As the part of a dispensary that directly interacts with customers, budtenders have one of the most important jobs in the business. However, the regulations about who is allowed to become a budtender are very loose: there are a few third-party budtender certifications out there, but usually a high school diploma is all that’s required. Regardless of formal education levels, anyone can become a great budtender if they study. This article isn’t about achieving greatness, though – it’s about not making any egregious mistakes that make your customers go looking for a new dispensary. Budtenders should never:
Give Bad Medical Advice
This is especially important for budtenders who work in dispensaries that offer both medical and recreational cannabis: don’t give out medical advice that you aren’t qualified to give. Both CBD and the entire cannabis plant have some medical benefits, but there are also plenty of false claims and exaggerations circulating online. Do some research and find out what we really know about cannabis – what studies have proven, what studies have indicated, and which “facts” are really just rumors – and pass the correct information on.
Mishandle the Cannabis
A lot of the products that you sell are going to be smoked, not eaten, but normal food handling hygiene rules apply. Wash your hands before going out on the dispensary floor, and never touch bud directly with your hands. There are two reasons for this rule: One, that’s just gross. I’d rather smoke weed that hasn’t had a stranger’s fingers on it, thank you very much. Two, the trichomes – outgrowths of the plant that form that layer of white crystals that you’ll see on good cannabis – contain all the plant’s THC, and they’re very sticky. Any time you touch bud with your bare hands, some of those trichomes stick to your fingers, which will leave your customer with a less potent product. So, always handle bud with tongs or chopsticks.
Pass on Misinformation
Budtenders are often the closest thing to a cannabis professional that most people will ever meet, so it’s your responsibility to be as informed as possible. Misinformation circulates quickly, and sometimes it’s hard to catch, but that misinformation should stop with you. Do your research and stay up to date on new studies and research developments so that you can give your customers the best information available.
If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, just admit it. It may feel wrong since your job is to help provide your customers with information, but it’s much better to say “I don’t know” than to just make a guess.
Be Rude or Unprofessional
Budtenders aren’t just the faces of their dispensaries. For many people, they are the faces of a newly legalized industry that is still in its infancy. People are beginning to accept moderate, healthy levels of cannabis use the same way they have long accepted moderate and healthy levels of alcohol use. Do your part to represent the cannabis “brand” in a positive way. Be a friendly, helpful supplier of information, don’t use cannabis while on the job, and stay professional.
It will be interesting to see if (and if so, how) budtending changes over the years. Perhaps it will become a more prestigious, better-paying position, and budtenders will be somewhat akin to sommeliers in the wine world. Or maybe once the excitement of recent legalization wears off, budtending at a dispensary will be essentially just like working as a clerk at a liquor store. Maybe it’ll go in both directions. In any case, avoid the major mistakes listed in this article and you’ll be alright for now.