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How to Become a Budtender: A Complete Guide

Posted in: Cannabis Culture
February 3, 2023

Do you have an absolute passion for marijuana? Would you like to pursue this love and venture in the 420 industry? Our guide on how to become a budtender will give you all the information you need to flourish on this career path.

With the cannabis industry dramatically growing every year, there’s a demand for workers in new sectors. One of these budding professions is budtendering.

Does this job spark your interest? Keep reading to discover all about budtendering.

What is a budtender job?

What is a budtender’s job description? This term may be unfamiliar to you, but it’s quickly becoming a popular name to describe weed store workers.

A budtender is an employee in the marijuana industry. They’re friendly and enthusiastic about this popular herb. This career path is meant for someone that enjoys interacting with people, has a knowledgeable base of cannabis, and is an excellent salesperson.

In short, a budtender is a person who works in a store or dispensary that stocks cannabis products. Some aspects of this job may entail:

  • Giving customers suggestions on which strain may suit their wants and needs
  • Answering in-depth questions about cannabis seeds and related marijuana items
  • Knowing how to store and handle each type of product
  • Being friendly and able to interact with people well
  • Having superb budtender skills in sales

The term “budtender” was coined in 1997 after the legalization of marijuana in California.

Budtender is a portmanteau, combining the words bartender and bud.” Instead of being skillful in liquor and cocktails, the person deals with cannabis and its related products.

Having a love for pot is a significant advantage if you desire to be a budtender. However, like with any career, there are exciting aspects and some downsides.

what is a budtender job

Let us look at some of the opportunities and obstacles below.

Opportunities

Many job positions offer growth, and budtendering is no exception. It exposes you to many new experiences and opportunities while also being part of a team.

Here are some of the main perks - you can:

  • help people understand the intricacies of the weed world and introduce them to new options
  • help normalize the use of cannabis while trying to break the stigma
  • meet many different people with a vast scope of stories and backgrounds
  • be part of the booming cannabis industry, which continues to reach new heights every year

Obstacles

While there are many positive aspects to becoming a budtender, there are some obstacles in this career path:

  • Dispensaries are often open late and on weekends, and longer working hours may be part of the deal
  • Some customers are demanding and difficult, but you have to treat them with the same respect as others
  • The 420 industry is growing, and budtenders need to keep up to date with the changes
  • Not everyone agrees with the legalization of the cannabis industry, so you may get some slack from family and friends
  • There’s a lot of information about marijuana and its related products, so extensive knowledge in the field is a prerequisite

How to become a budtender?

So, you know what a budtender does and what the duties entail. The question is, how do you become one?

While studying to become a budtender isn’t mandatory, there are some exceptional courses available to help you stand out from the crowd.

A budtender certification program is the perfect way to boost your career in the industry. In less than six months, you can begin your journey into the 420 world as a budtender. Complete this virtual program from the comfort of your own home, anywhere in the world, for a small fee.

Along with formal training, there are a few things you can do to make your application more appealing:

  • Learn all there is to know about cannabis
  • Work on your communication skills with customers
  • Try to gain some experience in retail
  • Apply for jobs in the marijuana industry

Some dispensaries and stores may not even require you to have completed all these steps before employing you. However, we heavily advise adding a budtender certificate to your arsenal, as it instantly shows your prospective company that you already know a few things.

Skills for being a budtender 

This is an entry-level position and doesn’t require specific budtender certifications, but a few skills are advantageous to possess, including:

  • Organizational skills
  • Good communication
  • Sales and customer skills
  • Cleaning abilities
  • Implementing age restrictions and checking customer’s identity cards
  • Stock checking and inventory lists

Let’s explore the main skills you need for budtendering below.

Enhance your product knowledge

There’s no recognized budtender study guide, but you should know the basics and be willing to learn how to get into the cannabis industry.

The basic knowledge you need includes:

  • How and where cannabis plants grow
  • The different marijuana products such as edibles, buds, topicals, oils, and vapes
  • How specific weed strains affect tokers, how long it takes for the effects to hit, and how long the high lasts
  • The various types of cannabis, including indica, sativa, hybrid, and landrace
  • The difference between THC and CBD percentages as well as what effects these cannabinoids have
  • What a terpene is and which are the most common ones

The more information a budtender has, the better they can service their customers. Regularly reading informative blogs is a great place to start.

