The answer to this question will depend on many factors, chief among them where you live. The most common way to obtain medical marijuana is at a dispensary, and indeed, in some states, dispensaries are the only legal avenues for getting medical marijuana. In some states, however, there are also options like co-ops and collectives available. Even when thinking about dispensaries, there are a couple of different options—storefronts and delivery services.
So which is the best option? That’s really just a matter of what you’re most comfortable with. Our best advice is just to study up on the options that are available—and legal!—in your home state.
Dispensaries: Storefronts vs. Delivery Services
When it comes to dispensaries, you’ll find that different venues tend to have different atmospheres and cater to different patient demographics. Again, we’d advise you to try a couple different places and pick a dispensary where you find the staff to be helpful, and where you feel comfortable and relaxed—that’s really the most important thing.
Beyond that, you may have options available to you for either storefront or delivery services. A storefront dispensary is one where you actually have to go to the place, talk to cultivators, and receive your MMJ—that is to say, it’s not delivered to you. There are a number of advantages to opting for this kind of MMJ experience, though, especially if you’re a first-timer. Visiting the storefront will allow you to get a feel for what kind of business you’re buying from; to ask the staff members any questions you might have; and to take a look at the different products that are available. We will also stress that many dispensaries are very communal, and you might find it encouraging simply going and talking with people.
The downsides to storefront dispensaries is that they might require a decent amount of traveling—just depending on where you happen to live—and some dispensaries are in less than ideal parts of town. As such, delivery services definitely have their perks. Delivery services are obviously convenient, but the one downside is that you have to know what you want to buy ahead of time. As such, we really recommend going down to the dispensary in person, at least once.
Co-Ops, Clubs, Collectives
There are other options besides dispensaries, though you may or may not have access to them. Some states have legalized co-ops, clubs, and collectives—essentially, MMJ facilities that are run as non-profit organizations, and shaped by cultivators, doctors, and caregivers. It’s worth checking to see if your state is one in which these organizations are legal—and if so, you might find it interesting to visit one.
Of course there are pros and cons here as well. Depending on the size of the co-op, it may or may not have a varied supply of products or a knowledgeable staff. Additionally, since most co-ops are going to be located near cultivation sites, they may not be as accessible to urban-dwellers. Finally, some co-ops are going to offer products only to those who are certified as caregivers—not necessarily to patients themselves.
Other Avenues for Obtaining Medical Marijuana
There are still other ways in which you might seek to obtain MMJ. For example, you might be interested in growing the stuff yourself, or simply in purchasing it from another patient. We would urge caution here, as these things are legal in some states but not in all. Make sure you check with the laws in your state to determine the legal means of obtaining MMJ.
Additionally, we would note that there are some drawbacks to taking either of these approaches—most notably the fact that you’re likely to miss out on some important expertise. The people who work at dispensaries, and at many co-ops and collective gardens, tend to be pretty smart when it comes to the science and medicine behind MMJ. This makes them invaluable allies—and you’ll miss out on that if you go a more independent route. For those who are new MMJ patients, then, we really do recommend something that has a kind of built-in support system with it.
But again, our biggest thing is just to pick something you’re comfortable with. Where you get your medical marijuana will have a big impact on your overall MMJ experience, so it’s worth putting some real thought into.