A weed newbie?: Recreational marijuana is here to stay, but where should you start? A playbook for beginners – Valley Advocate

OK, so you’re new to this marijuana thing. You’ve driven by one — or two or three — dispensaries that are popping up like Pez dispensers in communities up and down the Pioneer Valley.

You’re curious. You’ve got some stimulus money. Odds are you’re on the “older” side, say in your 40s or 50s. You might have some aches and pains, or maybe not.

You want to try it out, but have no clue where to start. Guess what? You’re not alone. Many first-timers are thinking about dipping their toes into this strange new world.

For many new users, the fast pace and overt security measures used at local dispensaries can feel overwhelming, as can sorting through the plethora of products on the menu.

That’s where a “budtender” — something akin to a pot-buying guide — can come in handy. The main job of these employees and growers, who work at most dispensaries, is to match you with the product and strain of marijuana that best fits your needs.

“We have first-time users starting to come in every day,” says Stephanie McNair, the owner of Turning Leaf Centers, a new marijuana dispensary and craft

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