9 Signs of the Right Dispensary

A cannabis dispensary

As the cannabis industry continues to grow and  thrive, more dispensaries continue to emerge in the United States in areas that have legalized its medicinal and recreational use. As more places to purchase cannabis open up, any marijuana enthusiast should rest easy knowing they purchased a good quality product from a trustworthy dispensary

Like any reputable business, it is important that customer service and safety is in mind when selling a product, especially a product that may induce psychoactive effects like cannabis. With this in mind, it is crucial that any cannabis consumer is aware of dispensary red flags to steer clear of, and what licensure and certification is required to be a credible source. 

The right dispensary for you should have quality cannabis, with a variety of products to choose from to suit your needs and lifestyle. This guide will serve to help any lover of cannabis find a dispensary they love and trust.

Hemp cbd oil serum in glass dropper bottle with cannabis leaves

Product Quality

One of the most important aspects of a dispensary you should pay attention to is the quality of their cannabis. As more people carelessly get into the cannabis industry, it has become easier for the product quality to be compromised. As such, your best bet is to  find a dispensary that offers marijuana that has been certified tested from a reputable source. Ideally, labeling should indicate accurate THC content and terpene profile. It’s better to avoid any risk by ensuring your cannabis is properly tested.   

It can sometimes be difficult to determine the quality of a cannabis product just by looking at it, but it’s not impossible. Some things to definitely pay attention to would be: 

  • The expiration date labeled on packaging,
  • Bad/unpleasant smell or flavor
  • Mold on any plant that indicates it’s no longer fresh. 

Product quality also has the potential to vary when a dispensary is catering to customers with varying budgets. Most good dispensaries will make sure to segment brands by “top-shelf and bottom-shelf” prices. But no matter the price, even bottom-shelf cannabis should still be of good quality at any credible dispensary.

Variety of Products

Always choose good quality over quantity when it comes to picking out your buds. But at an ideal dispensary, you should never have to choose between the two. Various  strains and types of products may affect different people in different ways. As well, with a growing market in the cannabis industry, customer preference can vary widely. Some people strictly smoke flower, while others may prefer edibles or concentrates. Some people simply want the relieving effects of CBD and don’t want the high from anything with THC. The bottom line:  a good selection of good quality cannabis at a dispensary can be very important when choosing one to visit.  

The other important benefit of having a wide selection to choose from is that the customer is more in control of the potency of the products they want. For example, a beginner user or someone with lower tolerance may be looking for an edible that only contains 2.5mg or 5mg.


Taking a look at customer feedback can be super helpful for both the actual customer, as well as for the business owner. Finding  reviews and recommendations can be a perfect way for you to also assess the quality and variety of cannabis at a nearby dispensary. 

There are different ways to assess the reputation of a dispensary. You can check online reviews to find out what people say about the product and get some different opinions on the staff. Or check their website to learn more about how they cultivate and sell. Reviews can also be helpful when looking for a certain price range.


Marijuana, much like other retail goods, can be expensive. It’s important that a buyer is able to find a balance in price and quality for needs. Different dispensaries will price their products differently. It’s also useful to know that government taxes and fees add onto the retail price of cannabis at any dispensary.  

Some may also want to take into account what specials, if any, are offered when searching for a dispensary. For example, many places offer a senior or military discount. Many businesses also offer member benefits and reward programs. Though cannabis may get expensive, the price range should be understandably reasonable in comparison to other dispensaries, and should be representative of the quality of the product.


Where the dispensary is located can be very important to frequent customers. It goes without saying that you’ll likely be more happy with one located near your home or work than having to travel an excessive distance to your favorite dispensaries. However, sometimes there’s no choice due to zoning restrictions. 

When taking location and distance  into consideration, a lot of people also look to see if dispensary delivery, online ordering, or curbside-pickup is offered.

Available Strains

Not only is it important to look for a variety of different kinds of cannabis products, but it’s also great when a dispensary offers a range of strains to choose from. The number of cannabis strains continues to grow every year as new ones are discovered and experimented with. And with so many strains to choose from, you’ll want the freedom to find what you like most for your tastes and lifestyle.   

As well, different strains affect people in different ways. Some may prefer a sativa that has more of a citrusy smell and taste, more likely to leave them with a more energized effect. Others might be looking for a specific indica strain  that leaves them feeling more relaxed and calm. It can be really nice to have choices when it comes to narrowing down your favorite strains.

The Budtenders and Staff

The staff can have a huge effect on the impression a dispensary leaves on its customers. You’ll want to find a dispensary that not only has a kind staff and good service, but also one that has knowledgeable budtenders. This is especially important for new users and people that may not be as familiar with cannabis products. A well-trained budtender should be able to answer your questions about the product, give helpful suggestions, and assist in finding something that fits your preference, goal, or lifestyle.


Considering the strictness in which the marijuana industry operates, a legitimate  dispensary should have all the required licenses and certification as proof of credibility. For instance, the Bureau of Cannabis Control regulates the commercial cannabis industry in California. The next time you go out looking for a dispensary in the state, do some background checks to confirm that the supplier has all the papers.

Piles Judicial Court Files And Judge Gavel

Where is it All Coming From?

The dispensary should also be transparent about how their products are farmed, cultivated, processed, and handled. This can also help you determine whether or not  the cannabis  is of high quality. Just like buying fruit, you’ll want to know that your product is being sold fresh. Some dispensaries even grow onsite. Ask a budtender or research their website online to dig a little into where your cannabis is being supplied.

When to Avoid a Dispensary

Like any other business, it’s always safe to be on the lookout for red flags. Some may include: 

  • Poor or nonexistent reviews and testimonials
  • Unreasonable prices 
  • Inability to provide certification and licensure
  • Poor customer service and poorly-trained budtenders
  • Poor quality cannabis and products

The Takeaway

With so many dispensaries to choose from, you shouldn’t have to compromise with poor quality. Shopping around for a new favorite dispensary can be frustrating, and any cannabis enthusiast should be able to rest easy knowing they’re buying from a trustworthy source. 

If you’re sitting there asking yourself the question “where can I find the best dispensary near me?” Come talk with one of our many experienced budtenders at Planet 13,  who can help you personalize your choices and find the best strain to fit your lifestyle. 

As the largest cannabis complex in California, and the leading dispensary located in Orange County, Planet 13 offers an extensive menu of cannabis products available in-store, as well as delivery