How to Become a Budtender: Requirements and Salary

Are you the one to shape the future of cannabis retail by becoming the best budtender ever?

I bet the first time you walked into a dispensary you thought to yourself: “Man, I wonder what it would take for me to work here?”

I was also very intrigued by that very same question and so I decided to discover what it takes and what are the requirements to become a professional budtender.

After all, a dispensary is nothing more than a retail location, pretty much like any other run-of-the-mil shop—however, budtenders are not just simple salespeople.

Dispensaries usually have a couple of people working the same shift depending on how many people they serve, so the staff is often made up of one (or more) budtenders, and a manager.

Who are budtenders?

Budtenders are modern-day cannabis sommeliers.

Their job is to know how to sell a cannabis product that will check all of the customer’s boxes and make them come back for more.

Here is a definition from Merriam-Webster.

Budtender is a person who serves customers at an establishment where cannabis is sold.

I personally don’t like this definition because I don’t think it covers all the bases.

Budtenders shouldn’t be “boiled down” to a simple cashier who won’t be able to tell you anything about the cannabis you’re about to buy. They have much greater responsibility.

I once spent half an hour talking to a budtender in Seattle about things that squares just wouldn’t understand and felt awesome after that, and it wasn’t because of the weed.

Is the budtender position a dead end job?

There are people out there claiming that the budtender position is nothing more than a retail sales job. The same people are saying that becoming a budtender means limiting yourself to that position, as there are little to no prospects for advancement.

I have only one question for those people:

When was the last time you were a part of a blooming, recently legalized market?

It’s not like people from other industries are likely to jump into the cannabis sector, because that rarely happens in real life.

People are generally afraid to leave their jobs, and even more so when the market they’re planning to jump in is this young.

Sure, some of the specialists from other industries such as highly educated technologists and pharmacologists may switch over to the cannabis industry, but they do so because there’s new money in this sector, and cannabis companies are probably willing to offer large sums for exceedingly specialized individuals.

It is not unlikely that people who take up budtender jobs in the near future might end up as branch managers or even executives in some of the retail stores that are about to open their doors.

There are many other positions out there that could be considered dead-end way more than working as a budtender, considering that the cannabis industry is in rapid expansion.

How to find budtender jobs?

Budtender positions will just keep opening as we further progress into a global cannabis legalization.

You could look for a budtender job through traditional means, meaning while you’re in the store just ask around if they need any new people to fill out the shifts.

Many stores will open their doors without hiring enough staff, so you will start seeing more stores with “HIRING” signs, so don’t be afraid to walk in and ask around.

You could also start by looking up “budtender jobs Canada” on Google, and then check out several job-seeking websites such as Glassdoor, Indeed and any other site of that sort.

The Canadian Federal Government also offers jobs on their website, so that is an option if you are looking for work in the government sector.

How much does a budtender make?

This really depends on where you live as wages are naturally very different from country to country, and even they are also going to vary in different states and provinces.

In US, budtenders will probably make between $11-13 per hour. Don’t let that discourage you as there are other awesome benefits to this job, such as sampling all the new products.

But if you prove yourself worthy of a promotion, and if you have some previous experience in other useful fields, you just might find yourself making much more than that especially as the industry grows.

Cannabis companies are currently in the process of expansion as they are striving to capture as big of a market share as possible, and this is where you can find a spot for yourself.

What does a budtender resume look like?

Firstly, you’ll have to be over 18 years of age, and in some places such as the US, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old.

I will assume that you are very comfortable around cannabis, so we’re not going to mention that as a requirement.

Most budtender positions require an advanced level of knowledge about strains, for instance sativa versus indica and their effects, and I bet you knowing the biochemistry of cannabis won’t harm you either.

Couple that with background in sales, retail or customer service and you will most likely be able to land a job in a dispensary.

Here’s what a real budtender job description looks like:

Budtender job description

What does a budtender need to know?

A budtender must know everything that is considered “common knowledge” when it comes to cannabis.

Budtenders are the first line of defense against bad cannabis experiences.

They should be the first to tell you that “this concentrate is very potent and if you aren’t used to weed, you might feel like dying… but you’ll be OK in about 8 hours”, and everything else along that line.

Budtenders should also be familiar with all types of consumption methods like vaping, dabbing and smoking, what is hash and what’s BHO, what are the best ways to consume cannabis, and what is the best type of product for a customer’s specific requirement.

They should also be familiar with all the strains, derivatives and other products currently available for purchase.

Having a personal recommendation is always a good thing when potential buyers start asking around.

Becoming a budtender is a great way to enter the weed industry, and the work itself isn’t stressful at all. But most importantly, if you love cannabis, you will love being a budtender.

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