Dr. Bud Protocol is in the house

Dear Dr. Protocol:  I just spent my last $70 on a quarter that turned out to be bunk. Do I have any remedies? ShakenUp in Gallup

Dear ShakenUp:

Depends on where you bought it.  Was it at a legal dispensary?

When I first joined the Medical Cannabis Program in New Mexico, I didn’t ask questions about returning any product I was unhappy with. I didn’t even think that was an option. So, whenever I purchased bud that wasn’t strong enough for me, I pushed it aside and bought something else — another strain, another dispensary. I traveled from Albuquerque to Santa Fe in search of good bud. At one point, I was even thinking about driving to other cities a lot farther than Santa Fe.

Of course, it gets very expensive to keep trying out new strains and different dispensaries, especially when there are so few options.  When I was in the program, there were about 20 dispensaries in New Mexico, a rather large state. I was able to experiment with 50% of this market before I ran out of money. And about 80% of my purchases were not strong enough for my level of chronic pain.

After I was in the program about 6 months, I started asking about returns and exchanges. This issue makes both patient and dealer uncomfortable.  Dispensaries don’t like to hear that a customer is unhappy, but are rarely proactive in seeing that this doesn’t occur — which means the patient must ask the questions. Yes, I was finally able to make a handful of exchanges, but the real problem was that there weren’t any other strains I wanted from the menu. Usually that meant I was stuck with medicine that didn’t help me. (And the extra trip to make an exchange was no fun.)

But in a state like Colorado, patients have more choices, at more affordable prices. Competition means that dispensaries try harder to work with patients on things like returns and exchanges. And if you’re part of a collective, you have access to a group of patients you can make exchanges with. There’s no reason why any patient should be stuck with bud they don’t want, or bud that was advertised at a certain THC percentage that turns out to be bogus.

However, if you bought your bud from the underground market, different rules apply. Some dealers have more than one or two options at a time, but usually you’re stuck with whatever’s in stock. And most times you don’t get to try it out first, just like at the dispensaries. Underground dealers are not keen on the hassle of making exchanges or returns. If the person doesn’t offer it outright, then it’s probably best not to ask.

I have found that it’s best to buy small amounts at a time, try them out right away, and order more if it’s good. The best bud — whether in the dispensaries or the underground — always sells out quickly.

Yours in Bud, Dr. Bud

Legal Notice:  Dr. Bud Protocol is not a real doctor. But then, you already knew that, didn’t you?

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