Shopping for legal weed at the dispensary

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A local caregiver’s grow room before harvest. The difference between a caregiver and a dispensary is that a dispensary cannot be located at the same address of a grow site and a caregiver can grow for medical marijuana patients, according to the Medical Marijuana Dispensary FAQ page on Oregon.gov. Jaime Dunkle/PSU Vanguard

The writing is on the wall, the weed is behind the counter and you can buy it with your credit card. Marijuana prohibition is coming to a close, and with it, the cloak and dagger era of talking in code and buying from dealers in their musky living rooms.

Oregonians with serious medical conditions, or those who simply want to buy better weed and don’t mind fabricating a reason have had the option to get their OMMP card for years now. Those brave stoners who ponied up the cash and jumped through the hoops to get their golden ticket were not unlike young Charlie Bucket when he stepped into Willy Wonka’s fantastical factory of delights. Dozens of freshly-grown strains that you can smell and inspect, a wider assortment of edibles than your average coffee shop, various electronic pens and inhalers, body oils, massages and your very own pre-started marijuana plant to grow at home—to a stoner who grew up smoking whatever they could find, the smorgasbord offered at a dispensary is a dreamlike feast.

To an actual medical patient with no prior history of toking, however, a dispensary can be incomprehensible. And with the most recent election, any adult of legal age will soon be able to walk into an actual weed store and shop as if it were simple, innocent liquor. To those straight-off-the-street customers who haven’t gone through the process of getting an OMMP card, how do you know if that brownie is going to work at all or get you stoned for a week straight?

No matter your background with marijuana, there is only one thing you need to know when shopping legally for it: USE YOUR WORDS TO ASK QUESTIONS.

Ask absolutely anything you want to know and be willing to advocate for yourself. If it’s your first time, tell them. If you want to know what the difference between THC, CBC, CBD, Indica, Sativa, if you want weed for a particular mood or event, or want to try an edible, lip balm, personal lubricant, or something different, just say so.

No need to talk in code, no need for innuendo, no shame for not knowing something. The budtender, as they’re sometimes known, will be more than happy to tell you everything you could ever want to know about what they’re selling. Heck, even if you just want to know etiquette for smoking with others so you don’t seem too green, they’ll tell you how to toke like a proper pothead.

And if they should start talking over your head, seriously, just tell them! Remember, you’re doing nothing illegal, and you’re in no rush. If you want an in-depth explanation of tricombs, they’ll give you the science. If you wa nt the right bud for a Doctor Who marathon, they’ll have a suggestion. If you want to know how much butter to use so grandma can get comfortably stoned off your spaghetti carbonara, they’ll tell you dosage info.

If you don’t know your tolerance, ask them to help. Eating too much weed can’t kill you, but it can give you a terrible night. Colorado is having a fair number of incidents of folks ingesting too much, and it can all be avoided if you just ask for assistance.
Seriously. It’s legal now. No need to be an awkward stoner about it. Just ask.

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