A budtender prepares marijuana for a customer at MedMen, a legal cannabis shop in West Hollywood, CA. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

An employee at a cannabis store who is responsible for helping customers. Job duties include educating the public on cannabis products and helping customers navigate and purchase cannabis products. Budtenders use their expertise in cannabis to help guide people through the cannabis experience.

“That budtender helped me find the perfect vape cartridge for my pen.”

What is a budtender?

Budtenders are the face of the cannabis industry. Most are not medically trained, but they are expected to understand cannabis and have the customer service skills necessary to explain the complexities of cannabis to a curious public. 

Depending on where one works, job duties of a budtender can vary quite a bit. For example, some states require all cannabis come prepackaged to the dispensary, while other states receive cannabis in bulk and are required to weigh out and package products at the store. In shops that work in the medical market, budtenders might be responsible for helping people get medical cards. 

Budtenders are also required to do many of the same tasks required of positions in other customer service and retail industries. This may include working a cash register, following local laws and guidelines for purchasing, and keeping up to date on market trends. 

How to become a budtender

A budtender is considered an entry-level position at most dispensaries, but depending on where you live, there may be specific certifications you need in order to work at a dispensary. You will also be required to be of legal age to work in the industry, which is usually the legal consumption age—typically 21 in the US.

Since the legal cannabis industry is so young, previous experience in cannabis is not always necessary. Having experience in a customer-facing job, such as a bartender, barista, etc., and a basic understanding of cannabis products, is often enough to get your foot in the door. Many stores will even offer training for new hires.