Tuesday June 9, 2020

By Paul Barach


In order to flatten the coronavirus curve, many of us have been quarantining inside. Just the way your local government has asked you to. You’ve streamed through a bunch of movies, held some virtual smoke sessions with your friends, and now you’re out of weed. Thankfully, recreational dispensaries are still listed as essential businesses (unless you live in Massachusetts) so there’s an easy fix. Time to go on a supply run to stock up on some green, some edibles, or whatever’s getting you through this difficult time.

Before you head out the door to your favorite local dispensary, it’s important to consider how you’re going to keep yourself and everyone else safe and healthy. Since you don’t know who in your immediate vicinity has the virus and who doesn’t, buying weed or any other product in person takes a little bit of preparation and caution.

That’s why PotGuide is here with some tips to keep you and everyone around you safe while visiting your favorite dispensary.

Wear a Mask

No one likes wearing a face mask. They’re uncomfortable, they make it harder to breath, and they look ridiculous unless you’re The Shredder or Bane. However, masks (or even a bandana) are one of the best lines of defense that we have against spreading the coronavirus. Without widespread, regular testing, there’s no real way to know if you have the virus or not. Unless you’re showing clear symptoms like a fever or a cough, there’s no way to be sure whether you remain uninfected, have the virus but are asymptomatic, or have already had a mild or unnoticeable version of coronavirus.

Wearing a mask is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others. photo credit

While masks aren’t foolproof, if everyone wears one while remaining socially distant the chances of passing the virus drops significantly. That means that you’re not just reducing the risk of being infected, but also the risk of unknowingly infecting another customer or the dispensary employees. Medical patients are also frequently visiting shops and they may have weakened immune systems, putting them in even greater danger if exposed. We’re all in this together, and masks are one of the best ways to keep everyone safe.

Wash Your Hands Frequently

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to keep virus particles off your hands, which means also keeping them away from your face where they can get into your body. However, hand sanitizer also works in a pinch, and is much more convenient to carry in your pocket than a bar of soap and a wash tub. Before you enter the dispensary, give your hands a squirt of sanitizer and rub them together until they’re dry. Do the same right after leaving the shop. That way, no germs enter and no germs leave.

Stay Six Feet Away

While it’s not as though every customer in a dispensary is constantly hugging each other (maybe on the first day of legalization in their state), it’s more important than ever to keep your distance. Since most dispensaries aren’t built inside warehouses, staying six feet away from every customer and every budtender can get a little tricky.

Many dispensaries are adapting to social distancing by putting down helpful reminders for customers, so be on the lookout.

They’re applying squares of tape on the floor for customers to stand on when waiting in line, or arrows to make sure that customers only travel one direction through the shop so no one passes by each other. They’re also limiting the numbers of customers allowed in the shop at any given time.

However your dispensary is choosing to direct their customers in order to keep everyone safe, please follow these guidelines as closely as possible. It means everyone’s dispensary experience goes as smooth and fast as possible, while keeping both the customers and employees at the lowest risk of exposure.

Utilize Curbside Pickup

Most dispensaries are now offering some type of curb-side pickup, which is a great way to get your product without having to worry about social distancing inside. Simply place your order online ahead of time, drive up, pay for your weed, and accept the hand-off. You’ve now limited your interaction to one person, and maybe it reminds you of the old, pre-legalization days.

Buy Cannabis in Bulk

If your budget allows it, buying in bulk is a great way to reduce your coronavirus risk at the dispensary. By only making the trip to a pot shop once or twice a month instead of once or twice a week, you limit the amount of times you’re exposed to other customers and vice versa. As long as you follow the old “air tight and out of the light” maxim, your bud will stay fresh and potent for a long time, or at least until you run out. Just get some glass mason jars with lids and store your weed in a closet, drawer, or anywhere the light can’t reach. You can also buy some humidity packs to toss into the jar to keep your weed fresh even longer.

Be Nice To Your Budtenders

It’s a stressful time for all of us, and that’s when it’s not downright scary. That’s part of the reason you’re at the dispensary buying weed. However, while you may be worried about your own safety, think about all the essential workers, including budtenders.

Social Distance
Think of dispensary employees when visiting and always social distance for their safety. photo credit

Some may be happy to still have a job, while others may wish that they too could shelter in place until this is all over. Being in constant contact with the public raises their risk of contracting coronavirus and that is always on their mind. They’re putting the health of themselves and their loved ones at risk in order to serve the public, and most workers aren’t receiving a hazard pay or health insurance that comes close to the danger of a bad COVID-19 outcome. So smile at them, even if it’s under your mask. Be polite to them even if you’re stressed about life or the new regulations at the shop. Tip well if you can afford it.

This will all be over some day, but in the meantime it’s up to all of us to make sure that we keep those around us safe and healthy. The pot shop is no exception. We are all in this together.

Photo Credit: Adam Niescioruk (license)

Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as Medium.com, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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