Nine Things a Budtender Needs to Know

  • One of the very basics that every budtender needs to know is the difference between an indica and a sativa. Any budtender should be able to explain this sufficiently to someone in the most laymen of terms. In the case of getting to know cannabis, we should always start with the basics.
  • It’s important to be knowledgeable in the different strains your dispensary offers. Strain genetics, THC content, high CBD strains, effects, flavor, smoke quality, and personal experience all come into play. It’s best to do your research!
  • How edible dosing works and the ability to explain it thoroughly to customers and patients who are new to edibles (or just don’t know) is key. Anything from hash candies and chocolates, to infused drinks and health foods, people sometimes forget that there are multiple doses in what can be considered by some to be a ‘single’ edible. Always encourage people to read their labeling. Check out this great article on The Cannabist for more info on edible knowledge.
  • Using a scale is a pretty simple skill, but doing it correctly is essential in a dispensary setting. Incorrectly weighing someone’s weed will not only mess up your inventory, but will also make for an unhappy customer or unhappy management, and neither of those things is good. Understand basic math, know how to use a tare button, and you will be a-okay. Some dispensaries don’t use scales on their sales floor due to pre-packaging, but is still necessary in back of house duties some times.
  • Staying up to date on compliance requirements is not only a dispensary’s job, but a budtender’s job as well. If you are selling people marijuana or marijuana products that are not compliant when they leave your store, you are putting not only your shop at risk, but your badge as well. *For those of you who don’t know-the “badge” I’m referring to is a license you must obtain to work in the cannabis industry in Colorado through the Marijuana Enforcement Division.*
  • Customer service is something that will fall to the way side for budtenders because let’s be honest, we are human. We get cranky. We get tired. The stressors of our environments test our patience. I can’t emphasize enough how much we as budtenders need to remember that we are here to help people. Our work lives our about weed, yes, but it’s also about guiding people to the right strain or product for them. And our work matters. Sometimes just a smile and a friendly interaction can change someone’s whole experience.
  • Knowing the wild and rapidly changing world of concentrates is very valuable as a budtender. While you don’t necessarily need to know the exact process for every single type of new age hash out there, it’s good to be able to tell basic differences in butters, shatters, live resin, etc. Learn to answer basic questions and then pick up as much as you can along the way. Ask questions of your fellow budtenders. Use the Internet. That’s what it’s there for.
  • Detailed knowledge of the products your shop carries is invaluable not only to customers, but your managers as well. It counts to know your stuff when are explaining new tinctures or salves or patches. Having personal experiences to share as well will often help someone decide whether or not to make a purchase. Having my personal experiences to draw upon has greatly increased my ability to upsell as a budtender.
  • Building trust and rapport with your customers. People will come back for budtenders they like, even if the shop itself isn’t their favorite. If the edibles are a little bit higher-priced than the place down the street, or the flower your guys got in is looking a little less than best, it really pays to go the extra mile. Take the time to get to know your customers. Learn their names, and use them! Make a connection. Build rapport with your customers and you will be an employee no shop would ever want to lose.

Originally published at on May 15, 2015.

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