What is a Marijuana Dispensary?

By SheSmokesJoints | September 13, 2017

Original published date: December 24, 2015.

What is a dispensary?

A dispensary is a store from which a certain item, or type or item, is dispensed, ie sold. Cannabis dispensaries have been around in the United States since the early 90’s, when the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club was opened by Dennis Peron. Although the SF Cannabis buyers club faced many hardships along the way, Dennis and his dream helped to pave the way for future medical and recreational dispensaries.

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

The very first recreational dispensary, 3D Cannabis, opened it’s doors to the public on January 1st, 2014 in Colorado. The first recreational patient was an Iraq War Veteran named Sean Azzariti. He struggles from PTSD & has been unable to get a medical license for his condition so opening the doors to recreational cannabis actually proved to be hugely medicinally beneficial for a magnitude of people. Today 23 states have medical cannabis laws, 4 of these states, plus the District of Columbia, have recreational laws, and dispensaries have been popping up left and right! 

3D Cannabis in Denver (Source: 3D Cannabis)

What might one find in a typical dispensary?

222Most dispensaries are going to have many different kinds of flowers, buds, on display for you to see, possibly smell and probably not touch. The flowers will range from sativa to hybrids of all sorts to indicas, will all have test results letting you know the percentages of THC, cannabinoids and terpenoids, and these test results also ensure that the cannabis is mold free.


There will also be concentrated cannabis, which can range from kief to hash or oils of different kinds, such as shatter, crumble, live resin, rso, pho, clear, co2, pre filled cartridges, etc.

You will most likely be able to find different medibles, from candy to granola to cookies, anything that can be eaten can be medicated. Different tonics and salves can also be found, which work wonderfully for those with aches and pains, but do not want to smoke.

Generally the dispensary will have various items for the consumption of their cannabis products, for example they may have vape pens, glass, nails for dabbing, dabbing utensils, etc. 
Some dispensaries may even have clones, or their own garden.

Last but not least, the dispensary will have budtenders available to help you find the best product for your needs. Anyone can become a budtender, but generally speaking most budtenders are very knowledgeable about the products their dispensaries carry and can help you find what you are looking for.

What is the difference between medical and recreational dispensaries?

Depending on your state certain items may not be available for purchase to the general public. In Oregon, currently, dispensaries are only allowed to sell flower to those over 21, while medical patients are allow to buy anything that the dispensary sells. Typically a medical patient will be able to purchase more from the dispensary and can carry more on their person than someone simply over 21. Medical patients also do not pay the high taxes that recreational buyers incur.

Dispensaries are an excellent place for patients and recreational smokers alike to find the cannabis that best suits their needs!


@SheSmokesJoints here! I am an avid cannabis connoisseur and grower who began smoking about a decade ago. While I was hitchhiking throughout Western Europe I learned how to roll joints, and have simply loved the entire process since. Cannabis is my medicine as well as my favorite hobby.

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