It won’t be news to most that the word “budtender” is a version of “bartender”, although it presents significant differences. The main difference is, perhaps, that bartenders serve customers their product at the bar for consumption in situ, whereas budtenders guide customers so that they purchase the best product to suit their needs. In other words, a budtender is someone who works with people and with marijuana. It can be meeting people and educating them about marijuana, and/or selling the product, but it will always involve interacting with others and being knowledgeable about cannabis origins, strains, and products. It is important to remember that in a dispensary, as opposed to other retail businesses, customers do not browse and select product from shelf; they approach the budtender and speak to him or her, and the budtender has a great deal of influence over what the customers buy.
Although dispensaries are often flooded with job applications, good and reliable budtenders are highly sought after in the present market and can be hard to find. It is a great job for people who enjoy marijuana and helping others, and who are professional and organized. Many job openings exist in the cannabis industry, and something they all have in common is that applicants must show trustworthiness and a clean criminal record. A license or certification is not required to be a budtender. Moreover, you can check out available openings in your city; there are several job recruitment sites for the cannabis industry, such as Canna Recruiter, Mary Staffing, and others. You can look them up online and apply online as well.
The cannabis labor market is growing. In June 2017, High Times estimated that approximately 30,000 people work in dispensaries. Experts forecast that this number will increase to 300,000 by 2020. Budtending is an important job, and cannabis dispensaries, the main go-to resources for medical and recreational marijuana, offer some pertinent tips and advice for people hoping to work in the cannabis industry. Among these are to be aware and up-to-date of marijuana laws in the State to ensure they are always in compliance. Another is to use appropriate language, that is, preferably terms such as cannabis and marijuana, rather than “weed”, “pot”, “alfalfa” or any other slang.
Among the problems encountered by the Cannabis industry, is that the Federal Government has not approved cannabis jobs to be counted as part of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), that is, “the standard used by Federal statistics agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to U.S. business and economy”. In other words, it is hard for experts to gather reliable and hard data about Cannabis jobs, making forecasting more speculative than it needs to be.
The take-aways from the current job market is that a budtender should, of course, be a friendly face but also, much more than that: somebody with whom a patient or consumer can relates, who can show they understand his or her cannabis needs, knows the product well (its effects, aroma, taste, etc.), and can provide feedback based on personal experience. A budtender must also be a professional with reliable knowledge of the latest trends and others factors of interest to customers.
Our next post will be an interview with a very experienced budtender, considered one of the best in the State of Washington. Stay tuned!
About the Author:
Trudy Mercadal, Ph.D
New Orleans born with a Latina background, I am a writer, social historian & cultural studies researcher with a doctorate in Comparative Studies. My focus on community and popular culture. Main interests are the ways in which people express identity through arts—such as music, graffiti, and magazines—and their consuming practices, that is, the what (and how) they buy, ingest, eat, and wear. In my personal life, I am a dedicated urban mini-farmer and, also, a certified cheese maker who makes a truly kick-ass grilled cheese sandwich.