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How to Become a Budtender in the Cannabis Industry

As the cannabis industry continues to expand and grow thanks to legislative efforts that have changed the landscape for commercial hemp production, so too do its jobs. Perhaps it has never occurred to you that a career in cannabis was even a thing. However, there are many ways to turn your love of the leaf into an actual paying gig. Read on to learn how to become a budtender in the cannabis industry.

What Is a Budtender?

A budtender is your go-to guide in any dispensary when it comes to their offerings. The budtender will not only help you make the best selection for your needs, they will also:

  • Answer general questions about cannabis products and ingredients
  • Be a resource on legal issues concerning cannabis in your state
  • Offer tips on new products and trends in the industry

The budtender’s job is to help you find the right cannabis for you, regardless of their own preferences. The best budtender knows that while her favorite cannabis products may be used for mood enhancement, the customer may be focused on a sleep or pain management aid (and she will know the right cannabis products to suggest).

Even though some might describe the budtender role as the entry-level position in a dispensary, they are critical to any dispensary’s success. Knowledgeable and friendly team members can make all the difference in the customer experience, especially when it comes to cannabis novices who may be intimidated or nervous about product selection.

How Can I Become a Budtender?

First and foremost, you need to meet the minimum age requirements. Depending on the state you live in, you will need to be at least 21 to work as a budtender.

Beyond the age requirements, dispensaries are also generally looking for candidates with:

  • A true love of cannabis products and a passion for the industry
  • An easygoing and friendly demeanor
  • A strong work ethic and a “no task is too big or too small” attitude
  • A background in some type of retail sales setting may be preferred

When it comes to the role of the budtender, you should be prepared to take on any task with a smile (which might mean cleaning the floors after the shop closes). If you have aspirations of bigger roles in the cannabis industry, such as opening your own dispensary or even working in marketing for a large grower, the budtender role is a great place to start.

What Should I Know About Cannabis Before I Interview?


In a word, everything! In all seriousness, a budtender should be well-versed in common cannabis terminology and have a really good understanding of the science behind it. This means you will be able to speak knowledgeably about:

  • The most popular cannabinoids (THC and CBD), along with others such as CBN, THCV, etc.
  • Terpenes and flavor profiles
  • How to distinguish between strains
  • The pros and cons of each consumption method (flower, tinctures, gummies, etc.)

If any of the words or topics in the list above gave you pause, it’s time to study. You do not need an advanced science degree to work as a budtender, but you need to have the basics down pat.

Customers will rely on you for information and guidance, and that translates directly into sales. The dispensary owner and/or manager will rely on you to know your stuff, and this starts at the interview.

How Should I Prepare to Work as a Budtender?

If you are interested in working as a budtender but do not feel like you are ready, consider the following tips:

  • Start reading as much as you can about the cannabis industry, especially newsletters and other publications geared toward industry trends.
  • Ask another budtender if you could “shadow” them for a few days in a dispensary in your area.
  • Visit a cannabis farm in your state to learn more about how they operate.
  • Quiz yourself on cannabis lingo until you have it memorized.

Other Jobs in the Cannabis Industry


Other Jobs in the Cannabis Industry

Budtending is just one role in an industry that is rapidly growing. A few of the other roles in the cannabis industry include:

  • Dispensary manager, who oversees the daily operations and manages staff, inventory, and more
  • Compliance officers, who help dispensaries ensure they are operating in compliance with all of their state’s regulations (and avoiding hefty fines)
  • Cultivators, who grow and harvest the cannabis before it is processed for dispensaries
  • Trimmers, who are trained in the specific art of trimming the plants before processing

Bear in mind there are also a large number of jobs associated with the industry that you would find in any commercial business: accountants, marketing specialists, and lawyers, just to name a few. There are plenty of ways to work hands-on with cannabis as well as peripheral roles.

Jobs at Potency

We are always interested in meeting potential candidates in Massachusetts who are passionate about cannabis. Stop by our dispensary or drop us a line to learn more about what we do and how we represent the very best in New England growers.


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