What is a budtender? And how do I become one?


For many people, simply being surrounded by weed all day is a dream come true. But what if you could get paid for it?

If you can’t get enough of learning about different types of strains, CBD to THC ratios, terpenes, and grow facilities, you might be a perfect candidate to be a budtender.

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Budtenders, in essence, are people who work at dispensaries and speak with customers about different strains and accessories. They are experts in their field, are usually certified, and represent the brand of their companies.

But the term “budtender” is relatively new, so there’s still a lot of confusion about what it means. How do you become a budtender? How much do budtenders get paid? Are there any special qualifications you need to become a budtender?

We’ve got answers to all these questions and more.

What is a Budtender?

We all know what a bartender is, but most people aren’t familiar with budtenders. It’s a new kind of role that emerged as a result of marijuana legalization efforts in many states. Because some states still outlaw the use of recreational cannabis, people sometimes aren’t totally familiar with what a budtender does.

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Budtenders, like bartenders, are the people who work at the stands in cannabis stores. They stand behind the counter and greet people as they enter. As people look through a store, they give explanations of different products and guide customers’ purchasing decisions based on their needs.

Budtenders aren’t cashiers — they are experts

Budtenders are much more than an average retail store worker. Just like how bartenders need to go through training for the role, budtenders need to have specialized knowledge to work in a cannabis store.

Budtenders don’t just need to know about cannabis. They need to have the social expertise to identify what customers want from a product.

Sometimes, people know exactly what they want from cannabis, such as relief from pain. But people who are new to cannabis and are not using it for a specific medical condition may not know exactly what they want from the product. In these cases, it becomes the budtender’s job to ask the right questions that will reveal the optimum product for that person.

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Budtenders also need to figure out how much customers know about marijuana. They should be able to comfortably chat about different pipes and accessories, making sure customers understand how to properly enjoy weed. A good budtender, for instance, will make sure new customers purchase grinders if they purchase cannabis flower, as many people may not know the steps they need to take before smoking.

How much do budtenders get paid?

In 2019, the average US budtender salary was deemed $14.90 per hour, plus tips.

But since the laws on cannabis vary by state, there’s no one budtender salary across the US. A budtender in California will not make the same amount as one in Michigan because of the difference in the price of cannabis in these two states, state taxes, and other factors.

If you want to get the most accurate estimate on what budtenders in your location make, look up reports for budtender salaries in your state.

What you need to become a budtender

You don’t need a college degree to be a budtender. But getting a certificate in budtending will open doors for you.

A budtender certification shows that the person behind the counter knows what they’re talking about. The test has to do with cannabinoid systems and the benefits of different strains. People who pass the test are immediately more hireable at dispensaries across the U.S.

People with certifications should be able to talk about how the endocannabinoid system affects the whole body. They should also be able to discuss the chemical differences between Sativa and Indica strains. All that knowledge helps them guide people towards products that are the best for them.

Budtenders: the face of a budding industry

Budtenders play an important role in the larger picture of the cannabis industry. They are the first faces people see when they start learning about marijuana. They represent the years of work and progress that made the job possible.

Most budtenders understand this and take their jobs seriously. They are helping build a whole new career path. So, if someone asks them a question or wants help in a cannabis store, they are there with an answer.

Budtenders: the bartenders of weed

A budtender is not a pothead or someone who just wants to be surrounded by weed all day. They are experts in  a new industry who know that the work they do is important.

Without budtenders, people new to cannabis would be lost in dispensaries, and could easily end up using something that gives them adverse effects.

So, we can safely say we owe a lot to the budtenders of the world.

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