What a patient wants

Five things to look for in a dispensary

Magnolia’s buds.

Magnolia’s buds.

photo by ANNE STOKES

The Sacramento region, home to more than five dozen dispensaries, is a place where cannabis has gracefully transitioned from being taboo and underground to a fast-growing, legitimate medical industry. But with increased choices comes increased competition, and local clubs are constantly striving to set themselves apart. So what does it take to stand out? SN&R spoke with local patients to see what aspects of a dispensary are important to them and, ultimately, what keeps them coming back.

Security. Depending on the neighborhood, walking in and out of a medical-cannabis dispensary can sometimes be the most anxiety-ridden aspect of a transaction. Anyone lingering outside the business will know exactly what you’re walking out with, which can cause unease or potentially put a patient at risk. Stand-out clubs are ones that go out of their way to secure buildings as well as surrounding areas. One local patient praised Nor Cal Alternative Healing (515 Broadway) for its in-store security guard, whose presence makes them feel more at ease during visits. Many other clubs have excellent security, too.

Knowledge and friendliness of staff. For many patients, visiting a dispensary is part of their daily routine, so developing a relationship with the staff is inevitable. What patients expect of budtenders is a unique mix of qualified medical professionalism and the personality of an old friend, someone who is highly knowledgeable, confidential, pleasant and interactive. The friendly staff at Roseville Compassionate Care (117 Church Street) makes one patient feel like he’s hanging out “with buddies,” he says, which keeps him coming back.

Selection. Patients not only want a variety of strains, but also demand a decent supply of edibles, hash and even growing supplies. A patient explained that the huge selection of strains and impressive amount of high-quality edibles are what ultimately make Green Solutions (1404 28th Street) her favorite.

Price. Price is an undeniable component of customer loyalty. Many patients will talk about clubs with vast selections and terrific quality, but price ultimately keeps them coming back. So is it possible to find high-quality product at a low price? One patient of The Green Lotus Non-Profit (2435 Albatross Way, Suite 116) says that although a “first-timer” deal initially drew him in, the top-shelf quality offered at decent prices is what made this dispensary his favorite.

Quality. Most every patient SN&R talked to said the same thing: quality and potency rules. Many local clubs are known for high-quality strains, but Orangevale dispensary Magnolia Wellness Collective (9198 Greenback Lane) is praised by one patient as having the “best bud in town.”