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How to Become a Budtender: A Complete Guide

Budtender weighing cannabis

The business of bud is exploding with an increase of 30% of the marijuana market since its legalization. With more and more demands for medical and recreational use, dispensaries require talented, passionate, and reliable individuals to face and advise their customers. That is where budtenders come into play. Here’s how to become the cannabis expert who interacts with customers, provides quality products for legal uses, and educates them.

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What Is the History of Budtenders 

Dispensaries are almost 30 years old with the first medical dispensary, The San Francisco Buyers Club, opening in 1992 amid the AIDS crisis marks the budtender role’s birthplace. The term is a play on words of “bud” and “bartender”. The position evolved significantly since the legalization of medical marijuana in the 2000s. It ultimately shifted the budtender’s responsibilities from casual weed dealer to a knowledgeable advisor for medical patients. Sparc is home to some of the best budtenders around; visit a local professional today!

Who Are Budtenders? 

Budtenders are marijuana and cannabis specialists in dispensaries. As a trustworthy interlocutor, the budtender wears many hats at the same time. They act as retail professionals. They listen and answer questions to reassure and guide new and returning customers. As educators in the marijuana business, their role is to explain the best uses and consumption methods to match each customer’s needs and preferences. But they also turn legalized cannabis into a personalizable product for most consumers, taking down barriers and sharing practical and helpful facts and opinions.

What Is the Modern Budtender like? 

The budtender is critical to the preservation and expansion of the dispensary ecosystem. Budtenders are recognized and respected advisors to patients who use medical marijuana. In states where recreational adult use is authorized, the budtender’s knowledge and expertise play a pivotal role in keeping cannabis consumption safe. The modern budtender needs to juggle strict rules with unique needs and wants. Any mistake could have dramatic consequences, so dispensaries expect extensive product know-how for their broad audience. 

How Does the Budtender Role Function Today? 

Regulations in most legal markets require production facilities to deliver pre-packaged buds at their dispensaries. So most budtender roles will not ask you to weigh the buds. The budtender is also responsible for the cash-payment register.

Today’s budtender fulfills an educational role for customers, helping them understand different legal marijuana consumption aspects.

What Does It Take to Be a Budtender? 

Budtenders need a clear criminal record and a passion for the cannabis industry. As people rely on their professional advice for their purchase, they expect budtenders to know everything about cannabis, including industry trends, cannabinoids, strains, etc. You need to be willing to learn, as the industry is continually changing.

Ideally, a background in the service industry can make a big difference. You will talk to a variety of people who rely on you to find the best product. Making them feel at ease is a no-brainer. 

What Is the Most Challenging Aspect of Being a Budtender? 

Budtenders often get to serve consumers who live in a state that has not yet legalized cannabis and who want to travel back. Addressing travel and legal considerations can be challenging. Keeping up with the most recent regulations is a necessary investment in your career. 

What Is the Guide to Becoming a Budtender? 

Weighing weed on a scale

The guide to becoming a budtender encourages professionals to take their place in a growing industry sector. Training material and certifications can help you build a career path inside the dispensary. With weed legalization still in its infancy in the U.S., the guide also supports budtenders in identifying and attracting new growth opportunities in the business.

Product Knowledge 

The more you know, the more valuable you are to the customers of the dispensary. Budtenders are product specialists, which means they understand marijuana vocabulary, strain genetics, product descriptions, consumption methods, and individual products’ different quality and effects.

They can educate consumers about terpenes, cannabinoids, strains, the nature and history of Sativa, hybrid bland and indica, and the science between different products and their best use.

You are also a retail professional who understands the latest trends and how these affect the business. Finally, you can help customers compare prices, measurements, and weight conversions to know what they buy. 

Industry Trends 

As a budtender, you need to be aware of the changes and innovations at different business levels.

New regulations and rules will transform your customership. Understanding what is legal in your state and others will dictate how you serve customers. It’s a good idea to keep track of specialist industry material and follow experts online. You get to receive updates in real-time and discover how marketing and communication strategies need to adapt to local regulations and needs.

