lifestyle | 12.07.2018

Budtending 101: Things you should know about budtending

Sam Anthony


Budtending is one of the most sought after jobs in the up and coming cannabis industry. But, as is the case with many aspects of the (still illegal on a federal level) cannabis industry, not everything is known about it. 

Budtending 101

Customer Service

Honestly, I kind of like it when Charlie, the sole-proprietor of a bar called Charlie B’s Saloon, barks at me from across the bar, “so whadaya want?”

But a dispensary isn’t a bar, it’s a store.

That kind of thing might fly at midnight on thirsty thursday but it doesn’t fly under the bright lights of a retail store. Budtenders need to know everything about their products but they can’t act like know-it-alls -- they’re the interface of the dispensary.



To continue with the comparison to bartenders, their responsibility for checking I.D. seems like a lot, but it pales in comparison with how diligently a budtender needs to check I.D. The consequences of letting a minor slip under the radar are far greater in the cannabis industry than in the alcohol industry.


The cannabis industry has regulations on everything. Even the regulations have regulations. There are regulations on reporting, what the label can look like, inventory procedures, you name it. And messing up any one of the rules could lead to a dispensary losing it’s license faster than Snoop Dogg can roll up a joint.

Product Understanding

I know I said that budtenders aren’t just stoners that work at a dispensary, but on the other hand they need to know how all of the products in work and that often means trying them, and that is more difficult than just getting high. They have to pay attention to things like how long before it kicks in, what the qualities of the high are, and for what purposes the product is best suited for -- things that are often not easily put into words.

They also need to know the relevant science pertaining to the various strains, extracts, and delivery methods that the store offers and be able to explain this to people who have never used marijuana.

Here’s a funny story for you: The first time I walked into a dispensary was with none other than my grandmother in Spokane, Washington. Despite being elderly and part of the old school she was open minded about the possibility of medical marijuana.

But the budtender completely blew it.

His answers to her questions were in bro-stoner lingo like, “this strain will blow your mind” and “oh yeah, this one’ll get you real stoned”. My grandmother doesn’t want to “get real stoned” you nitwit. He never even asked her why she wanted to try it. FYI, buddy, it was pain relief.

She left without buying anything, and that’s on the budtender.

Budtending is serious business. Part of what needs to happen for marijuana to take off is for it to be taken seriously, and the first line of defense are the budtenders. They need to be professional, knowledgeable, and up to date on the pertinent regulations and scientific literature.

If being a budtender is of interest to you, definitely look into it. It is, after all, one of the top available jobs in the cannabis industry.