With weed now legalized in one form or another in most states – whether it be medicinal or recreational – there are now thousands of dispensaries nationwide. Cannabis dispensaries first started popping up in California in the 1990s, which means our beloved budtenders have been around for decades now. But what exactly is a budtender?

Budtender Basics

Budtenders are the front staff at all dispensaries and have become essential to any legal cannabis shopping trip. They help to guide customers through the experience from start to finish, knowing not only which products they carry, but which ones to recommend based on the customer’s needs. Budtenders can be considered experts in the shop’s products, so don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions you may have.

Becoming a Budtender

Interested in entering the booming cannabis industry? One fun way to do this might be to become a budtender. The educational requirements for a budtender will vary based on company policy or state laws, but in general, budtenders need at least a high school diploma – some may require further certification, with several programs now offered online (even if the dispensary you’re applying at doesn’t require it, we still think certification is the way to go to get a leg up). Some dispensaries set minimum age requirements for the position to comply with state laws.

What It Takes

It probably doesn’t need to be said, but one of the most important skills for a budtender to have is well-rounded knowledge and a deep understanding of the cannabis industry – such as state and federal cannabis laws, how dispensary products are made, and the effects of each product.

Because budtenders work directly with the customers, employers will also be looking for excellent customer service skills. Can you professionally and respectfully listen to your customer’s needs? Are you able to explain to them the difference between dabs and flower in a way they understand? Do you ring up their purchase accurately and with a smile? Don’t forget that this is still a new industry, so anything cannabis related is super heavy on the regulations. You’ll have to prove that you’re able to follow strict rules and keep everything at the customer facing end organized.

What They Make

In 2018, the median annual salary for budtenders was $32,000 – which isn’t too bad for a position that doesn’t require more than a high school diploma in most cases. This job field is growing as well, with more and more states legalizing recreational and medical cannabis. While some dispensaries start budtenders out at $12 an hour, you’ll find other places willing to pay a premium upwards of $20 an hour for a supreme sales staff.

Have we sold you on becoming a budtender yet? While the job does require special skills, it’s also pretty simple for any weed lover who’s able to handle customers. Brush up on your weed knowledge before a job interview – research the specific dispensary’s menu and have something to say about it (what’s your favorite strain and why, perhaps. Prove to ‘em you can differentiate between a customer who needs a sativa and one who would benefit more from an indica). Shake the interviewer’s hand and smile – don’t only tell them you’ve got great customer service skills, but prove it to them while you’re at it. Budtenders are essential to any dispensary, so why not go for it?

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