Not to be confused with Hospital, early examples of which were called dispensaries. A dispensary has traditionally been an office in a school, hospital or other organization that dispenses medications and medical supplies. In a traditional dispensary set-up, a pharmacist dispenses medication as per prescription or order form. In more modern terms, the dispensary has come to refer to a place that dispenses cannabis to medical patients, It is rapidly coming to mean any place that dispenses cannabis products whether for patients with a doctor’s prescription or simply for recreational cannabis users looking for a way to procure marijuana without having to resort to street dealers.

Don Briere at a WEEDS Dispensary

Don Briere at a WEEDS Dispensary in Vancouver BC

As an example, Weeds Glass & Gifts Ltd. operate several cannabis “dispensaries” under the WEEDS and Mary Jane’s brands. Since WEEDS believes that all Canadian adults should have reasonable access to cannabis in accordance with the Supreme Court’s Allard decision, the focus is less on medical need and more on providing universal access to adults that decide they need it.

Recently in Canada, a number of so-called “Online Dispensaries” have appeared offering mail-order marijuana services. Not to be outdone, Don Briere, long time cannabis activist and founder of Weeds Glass & Gifts has also begun offering Canadian adults a service allowing them to buy weed online. A fine example of an online dispensary can be found here. Ordering cannabis online is much like buying it in-person at a local dispensary in that you must become a “member” in order to access the service. It is usually a simple matter of providing your name and address and verifying your identity by providing a copy of your ID.


WEEDS Cannabis Dispensary

WEEDS Cannabis Dispensary on Main St. Vancouver

Weeds Glass and Gifts Main St. Vancouver BC


Products on Offer

Any decent dispensary will offer a range of cannabis products with the main categories being flower, concentrates, edibles and topical or medicinal products.

Cannabis Flower

Flower or “buds”  sold at dispensaries is generally divided into three main categories, sativa, indica, and hybrid. Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica are the two main genus of cannabis with hybrids representing strains produced by cross-breeding strains of the two main types. Generally, sativa strains are thought to have a more uplifting and cerebral effect while sativas are thought to have a more sedative and physical effect. Hybrids are bred to combine the effects of the two to varying degree.


Concentrates or derivatives are made in several differnt ways to create products with higer density of the active ingredients. Examples of concentrates include hashish, oil, shatter, wax , rosin and crumble.


Edible cannabis products tend to have longer lasting effects and tend to be more “medicinal” in nature. Cannabis is often made into butter or canna-butter, which is then used to make baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes, or chocolates.


Topicals are products such as tinctures or creams that are applied directly to the skin. These are generally not psychoactive but are thought to relive pain and have been used to treat conditions such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. There are even erotic cannabis lotions thought to increase sexual pleasure.

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