experience, nothing can truly prepare you for the moment you step into a retail cannabis store. It’s like being in Willy Wonka’s factory but better because everything is weed. Here are a few things you can expect:

A Wide Selection of Products

You will be amazed by the sheer number of products available. From cannabis flower to topicals, and concentrates, there is something for everyone. You’ll also usually find a balance between well-known brands and local brands. In Airfield’s case, we serve a large customer base; therefore, we offer a wide variety of products to meet the needs and preferences of all our California customers.

Friendly and Knowledgeable Budtenders

Budtenders are the equivalent of a sommelier but for cannabis. They create an unforgettable customer experience. Their extensive product knowledge means they can tailor recommendations based on what you’re looking for in a cannabis product, whether that’s a certain THC or CBD profile, flavors, or effects. To get started, they’ll ask some questions to better understand your needs before making any suggestions.

A Relaxed and Comfortable Atmosphere

The cannabis retail experience shouldn’t feel like a transaction. It should feel like you’re catching up with an old friend. That’s why numerous dispensaries, including Airfield, have comfortable seating areas and a relaxed atmosphere. However, at Airfield Supply Co., our retail dispensary is also a vertically integrated grow and processing facility. This means our customers can see where and how their cannabis is grown!

A Safe and Secure Environment

Dispensaries are highly regulated businesses. They are required to have security measures in place, such as cameras and guards. All of these measures are designed to keep customers and employees safe.

In the same boat, every dispensary in legal states must stay compliant and follow all state regulations and laws to the letter. This includes tracking every cannabis plant from seed to sale using a traceability system. Therefore you can expect that any legal cannabis purchase will be recorded throughout the process. The dispensary business is no joke!

A First time Visitor Discount

Typically, if it’s your first time at any dispensary, you’ll likely score a First Time Patient (“FTP’) discount. Generally, these special offers range from 10-20%. Thank you, FTP! In other words, if you’re lucky, you might leave the dispensary with more than what you came for.

In addition, many cannabis dispensaries offer loyalty programs. This means that the more you visit and purchase from a particular cannabis dispensary, the more rewards you can accumulate. These rewards can be in the form of discounts on future purchases, free products, or early access to new products.

Choosing the Right Cannabis Products for You

The three most important words when weed shopping at a dispensary are Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. Maybe it’s the first time you’ve heard those words. Or maybe you know those words well. Either way, those words don’t mean what they used to. Cannabis has evolved.

Indica and Sativa were once landrace cultivars, unchanged for millennia. In the modern era, cannabis breeders have taken control of evolution to create Designer Weed. This means that nearly all Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strains have been crossbred with each other to create unique blends of effects, flavors, smells, and colors. This also means that the old lines between “Indica” and “Sativa” are fuzzy.

The first step in choosing the right cannabis product is understanding what you’re looking for. Do you want to relax? Do you want to get things done? Do you want to sleep better? Do your research and find the product to help you meet your goals.

To give you a quick cheat sheet to understand the difference between Indica, Sativa and Hybrid:

  • Indica strains are physically sedating and can be perfect for pain relief, sleep disorders, and anxiety.
  • Sativa strains are invigorating and can be perfect for creativity, focus, and depression.
  • Hybrid strains are a mix of both indica and sativa effects.

Everyone will have a different experience with cannabis, so don’t hesitate to ask your budtender for help in choosing the right product for you.

Navigating the Cannabis Counter

Shopping for cannabis at a marijuana dispensary is not like shopping for groceries. You will not be cruising the aisles, filling a cart, and eating grapes you probably should have paid for (at least, that’s how we do it). Most dispensaries do not put cannabis on the floor. There is no grab-and-go. Cannabis is expensive, the packaging is fragile, a broken tamper seal voids a product, and the risk of loss is a serious issue. 

When you hit that cannabis counter, you will meet your dedicated budtender — your guide. This is where you get to tell them what you’re looking for and do that whole curious thing.

Remember: The budtender knows all. They’ve probably blazed every strain on the shelf and heard countless testimonials from their regulars. They may not be doctors or therapists, but no one is in a better position to help you. Do not underestimate them!

Top Shelf, Mids, Or Value

We’ve covered Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid and how to use those words. But there are a few more things to consider when navigating the counter.

These categories break cannabis down by quality and price. 

