How to Go to Budtender School [and Become a Budtender]

Those of us who have been long-standing backers of cannabis will agree that there has been no better time to be involved in the cannabis industry. We are indeed amongst the golden age of marijuana, with state legislation becoming more liberal throughout the U.S. It seems as though the world is truly waking up to the real potential of our favorite flower.

With a rise in understanding around cannabis comes a boom in the marijuana business industry. According to Marijuana Business Daily, the current figure for marijuana sales in 2018 is $10 billion, and this is expected to rise to an incredible $20 billion by 2022!

So, with such promising potential, it only stands to reason that more marijuana industry careers are coming to fruition, and the competition is heavy. To keep up with the demand of legal sales and the rise in new and existing clientele, we have seen a recent need for a specialist in all things marijuana to be the face of cannabis; enter the budtender!

Today we are going to tell you all you need to know about the marijuana industry’s most sought-after role, and how you can become a budtender yourself.

Budtender: What is it?

Okay, so we hear you – what even is a budtender? It almost sounds too good to be true that you could take your passion for marijuana and earn money from sharing what you know – but that is a huge part of a budtender’s role.

Across America, if you want to get your hands on legal and reliable cannabis, you have to go to a dispensary. Whether you’re looking for medical marijuana or recreational weed (depending on your state’s laws of course), you can get hold of it at a reputable dispensary.

This has always been the case, so what’s changed? Well, as you will be aware – the marijuana industry isn’t quite what it used to be. Over recent years we have beared witness to perhaps some of the most revolutionary changes in the industry, meaning that more people than ever before can get legal access to cannabis.

The rise in research, knowledge, and acceptance has meant that the need for some new specialist roles in the market has risen. This is where the budtender role comes in, as a budtender is there to greet customers, provide in-depth industry knowledge, and assist in the sale of marijuana and other cannabis products.

Imagine stepping into any traditional pharmacy and asking for advice about a specific ailment. You would rightly expect that the staff member would be knowledgeable enough to not only help with your query, but also able to recommend specific remedies suited to your condition. A budtender is the same, except for all things cannabis.

What Does a Budtender Do?

A budtender should be the first person you see when you step into your local dispensary. They are the face of the place, and they are there to assist you however possible, whether that is just advising you about weed, recommending specific products and strains, or often both.

Remember that it can be incredibly daunting for patients to step into a dispensary, especially if it’s their first time. They may not know a great deal about cannabis and just be there through word of mouth; having a friendly face that is knowledgeable and approachable can make all the difference to a customer’s experience, and ultimately ensure that they return.

What Skills Does a Budtender Need to Have?

If you’re reading this, then you likely have a massive passion for cannabis, which is great – us too!
However, this isn’t going to be enough to bag you that dream job as a budtender.

Of course, a Budtender needs to love what they’re selling, but there is much more to it than just a love of getting high. As well as unparalleled passion, a successful budtender must also possess the following:

  • In-depth knowledge about all aspects of cannabis and the industry. This means that watching reruns of Pineapple Express won’t quite cut it; you will be expected to know about different strains, edibles, oils, smoking methods, and illnesses that could benefit from cannabis.
  • Knowledge about state laws. This is a massive factor, as not all states hold the same stance on marijuana. To ensure your dispensary is on the right side of the law, they will want to know that you are up to date on the current legislature.
  • Good customer service skills. You are being hired primarily to provide a service to customers, which in turn will increase dispensary sales. If you have a poor attitude, a lack of knowledge or an unwillingness to help, you won’t go far. Introverts need not apply.
  • Good presentation. Dispensaries are trying to do their bit for the cannabis industry, which means getting away from the stoner persona associated with marijuana. Ensuring you are clean and presentable will help your cause when applying for a job as a budtender.
  • Willingness to learn. This one is a no-brainer – the cannabis industry is changing at a rapid pace, so your ability and desire to learn is paramount.
  • Qualifications. Now, as it stands most dispensaries will be happy with a high school diploma as most will offer on-the-job training. However, it certainly cannot hurt to have some extra qualifications under your belt, and so some online colleges offer budtender certificates, which we would recommend looking into to ensure you stand out from the crowd!
  • Listening skills. This one is often overlooked, but it is perhaps the most important of all. Your role every day will be to talk to customers, but the ability to listen to what their needs are is paramount. Remember, it is your responsibility to recommend certain strains and products based on their needs, so if you don’t have excellent listening skills, you will inevitably make mistakes. This is bad for the customer, and bad for the dispensaries reputation!

How to Become a Budtender

As we said earlier, many dispensaries will be happy to offer a budtender role primarily based on your skills and personality over any official qualifications. This is mainly due to the infancy of the role, and the fact that there are very few official courses available at the moment.

However, the popularity of the role, coupled with the competition amongst dispensaries as cannabis grows and grows, means that getting your dream role isn’t a walk in the park! Everyone who loves marijuana would love a job where they could spend all day talking about weed and helping others gain access to the best cannabis products for them, so the ability to stand out is imperative.

There are, of course, multiple routes into a job as a budtender, so if you can’t afford a course, then don’t fear – there is still a chance!

  • On-the-job training: Many dispensaries will consider taking someone on and providing on-the job-training if they can see your potential. This is where those skills come in – showing that you have knowledge and understanding, a passion for helping others, and proven skills in customer-facing roles will set you off to a great start!
  • Getting in through other avenues: Many Budtenders don’t start with a massive wealth of industry knowledge, and sometimes that’s okay! Another great way to get your foot in the door is to apply for other dispensary roles, such as an assistant position. This allows you to get into the environment and learn on the job from other, more experienced individuals. This kind of exposure will serve as valuable when the time comes for applying to a budtender role.
  • Official certification: Of course, as the industry grows, the demand for the most skilled and experienced budtenders will increase, and that is where official accreditation can stand you up against the rest. There are many establishments offering courses and accreditation status as a budtender; primarily these are offered online.

We would recommend doing some research, but remember that not every establishment is reputable, so make sure you look at past graduates’ reviews as these offer an accurate look at how helpful the course is.

What Can You Learn at Budtender School?

If you are lucky enough to get enrolled onto a reputable course at budtender school, you can expect to be educated in every area of your role as a budtender and come out knowing more about marijuana than you ever thought possible!

Here are some of the things you can expect to learn at budtender School:

  • The difference between indica, sativa and hybrid strains
  • Which medical conditions can benefit from medical marijuana
  • The legal issues around the marijuana industry
  • What CBD and THC are
  • Differences between cannabis, oils, edibles, etc.
  • How to roll a medical marijuana joint
  • Different ways to consume cannabis, and who should use which methods
  • How to use cannabis responsibly
  • Customer relations
  • Budtender responsibilities
  • Various methods of consumption, e.g., joint, vaporizer, edible, etc.
  • Safety and security
  • Handling money
  • Management skills
  • Growing marijuana
  • Chemical compounds in cannabis

Amongst these areas, you will likely be exposed to other relevant topics, giving you an all-round education on all things marijuana.

Final Thoughts – Should You Consider Budtender School?

It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is exciting at the moment. With forward-thinking changes happening on a regular basis it seems like there is no better time than now to get a job as a budtender.

If you think you would make a top-selling budtender and find yourself agreeing with our list of necessary skills, then perhaps budtender school is the next natural step in your career!

If you choose to enroll in budtender school, let us know down in the comments about how you have found your experience – and whether you feel the course is really worth going for.