Weed to Know: Getting in and out of a dispensary fluidly


Collegian | Trin Bonner

Taylor Paumen, Content Managing Editor

Here at the cannabis desk, we’ve let our minds stretch to create lots of informative, silly and exciting content and columns in the desk’s short 2 1/2-year life span. Our audience can submit anonymous crazy stories with our “Because I Got High” column, and you can get reviews of different strain options around town while learning more about the cultivating industry as a whole.

Now we’re introducing our newest creation: the “Weed to Know” column, where we’ll present things for beginners to feel more comfortable as they navigate this new consumer era.


To kick off our grand commencement, I’m going to walk you through what to expect when going into a dispensary: things like how to enter, what you’ll need to get in, who you’ll be interacting with, how to order and how to leave.

For those of you who have been to only one dispensary or none at all, don’t be frightened. Personally, a cannabis shop asking you for your driver’s license at the front door is much more inviting than at a bar.

While Fort Collins alone has over 10 dispensaries, there are a few constant things you can prepare for in every single one.

First, let’s make sure you have everything you need to get in. This includes being 18 or older if you have a medical marijuana card. Otherwise you have to be 21 or older with a hard state ID license, or if you’re recently 21, your old punched ID with your new paper copy ID will do just fine. Other acceptable options are a passport book or card, a valid military ID or a Native American tribal ID card.

Every spot has an entry section of some sort where you’ll wait to get your ID checked by a front desk employee. Some shops like LivWell Enlightened Health, Flower Power Botanicals and Verts Neighborhood Dispensary may have you waiting in line outside if it’s busy. Patience is key, so wait to be called in, or ring the doorbell if you’re next.

“I do encourage you to branch out and explore all the dispensary options in Fort Collins. You never know where your next elevated experience could come from.”

Other spots like Organic Alternatives and The Green Solution have more spacious areas to wait inside once your ID has been checked. But don’t put your ID away just yet because once you’ve made it through the first line of defense and been given a line number, it’ll be your turn, and you’ll hand both to your budtender to double-check you’re not an underage imposter.

You’ve made it in and, at last, can ask for what you want. Your options will generally include edibles, pre-rolls, flower, wax, cartridges, disposable pens, merchandise, smoking devices and many brands and strains of each. You can come in knowing exactly what you want, or you can ask your budtender what they recommend. You can also learn more on what is available for you to buy at any shop here.

Once you’ve decided on your desired product, you can either buy it with cash or a debit card. Almost every dispensary should have an ATM, especially if you go somewhere like Flower Power that only takes cash. But if you’d like to avoid extra fees, getting cash beforehand or going somewhere else that accepts a debit card could be more convenient. Because cannabis isn’t legal federally, using a credit card may not work due to your credit card company, so be aware of that.

Now you’ve made it into the compound smoothly and paid for your herbal treats, but not so fast: There’s one last thing before you’re home free.

Most dispensaries will put all your goodies into a bag with your receipt, but some places like Verts will ask if you can put it in your purse or conceal it in any way possible. Either way, you can then head out and safely get your products home before consuming them.

Now you can enter any dispensary looking like a pro and enjoy the experience instead of feeling anxious before heading in. Even if you do still feel nervous, my best tip is to find one dispensary you really enjoy that offers anything you’d need, then go there only.

Otherwise I do encourage you to branch out and explore all the dispensary options in Fort Collins. You never know where your next elevated experience could come from.

Reach Taylor Paumen at cannabis@collegian.com or on Twitter @TayTayPau.