Buying Weed at a Dispensary vs. Online

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
December 19, 2022
Dispensary Weed Online
Dispensary Weed Online

For six years already every day hundreds of people may walk into a legal cannabis dispensary, and it is the very first time for someone. Maybe one opens up down the block, or you drive across town, or even over to a neighboring state to see it for yourself. Weed dispensaries are popping up all over the nation as more and more states legalize cannabis, and customers trust these businesses since they have been licensed throughout the state, which can’t be said for local black market dealers. Still, is it better to buy your weed by visiting a local dispensary, or is it actually favorable to shop for it online instead, knowing it will arrive at your door?

Advantages of Buying Weed at a Dispensary

Buying weed at a dispensary is the first option, meaning that the customer visits a dispensary in person and picks out their product there before bringing it home with them. Keep in mind that a dispensary is the only recommended way for buying weed in person, since the products being sold there are actually tested by a third party for quality and safety, and because dispensaries are the only state-licensed vendors for selling marijuana products.

Whether or not you have a nearby dispensary depends on where you live. Typically, the longer a state has had recreational cannabis laws, the more dispensaries will be in your state, and the more likely you are to have one that’s close by. There are some states in the country that have legalized marijuana so recently that dispensaries don’t exist in person yet, as licensing laws are still getting worked out.

However, if you do live in an area that has local dispensaries, then you’re in luck if you’re the type of person who prefers to do their weed shopping in person. Buying marijuana in a physical store has specific advantages over buying it online.

#1: You Can Speak with Industry Employees

If you are looking to learn more about cannabis, visiting a dispensary in person can be extremely helpful. Employees at dispensaries are trained in all things weed, and also, can give you lots of information that can help you pick the best products for your needs, and know how to take them to maximize your results. These employees are eager to answer any questions you have about cannabis, and, can make you feel more at ease when starting a new weed routine. This really comes in handy if, say, you’re looking for a specific strain to address a need like sleep, anxiety, creativity or so on, or if you’re interested in vaping cannabis but don’t really know how to go about using vaping technology.

#2: You Can See Products in Person

If you are the type of shopper who likes to see products up close and personally before buying, then a local dispensary is probably the way to go. And, of course, once you familiarize yourself with products in person, you will be able to order them online later since you know exactly what you are getting. Seeing products in person lets you fully read the label, smell different strains, see the sizes of each portion, and so on, giving you a better idea of what to expect. Basically, buying weed at a dispensary makes it easy to fully inspect the buds before committing to a purchase.

#3: You Can (Maybe) Save Some Cash

By visiting/buying weed at a local dispensary, you can avoid paying delivery fees, although some online dispensaries do not charge for delivery, taking into account those who are buying online due to a disability that prevents them from leaving the house or driving.

4: You Can Verify the Legitimacy of the Business

There are ways to verify whether a dispensary is legitimate, both online and in-person, but the bottom line is that fake, unlicensed online “dispensaries” do exist, while local dispensaries cannot exist if they are not licensed through the state. While you can easily check an online dispensary’s licensing verification through their website, if you don’t want to go through that trouble, buying local will save you time.

Online Dispensaries

If you’re just learning now that online dispensaries actually exist, we don’t blame you. For one thing, they’re not actually legal in every state – that is, not all states permit weed delivery, even if it’s from a dispensary down your street.

Also, there are generally two types of online dispensaries. There are physical dispensaries that simply deliver their products from their storefront to your home nearby, and then there are businesses popping up that exclusively exist online, and have no physical storefront. Generally, however, they all work in the same way. You visit their website or app, and are able to go shopping for weed products just like you would with any retailer. You add items to your cart, go through checkout and use some method to verify your age, as weed cannot be sold to anyone who is a minor. Then, you get an estimate as to when your products will arrive, and simply wait to collect them at your door. Online dispensaries became more commonplace during the COVID pandemic, when physical retailers had to close their doors and focus on delivery of their products to customers.

Advantages of Buying Weed Online

Buying weed online through a licensed online dispensary is the second option. An online dispensary involves ordering cannabis from a dispensary in your state and having the dispensary deliver the product to your home.

#1: It is Convenient

The biggest benefit of buying weed from an online dispensary is the convenience factor. The idea of being able to place an order while you hang out on your couch, and know that before long, it will be arriving at your door can make your day-to-day life much easier. You do not need to step outside the house in order to stock up on your favorite weed products, and that is the main reason why online dispensaries exist.

#2: Awesome if Your Nearest Dispensary is Relatively Far

An online dispensary can be a lifesaver if there are no dispensaries that are close by to go and have a look. If the nearest one is just a little farther than your schedule allows you to travel to, then you can skip going out altogether and just buy your products from home.

#3: Easier to Compare Prices

If you are trying to save money, buying weed online with another advantage. It makes it easy for you to compare prices across different dispensaries in your state, to find the best deal on the product that you are looking for. 

Which is the Better Choice Overall?

Essentially, buying weed online vs. in a local dispensary is your choice. You can see that both options come with plenty of advantages, and it is just a matter of what you prefer. Of course, you also have to keep in mind that not all states that have legalized cannabis permit sales to take place online, so if you do not have that option, you can only make purchases in person. If your state does permit it, then you will find that the convenience of buying weed online tends to make your choice an easy one.