The Essential Business of Budtenders in Retail Recreational Cannabis

If you’ve been to a cannabis dispensary lately you’ve probably met a budtender, or retail assistant whose job it is to offer suggestions to customers, answer questions about weed, handle products and supervise sales; essentially a bartender for bud. These coveted positions put cannabis connoisseurs on the front lines of the business, connecting growers, wholesalers and dispensary owners to the end consumer. A sommelier for weed and a tour guide to the wonderful world of weed. 

Unlike a bartender, who seldom needs to explain the complexities and effects of typical drinks, a budtender should be an encyclopedia of Cannabis knowledge, well versed in the strains for sale and their peculiarities and selling points. Usually not formally educated for their work, most budtenders cut their teeth in the business before it was legal, which keeps the average industry age pretty low and attracts very personable, young and relatable new recruits who know the business and product backwards and forwards. 

Does sampling and selling Cannabis sound like a dream job? It can be for some, but in the interest of professionalism and optics, many dispensaries ask that budtenders not consume or be under the influence of cannabis during working hours. Others limit consumption to breaks or allow edibles. In a budding business, just being legalized and accepted in the mainstream, the optics of the industry have never been more important. Competition for these coveted jobs is high in upscale dispensaries throughout Canada, California and Colorado in particular and Illinois isn’t far behind. 

While working with pot all day is a pleasure for most budtenders, a retail job is still a retail job, complete with difficult customers and working hours when most people are off enjoying their own stash. For those with the professionalism and people skills, the tradeoff is worth it for an entree to the industry and a fair amount of swag. 

As a result of this burgeoning business, budtender communities are coming together to share knowledge, advice and find common ground with people who work in the same world. Community is proving to be more important than ever and a professional and personal network of friends and colleagues with the same passion for cannabis is priceless for some.

**Are you a budtender? Interested in collaborating and joining our community? Hit us up at

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