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marijuana buying guide

Even one weed plant can produce a lot of buds come harvest time, so make sure you grow a strain you like. Note strains you enjoy when you pick something up at the dispensary or smoke with friends, and look for seeds of it when you want to start growing.

US

Although this option is only available to people living in states with medical and adult-use legalization, buying marijuana seeds at the dispensary is far more straightforward. However, your options are more limited.

What’s the difference between regular, feminized, and autoflower seeds?

Cannabis seeds usually come in a pack of 10 or 12 seeds and start at around $40 a pack and go up from there. Some high-end genetics can run between $200 to $500 a pack.

Make sure to always stay within your state’s legal limit of growing plants.

Because US federal law still prohibits cannabis, it can be hard to find information on seed banks and breeders. Breeders who have a long history and positive reputation are usually a good place to start. To get an idea of what well-established breeders look like, check out:

If you want six total cannabis plants to harvest for buds and are growing from regular seeds, start with about 4 times as many, or 24 seeds. Some won’t germinate and some will turn out to be males, and then you’ll want to discard down to the six best phenotypes. If growing feminized seeds, you can probably start with about twice as many seeds in this case (about 12); a couple won’t germinate, and then discard down to the six best phenotypes.

The same rules apply with hash, for the most part.

3. Dryness. This is a tough one, because I’ve smoked dry buds that were plenty flavorful and enjoyable, but most of the time, it’s safe to say that dry is not good.

5. Genetics. It’s all about the genetics. Go with tried and true varieties. There are so many breeders and crosses out there, that it’s tough to weed (heh! pun intended) through all the variations.

Hash, BHO, Rosin, Bubble, Etc.

With that being said, the brown/amber rule does not apply in the case of water extractions. In this case, you want to follow your nose to make sure you get some flavorful bubble. Also, observe the appearance. It should look shiny and greasy, if you want melty water hash. Usually the dryer, sandy stuff doesn’t hold enough of the oily properties to be considered “dabbable,” if that’s what you prefer.

So next time you’re headed to a dispensary and you’re in there doing the ritual “open, sniff and close,” remember this: Is it attractive? Does it smell bright and pleasant? Is it caked with trichomes? Is it too dry? Is it organic? Is it a mystery bag that you cannot check out first?

2. Appearance. If the weed looks brown, hairy and leafy, you’re not going to have a good time. Make sure it’s got some life to it—those bright and rich colors. That’s not to say some duller golden colors can’t be fire, but as a rule, make sure it doesn’t look like it’s been stored in a coffee can since the ’60s.

Let’s face it, recreational weed isn’t cheap. From $10 – $20 a gram, it can add up.

Time to bust out that ID. And you have to do that every single time, even regulars. It’s good to keep in mind that state regulations like this one give a clunky flow to every process.

If you happen to be someone seeking strong effects, don’t get distracted by THC percentages. Without proper storage, 30% THC flower harvested over six months ago will be a weaker smoke than freshly cured and properly maintained flower that happened to test at 18%. The reality is that a single plant contains buds with varying amounts of THC across each branch, and only a handful of random buds determine test results for a whole batch of product. Current testing can somewhat ensure safe product, but it does not accurately assess potency. It’s more effective to ask budtenders about the cultivators behind each strain, and if you can smell before you buy, a rich, complex fragrance is a fundamental indicator of good weed. If you still just want the strongest products on the menu… Just ask the budtenders what they’ve been smoking over the past month.

After all, you’re not just picking out a couple t-shirts at H&M—you’re legally buying something that is federally illegal. Be prepared to wait a few minutes as budtenders input information into unintuitive software required by state law and print compliant receipts. Your friendly patience may just result in an extra discount as checkout or a heavier weight on your flower. You never know.

Checking In

So why do these unspoken codes of conduct matter to you? Because the more fluent you are in the language of dispensaries and the budtenders that run them, the more likely you are to get great service and walk out of there with something that delivers the effects you seek. Here is the ultimate guide to shopping at a dispensary.

Updated on 4/6/2021 at 5:22 PM

Every day for the past six years, hundreds of people walk into a legal cannabis dispensary for the first time. Maybe one opens up down the block, or you drive across town, even over to a neighboring state to see it for yourself. It’s one of the few places you can go right now, since they’ve been deemed essential businesses. Dispensaries have adapted to the COVID-19 retail era with increased delivery services, curbside pick-up, and limits on capacity to maintain safe distances, with many stores are doing more business than usual as people stock up to stay home. The one thing that all first-time customers have in common, regardless of the extent one has enjoyed cannabis prior to this moment, is a shared sense of unfamiliarity. This isn’t like walking into a liquor store at 21, but it also won’t be anything like exchanging $20 for a ziplock on your former dealer’s couch. It’s a completely new kind of experience, and despite how recent its debut, one that has already developed its own standard customs and etiquette.

The other part of the preparations is your mindset. You don’t need to educate yourself in cannabis science in order to shop for weed, but coming in with a clear idea or ideas of what you’re looking for will make a huge difference. Check in with yourself and how you’d like to feel. Do you want to feel happy? Do you want clear-headed focus? Relief for a specific symptom? Something to accompany a particular activity? These kinds of parameters will help you and your budtender navigate the shelves successfully.