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Budtender: Job Description, Training & Salary

As of spring 2018, there were twenty-nine states in the US that allowed medical marijuana, with nine of those states allowing both medical and recreational use. A budtender is a customer-facing role and requires an excellent knowledge of the industry.

Career Definition of Budtenders

Budtenders are employed at a marijuana dispensary and are considered experts on the products sold. They are tasked with managing customer satisfaction by guiding customers through the selection process. Budtenders must stay current on marijuana industry trends by attending trade shows, researching products, or learning about partner dispensaries. Individuals may also utilize social media platforms or experts' blogs to gain the latest information.

In this role, budtenders will need to learn about their customers in order to recommend the appropriate product. This can include asking about their lifestyle, budget, history of marijuana use, and what type of marijuana experience they are seeking. A customer interested in utilizing marijuana to reduce pain would need a different product than one who was interested in having fun. Since budtenders are a customer-facing role, they are an integral part of helping a company achieve its sales goals. In addition to meeting sales goals, budtenders must ensure compliance with their state's marijuana usage laws, such as the minimum age for customers.

Educational Requirements High school diploma
Job Skills Marijuana knowledge, excellent customer service skills, strong listening skills, and effective organizational abilities
Median Salary (2018)* $32,000

Source: *PayScale.com

Required Education

The educational requirements for a budtender are varied by state and dispensary; however, individuals will need at least a high school diploma. Some job seekers may choose to pursue a budtender certification offered online through various educational institutions. Budtenders will need to obtain the necessary work permits in their state of employment. In addition, some states or dispensaries may have a minimum age requirement for employment.

Required Skills

One of the foremost skills needed as a budtender is superior knowledge of the marijuana industry, including current policies on recreational or medical marijuana. Budtenders will also need to understand everything from how the plants are grown to oil-making and smoking devices, as well as the reaction to different types of marijuana. Along with customer service skills, budtenders will need strong listening skills. They must be able to interpret customers' needs and wants and translate that into the best product for them. In this role, individuals will need excellent customer service skills, as they will be dealing with the public. Budtenders should also have effective organizational abilities and ensure they record all products sold through their dispensary's tracking system.

Career Outlook and Salary

PayScale.com lists a 2018 median annual wage of $32,000 for budtenders. As legalized marijuana is an evolving industry, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect information for it. However, the marijuana industry should experience strong job growth in the future as additional states legalize recreational and medical marijuana.

Related Careers

As a budtender, individuals must understand the marijuana industry and have strong communication skills. Many alternative careers in the industry, such as a medical marijuana grower or an organic extraction technician, require these skills.


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