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If bars and coffee shops have bartenders and baristas, cannabis clubs or dispensaries have “budtenders.”
According to TechCrunch, the legal cannabis market has over 243,000 workers in the United States alone. A significant portion of this number consists of “customer assistance-focused” workers, or as they are commonly known, budtenders.
Budtenders have an in-depth knowledge of the products they sell. Thus, they can usually whip out recommendations quickly, from the simplest of customer preferences to the most specific.
With the growing acceptance of marijuana legalization at the state level, it won’t come as a surprise if budtending becomes one of the hottest job demands within the next five years or so.
Let’s look into the world of budtenders, what their jobs entail, how to be one, and more.
What Does a Budtender Do?
According to Indeed, “budtenders are the sales associates who work in legal dispensaries that sell medical and recreational cannabis.”
This entry-level job is designed to serve customers from A-Z, and requires many different bases of knowledge. Aside from the basic customer service feature of fulfilling product orders, budtenders are trusted to provide suggestions and recommendations, especially to customers or patients who don’t have a clue of what to get.
Because the cannabis industry is so young, sometimes, budtenders must go to great lengths educating customers on the basics of recreational and medical cannabis.
Depending on the type of dispensary or consumers they serve, budtenders have varying responsibilities. However, their common tasks include:
- Assisting customers with product selection
- Occasionally attending seminars or cannabis-related trade shows for educational purposes and networking.
- Recommending suitable products for medical and recreational needs.
- Getting to know customers to provide suitable products specific to the customer’s needs and preferences.
- Being on a constant lookout for trends and issues in the cannabis industry.
- Ensuring that all operations follow the state's proper standards, legal requirements, and regulatory protocols.
What Makes a Good Budtender?
Skills can be taught, but attitude is organic. Thus, aside from arming oneself with technical or hard skills, soft skills such as a deep passion for cannabis and customer service should also be stressed as one of the hallmarks of a “good budtender.”
In a feature by Cannabis Reports, the following traits are some of the most significant marks of a good budtender.
#1 Patience and Politeness
These are two of the basic requirements in a customer service job, but can be the least stressed at times.
Budtenders are not strangers to rude remarks, bad tempers, and the like because these interactions come with the job. In a day, budtenders meet many people with different financial situations, temperaments, and backgrounds.
A decent amount of patience and politeness instantly makes a nice impression on customers. If the person seems “too much,” budtenders should acclimate by understanding that their customers’ personal life has nothing to do with their job.
Customers enter dispensaries often armed with specific or non-specific intentions. If a customer can’t seem to relay what they are looking for exactly, a good budtender can quickly deduce this by utilizing an effective style of questioning.
#3 Curiosity and Open-Mindedness
Like any other industry, the cannabis industry is constantly changing and evolving. A good appetite for knowledge on trends and the cannabis culture can be a handy tool for budtenders.
It’s nice to come across a budtender who knows exactly what they are doing and can school anyone on cannabis basics and the trends of today.
Additionally, a good budtender is receptive enough to accept unsolicited tips on anything cannabis-related, even by customers.
#4 Passion for Cannabis
Being passionate about cannabis also isn’t exactly required because budtenders can still do their jobs even if they aren’t. However, nothing beats liking what you do and getting paid for it!
Being a budtender is not easy. Being passionate about what you do is something that not only helps you get you through the day, but helps end it with a smile. Budtenders who are passionate about cannabis exude this obvious enthusiasm and warmth, and that is something that you can’t pay for.
How to Become a Budtender:
The requirements for becoming a budtender vary between states, companies, and dispensaries. Sometimes, entering requires a particular educational background, age, experience, certification, and so on.
The first obvious step of becoming a budtender is to research the protocols of your target state/company/dispensary regarding the requirements for the job.
According to Indeed, here are four of the general factors to consider if you wish to enter the field:
#1 Acquire a High School Diploma and Attend Trainings
Some locations might not require their budtenders to complete their high school years, but a high school diploma will often be asked for the job.
Some states/companies/dispensaries require future budtenders to enroll in customer service training, technical training, and other training related to the important aspects of the job.
#2 Get a Certification (Optional)
Most of the time, a certificate for an online education or training program is not needed to snag a budtender job. However, securing one will definitely give you an edge.
Certifications usually entail passing an exam within a varied school of knowledge, such as industry trends, medical cannabis products, recreational cannabis products, and other topics.
#3 Gain Some Significant Years of Industry Experience
Having industry experience is more of an edge rather than a requirement because not every dispensary requires a cannabis background. If you’re just starting out, immersing yourself into the industry helps greatly in letting opportunities find you.
Attend trade shows, product seminars, and networking events. Even a simple gathering of cannabis enthusiasts is a step ahead in connecting to your “would be” employer.
Moreover, these experiences can rub some cannabis culture and knowledge onto you. These experiences may help you be at ease during interviews and not be intimidated by slang that may be thrown at you.
#4 Get State Work Permits
Some states require a specialized work permit for anyone working in dispensaries operating within their state. Acquiring one would usually mean passing an exam or a background check. Moreover, states also enforce a minimum age requirement to qualify for licensing.
As budtenders get to know the industry more, its products, strains, extraction processes, culture, medical and recreational concepts, legal facets, and more, they widen their capability as a career-driven individual.
Aside from being a budtender, one can become a manager, a sales director, a cultivator, a consultant, a writer, a product specialist, a marketer, or even an owner of a cannabis business. The cannabis industry offers a roster of opportunities, and being a budtender is a great way to kick off your career in the space.
A budtender is engaged in the relationship business. There is a reason why most people like the job, as for the most part, being truly eager to help customers and liking what they do are intangible rewards a paycheck doesn’t cover.
If becoming a budtender is a goal of yours, find out if you have what it takes to be one!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the original poster's. All opinions expressed in this blog post are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Baked Bros or its affiliates.
Sheena Beronio is a cannabis and CBD content writer. She contributes valuable content for the Daily Leaf, Canview, Tweak Your Biz, and more. With over three years of copywriting experience in her arsenal, she uses that advantage to educate budding cannabis writers in her blog.