When some US states and countries began to legalize recreational marijuana dispensaries, they started popping up seemingly overnight. This trend will continue in more states as recreational marijuana laws are being passed. For anyone who has visited a dispensary and for those who have visited many dispensaries, they are not all created equal. Each cannabis customer has their own wish list for the perfect dispensary. No, all the free weed you can carry will never be a thing! There are some similarities in the most popular dispensaries and ones that get consistently good reviews. We’re going to take a look at the most crucial elements that sets a dispensary apart from its competitors.
Location and Size of the Interior
Location is one of the most important components of good recreational marijuana dispensaries. It must be located in an area that is easy to get to for most people and if the dispensary is in a city center, is it in a walkable neighborhood? Recognizing that most dispensary owners don’t have unlimited budgets for leasing a retail space, is the location in a relatively safe area? If your favorite dispensary is located in an area that you don’t feel comfortable driving or walking to, it won’t remain your favorite dispensary for very long. The inside of a dispensary is key as well. In today’s reality of social distancing, if a dispensary chooses to remain open for in-store shopping, do they have the space to do it? If your visit to purchase cannabis leaves you feeling a little claustrophobic, you likely won’t be back. Regardless of the size of the space, is it well ventilated? This is especially important these days however it is never fun to be inside and feel like there is not much air flow.
All dispensaries are required to have 24 hour security cameras at any entrances and exits. The reasons for this are fairly obvious, to keep them from getting robbed and to monitor who is coming and going. Recreational marijuana dispensaries are currently primarily a cash only business in most states so if you assume cash is kept on the premises plus that added temptation of all that cannabis sitting around, thieves really target dispensaries so the better the security, the less likely a dispensary is to have problems. What about the security personnel during the dispensaries open hours? Most dispensaries have at least one and depending on the size and location of the dispensary, sometimes more than one security guard there during the hours of operation. This is a good thing however it can backfire for some dispensaries. If you pull up to a dispensary and see 3 armed security guards, this can be a little intimidating for some people. The best dispensaries can find a way to strike the right balance between having the necessary personnel to keep customers and employees safe and putting out the Mad Max vibe. Knowing the neighborhood and clientele is an important aspect of determining security needs.
We have all been to a restaurant and when the menus are brought to the table, they resemble complete novels. Some recreational marijuana dispensaries make the same mistake. More is not always better and if you visit a dispensary or go on their website and hours later you still are processing the contents of the menu, that’s not much fun. It’s also harder to make a decision when you are overloaded with options plus it puts more pressure on the budtenders to know about each strain. This is unrealistic and does not create a good dispensary experience. The flipside is true as well. Having a menu that is too small can be problematic because customers will feel pressured to buy a strain because it’s available, although it’s not really what they were looking for. That lack of options will cause most cannabis customers to take their business to another dispensary. Again it’s about finding balance with the menu, not too many or too few options.
Pricing, Specials and Reward Programs
So imagine you get a text from your local dispensary that you recently visited and signed up for their rewards program. The text tells you about some great deals, available that day. Nice of them right? Two hours later you get another text, same dispensary, different deals. Wow, kind of cool but strange they have so many deals in one day. Four hours later, yep a third text with still more, happy hour deals this time. If you are smart you will cancel your enrollment with the dispensary because every day it will be pretty much the same. There are a few reasons why this dispensary appears to be harassing you. They priced their cannabis too high to begin with and to stay competitive they are constantly running “deals”. They also are not really good at long term planning because if they don’t see a steady stream of customers, they panic and start sending out texts. Most importantly, how is the quality of their cannabis? Chances are it might not be the best around and they have to work much harder than other dispensaries to get your business.
Budtenders and Community Involvement
Knowledgeable budtenders at a dispensary is a given. Great recreational marijuana dispensaries have great budtenders who not only know their cannabis but are able to make anyone who walks through the door feel comfortable and that their needs are listened to, and their questions answered. It’s an art form really, part budtender, part customer service master, part psychologist. Budtenders and especially dispensary owners should also make efforts to be part of the local community. This trend is really distinguishing the decent dispensaries from the truly great ones, do they care about their neighbors? How do they show it? Maybe volunteer work within the community, certainly donations to local charities and the flexibility to redirect funds when the community is experiencing a crisis. Not always easy to do financially but the good karma will be returned to that dispensary.