Dispensary Etiquette 101


Posted on February 11th, 2019 to Cannabis by


What Should I Know before Going into a Dispensary?

As human beings, we should have and show respect not only for our budtenders, but everyone we come into contact with every single day. We are privileged to live in a state that allows us to legally purchase cannabis recreationally and medicinally, and we owe it to everyone in this industry to be treated with compassion and understanding.

I’m sure a lot of people think budtenders only stand behind a counter and weigh out weed all day, and that it must be the easiest job in the world—however, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being a budtender is a lot of work, and there are many moving parts that need to be managed and overseen in the store, among employees, and with their customers. 

As we established earlier, we are human beings. And as human beings, we all encounter common pet peeves—or in this case pot peeves— that are common within any given industry. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we put in a little effort to make the lives of our budtenders a little easier?

So, the next time (or if this is your first time) visiting a dispensary, please keep these 16 common dispensary faux pas in mind before going! 

Budtenders Top 16 Pot Peeves

Bring a valid government-issued ID with you.

1. Bring Cash & Valid ID. Hard currency is the sole exchange method for most dispensaries because of the federal government’s stance on the sale of marijuana. Most banks are too gun-shy to pull the trigger to take the risk of providing services to a federally illegal business—so cash it is. Just make sure your ID is a valid (not expired/current) government issued photo ID, and you should be good to go! See the Law section of our Cannabis 101 page for more info on valid government IDs.

Another HUGE no-no that shouldn’t even need to be said is the use of fake IDs. They are incredibly easy to spot, and because we scan all of our ID’s, no one is fooling anyone. Not to mention you will be fined, criminally charged, and prosecuted if you attempt to use a fake ID—so we recommend not even trying it.

 And not to toot our own horn, but Westword magazine has praised Breckenridge Organic Therapy for how well we crack down on this fake ID business! 

2. Wait to be greeted at the front. By law we have to check all customers ID’s when entering the dispensary and at the register. Because cannabis products are on display in the lobby areas, people that are underage aren’t allowed to be there. Any area weed is displayed—even pictures—requires the dispensary to verify your age, so please, wait to be greeted! 

And of course, the point of purchase ID check is both mandatory and self-explanatory: we need to confirm you are legally old enough to purchase marijuana before selling it to you. 

3.  Don’t complain about being ID’d even if you’re 80. This one carries over from the previous tip. We ID everyone—old, young, short, tall, male, female…you get the idea. By law every single person that steps into our dispensary has to be ID’d, and budtenders constantly get flack for it. Please understand that asking you to provide your ID twice every single visit is not personal. In order for you to legally buy weed, we need to follow the law. 


4. Be Prepared to Wait. Like my mother always said, “patience is a virtue.” And regarding proper dispensary etiquette, this definitely holds true. Please recognize that while your budtender is trying to be time efficient to get to the next customer, they also are trying to listen to their needs and wants to better serve them. 

I know I wouldn’t appreciate someone rushing the budtender that was helping me, and it is likely you wouldn’t either. So, keep true to the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have done to you.”

5. Ordering in large groups can create confusion. While there is no rule against it, your budtender would appreciate it. Since cannabis and the affects it has on each individual can vary greatly from person to person, addressing the needs of an entire group can get quite daunting—not to mention keeping all their orders straight can understandably lead to some confusion. It is best for you and your overall experience to have a one on one interaction with your budtender so they can help determine what strains and type of high suits you the best. 

You can look and smell but please do not touch the product!

6. Look, smell, but don’t touch the weed! We are the first to understand the desire to want to not only smell and look at beautiful buds—but to touch and squeeze them too! We do it with our produce at the grocery store; it’s only natural to want to do it with your weed, but please don’t! Since you can’t wash marijuana like you can produce, it is very unsanitary to allow people to put their grubby little hands all over the weed you will be smoking. 

7. Only buy it for yourself. Once you buy your herb it is yours to do with what you want (as long as it’s off our premises) but as long as you are in the dispensary, you can legally only buy it for yourself. Claiming you are buying cannabis products for someone else should be avoided because 1. it’s against the law, and 2. it would be illegal for us to sell it knowing it was going to be illegally distributed. 

Your budtender has a wealth of knowledge about cannabis products. Ask them questions and listen to what they have to say!

