What Is a Budtender and How Do You Become One?

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Explosive growth in the cannabis sector has opened the door to plenty of employment opportunities around the country. Between fully recreational and medical-only states, cannabis is now sold in all but thirteen states. It is only a matter of time before the remaining holdouts get on board. That is good news for anyone who wants to be employed by the cannabis industry, including would-be budtenders.

Do you know what a budtender is? And if so, do you know what it takes to become one? Among the many careers available within the cannabis industry, the budtender is perhaps the most visible. But not just anyone can do the job well. Like anything else, budtending requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and passion for the industry.

The Budtender Defined

A budtender is a dispensary or medical cannabis pharmacy employee who deals directly with customers to help them find the products they need. Unlike a medical cannabis pharmacist, the budtender is not allowed to give medical advice. They do not have a medical degree by default. In fact, many budtenders do not have college degrees at all.

In its basic form, budtending is a retail job. It involves face-to-face interactions with customers. Budtenders introduce customers to new products and strains. They answer questions, give advice, and generally steer customers to those products that are most likely to meet individual needs. When all is said and done, budtenders usually cash customers out and send them on their way.

What It Takes to Land a Job

Cannabis is, without a doubt, a specialized industry. This suggests that dispensary and pharmacy owners are not necessarily going to hire anyone and everyone who puts in an application. Employers are pretty fussy. They want to make sure they have the right people in budtending positions for the simple fact that those people are the public face of the company.

Although there are no hard and fast rules for landing a budtending position, job applicants hoping for a realistic shot of getting hired should possess the following:

1. Serious Cannabis Knowledge

Right off the top, business owners want their budtenders to be seriously knowledgeable about cannabis itself. They want budtenders who have a working knowledge of cannabinoids, terpenes, and the various strains now on the market. Some even require job candidates to demonstrate they have completed a budtending certification course.

Knowledge requirements may be more important in medical-only states, due to the nature of their cannabis programs. An employer like Pure Utah, in Payson, UT, may place cannabis knowledge at the very top of the list of job requirements.

2. Industry Passion

Given that selling recreational or medical cannabis is ultimately a retail job, employers expect their budtenders to be passionate about what they do. It is no different from any other retail sales position. If you are passionate about cannabis, you will be more productive at making sales. That is the bottom line at the end of the day.

3. Retail and Personal Experience

This final requirement is not set in stone. That being said, dispensaries and pharmacies are likely to look more favorably on candidates who have both retail and personal experience. Retail experience can be in any field involving direct customer service. As for personal experience, dispensaries and pharmacies appreciate budtenders who actually use cannabis themselves – whether recreationally or medically.

The budtender is the most visible employee in the cannabis industry. If you are looking to get into the industry through an entry-level job, budtending may be the right way to go. Starting there and working your way up offers a plethora of career opportunities.