  • Top Shelf: This is the best quality, typically the highest testing, and is usually grown indoors.
  • Mids: Mids are just that. Middle quality. They may be indoor, mixed light, or greenhouse.

Value: Value is the bottom shelf. Almost always outdoor.

Weights and Measures

Although cannabis is mostly sold by weight, a weird mixture of the English and metric systems is usually used. Generally, people selling cannabis use grams, eighths, quarters, halves, and zips.

  • Gram: A gram is the smallest amount of weed you can buy, typically enough for one or two joints. It may also be called a “dub,” which is slang for $20 worth of weed from the good old days of black market buys.
  • Eighth: If you’re a first-time buyer or have a smaller budget, start with an eighth of an ounce or 3.5 grams.
  • Quarter: A quarter of an ounce, or 7 grams.
  • Half: 1/2 an ounce or 14 grams.

Ounce: 28 grams. An ounce is also called “a zip” because it’s about the amount you can fit into a Ziploc bag.

Get to Know Your Cannabis Products

With all this new knowledge, what can you actually buy from a dispensary? Que the product types!

  • Pre-rollsThese are joints that have already been rolled and are prepared to be smoked. You can purchase them as singles or in packs of two, three, or more.
  • Flower: This is the traditional cannabis flower nug that you break up and roll into a joint or pack into a pipe.
  • Edibles: These are cannabis-infused foods, drinks, and other ingestible items like gummies or chocolates.
  • ConcentratesConcentrates are the potent extracts of cannabis. Common concentrates include hash, oil, wax, shatter, and more. These products often have a higher THC content than flower and infused products.
  • Topicals: Cannabis topicals are ointments, oils, and other products that are applied directly to the skin for relief from pain, inflammation, and other medical conditions.
  • Sublinguals: Sublingual cannabis products are absorbed into the bloodstream through place under the tongue. Tinctures, oils, and strips falling under this category are often used to treat an array of conditions.

Now you know almost everything there is to know about dispensaries, except the Dispensary Courtesy’s unwritten rules.

In-Flight Dispensary Courtesy

It starts with the basics. Be a good human. But there are some unwritten rules that you should know before you go:

  • If you want to smell something, just ask. It’s that easy.
  • Please be respectful to other customers and allow them their turn.
  • Please refrain from handling any merchandise without consulting a staff member first.
  • Do not request unlawful advice from your budtender, such as how to smuggle cannabis home or where the nearest place to smoke weed is. Not only could this lead to them getting fired, but that’s what the internet is for.
  • Do not smoke weed on the premises. The entire property is under video surveillance and you will get caught by security if you do. Additionally, the dispensary could lose its license because of it. It’s just bad, JuJu!

Now that you know these tips, you can shop for cannabis like a pro at Airfield Supply Co!

First-Time Flyers FAQs

What if I’m Under 21?

You will not be able to enter the cannabis dispensary unless you are 21 years of age or older and can provide a valid government-issued ID. Santa Clara County does not recognize MMJ patients under the age of 21.

Can I Pay With My Credit Card?

All dispensaries accept cash, but only some take credit and debit cards. If a dispensary does take your card, they may charge an additional fee.

How Much Can I Buy?

Depending on your needs — medical or recreational use — you may be able to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis flower or its equivalent in another product.

What if I Don’t Like What I Bought?

All sales are final, so be sure to ask the budtender plenty of questions before you buy cannabis products.

What if I’m Not a California Resident?

If you’re not a California resident, you can still buy cannabis from a dispensary as long as you have a valid government-issued ID from any state or country. However, you may be subject to different purchasing limits than California residents.

We hope this guide was helpful in getting you prepared for your first dispensary visit! If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask one of our knowledgeable staff members at Airfield Supply Co. They would be happy to help you out!

Now Boarding Airfield Airlines

Whether you’re brand new or an experienced pilot that’s been flying high for years, Airfield Supply Co. invites you to drop in anytime. We love our San Jose community and strive to be the best around!

We have one of thebest weed menus anywhere, and our Flight Attendants are trained to answer any question you may have.

Can’t make it to our shop? No worries, order online for discreet cannabis delivery.Airfield Supply Co. is the first-class ticket for anyone who wants to fly high.

November 29, 2022


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready To Fly?