Cannabis is big business, and by all accounts, it’s only getting bigger. At the tail-end of 2020, when most industries were still reeling, marijuana sales in Alaska continued to rise regardless.

With the industry’s potential for growth, more contenders throw their hat in the ring every day. Which can be both a blessing and a curse for the customer.

Sure, freedom of choice is always a good thing. But an over-abundance of choice can make finding the right cannabis dispensary a challenge.

If you’re a first-time customer and don’t know how to choose a cannabis dispensary, check out these six points to be on the lookout for.

1. Location and Ease of Access

First and foremost, before you can buy from any dispensary you’ll want to make sure you can get there with ease! Fortunately, despite being a red state, it’s actually quite easy to find legal cannabis in Alaska. So you know that you’ll never have to travel very far.

Ease of access is another matter. At a time when many state and local governments are encouraging citizens to avoid patronizing indoor businesses when possible, you may be reluctant to visit an indoor dispensary if you can help it.

Fortunately, back in April, the Alaska state government voted to ease certain restrictions by allowing curbside pickup of cannabis products. That order was extended in November, and will likely be revisited for as long as social-distancing remains a concern. So finding a dispensary that can accommodate your safety concerns is very much an option.

2. A Variety of Products to Choose From

Not only is there an abundance of dispensaries to choose from, but there’s a huge selection of products on the market as well. Cannabis comes in a multitude of strains and can be consumed in almost as many ways.

That’s why part of what makes a good dispensary is choice. The greater the selection, the more you can count on making the right buy every time.

Just look at edibles as one example. Not everyone enjoys smoking cannabis, or they prefer the longer-lasting sensation that some from edibles. And there’s a huge variety of edibles available.

A good dispensary will offer a selection that’s right for everyone, whether it be baked goods, candies, drinks, or even capsules.

3. Cost and Quality

Naturally, price is a factor that bears consideration.

You want to be wary of a bargain that seems too good to be true. Less-scrupulous dispensaries will often slash prices to move unpopular products off the shelves. This is especially true when the quality of the product alone won’t get it out the door.

Naturally, if the price is no object, then the sky’s the limit. And generally, the more potent strains will demand a premium.

But don’t worry, you should never have to break the bank to find good cannabis. A good dispensary will carry a selection of products across a wide price range. It’s another reason why the selection is a hallmark of a good dispensary.

4. Friendly, Knowledgeable Staff

On the subject of a broad selection, it can become an issue all on its own without the means to navigate it. Not everyone has the time or the inclination to become a self-taught cannabis expert. That’s why a good dispensary will help you to take the guesswork out of it.

For example, there are only a few major strains of cannabis. You may have even heard the names “Sativa” or “Indica” thrown around.

But you may not know what they mean for you, the consumer. And you almost certainly don’t have the time to research the myriad subcategories or the various hybrids and designer strains that are on the market at any given time.

That’s why having a knowledgeable and accommodating staff on hand is invaluable. This is their realm of expertise. And by listening to your individual want and needs, they can guide you to making the right decision.

5. A Safe and Welcoming Atmosphere

Despite its legal status in Alaska, cannabis still carries an unfortunate stigma with it. And with so many newcomers entering the market, not all of them are committed to fostering a more positive image for the industry.

A quality cannabis dispensary, however, wants to actively change perceptions about cannabis use. And to that end, they will go the extra mile to make patrons feel safe and welcome in their establishments.

By contrast, if you walk into a store and feel a sketchy feeling, trust your instincts and walk right back out. When a dispensary doesn’t feel warm, welcoming, and safe, it’s a good sign that all they’re interested in is taking your money and getting you back out the door. And with a business model like that, you can often expect them to cut corners by selling subpar products or hitting you with hidden, exploitative surcharges.

If the feel isn’t right, never feel pressured to go through with a purchase.

6. Reputation

To a good extent, cannabis is a reputation-based business. So it stands to reasons that a good dispensary will cherish any positive word of mouth.

Partly this is because quality businesses are run by professionals who are passionate about their trade. But it’s also just good business.

Good word-of-mouth means repeat customers among locals and a better chance that an out-of-state visitor will choose them over the competition. So the wise proprietor will go out of their way to make sure that every customer walks away feeling good about their experience.

Hence why one of the best signs of a good dispensary is the respect and praise of its patrons.

If You Want Quality Product, You Need a Quality Cannabis Dispensary

At the end of the day, choosing a cannabis dispensary is about finding the right product for you. Ideally at the right location and at the right price.

At a quality cannabis dispensary, you’ll find a welcoming staff that can walk anyone through their first purchase while educating them on what to look for in the future.

If you’re a first-timer yourself or have just never bought cannabis in Anchorage before, check out our beginner’s guide to learn how to make a satisfying purchase on your first try.

“Marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming and addictive. Marijuana impairs concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under its influence. There are health risks associated with consumption of marijuana. For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breast feeding.”