What’s It Like To Be A Budtender?

Working as a Budtender in a Cannabis Dispensary

‘Budtender’ isn’t exactly the term that many of them prefer to use for themselves. Many of them consider it a tongue and cheek title and many Budtenders prefer to be called ‘dispensary agents‘ or ‘dispensary technicians‘.

Out of towners seeking a recreational toke smirk at the term every time they hear it, Budtenders (as individuals) are as diverse as the strains they sell, but the best of them all take their work seriously (click here to see our Budtender Certification). The last thing that any Budtender would ever want for the public to assume is that they get paid to slack off and smoke all day.

A Budtender has to know the products just to help the customer, but with the unique legal position of cannabis, every government jurisdiction has its own regulations and laws… lots of them. The last thing any cannabis company wants is to get on the wrong side of the law.

An employee that already knows the rules and understands how to keep the business safe makes for a valuable asset. Sure, most people wanting to become Budtenders will have some general knowledge of cannabis and its effects. But how does an employer know whether a candidate has an accurate education?


Budtenders Starting to Work in Dispensaries

It’s no surprise, everyone wants to get in on the ‘Green Rush‘ with an exciting career in cannabis. Who wouldn’t? Working in the cannabis industry has become the dream job for just about every marijuana lover in the world.

But with that competition for a position, how can applicants help themselves stand out from the crowd? How can they show they have what it takes to be the best Budtender for the job?


You Want Smart Budtenders

The old adage is true, knowledge is power. The position of Budtender is a new one, meaning virtually no one actually has previous experience. So, candidates must try to earn the job with relevant work experience and knowledge of cannabis.

Valuable skills include customer service, inventory control, and sales. But a Budtender can’t help people without knowing about cannabis. From the standpoint of medical accuracy, safety, or simply the vast selection of strains and products, a Budtender has to know the cannabis plant and experience in and out.

Cannabis is more than just a recreational plant. Cannabis is a rich and complex medicine, with its own science, chemistry, and vocabulary. A Budtender acts as the front line in educating consumers on the nuances of cannabinoids, terpenes, tolerance, and effects. Without a sophisticated knowledge of the plant, a Budtender is little more than a cashier.

So much misleading or inaccurate information has been spread over the years, the cannabis industry has to educate the public in order to ensure a pleasant experience.


Do Budtenders Really Need Training?

As cannabis recruiters and a cannabis training agency, this is one of our most frequently asked questions – do dispensary workers need training? The short answer to that question is 100% YES.

The long answer is multi-faceted. Budtenders, or medical marijuana dispensary agents, are not solely ‘salespeople‘; they’re also assisting people who are battling very serious medical conditions. On top of this, Budtenders are dealing with a federally prohibited substance that is highly susceptible to theft.

Did we mention they’re also the frontline of a business? Needless to say, Budtenders are vital to the success of any operation. Proper training is therefore crucial. A Budtender’s position is too important to be left to chance. This is why Budtender Training is so critical.


Excellent Patient Care is Critical for Dispensaries

People from all walks of life visit dispensaries, Budtenders must be prepared to assist them equally. This requires more than a passion for cannabis. While dispensary employees are certainly not expected to have the knowledge of a medical professional, they need to be able to assist patients.

For example, a Budtender should be able to:

  • Explain what the endocannabinoid system is and how cannabis interacts with it.
  • Local, state, and federal cannabis regulations.
  • The difference between the different cannabinoids and terpenes that are on the labeled products.
  • The Entourage Effect.
  • Where a product was grown and/or processed.
  • How to use inventory and a state POS system.
  • Types of cannabis products (tinctures, edibles, concentrates, flower, topicals) and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • How dosing works for each of these products.
  • And much more!

In fact, this is just a fraction of what a dispensary agent needs to know. This is a lot of information to cover. Training ensures that employees are prepared to meet patient needs and fulfill all expected job roles.


As the Industry Grows, so Does the Competition

The rapid growth of the cannabis industry is exciting. There are marijuana jobs here for the taking! However, it’s also important to understand that with the massive growth of these cannabis companies comes increased competition.

Which brands will survive in the long haul? It’s anyone’s best guess at this point. But dispensaries that operate in compliance, stay flexible and hire the right people will be at a big advantage.

Budtenders are the first, and sometimes the only person; someone may interact with at a dispensary. The quality of that interaction is invaluable. One of the defining factors for dispensaries in the future will be their level of customer/patient service.

Dispensaries who have friendly, professional, and knowledgeable employees will be a step above the rest. This is why Budtender Training is sought after by many managers hiring for cannabis jobs.


Stay Ahead of Industry Trends

Where will the cannabis industry be five years from now? Truthfully, no one knows for sure. However, we do know there is a growing movement towards professionalism and universal industry standards – Budtender training being one of them.

While employee training is not currently a requirement for most state dispensaries, this isn’t likely to be the case in the future. Dispensaries that prioritize training today will be one step ahead of the game.

Why wait until regulations force you to train your employees? The benefits far outweigh the risks.

Let us know what you think.