Best Cannabis Grow Books

Learning is a never-ending circle, and budtenders should keep up to date with the latest trends in cannabis culture. They act as a communication barrier to end users. Being on top of the necessary information helps inform potential buyers about the emerging trends as well as:

  • Local cannabis events
  • New marijuana products
  • Changes to state, local, and federal weed laws

Knowledge of laws

Many aspects of being a budtender are like a regular retail job, but one difference is that cannabis is a highly regulated product. There are many federal and local laws for the sale, possession, and consumption of marijuana.

Recreational cannabis use has been legalized in 15 US states, while medicinal use is permitted in 35. A budtender needs to be up to date and aware of these laws to service their clients correctly

In some states, the legislation has specific guidelines surrounding:

  • What time dispensaries can operate
  • Product packaging and how items should leave the store
  • Who the management of the store can allow access to

When working in this industry, you may need to go through a criminal background check. This step is required in some states to work with marijuana. Understanding all the logistics is part of how to become a budtender.

Engage and connect with stories

Using stories to build engagement is a perfect trait to have as a salesperson. By connecting with customers, you can hear about their experiences and guide them on the best way forward.

Using stories and experiences works in the business’ favor by applying its vision and mission. The budtender can use the tales they hear to guide and interact with new customers by explaining another perspective.

The different strains of cannabis have a variety of effects on individuals. Allowing open conversation brings these results to light and enables others to either stay clear or experiment with the strain.

Training

This budding profession is an entry-level position that requires no formal budtender training. While there are a few formal courses like that in the Oaksterdam University that could benefit the job, they aren’t a requirement.

The first budtenders learned all they knew from:

  • Marijuana farmers
  • Cannabis extraction technicians
  • Chefs and connoisseurs involved in cooking with weed
  • Other experts in the 420 field

Even though certifications and courses aren’t essential, they allow you to be aware of recent developments and continue learning. Budtenders are self-taught experts in the field, but staying up to date with the trends is important.

Additional training may be necessary if you work as a budtender in the medical marijuana field, but recreational sales rarely require it. 

License

You don’t need a budtender license to work in the US, but some dispensaries may require you to have a permit.

The store you work at must be licensed to sell marijuana, although this regulation is the owner’s responsibility.

The bottom line

While no previous experience or training is needed to become a budtender, you’re the customer’s first point of contact.

Listening to the needs of the customer before making a sale helps assure the distribution of the right products. To do this correctly, a budtender needs to know what they’re talking about.

Being a toker or having a love for the herb may seem like enough to work in the industry. Although these traits are helpful, there’s more to consider about the job and what it entails.

With the cannabis world booming and not looking like it’s slowing down, more budtender positions will undoubtedly open up soon. Check online and ask at your local stores or dispensaries for openings if you feel this career is for you.

FAQs about becoming a budtender

We’ve gone into detail about what a budtender is, but you may still have a few questions. Check out the most commonly asked queries with in-depth answers below.

What budtender terms do you need to know?

Here are some terms that every budtender should have in their vocabulary:

  • Bubbler: This device uses water to filter smoke and is very similar to a bong
  • Cone: A type of rolling paper in the shape of a cone used to smoke a joint
  • Hash: One of the oldest cannabis concentrates made from resin
  • Kief: A powdery substance from weed leaves and buds that goes through a grinder sieve to collect the tiny trichomes
  • Landrace: A pure marijuana strain that hasn’t been cross-bred and grows in its natural habitat
  • Tincture: A liquid cannabis concentrate typically consumed sublingually

Where do you find a budtending job?

It might seem like a budtending job is hard to find. After spending a few seconds looking online, a long list of opportunities should pop up in 420-friendly states. This is an entry-level position, and most available jobs allow anyone with varying levels of experience to apply

How much does a budtender make?

What is a budtender’s salary? There’s no set salary for this position. Since cannabis isn’t federally legal, the amount differs in each region.

Like bartenders, budtenders can also receive tips from customers. Another bonus is that the job could include some non-monetary perks, like discounts on store products.

In 2022, the average was between $14–25 per hour. A yearly salary with tips included is between $28,000–46,700. Previous experience as a budtender and knowledge levels all play a part in the rate you receive.

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