Visiting a marijuana dispensary is a little like going into a candy store for adults. The warm feeling of treating yourself takes over and it can often be overwhelming to figure out what strains might work for you. Cue the budtender, that chill guy or gal that welcomes you into the dispensary and seems to know so much about ganja! Budtenders are exactly what they sound like, where they tend to your bud and make sure you are taken care of, often like a bartender. Read on to see how to become a budtender and the essential aspects of a budtender’s job that everyone should know about!
What is a budtender?
A budtender is defined as a person who serves and helps customers in a cannabis-related establishment. This person serves all things Mary Jane and is there to help you understand all products available that might fit to your specific needs. Most people think budtenders are stoners that want to work around weed - this might be true, but it takes so much more than just smoking weed yourself to be a budtender. There are few traits all budtenders should possess to be successful at their job and should not be overlooked!
How to become a budtender
A budtender position requires someone to be at least 21 years of age with a high school diploma. Varying by state, a budtender should also have a cannabis permit that can be done through the state you are applying in. Other requirements may include but are not limited to: background checks, other certifications and licensing needed per dispensary requirements, etc. Please do your research specific to the state you are working in so that you are aware of what is required and expected of you to qualify for a budtender position.
Although a budtender role is technically considered entry-level, you should have some knowledge of marijuana beyond the basics and also have an idea of how a marijuana dispensary is run, what is expected of a budtender, etc. Here is all you need to know about what it takes to be a budtender and a great one at that!
Product knowledge of marijuana
Besides smoking weed themselves, budtenders also know a lot about marijuana. Not just what strains are the dankest and the difference between sativa and indica - being knowledgeable with marijuana dives much deeper than this.
There are budtender training courses available online to help learn the basics of marijuana products. We suggest doing your own research to see what information you can find yourself vs looking into a course and getting certified, but here’s a breakdown of the basic product knowledge of marijuana every budtender should have a general idea of:
- Differences between sativa, indica and hybrids
- Strains and its genetic makeup (beyond a basic product description)
- Percentages of THC and CBD (cannabinoids and terpenes knowledge)
- Variety of cannabis products (flower, concentrates, topicals, tinctures, etc.)
- Measurements and price comparisons of cannabis brands
- Top-selling products and promotions
- Current marijuana vocabulary and knowledge of up and coming cannabis-related innovations
One of the most important aspects of a budtender’s job is to be able to properly recommend what type of cannabis to a marijuana user based on his or her symptoms or need to use weed. Whether for pain relief, insomnia, anxiety and more, a budtender should absolutely know which direction to point a dispensary customer in to best fit their needs and comfort level. It is important to remember that not all marijuana dispensary customers are young stoners that just like to get high. A lot of customers are in fact older with many ailments that need to be seriously treated and marijuana is an excellent alternative to other pharmaceutical options that are available.
Stay up to date in the cannabis community
Everyone knows that the cannabis world is an ever-evolving one, and a budtender should embrace that with a constant learning mentality. With new innovations along with regulations changing everyday, a budtender needs to be nimble and understand that things in the cannabis industry change in an instant. It is essential to note that a budtender is normally the face of a cannabis company and anything he or she does directly affects the dispensary. This means budtenders need to be on top of it when knowing about the current laws surrounding the cannabis industry along with any expected changes that need to be communicated to customers.
Knowing the medical side of marijuana is great for medical marijuana customers because they can trust that you are the person guiding them on their medical marijuana patient (MMP) journey. Understanding the needs of a MMP will make all the difference in helping that person heal themselves and get through their day. Budtenders definitely should have a giving mentality and be ready to engage in deep conversation if need be!
Be social and professional
Budtenders are usually the most friendly, laid-back person in a friends group but are capable of diving deep into conversation about all things weed. When a customer visits the dispensary they are looking for an experience often involving a little more than just normal greetings in passing. When visiting a dispensary, a budtender will help one customer or group at a time to make it feel more intimate and personal. Similar to a personal shopper, the budtender acts as a cannabis concierge of sorts and tailors his or recommendations based on the conversation with the customer. Budtenders should know how to interact with first-time marijuana users to seasoned users so that they can make the appropriate recommendations.
Check out Indeed or Simply Hired to see if there are any budtenders jobs near you! Be sure to polish up your budtender resume before applying.
If you are a repeat customer at your favorite dispensary and have your go-to budtender, ask him or her a few questions and mention you are interested in getting into the industry. The cannabis community prides itself off of welcoming everyone and sharing a common love for Mary Jane. See what you like about your own dispensary experience and reflect on how you can provide that to someone else as well. Best of luck to all of the future budtenders out there, we believe in you!