They’re a lot easier to spot than you think.
Navigating the endless strip-mall storefronts, new patient forms and DOGO deals of Los Angeles dispensaries can be a bitch, but instructional. The scams of L.A.’s legal marijuana outlets are not here to stay: They are free to move about the country. For every new state where cannabis comes out as a taxable industry, crafty, less-than-scrupulous retailers will break out in the timeless signs that buyers should beware.
But we’re here to help. Here are 10 signs you’re getting played, and when to walk out.
1. PASSING TRIM AS SHAKE
As a person who only always smokes spliffs, this is a pet peeve of mine. Ideally, a dispensary’s shake should be a blend of bottom bag shake with small, sifted nugs from every weed in the store inventory. Shitty dispensaries try to pass trim off as shake, which WILL NOT GET YOU HIGH. Sometimes, it’s difficult to detect this deceptive packaging. Look for crystals and pieces of nug in the shake. If you see any trimmed plant matter in the form of long, wiry stems or full leaves, scold them and walk out that bitch.
2. HOMIES DABBING IN THE WAITING ROOM
I’ve experienced this a few times. It’s uncomfortable. No one wants to fill out a new patient form in an impenetrable veil of smoke. Especially while eight of an employee’s closest male friends shriek with laughter, smushed together on a couch across the room, too high to realize how ridiculous they look. Not grounds to walk out, however. These people obviously like to party, and therefore might hook you up.
3. PERVY BUDTENDERS
Nothing’s worse than being trapped in a dispensary full of men staring at your ass while you’re trying to buy some weed. Attn: Forcing her into awkward detours around your attempts at flirting, however benign or aggressive, isn’t worth whatever pre-roll or gram you might slip into a girl’s bag on the way out. AVOID.
4. FAKE CAVI CONES
Cavi Cones used to be dank. USED TO BE. In some confusing, drawn out trademark war, the Caviar Gold and Cavi Cones ™ have been stolen by a rogue company stuffing the former cones of glory with a shitty, dark substance that tastes like spice marinated in grape cough syrup. I was given the “Cavi Cone” pictured below at a dispensary as a new customer freebee thing. In defense of many dispensaries, mass confusion surrounds this topic (some of my most knowledgable weed-dealing friends didn’t even know). Most dispensaries distributing the fakes probably don’t know/are getting ripped off as well.
Fake Cavi Cone:
Here are what the REAL Cavi Cones originally looked like, clearly weed rolled in kief and concentrate:
5. SPENDING CAPS
This happened to me for the first time the other day, then I heard about it from friends. In both instances, outraged. A dispensary in West Hollywood said I could only buy one gram of their top-shelf shake, $8 worth, due to their “spending cap” on that particular weed. The five other best deals in the dispensary in terms of quality/quantity for price, had spending caps at a gram as well. Apparently, this is a new trend. Some dispensaries have spending caps on all strains. This slimy little trick allows dispensaries to appear to offer good deals without actually giving them to you. Seriously, what the fuck is the point of buying one gram at a time? Dismissal!
6. OUTDATED WEEDMAPS MENU
Driving 45 minutes into the Valley for a certain deal only to find they’re fresh out or have no idea what you’re talking about in the first place is, also, grounds for dismissal. Weedmaps menus exist for a reason. Most reputable dispensaries are serious about keeping theirs up-to-date hourly, at the very least.
7. SKETCHY DRUG STORE VS OFFICIAL DISPENSARY
Now, this is a fine line. Yes, dispensaries are stores that sell drugs. However, the most lucrative businesses take a medicinal angle aesthetically. Clean, professional, with mad rules. Sometimes, you walk into a shitty dispensary with blacked out windows, only to find yourself sweating from heat radiating off the legal purgatory you’ve just entered. If you walk into a spot and two ICP wooks offer you a dab or a hit from a hand-blown glass pipe hanging around a poorly woven hemp necklace, take the dab then leave.
8. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
Smoking on a budget entails a number of decisions. A lack of steady income can distort one’s judgement. However, BEWARE. If a deal seems too good to be true, it is. Dispensaries often offer trim or improperly cured bud they’re desperately trying to dump off at enticingly low prices. This weed is most likely completely void of trichomes or has a meager THC percentage. You’ll spend more time smoking than being stoned. See a $40 ounce? Bounce.
9. SHITTY PRE-ROLLS
Whether they’re $5 or part of a new patient gift bag, there’s no excuse for a loose, crutch-less preroll that smells like hay.
10. SILENT AND WEIRD
This can say a number of things about a dispensary. Unless it’s brand new, late at night, or in the middle of nowhere, all those things are bad. In my experience, the best dispensaries I’ve ever been to maintain high traffic. The more customers, the more stable their supply, the more money they have to invest in new strains, so on. If you walk into a dispensary in a populated area, and it’s silent and weird, walk out. There’s probably a reason no one fucks with it.
If there are any takeaways to be had from this fakery detection how-to, it’s to let your gut be your guide. Does it smell, look, and behave like trash? Then it’s probably trash. At the end of the day, holding dispensaries to the same standards you’d expect of all retailers is the only way to protect yourself and uplift the industry at large.