Can You Enter a Dispensary at 18?

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Table of contents

  1. Dispensary Age Rules By State
  2. What If You’re Underage and Need Cannabis From a Dispensary?
  3. Requirements to Enter a Dispensary
  4. The Bottom Line

Like most controlled substances, such as alcohol and cigarettes, an age limit is applied to cannabis dispensaries and purchasing cannabis products. Most adult-use states require a person to be 21 years old or older to enter a dispensary, and that’s why they’re called “adult use.”

However, medicinal marijuana users are usually allowed in when they are 18 years old, with proof of their status as a patient. While the specific rules vary based on each state, here’s our breakdown of who’s allowed to enter a cannabis dispensary.

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Dispensary Age Rules By State

Alaska

There are no specified age restrictions for medical marijuana patients under state law in Alaska. Still, recreational users must be at least 21 years old to enter a dispensary and purchase cannabis.

Arizona

Adult-use dispensary customers in Arizona must prove they are above 21 years old to enter. Meanwhile, medical marijuana patients can be 18 years or older if they show evidence of a recommendation.

Arkansas

Medical marijuana patients must be 21 years old or older to qualify for a recommendation and enter a legal cannabis dispensary in Arkansas.

California

Individuals aged 21 and older can legally enter an adult use dispensary. Medical marijuana cardholders can enter a dispensary if they are 18 or older, showing their ID (like a driver’s license) and proof of recommendation.

Colorado

Adults 21+ can enter recreationally legal cannabis dispensaries in Colorado. Medical marijuana patients must be 18 years or older and prove their status as a patient to enter a dispensary. Caregivers can purchase cannabis for medical marijuana patients if they’re younger than 18.

Connecticut

Connecticut cannabis laws allow adults aged 21 or older to enter adult-use dispensaries. Medical marijuana patients can only enter a dispensary if they are above 18 years of age.

Delaware

Medical cannabis laws in Delaware only allow qualifying patients aged 18 years or older to enter legalized dispensaries. Minors can use medical marijuana, but an adult caregiver must purchase it.

Washington, D.C.

In the District of Columbia, cannabis is entirely legal, meaning adults over 21 can purchase and possess weed from a dispensary for recreational or medical use.

Florida

Individuals with a medical marijuana card may enter a dispensary in Florida with proof of ID stating they are older than 18. Minors will need a parent or legal guardian caregiver to acquire medical cannabis on their behalf.

Hawaii

Individuals 18 and older with a medical marijuana card can legally enter a dispensary and purchase cannabis in Hawaii.

Illinois

Illinois has fully legalized marijuana, allowing adults 21 years of age to enter a dispensary and purchase cannabis. Medical marijuana cardholders must be at least 18 years old to enter a dispensary, and those younger than 21 can only purchase medical cannabis-infused products.

Louisiana

Only medical marijuana is legal in Louisiana; patients must be at least 18 years old or have a registered caregiver acquire their cannabis, and caregivers must be 21 years or older.

Maine

Adults older than 21 without a medical marijuana card can purchase from a Maine dispensary. Medical cardholders can enter if they are at least 18 years old, and if younger than 18, their 21 or older caregiver may buy medicine on their behalf.

Maryland

Only medical marijuana patients aged 18 years or older may legally enter dispensaries in Maryland. Otherwise, a minor patient’s parent or guardian must qualify to become a caregiver before they can purchase marijuana for the minor.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, adults 21+ can enter a dispensary with proof of ID. Medical marijuana patients must be 18 years or older and show proof of their status as a patient.

Michigan

Individuals must be 21 years or older to enter a Michigan cannabis dispensary, while patients must be at least 18 years old to qualify for a marijuana card and enter a dispensary.

Minnesota

Individuals 18 years or older with a medical marijuana card may legally enter a dispensary in Minnesota.

Missouri

Only individuals 18 years or older with a medical marijuana recommendation may legally enter a dispensary in Missouri.

