The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Want to smoke? Six dispensary safety tips to follow before sparking up

A+photo+illustration+shows+a+wide+variety+of+marijuana+products+including+marijuana+flower%2C+joints%2C+concentrated+wax%2C+vapes+and+edibles.+The+products+on+the+right+were+purchased+at+licensed+dispensaries+and+the+products+on+the+left+were+purchased+in+unlicensed+dispensaries.+There+is+a+difference+in+both+pricing+and+quality+when+it+comes+to+the+products.+%28Photo+illustration+by+Monroe+Davis+%7C+The+Union%29
A photo illustration shows a wide variety of marijuana products including marijuana flower, joints, concentrated wax, vapes and edibles. The products on the right were purchased at licensed dispensaries and the products on the left were purchased in unlicensed dispensaries. There is a difference in both pricing and quality when it comes to the products. (Photo illustration by Monroe Davis | The Union)

Medical marijuana first became legal in California under the Compassionate Use Act in 1996.

Twenty years later, on Nov. 8, 2016, recreational use became legal under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

After that, legal dispensaries opened up and became fully operational with the proper licensing and by following the rules and regulations set by the Department of Cannabis Control.

Nearly eight years after legalization, unlicensed dispensaries are still common and they often do not follow the regulations set by the DCC.

So for those who want to dabble in the Mary Jane, here are six safety precautions that can help you stay safe.

1. License: A licensed dispensary must have its licenses posted for the public eye to see. When entering, that should be the first thing to look for. If licenses are not posted at a location it could be an unlicensed dispensary.

2. Packaging: Licensed dispensaries have many regulations that need to be followed. One of the most important rules is how products are packaged. Specifically, the packaging must be child-safe, opaque and sealed. However, unlicensed dispensaries might store their product in glass jars or clear bags. That being said, specific details in packaging are another thing to look out for when entering.

3. Hours: According to the DCC rules and regulations, there are specific operation hours for licensed dispensaries in California. Those hours are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Consumers are encouraged to look for the sign or ask an employee. If they say anything different than the DCC operation hours, the location is not following rules or is unlicensed.

Photo illustration by Monroe Morrow
(Photo illustration by Monroe Morrow | The Union)

4. Pricing: Cost can be a tricky thing when looking into licensed and unlicensed dispensaries. Unlicensed products and shops tend to be cheaper, but some competition still exists. The DCC reports some unlicensed dispensaries can be more expensive than their licensed counterpart. While not a guarantee, if prices seem too low and there is no tax charged, the dispensary is probably unlicensed.

Infographic by Delfino Camacho
Infographic by Delfino Camacho

5. Expiration Dates: Consumers should pay attention to expiration dates on all products. According to the DCC, expired products are prohibited. This is a very important detail to pay attention to for safety and health.

6. ID: Identification request is an obvious sign to look out for. If employees do not ask for ID at the door, the location could be unlicensed. Every licensed dispensary or business has to ask for ID verification. Shops could lose their license if they fail to ask for identification.

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