Be Personable 

The budtender is the face of the business. They embody the dispensary values and need to combine both extensive knowledge and high-quality customer skills. It is your role to create a personal connection and create a trust relationship with various customers. Ideally, first-hand knowledge of the products can help you answer customers’ queries and share real experience stories. Delivering an authentic message that people can trust is precisely what the dispensary expects from their best budtenders. You shouldn’t just push products, but push those you know will suit the customers. 

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Prepare for the Interview 

When you apply for a dispensary role, it’s a good idea to study the products they offer. As the specialist in the dispensary, you are required to have expert knowledge about everything they sell. Ideally, candidates who are knowledgeable and passionate are a better match for dispensaries.

But don’t forget additional skills that can boost your profile: Retail experience or customer service are highly valuable. If you have medical experience, be sure to write it down too. 

Interview Tips Differentiate Yourself From the Competitors 

You can bring your resume on top of the pile by highlighting your relevant experience and knowledge for the budtender role. There are training programs available, such as the Cannabis Dispensary Basic Training from HempStaff, which can significantly increase your chances. Relevant programs that deliver a certificate will make your profile stand out.

List out and mention any related experience in the cannabis business or with customers. Write a few lines to explain why it is beneficial for the dispensary. If this is your first job, try to gain experience first in an entrance-level position for the company, for instance.

How to Find Budtender Jobs? 

Most dispensaries will publish vacancies on their websites or share them in store. Don’t hesitate to check your local businesses and get in touch with the team to find out more about the requirements. Social media platforms for dispensaries are also a good source of job info.

Alternatively, you can rely on usual job search routines. Google is the first place to start your search. “Budtender jobs near me” can help you create a list. LinkedIn and Indeed can be helpful, especially as many companies have to create a brand profile before posting their vacancies.

How Much Does a Budtender Make? 

A budtender makes approximately $17 per hour in California. It comes with a median salary of $32,000. However, you have to consider the job as a stepping stone into an exciting market sector. Being a budtender has its benefits, such as sample the products as part of your role. But as the marijuana business is growing fast, a budtender job can allow you to move your career forward in the company. The location affects how much you’ll earn.

What Does a Budtender Need to Know? 

A budtender creates a positive experience of cannabis consumption. Therefore, your knowledge is instrumental to avoid harmful and traumatic experiences for your customers. Understanding of the dosage, strains, and their effects will guide your advice. But ideally, you should also ensure people know what to expect from their product and chosen consumption method.. 

Where Can You Find the Best Budtender? 

Knowledgeable budtenders are the rockstars of the dispensary. You can reach out to your trusted budtender to ask them for tips and advice on the profession. As a rule of thumb, areas in which dispensaries have been long established, such as San Francisco, are more likely to have a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Yet that doesn’t mean you can’t find a budtender mentor elsewhere. Online and offline training facilities work closely with a group of experts with first-hand experience. You can reach out to trainers to find out more about the job.

About Sparc

Open sign of a dispensary

As long-established growers and distributors of cannabis in the San Francisco area since 1998, Sparc has been committed to bringing quality products to medical and recreational consumers. Since 2010, the business has opened retail facilities in the San Francisco area. In their dispensaries, the budtender plays a critical role in protecting and expanding cannabis’s beneficial use under all its legal forms. 

Like a sommelier of cannabis, the budtender creates a valuable and beneficial experience for consumers. Their knowledge, friendly and personable approach and expertise ensure they can advise medical and recreational users of legal marijuana. 

Making education a priority for consumers helps transform the consumption, use, and perception of cannabis for both customers and observers. The budtender’s responsibility can bridge the gap safety between medical patients and recreational users, ensuring loyalty and advocacy for the dispensary. More importantly, in a continually evolving market, tomorrow’s budtender may expand their skills and duties beyond the realm of their customer-facing activities. Get in touch with Sparc today to speak with our experienced budtenders!

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