A cannabis storefront that dispenses medical or adult-use cannabis products for sale or donation.

Customers will find two types of dispensaries, medical and recreational. Depending on local laws and regulations, medical cannabis dispensaries typically cater to patients 18 years and older, and patients with caregivers with a marijuana recommendation or card issued by a doctor qualified to recommend cannabis. Recreational cannabis dispensaries typically cater to adult customers 21 years and older.

“I buy my cannabis at the licensed dispensary down the street.”

“Since my city doesn't allow cannabis dispensaries, I order delivery service.”

What is a Dispensary?

In most weed-legal locations, dispensaries are the main consumer-facing side of the legal industry. As such, they typically sell a broad range of cannabis products, including flower, vapes, concentrates, edibles and drinkables, and more, though the products available vary by region. Dispensaries function more or less like a retailer in any other consumer space.

In some locations, it is also possible to purchase weed legally from a collective. However, marijuana collectives should not be confused with regular marijuana dispensaries. Even though some collectives might sell weed in ways very similar to dispensaries they are not the same. A dispensary is solely a retail commercial operation. But collectives are first and foremost not-for-profit organizations in which members work together to produce and provide access to legal marijuana. This may or may not include some form of public-facing retail, typically for medical patients.

Depending on the state or country, users may be able to buy weed legally from a dispensary or a collective. In general, collectives are harder to find, while dispensaries are typically easy to find in any place where cannabis has been legalized.

How Do Dispensaries Get Their Weed?

Legal dispensaries acquire their weed from legal and licensed growers and suppliers. The precise legal frameworks and regulatory structures that define this process vary state by state and country by country. But in general, in order to remain legal, the entire supply chain through which dispensaries get their weed must be licensed and regulated by the government.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on June 18, 2021.