How to Get Hired as a Budtender

Jul 28, 2023

By any measure, the legal cannabis industry keeps growing at an astonishing rate, and there's no sign of a downturn coming anytime soon. In 2020 alone, cannabis sales in the U.S. topped $17.5 billion, representing an eye-popping 46 percent increase since 2019. 

If you want to check out the basics of Budtending, check out the course in the EzHire Learning Center.

Even during a global pandemic, nothing can stand in the way of an enterprising cannabis entrepreneur with business savvy. Today, there are over 6,000 cannabis cultivators licensed in the U.S., and it won't take very long to double or triple that figure in the foreseeable future.

The only natural outcome of the cannabis boom will be a surge in cannabis hiring as more dispensaries open and begin to thrive in states where cannabis use is now legal. Still, landing those dispensary jobs won't be easy for cannabis newbies.

Everyone wants to be a budtender, but few can actually do the job well! But getting hired as a budtender is possible if a potential employee knows the essentials of the trade before the interview.

Overall, it's really not that complex, so here's what to know before applying as a budtender at a dispensary.

What makes a good budtender?

At a glance, budtenders appear no different than any other retail employee whose primary charge is customer service and a light touch of salesmanship here and there. But the reality is far different. Budtenders are more comparable to bartenders because a knowledgeable budtender fills the same role: handling the point of sales for the business. The job requires an in-depth knowledge of cannabis, so anyone thinking about working in a dispensary needs to know the facts about cannabis, especially state cannabis laws.

1 – Always know (and follow) state cannabis laws

What makes budtending difficult is the fact that marijuana legalization and recreation vary widely from state to state. More states are legalizing recreational use, but many are barely coming onboard with legalized medicinal marijuana. Honestly, the regulations are so different that budtenders have to be extremely careful about how they ply their trade or get fined in some states. Following the law is all the more critical since cannabis tourism brings in hordes of out-of-state stoners who want to know where to find the "good stuff" literally as soon as they step off the plane. Along those lines, how can consumers tell whether or not a dispensary's wares are legit?

2 – Show an eye for spotting quality cannabis on sight

Even stoners who've been consuming cannabis for years never appreciate the finer points of what makes weed worth the price. So a budtender needs to show an eye for spotting and sizing up quality weed on sight! The structure of the buds will determine if the strain is an Indica, Sativa, or a hybrid. It gets tricky when getting into the hybrids because the "rules of thumb" don't always apply, especially if the quality of the crop is suspect. Generally, Indica buds will be denser and fatter than Sativa buds but not always; Sativas are usually lighter and wispier.

When it comes to identifying quality cannabis, it'll take practice for those who are new to the industry.

3 – Have alternatives for non-smokers at the ready

Budtenders also need to have alternatives for non-smokers at the ready because edibles and vaping are becoming more popular as more first-time cannabis consumers join the party. It helps to know the THC concentration of edibles to sell them well. The last thing anyone wants to do is sell an extremely potent caramel melt and not prepare customers for the experience. The age-old wisdom with edibles is that novice users should only consume about half of the recommended dose. The escalating euphoric, calming effects of edibles tend to last significantly longer than smoked or vaped cannabis.

When it comes to vaping cannabis, the main difference between smoking is that vapes pack a bigger punch, requiring only one clean drag to last several hours. But the downside of vaping is that non-smokers won't be able to control the concentration of the vapor initially – causing heavy, heavy coughing. Just like a bartender, a budtender's job is to know people's limits to save them from themselves at times.

4 – Know how to upsell products

Knowing how to upsell products when a customer is on the hook is an extraordinary skill for a budtender to demonstrate. Maybe it's someone's natural personality, or perhaps it's just good old-fashioned haggling? Either way, the idea is to help someone splurge and treat themselves to 1/8 oz. of crisp OG Kush plus accessories when they only came into the dispensary to learn about weed from a pro.

In the end, knowing these essentials about budtending will help land a job.

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