Massachusetts allows adults over age 21 to use marijuana / cannabis for recreation. Yay – legal weed is easily accessible in the Bay State, without fear of lawbreaking.
It is a longer step for many of us from knowing that pot is legal getting into and out of a pot shop with the cannabis product and experience we are hoping for. Here is your guide, from soup to nuts (or, if you prefer, from match to roach).
Preparation before you head out to the marijuana shop or dispensary is valuable, and that entails much more than simply finding a store. (Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission helps you find a store at its Find a Retailer page. (Small tip: on the commission’s website, the abbreviation ME refers to “marijuana establishments” – that is, retail stores. And MTC stands for medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (more below on medical marijuana in Massachusetts).
Before you even set out for the cannabis dispensary, think about the pot-use experience you want to have. Do you want to go to a very, very mellow place? Do you want to get pumped up for (mental or physical) activity, adventure, or – dare we say – partying? Do you help to finally, finally get a good night’s sleep? Do you want help with minor pain, depression or anxiety?
Do you want to smoke the flower (that is, the actual buds of the plant), or vape, or eat a cannabis infused food, or take a bit of tincture under your tongue? All those marijuana delivery options are available to you.
Having at least a general idea of these answers will go a long way in helping your budtender (that is a pot shop clerk) help you choose the right product.
Also, before you head out for your shopping experience it is good to look at the website, Facebook, and Twitter pages of the cannabis store you plan to visit. Be aware that you may encounter long lines at the front door of the pot shop when you arrive, especially on relaxation days and times, like weekends or evenings.
You must be age 21 and older and have a government-issued photo ID. Even if you are from another state, you may buy marijuana in Massachusetts if you fulfill the two requirements. However… out-of-state residents may not purchase medical-grade marijuana in Massachusetts.
Have with you enough cash or a debit card. You cannot pay for cannabis with a credit card. Some dispensaries may have an ATM on the property (their websites should tell you this - and there is a processing fee if you use a debit card).
Don’t expect to pop into a store with your child (under age 21). This is not like a trip to the grocery store or even a wine shop or liquor store. People under age 21 may not enter the building.
When you are admitted, you will be directed to a budtender (sales clerk). This person is your best friend for the next 10 minutes or so. Budtenders know the product and the delivery methods. This is the person to whom you present your homework (see above), describing your objectives for your cannabis experience. If the system is working smoothly, your budtender is qualified and eager to take you there.
You can go into the weed shopping experience knowing about marijuana strains, but you don’t need to. In general, the two major strains are indicas and sativas. Indicas (think: in-da-cah) are calming and soothing and relaxation-promoting. Sativas, in contrast, promote stimulation and uplift, both physical and mental. Hybrids, and the name implies, produce a combination effect.
A note on quantities: under Massachusetts law, you may buy up to one ounce of flower, five grams of concentrate, or 20 servings of edibles at a time. Regarding possession, you may have and transport a maximum of these quantities on the street and in public.