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Cannabis Dispensary Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts

photo cannabis cookies and cannabis leaves put on wooden cutting board

Visiting a cannabis dispensary, whether it’s on the bustling streets of Manhattan or the serene avenues of the Upper East Side, can be an exciting experience, especially for first-time visitors. Like any specialized establishment, dispensaries have their own set of etiquettes. Understanding these do’s and don’ts can help ensure a positive experience for both you and the dispensary staff. Here’s a guide to help you navigate these unspoken rules.

Do: Bring Proper Identification

The most important rule when visiting a dispensary is to bring your valid, government-issued ID. Dispensaries are required by law to check IDs to confirm that customers are of legal age, which is 21 in most places, including New York. No ID, no service – it’s as simple as that.

Don’t: Use Your Phone Inside

Using your phone inside a dispensary is generally frowned upon. This is for privacy and security reasons. Dispensaries are cautious about being photographed or recorded, and other customers might not appreciate being in the background of your call or selfie. Respect this space by keeping your phone in your pocket.

Do: Ask Questions

Don’t be shy to ask questions, no matter how basic they may seem. Dispensary staff, often referred to as ‘budtenders’, are usually very knowledgeable and can provide valuable information about different strains, effects, potency, and methods of consumption. They are there to help you make an informed decision.

Don’t: Touch the Products

In most dispensaries, customers are not allowed to touch the products before purchasing. This is to ensure the quality and hygiene of the products. You can look and sometimes smell the products, but let the budtender handle them for you.

Do: Be Patient

Especially during peak hours, you might have to wait for service. Use this time to observe and soak in the atmosphere. Dispensaries can get busy, and the staff is often working as quickly as they can to help everyone. Patience and a friendly attitude go a long way.

Don’t: Haggle or Bargain

Prices in dispensaries are typically non-negotiable. Unlike traditional retail, cannabis prices are often set based on regulation, quality, and market value. Trying to haggle over prices is considered rude and a breach of etiquette.

Do: Have an Idea of What You Want

While it’s okay to ask questions, it’s also helpful to have a basic idea of what you’re looking for. Whether it’s for relaxation, medical purposes, or social enjoyment, knowing your goal can help the budtender recommend the best product for you.

Don’t: Feel Pressured to Buy

Just because you’ve spent time in a dispensary or chatted with the staff doesn’t mean you have to make a purchase. It’s completely acceptable to walk out if you don’t find what you’re looking for or if you need more time to decide.

Do: Respect Privacy and Discretion

Many people value discretion about their cannabis use. Be respectful of others’ privacy in the dispensary. This means not commenting on other customers’ purchases or discussing your dispensary visit loudly in public areas outside.

Don’t: Consume on the Premises

Consuming cannabis on the premises of the dispensary is a big no-no. Save your purchases for a private, safe environment. Public consumption can lead to legal issues for both you and the dispensary.


Visiting a cannabis dispensary should be an enjoyable and educational experience. By following these simple do’s and don’ts, you can ensure a smooth visit and a respectful environment for everyone involved. Remember, each dispensary may have its own set of rules, so when in doubt, just ask. Enjoy your dispensary adventure with courtesy and respect!