Dos and Dopes: Qualities of a Good Dispensary

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APCO MED medical marijuana dispensary department store at 313 NW 23rd Street in Oklahoma City.

A bit over a year into Oklahoma’s medical cannabis program, to say I pass 15 dispensaries on the way to my dispensary is only a slight exaggeration. I once aspired to visit every new dispensary that opened within a 25-mile radius. Unfortunately, my commitment to visit every new merchant of magical medicinal delights started to cut into my budget for things like delicious pizza.

Finding a dispensary that makes you comfortable is incredibly important. With more options than there are varieties of Doritos, here are a few of the qualities that have stood out to me as being a sign of a good dispensary.

Security 

I never thought that one day having a man cosplaying as a police officer in the presence of my marijuana purchase would be comforting. 788 changed this. Often, my first impression of a dispensary is made before I even pull into the parking lot. If I pass a location and the first thing I see is a retired Crown Vic police interceptor with a fading security logo plastered to the side, I can at least be assured that the owners care enough about their business to attempt to make the experience of purchasing our medicine as safe as possible

Presentation

In a market more saturated than the carpet of a bong-user with an ornery cat, I really appreciate a dispensary that attempts to present itself as professional and patient-focused. Regardless of whether a dispensary is a mom-and-pop operation in the back of a vape shop or an investment-funded franchise, I would prefer to give my business to businesses that treat medical marijuana with a sense of professionalism and avoids leaning too heavily on stoner culture. Blood, sweat and tears (all brimming with THC metabolites) went into legally putting this bag of cannabis-infused beef jerky into my hands. I respect dispensaries that respect that.

Deals

If you haven’t figured it out, weedmaps.com and leafly.com are going to be your constant companions of cannabis curation. (Editor’s note: Subscribe here, for The Happy Ogle’s Weekend Weed Deals.)

Several of my go-to dispensaries are determined by the frequency they are showing up on the Daily Deals tabs of either site. Marijuana isn’t the cheapest product, but it is undoubtedly improving the lives of Oklahomans. A dispensary that is willing to discount product frequently, so patients can afford their meds is a win in my well-illustrated book.

Prices That Include Tax

Previously, cannabis was the most comprehensive introduction to the metric system that most Americans would ever get. Now, medical cannabis is teaching an entirely new skill: How to calculate a roughly 16% sales tax. Multiply the price by .16

Now, allegedly, before the implementation of our glorious medical program, 60 bucks was 60 bucks, that’s what it was. Considering this, I can sympathize with everyone who walks into a dispensary with the expectation of buying that frosty $50 8th they saw on Weedmaps only to be crushed when they are short the 8 bucks they forgot they’d owe the government.

Some dispensaries include taxes in all their menu and online pricing. This is a small detail — and lacking that isn’t a deal-breaker — but a business willing to do that extra work on the back end to make its customers experience that much better is pretty dope to me.

Clearly, it’s all subjective. At the end of the day, what matters is that you are satisfied with your cannabis purchasing experience. With our incredibly competitive medical marijuana marketplace, dispensaries are becoming a lot like strains: There really is something out there for everyone!

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