8. Trust your budtender. Budtenders are trained and knowledgeable experts concerning all things cannabis, and they have devoted a lot of time and energy into becoming professionals. Feel free to ask questions and listen to what they have to say while being respectful. We love knowledgeable consumers, but budtenders have detailed knowledge of all different strains, their effects, how they were grown, and even where the seeds are sourced. So, take our word for it and put your faith in your budtenders—you’re in good hands. 

9. Don’t forget to tip! Budtenders are members of the service industry just like servers and bartenders. And just like your server and bartender, it is customary to tip your budtender as a reflection of the effort they put forth. Unlike bars and restaurants where it is customary to tip about 20% of your total bill, we recommend tipping your budtender what you feel comfortable with. Your budtenders work very hard and are very passionate about what they do. Tipping is a nice way of showing your appreciation for your budtenders service and knowledge—plus no one wants to be the cheap Scrooge who doesn’t tip. 

A cannabis user vaporizing the thc infused liquid
A cannabis user vaporizing thc infused liquid.

10. Don’t use vapes (THC and Nicotine) in store! This is a big one. Yes, we know that vapes are allowed in some stores and public places, however this is not one of them. We have security cameras inside and outside of the dispensary, and if we are seen vaping or letting any of our guests vape—we get in trouble. Since they don’t know what type of vape that is being smoked, it is automatically assumed to be cannabis, and the consumption of ANY cannabis products on premises is legally prohibited. 

11. Don’t bring in ANY outside cannabis products. While we are very passionate about all things cannabis, please don’t bring in any outside products that you want to “share” with us or “sample”. By law it is required to have all cannabis products that come into our store labeled and accounted for. Bringing in outside weed is not only illegal, but it would understandably look shady to outsiders. The last thing we need is the Feds thinking reputable places of business are running illegal side operations. So, with that being said, keep your cannabis at home—we don’t care how dank it is. 

Do not smoke any product or tobacco inside or outside the premises, ever!

12. Don’t smoke in or outside the premises EVER! We understand that you’re itching to try your purchases, but it is against the law to light up anywhere on or near the premises (including the parking lot). In fact, there are pretty stringent laws on public consumption, so we definitely recommend waiting to light up until you get home or reach a designated smoking area. Just remember toking in front of a dispensary is just as socially unacceptable as taking shots in front of a liquor store would be. You just don’t do it. 

Do not open your product in the store! Only open once you get home. It is illegal to have open cannabis containers in a vehicle.

13. Keep products sealed until you get home or to a designated smoking area. Again, the law makes the rules and we have to follow them. It is illegal to have or consume unsealed cannabis products in a public space, and Breckenridge Organic Therapy is a public space. If we get busted letting everyone open weed products—even just to “check it out” it would be bad news bears for us. We would likely get shut down and sorry, we aren’t taking that chance. Like we established earlier—patience is a virtue.

Please refrain from pre-gaming and coming in to the store high.

14. Refrain from pre-gaming and getting stoned before coming in. We love getting stoned just as much as you do. However, if you come in blitzed it can cause you to unknowingly be much more indecisive and slower in everything you do. Taking time to help out our customers is our pleasure, but if you’re taking so much time that there is a sizeable line forming behind you because you’re high—that is an inconvenience not only to your budtender, but the other clients waiting to be served. Plus, smoking before driving is never advisable anyway, so again, being patient pays off!


15. Put your phone away. While not illegal, many dispensaries don’t allow your phones to be out for the privacy of employees and customers. There have been issues with people taking photos of other individuals purchasing marijuana, then posting it on social media resulting in the loss of their jobs or relationships. Not everyone wants the whole world to know their personal business, so please be respectful of others privacy and ours. 

16. Don’t call and keep asking about specific strains. Ask about their menu instead. It is almost impossible to determine what strains we will get in and when. Especially here at BOT, we carry so many varieties from different growers we would need to be psychic to know exactly what will be available when. Not to mention we can’t determine how long any given strain will remain in stock. Asking about the current menu and strains on our list will give your budtenders a better idea about how they can best help you find a strain that you will love— right now! 

Final Hit

There you have it! A pretty through list of the common pot peeves our beloved budtenders encounter on the job, and what you can do (or not do) to make their days a little easier. Knowledge is power, so just be mindful of your surroundings when you come in, use common sense, and treat everyone with respect. 

We hope you found this helpful in understanding the hard work and vigilance budtenders put into their craft—and feel free to check out what our friends over at Civilized have to say about dispensary etiquette below! 


Breckenridge Organic Therapy carries a variety of cannabis products that are naturally sourced and high quality. Feel free to stop by or contact us with any questions you may have and we will be happy to help!

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