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Welcome Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota & Mississippi

States with Legal Weed

States with Legal Weed

We are thrilled to welcome you to the recreational cannabis club.  It’s not easy getting into this club, but you guys did it. A special welcome to Mississippi as well for getting medical cannabis legislation passed in your state.  You can all now proudly say your are now one of the growing number of states with legal weed. Depending on your state’s certification process and the timeline for passing cannabis decriminalization legislation, the road to the day when dispensaries open in each state differs considerable from the first of 2021 all the way until January of 2022.  It seems like a long time for some states, especially Montana but it will pass quicker than you think and before you know it dispensaries will be popping up in your city or town.  No doubt cultivation licenses as well dispensary licenses and permits have been applied for or soon will be in all four recreational states.  Once dispensaries start to open there will be a period of time when the industry in your area experiences some growing pains.  It’s normal and will settle down usually within six months but there are certain things you can expect to encounter.

Limitation on Cannabis

Each state has their own laws regarding how much cannabis an individual can purchase within a 24 hour period.  Your state’s laws may be slightly different but generally speaking you can purchase up to one ounce of flower, 7 grams of concentrates, 18 ounces of edibles or 72 ounces of liquids.  As many people purchase multiple types of cannabis in one dispensary trip, it is up to the dispensary to make sure you don’t exceed the legal limits.  So expect a little confusion about how this all works but remember you can’t go from one dispensary to another and buy up to the limit in one or more types of cannabis because when you show your ID to get in the door, your purchase will be tracked and most dispensaries require you to show your ID a second time as you are making your purchase.  So no gaming the system please.  Also prepare for there to be cannabis shortages and additional limits placed on the amount of cannabis you can buy in the first few weeks or months of dispensaries opening their doors.  This seems to happen in all states with legal weed so you would think the industry would be prepared for the demand, they never seem to be but fear not as this problem is always short-lived.

Give Your Budtenders a Break

The requirements for budtenders are different depending on the state but all budtenders are required to know or learn about not just the different strains of cannabis and various cannabis delivery methods but the entire cannabis industry as well as have good sales and people skills.  For cannabis consumers, a job as a budtender may seem like a dream come true but it’s not as easy as you might imagine to be a great budtender.  When dispensaries begin to open in the newly legal states, don’t expect your budtenders to know everything on day one.  It takes time, and even additional training for budtenders to grow into their roles and shine.  If you have specific knowledge about a product and feel like sharing it with your budtender, they usually appreciate this, especially when things are still so new.  Anecdotal information is normally welcome by most budtenders.  Above all, be nice and patient, they are new at their jobs and the learning curve can be steep.

Prepare to Wait

Once the dispensaries open, unless there has been some citywide coordination there will be one dispensary that opens first, and then week by week others will open.  Imagine being the only dispensary open in a city that has been waiting years, well decades really, for cannabis to become legally available.  To say it will be crowded is a vast understatement.  Expect long lines at those first few recreational marijuana dispensaries for a few weeks. Be super chill and patient because if the security personnel sense any trouble you will likely be asked to leave.  No weed for you which would be tragic after such a long wait. The other issue that will increase wait times is that dispensaries will be practicing social distancing so that will drastically limit the number of people allowed into a dispensary at a time.  Dispensaries don’t like to rush their customers so they allow plenty of time for questions and menu browsing, which adds additional wait time for others.  Of course it’s all worth it when it’s your turn and hopefully you made good use of the wait time by checking out the dispensary’s online menu so you have a general idea of what you want to buy or at least what questions to ask.  It’s all part of the dispensary experience in states with legal weed, coming to your state soon!

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5 Qualities of a Great Marijuana Dispensary

Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries

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.

Security

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.

Marijuana

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.

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Cannabis Habits – Why You Should Change Yours

Cannabis Habits

People tend to be creatures of habit.  Some of those habits serve us well, a daily walk, a morning cup of coffee, an evening meditation, even your cannabis habits.  All great habits however even the best of habits can use a little shaking up from time to time.  This is definitely true for cannabis consumption.  The same glass bowl of the same strain at the same time every day may start to lose its excitement or effectiveness after a while.  Just as there are multiple routes you can take on your morning walk, there are so many ways to consume cannabis that changing your routine may just open the door to some new discoveries about yourself and how cannabis can be a useful part of your life.

