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Arkansas Marijuana Card Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for at Arkansas Dispensaries

What to look for at Arkansas dispensaries

In this Arkansas Marijuana Card Guide, we’ll cover what to look for in the dispensary, how to pick strains, and ensure you get the best buds at the best price!

Medical marijuana patients frequent dispensaries all over the Natural State every day. With over 300 million in sales since 2019, it’s safe to say that supply and demand are both high. And while sales are going strong and dispensaries are playing catch-up with the demand, many Arkansans will find themselves going to a dispensary for the first time.

Shopping at Arkansas Dispensaries: The Process

Your Papers & Your Plan

On your first (or 300th) trip to the dispensary you’ll need to bring a couple of things with you, like a government issued I.D, your Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card, and some ideas about what you’d like to accomplish.

You don’t need to be an expert on the latest and greatest strains, or cannabis technology, to have a good idea about what you want (and don’t want) out of the experience. Depending on your health condition you may be looking for any kind of therapeutic effect, whether it’s pain relief, anti-inflammatory, or stress relief, you’ll know what you need best so keep that in mind for your trip.

This will probably also nudge you into the type of product you’d like, whether it’s smoking flower or drinking tinctures. You’ll be able to talk to the budtenders and staff to figure out what strains and products they have in inventory that can help with your specific condition.

If you have the time, check out the dispensary’s website or their WeedMaps profile, often they’ll have a menu that you can browse and sometimes there are even dispensary discounts you can catch!

Once you’ve got your papers and your plan, the first door to the dispensary will likely open to either a lobby, or a pre-waiting room. Here you’ll hand over your I.D and medical marijuana card to an attendee, and likely receive an application to fill out in return.

These are typically one-page sheets that are used to add you to the dispensary’s system. Once you’ve filled out the app, you’ll have a seat for a few moments while they input your information, and your name will be called when a budtender becomes available.

The Bud Room

Your name gets called and you are escorted to the bud room.

This is where the magic happens. Menus, samples, daily deals, new products, there will likely be a lot going on. On especially busy days this can be quite erratic and hectic, but the budtender who was assigned to you will either call you over to their section or come to you.

Your budtender is your guide, they will be able to help you figure out which products to purchase based on your preferences and conditions. This is where having a plan comes in. You can communicate to the budtender what you are looking to accomplish, and they can help walk you through what options they have available.

Not every dispensary will carry the same products, or even the same cultivators. Several dispensaries also grow their own cannabis strains, and those will be unique to that dispensary. You can ask your budtender to see the products before you purchase them, and frequently there will be samples displayed for you to look at.

Buying Arkansas Marijuana: How to Buy the Best Buds

After talking to your budtender about your goals, you’ll probably have seen some products and talked about their potential effects. Depending on what type of product you are looking for, you’ll have different rules on how to buy them. Judging the best flower to buy is very different from judging the best edible.

This is where a keen eye will come in handy, specifically for flower. Topicals, tinctures, and edibles can be a little tougher to judge because they are prepackaged and there aren’t any visual cues that can help. For everything other than flower or concentrates, your budtender will likely be the best tool in figuring out the right products for you.

But when purchasing flower, you’ll be looking for a couple of things when trying to figure out the best buds to buy:

· Color

· Structure

· Leafage

· Smell & Feel*

Color can vary wildly between strains. Some will be bright green, dark green, purple, orange, blue, really any color of the rainbow nearly. With color, you’re specifically looking for liveliness, does it look vibrant or dull? Does it appear strong and contrasted, or gray and lifeless? While this can be a really subjective thing, go with your gut.

Structure is important. You want buds that meet the standards of their genetics. Are they dense or fluffy, smooshed, or flat? Do they look like they’ve been manhandled and crushed, or light and airy? Many different strains will have different bud structures.

Just the difference between whether they are grown indoor or outdoor makes a huge difference in structure. You’ll want to mostly avoid flower that looks like it has been pressed, flattened, or buds that have little to no trichomes.

Most strains have larger buds, and often smaller, rounder buds grow at the bottom of the plant and aren’t as desirable. However occasionally some strains will produce smaller, rounder buds that almost look like trim, so when in doubt just ask.

Leafage is an important factor when looking at flower to purchase, especially in Arkansas. The Natural State is notorious for under trimmed, leafy buds that are not desirable. Pronounced leafage on your final product is not appropriate most of the time. There will almost always be small leaves among the buds themselves, but they should be caked in trichomes, small, and there shouldn’t be an extraordinary amount of them.

Buds that have a dramatic expression of lifeless, bare leafage, with little to no trichomes are not acceptable, and are frankly a disappointing embarrassment to the industry.

Unfortunately, this is very commonplace in the cannabis market in Arkansas as of right now. Try your best to find flower that has as little leafage as possible.

Smell & Feel are nearly as important as structure. Though it’s a little difficult to get your hands and nose on flower in 2021, you can often ask your budtender and they will be able to give you their opinion of the profile.

Flowers should smell vibrant, and intense. Regardless of the flavor of the aroma, it should be smelly. Rotten, older, wetter, or overly dry cannabis does not have a potent smell, or in severe cases the smell is extremely unpleasant like mold or mildew. This is uncommon in Arkansas dispensaries, but a trained nose is a good thing to have.

Buds should feel a little spongy, the stems should snap cleanly, and the flower should be some type of sticky. They shouldn’t break apart into a tiny powder, and they shouldn’t necessarily clump together when breaking them up or grinding them either. When in doubt, feel it out, as many buds will come in all sorts of compositions. After a few trips to the dispensary, it’ll be easy to determine how good flower feels.

*Due to the status of COVID-19 it is not common for dispensaries to open jars or containers right now. Normally, you would be allowed to smell the products, a big part of the purchasing process, though until COVID-19 is less prevalent this may not be an option at all dispensaries.

Get Your Arkansas Marijuana Card

Arkansans can rest easy that their first (and probably every) trip to the dispensary will be filled with exciting options to choose from, and knowing a little bit more about what to expect before you arrive can make all the difference.

Being an Arkansas marijuana patient allows you the freedom to choose which medication is right for you.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana program is available for anyone with a qualifying condition, and getting your card is fast and easy with Arkansas Marijuana Card.

We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way, feel free to give us a call at 844-249-8714, and we can answer your questions about getting medical marijuana in Arkansas.


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

If you have any questions, call us at 844-249-8714, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Arkansas Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Arkansas.

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