How to Avoid Being a Sh*tty Customer on the First Day of Legal Marijuana Sales in California

Yeah, we said it. We’ve all had days where we could have been better customers, whether at the grocery store or yes, even at our dispensary. The new adult use rules go into effect on Monday, and despite the hurdles along the way, Jan. 1, 2018, is going to be a historic and extremely hectic day in California cannabis.

Cannabis and Caffeine wants you to do your part to keep the atmosphere mellow and the lines moving. Here’s how avoid being a bad customer on the first day of recreational cannabis sales in California.

Be Prepared to Wait in Line

If you’re at all familiar with the cannabis scene in California, you know that not every city is selling recreational marijuana on Jan 1. Some cities have banned sales outright, and others, like San Francisco, won’t allow sales for days, weeks or months from now.

Those restrictions mean that residents from around the state (and beyond) will be traveling to cities that have allowed sales on Jan. 1, like San Jose. Throw in former medical patients, new users, people who want to buy something just because they can, etc., and you’ve got a recipe for long lines and wait times.

We’re not saying to bring a camp chair with you, but be prepared to wait for your turn. Not sure where you can buy legal cannabis in your area on Day 1? Check out Leafly’s list of dispensaries.

Remember Your Driver’s License or Identification Card

You will not be permitted to enter a store or to purchase marijuana without a valid state-issued ID. Dispensaries aren’t checking and scanning them for fun – this is part of an overall effort to continue destigmatizing and legalizing cannabis nationwide. You know Attorney General Jeff Sessions is watching things closely, and staying compliant with ALL laws is how we continue to have nice things.

Have an Idea of What You Want to Buy Before You Walk in

Asking questions at the counter is perfectly okay – making recommendations and answering questions is part of Budtender 101 – but do have SOME idea of what you want before you walk inside. Doesn’t matter if it’s simply flower vs. edible or gram vs. eighth. Think of it like this: Don’t be the equivalent of a guy in the self-checkout lane with 27 items in his shopping cart, slowly scanning away.

Medical patients should also keep in mind that the new adult use rules have limited edible dosage amounts to 10 mg per dose and 100 mg per package. Though there’s a reprieve on those limits until July 1 for medical marijuana users, you still might not be able to purchase old favorites at your dispensary.

Make a Backup Plan

Stores in Maryland ran out of marijuana within the first week of legal medical sales, and Nevada officials declared a “statement of emergency” to keep up with demand. With any luck, your dispensary has automated inventory software with online menu integration. That’s tech speak for: a budtender scans an item and the system updates the shop’s online menus accordingly, so you know what’s in stock before you even walk in the store.

If your dispensary lacks that capability, have a few other strains/products in mind, or prepare to be walking away empty handed.

Bring Enough Cash to Cover Taxes

The sale of recreational marijuana also means more taxes. In some cities, you might be paying up to 45% in taxes alone. If your dispensary takes credit cards, not to worry, but if it’s cash-only, be prepared to have enough cash to cover those new taxes. Even better, skip the store ATM altogether and bring enough cash with you from the start.

Medical Marijuana Patients, Remember Your Reusable Bag

If you are a med patient with a reusable bag, remember to bring it. California’s new packaging rules require every cannabis purchase to be inside a child-resistant “exit bag” when leaving a store.

If you don’t have one, or you forget your bag, it’ll set you back a dollar or two. Please do not complain about this. You just dropped what, $70 on some really nice cannabis? Don’t be that self-checkout guy, who’s now fussing over a 15 cent shopping bag fee on top of his $100 in groceries. It’s a bad look.

Be Nice to the Employees (Particularly if They Are New)

Dispensaries around the state have had to hire on new budtenders, receptionists and other employees in preparation for California’s demand for legal marijuana. If you find yourself at a counter with a newer budtender, be nice. These folks are having a long day, possibly made longer by still learning the ins and outs of retail sales. Even a single, pleasant, “Hi, how are you?” or a smile can make the difference on a busy day.

Be Honest but Vigilant

This sort of goes without saying, but it happens: don’t steal. Just don’t. Put your hands back in your pockets, no matter how tempting it may be to snatch something off the counter while no one’s looking. You’re on camera. You were on camera the moment you walked near the store, and certainly while you’re in the store.

On the flip side, be vigilant about your own belongings. At CaC we like to believe in the good of humanity – sorry about that lecture in the last paragraph – but we know the reality is that crappy people do exist. A large group of people, almost all of them  carrying a significant amount of cash, could be a choice target for people with bad intentions.

Final Words of Advice

If you find yourself getting frustrated with long lines or big crowds, keep in mind that everyone is here for the same reason you are. In other words, take a deep breath and try to relax. Buying marijuana in California on the first day of legal sales might not be a story for the grandkids, but it’s still pretty damn cool. So remember:

1. Be an awesome customer on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in California.
2. Don’t be not awesome.

Stick to those two rules, and everything should be just fine. Let’s make history, people.


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