If you want to do some cannabis exploration, start with a trip, not that kind of tip, down memory lane.  Why do you use cannabis?  Every person will have a different answer to this question and for many people, there are multiple reasons.  Some use cannabis to alleviate pain, stress or to treat any number of other medical conditions.  Some use it in a strictly recreational way and so many use it for all of the above.  No matter your reasons, changing the way you use cannabis can change your life.

Change Your Cannabinoid Ratio

If you use medical marijuana with a high CBD percentage to treat a medical condition, try asking your budtender for a different percentage.  For example if you are using a 1:2 THC:CBD ratio, how would a 1:1 ration affect your medical condition?  You can always go back to the old ratio if you’re not happy with the results.  You may find that a little more THC produces additional benefits and continues to treat your medical condition.  Win, Win!  For those recreational users who are searching for the highest THC strains they can find, do they live up to the hype?  In some cases they do but not always and just because a strain of marijuana has a high THC percentage does not mean your unique body chemistry will experience the full effects.  Try a mid-range THC strain, say around 18-20% rather than the sought after 30% plus strain and see how you like it.  Dispensaries that offer half gram joints are an excellent way to experiment a little with varying THC percentages without a serious financial commitment.  You may be pleasantly surprised at the results of changing the THC percentage.  Up is not always the right direction for everyone and the same goes for your cannabis habits.

Consider Changing the Type of Cannabis Strain

You’ve no doubt heard people say they only smoke Indica.  You yourself might really prefer a good Sativa.  Perhaps you like a perfectly balanced hybrid.  Regardless of your preferences, new strains are showing up in dispensaries every day and if you refuse to give new cannabis strains a try because it is a Sativa and you only use Indicas, you are likely going to miss out on some serious cannabis bliss. Again a good budtender can advise you on a somewhat mellow Sativa if you have been solely using an Indica strain to relax at the end of the day.  Conversely, an upbeat Indica can take the place of a mid-afternoon Sativa.  If you don’t have access to a wise budtender, use your own previous experiences with marijuana as a general guide.  If you’re looking to make a change, do it on a lazy day that you don’t have a bunch of obligations so if that Indica was a little more sleep inducing that you expected, a nap fits into your schedule.  If that evening Sativa is not as relaxing as you had hoped, you don’t have to be up at 6 am for a 7 am meeting.  Just a bit of planning ahead can make all the difference to your ultimate experience.

Timing is Everything

For all the wake and bakers out there, this is going to be tough but think about starting your day without a few good bong rips and instead some coffee and a walk. Your cannabis habits are part of your routine, I know. Wait until after lunch to take your first dab of the day.  Why not!  This is all about shaking up your routine and seeing if a change in your cannabis habits is a good thing.  Don’t worry, you can always go back to the pre-dawn bong.  The idea is your experience with cannabis will be slightly different if you change the time or times that you normally use it.  For those who rely on a late evening session to help ease them into sleep, changing that might seem impossible but it’s doable.  You may even discover that you sleep better if you have your usual nightly session a few hours earlier.  It’s all about being flexible with when you use cannabis and varying your daily routine.  You could end up liking the changes so much, they become a new part of your cannabis use.

Be sure to check out: Make the Most of a Wake ‘N’ Bake Cannabis Session

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How to Increase Your Cannabis Buzz

Increase Your Cannabis Buzz

The perfect cannabis buzz is a beautiful but sometimes fragile thing.  A little bad luck or the wrong choices and you could find yourself with a very unsatisfying cannabis experience.  All that time and money not to mention good intentions down the drain.  No marijuana connoisseur will tell you that all highs are perfect and just because you consumed cannabis you should expect to have a fantastic time, every time. With the right attitude and some knowledge you can increase your cannabis buzz and positive meaningful experiences and decrease the ones that mess with your high in some really harsh ways.

Lower Expectation to Increase Your Cannabis Buzz

We humans have this habit of overthinking things, often to such extremes that we psyche ourselves out of even the simplest of pleasures. Case in point, consuming cannabis.  Just because you paid a lot of money for a strain that a budtender told you was the best ever, doesn’t mean your own experience will be the best.  Different marijuana strains react differently with each person’s own chemistry.  So it’s smart to listen to advice, but don’t take it as indisputable fact.