Montana

Montana allows individuals 21 and up to legally purchase cannabis from dispensaries. To buy medical products from a dispensary, medical patients must be 18 or over. Minors who need medical marijuana or those older than 18 but cannot access cannabis for themselves need a caregiver.

Nevada

Nevada is a fully legalized state, meaning those aged 21 or over have full access to dispensaries. Those with a medical marijuana card who are 18 or older can access cannabis shops to purchase their medicine.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, medical marijuana patients must be 18 or older to purchase medicine legally from a dispensary. Minors must have a caregiver aged 21 or older purchase it on their behalf.

New Jersey

Adult-use cannabis is fully legal in New Jersey, so adults older than 21 can enter dispensaries freely. Medical patients 18 or older can also visit dispensaries, but those younger than 18 must have a registered caregiver 21 or older go for them.

New Mexico

Adults older than 21 without a medical marijuana card can purchase from a New Mexico dispensary. Medical cardholders can enter if they are at least 18 years old, or their caregiver may buy medicine on their behalf if they’re at least 21.

New York

In New York, cannabis is fully legal, meaning adults over 21 can purchase and possess weed from a dispensary for medical and recreational use.

North Dakota

To qualify for medical marijuana and enter dispensaries in North Dakota, individuals must be at least 19 years old. Those under the age requirement can have their parent or legal guardian register as caregivers and acquire cannabis on their behalf.

Ohio

Medical marijuana patients aged 18 or older may enter dispensaries in Ohio to purchase cannabis. Minors may have their registered caregiver, either a parent or guardian, buy it on their behalf.

Oklahoma

Patients older than 18 may enter Oklahoma dispensaries with a recommendation and proof of ID.

Oregon

Adult-use cannabis is fully legal in Oregon, so adults older than 21 can enter dispensaries freely. Medical patients 18 or older can also visit dispensaries with a valid physician’s recommendation.

Pennsylvania

Only patients who are 18 and older can enter a Pennsylvania dispensary. However, those too young may be eligible to use medical marijuana products that a certified caregiver purchases.

Rhode Island

Individuals 18 years or older with a medical marijuana card may legally enter a dispensary in Rhode Island.

Utah

Patients aged 18 and older may have a medical marijuana card and enter a dispensary, but those younger than 21 must have special approval from Utah’s Compassionate Use Board.

Vermont

Vermont cannabis laws allow adults aged 21 or older to enter adult-use dispensaries, and medical marijuana patients can only enter a dispensary if they are older than 18.

Virginia

Individuals can purchase adult-use cannabis from dispensaries if they’re older than 21. Medical marijuana patients must also be at least 21 years old to enter a dispensary in Virginia.

Washington

Only medical marijuana patients ages 18 and older may enter a dispensary in Washington. Adult-use cannabis is available to purchase at dispensaries for those older than 21.

What If You’re Underage and Need Cannabis From a Dispensary?

If an individual is under the required age limit and needs to purchase cannabis from a dispensary, they will require a registered caregiver’s help. While the requirements for caregivers differ depending on each state’s program, these are the general guidelines most states follow:

  • Be 21 or older (18 in some states)
  • Are a U.S. citizen
  • Are a resident of the state you’re getting the card in

A caregiver must often meet additional criteria to qualify to aid minors, such as being a parent or legal guardian of the patient, so be sure to check your state’s laws.

Parents looking to get their children medical marijuana can do so by following this guide. While not a comprehensive, state-by-state breakdown, it will give you a general idea of how to get a medical marijuana card for your child regardless of your home state.

Requirements to Enter a Dispensary

While subtle variations exist state to state, you generally need proof of ID confirming you meet the age requirements to enter a dispensary. If you’re a medical marijuana patient, you must also bring your physician’s recommendation or medical marijuana card. Caregivers must bring their ID and caregiver card issued by the state’s medical cannabis program.

The Bottom Line

Most states only allow dispensaries to admit adult-use customers if they’re older than 21, similar to those who wish to enter a bar. Most medical marijuana programs allow individuals 18 years and older to enter dispensaries, but those younger must have a registered caregiver enter and purchase on their behalf.

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