Where Can You Buy Medicinal Cannabis?

Stephen Andrews
29 Nov 2022

All Cannabis has therapeutic value, but because of regulations, it's sold at two different types of shops, recreational and medical dispensaries. Medicinal cannabis products are available to purchase at medical dispensaries. Those are also the only dispensaries in states that allow only the medical use of marijuana.

Medical cannabis dispensaries have a range of different pot products on offer. From oils, tinctures, and gummies to flower, vapes, and pre-rolls. 

THC-dominant products are best for the treatment of pain and anxiety relief. On the other hand, CBD-dominant products are best to comfort from insomnia and chronic pain. Opt for easy-to-use products such as pre-rolled joints and vape cartridges if you are all new to Cannabis. 

If it's your first time visiting a medical cannabis dispensary, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Bring your ID. You will need it. Also, bring your doctor's recommendation and your medical marijuana card if you have those, too.
  • There will likely be security at the entrance.
  • Have cash with you. In most dispensaries, it's the only acceptable payment method. 
  • Check the menu to see what kinds of products are offered. 
  • Even if you don't know precisely what you want or need, talk with the budtender and explain what therapeutic benefits you want to experience from Cannabis. 
  • Leave a tip for the budtender. 
  • Don't smoke on the premises. 

What's the Difference Between Medical and Recreational Dispensaries? 

Most medical marijuana dispensaries require documentation upon making your visit. Don't be surprised if you are greeted by security personnel as you make your way in. The security folks are there because banks don't work with cannabis retailers and they are forced to accept cash-only payments. With so much cash around, there is more security than what you would find at a regular pharmacy. 

Once you enter, you will be greeted by a receptionist. The person will ask for your ID and medical marijuana recommendations before you are allowed to proceed to the dispensing area. If you have an ID from another state, you may need to provide proof of residency. 

While health insurance plans do not usually cover costs for medical marijuana products, as a medical marijuana patient, you do have some privileges. Owing a medical marijuana card will ease your access to various discounts and deals offered at medical dispensaries. 

Medical cannabis dispensaries may limit their services to medical marijuana patients, however, a recreational dispensary allows anyone who is of legal age to purchase pot products legally. 

Depending on where you come from, the offer of medical and recreational marijuana could be completely different or almost identical. One benefit of recreational dispensaries is that you don't have to pay for a medical marihuana card. Still, most states where adult use is regulated have extra taxes on products designated for recreational purposes. Because of that, some people continue to renew their MMJ recommendations. 

A list of some of the biggest dispensary chains in the U.S. 

Most of these retailers are multi-state operators, which means that some of these brands you can find their stores from California to Florida. 

  • Curaleaf (over 100 dispensaries, present in 23 states)
  • Trulieve (over 80 dispensaries, currently holds 50% of the market in Florida)
  • RISE (over 50 dispensaries nationwide, one of several retail chains operated by Green Thumb Industries)
  • Beyond / Hello (over 20 cannabis shops, the retail chain of Jushi Holdings)
  • MedMen (one of the most popular dispensaries in California)
  • Native Roots (one of the most popular chains in Colorado)

Dispensaries in Canada

  • Fire and Flower (over 30 locations in Ontario and Western Canada)
  • Tokyo Smoke (11 stores across Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario)
  • Nova Cannabis (19 locations across Canada)

Should you tip the budtender? 

If you don't tip your budtender, it's like when you don't tip your waiter. Most dispensaries do have tip jars on their counters. Employees usually are very generous with their time and provide valuable tips on what kind of products you should try, especially if you are unfamiliar with Cannabis. It would be very kind and polite of you if you left behind some extra cash when you paid for your goodies. Anywhere between 5% and 10% is good. 

Stephen Andrews