Too Much is Sometimes Too Much

It’s an easy mistake to make, even for seasoned cannabis users, you just did too much.  This can play out in one of two ways, either you feel a little sick, you get anxious or the best is when you just fall asleep.  The other side of this coin is you have been consuming a lot of cannabis products and have built up a tolerance that starts to affect the quality of your buzz and not in a good way.  Knowing your limits and being cautious with new marijuana strains and products you have limited experience with is the best way to keep your buzz where it should be, high.

The Right Smoke Buddies Can Make All the Difference

Ever spent hours listening to a friend or acquaintance drone on and on about something you have no interest in but you feel obligated to hang in there?  This friend does not understand the two way dynamic of conversation and you may just be an audience to their constant monologues.  Think about and visualize if you can, how it might play out to make this person a smoke buddy.  If you are a risk taker, give it a try.  It’s entirely possible with the right cannabis products, this person may be the perfect smoke buddy to increase your cannabis buzz.  Or they may not and you will spend the next few hours feeling uncomfortable and wishing for a quick teleportation to…anywhere else.  Conversely, if you have a friend who you makes you feel happy and comfortable when you’re not high, then it is probable they will be a perfect addition to your next cannabis session.

Alcohol Accompaniments

For most cannabis users, the occasional beer or glass of wine with your marijuana just adds an additional layer of fun and relaxation.  For others, it can really destroy your buzz if you are not used to drinking, cannabis or doing both at the same time.  A beautiful trippy high can turn into a bathroom floor nausea night with the wrong mix of alcohol and cannabis.  The best way to prevent this from happening is to go slow and experiment.  Try your cannabis first, then have a beer, now wait.  How do you feel after half an hour?  The answer to that question will determine how you should proceed.

Planning Your Cannabis Session Down to the Last Minute

If you have traveled with people who love to plan literally every moment of the trip, you can certainly relate to this one.  In life, travel and cannabis use, there must be some room for spontaneity and surprise.  Achieving a really good high is special and if you just want to kick back and watch the clouds float by but your list says its puzzle time, stress is sure to follow.  So leave the serious planning for work or school if you really want to increase your cannabis buzz.  It’s often fun to have a general idea about what you plan to do during your cannabis session but always leave room to change your mind.

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My First Time……trying Cannabis Edibles

Cannabis Edibles, Mary Mart

Way back in 2013 when Washington state first legalized recreational marijuana I decided it was high, pun intended, time I tried some cannabis edibles.  I was living in Tacoma and for anyone who has visited or lived there, 6th Avenue is kind of the drag, or it was in 2013.  I knew there were two dispensaries within a few blocks of each other and having just visited one early in the week for some flower, had heard of a Friday Happy Hour at Mary Mart Dispensary.  The perfect opportunity to try out some cannabis edibles for free and as I had smoked all the bud I bought on Tuesday, stock up on more flower in one trip.

I was living 8 blocks away from 6th Avenue at the time and walking was my main form of exercise so I waited until a little before 5 and set out.  I saw a neighbor on the way who wanted to join but she needed an hour or two to get some work done.  Having no patience, which in retrospect was a terrible decision, I told her I was going solo.  I arrived at the first marijuana dispensary, Emerald Leaves which I think was at one point a microbrewery, it was big cavernous and had a lot of concrete.  Not super inviting visually but product wise they did not disappoint.  I tried some delicious lemonade in a tiny little one ounce cup, still thirsty I tried some raspberry lemonade for good measure.  I wandered aimlessly around the dispensary, spent an excessively long time looking at the cannabis edibles menu.  I decided I wasn’t feeling much of anything and it had been about 20 minutes, time to push on.  First I bought some sweet Obama Kush and a few prerolls from their mystery cannabis section and was headed to the next dispensary Mary Mart.

Now Mary Mart was only two blocks away and despite the name, was a cozy little dispensary with super happy and helpful budtenders.  I think I was expecting a sterile vibe with a slightly convenience store look based solely on the name, not at all.  It was a chill little place.  Their happy hour offerings consisted of some phenomenal salted caramels and brownie bites.  I ate one of each and took another caramel…for the road.  I chatted with a budtender about the whole cannabis life, bought another gram of flower that was on special, took a free mini joint and decided I should start heading home.

As I began the now 10 block walk home it had been close to an hour since I had quickly downed the lemonades and about 20 minutes since the caramel and brownie bite consumption.  10 blocks though, for me that’s a short walk, all downhill.  After two blocks, I noticed the texture of the sidewalk felt strangely different under my feet.  I decided either the soles of my shoes or the sidewalk or some bizarre combination of the two must be made of marshmallows.  Cool?  Yes except for the walking part. 8 blocks left and walking was now something I had forgotten how to do correctly.  I’m not sure who I looked to the casual observer but in my mind, I was living in marshmallow land and each step was more and more bouncy.  To this day I’m surprised I didn’t get some air.  Everything was technicolor and Washington, even most urban areas are already pretty green, now the grass, the flowers, were all technicolor.  Amazing visuals and the feeling of euphoria was off the charts from my previous flower cannabis experiences.  I made it home, not sure how long it took, could have been 15 minutes or twice that.  I did not care!

Once I got inside my place, I hit the couch and fairly quickly began to feel a little too high.  Looking back, I should have had this experience with my neighbor, it would have made the walk back even more entertaining and I definitely should have asked the budtenders questions about the cannabis edibles, how much THC was in each little lemonade, caramel, brownie bite.  I was overly excited to try out literally every edible I could get my hands on and forgot to be a smart cannabis consumer.  I believe I consumed about 80 mg total, which was way too much for me but made for a rollercoaster of a first edible experience and I’ll never look at a marshmellow the same way again.

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Your Friendly Neighborhood Marijuana Budtender

Marijuana Budtender

For those lucky enough to live in a state or country with medical and/or recreational marijuana dispensaries, a great marijuana budtender can be the difference between an awesome, educational and ultimately successful experience and a visit that is disappointing and overly expensive.  A good knowledgeable budtender makes your trip to a dispensary the first part of achieving that perfect high.

What is a Budtender?

A person who works at a dispensary whose job it is to help you select cannabis products that meet your needs.  Much like a bartender, a budtender is a service oriented job that requires a variety of skills.

Most budtenders have some industry experience, meaning they are current or previous marijuana users themselves.  Naturally this is only a small part of the job.  Most budtenders in competitive markets have extensive knowledge about the local growing communities, the ever growing methods of consuming cannabis products, an in depth slightly nerdy approach to the science behind marijuana and some level of social skill.  Who are these magic unicorns and how do you become one? Connections.  Most budtenders got their gig by knowing a friend of a friend of a friend.  Update that LinkedIn profile!

What Can I Expect From a Budtender?

For the cannabis novice who has never set foot in a dispensary, think of a budtender like a teacher.  Like any good teacher, a marijuana budtender won’t do the work for you but knows how to ask the right questions so that you can arrive at the answer, the perfect bud, without too much time and stress.  A dispensary is the last place you should be stressed, so keep the vibes chill.

There is a scene from the movie “Bridesmaids” when after boarding a flight to Vegas for the bachelorette party, a drinking newbie asks the flight attendant for a “glass of alcohol”.  Don’t be that person. Do some homework on your own before you head out.  Your marijuana budtender will appreciate it, especially during these times of social distancing, that you do not show up and ask for some “really good weed”.

Of course you should ask your budtender for recommendations but keep in mind part of their job is sales and like any salesperson may recommend top shelf cannabis products that are not what you had in mind.  If you have tried some marijuana recently that you loved, or hated, be sure to mention that to your budtender.   Be specific, tell them what you loved or hated about the last product.  When in doubt listen to your budtenders advice but be willing to try a few different strains.  Sometimes the quest for cannabis perfection takes some trial and error.

What Budtenders Want You to Know

No it’s not the perfect job.  Most marijuana dispensaries budtenders do not sit around stoned all day, in fact most follow very strict laws and guidelines to stay in business.  Treat them with respect and they will reciprocate. Feel free to ask for a discount but don’t demand one and please no complaining about prices and taxes.  Your budtenders have absolutely no control over prices or taxes.  The prices are negotiated between the growers and the dispensary owners, your typical marijuana budtender is not part of this equation.  Taxes are determined by law at the state or federal level.  Budtenders want your feedback.  Found the perfect Sativa during your last visit?  Make sure to thank your budtender on your next visit.  The last Indica recommendation left you unimpressed, your budtender wants to know this too. No touching the cannabis products!  Enough said. Ultimately a budtender is doing everything possible to help you find the best cannabis for your specific needs and the more you work with them, do your homework and treat them with respect, the better the outcome and you may just be on your way to the best marijuana experience of your life.

Be Sure to Tip Your Budtender