By Ben Owens
To begin, with more states and countries legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use, more jobs are being created for this new industry, including the profession of a budtender. Generally stating, budtenders are one of the most common entry-level professions in the cannabis industry, and can be a great way to get your start, gain experience, and learn more about cannabis plants, products, and regulations. With that said, whether your state has medical cannabis or adult-use (recreational) cannabis, licensed dispensaries need budtenders to begin offering product to their customers.
What is a budtender?
As the name might suggest, a budtender is loosely related to a bartender. In comparison, the main difference is that bartenders must be trained in special skills such as mixology that allow for the creation of different flavor profiles and the concocting of “standard” bar options such as well drinks and shots. On the other hand, becoming a budtender does not require specialized training, though experience and knowledge are definitely a plus when it comes to helping customers and patients find the products that they are looking for.
What do they do exactly?
In most cases, the budtender is the sales associate that you will work with when purchasing your legal cannabis. Additionally, they can walk you through standard dispensary options like cannabis flower, pre-rolled joints, concentrates and live resin. Moreover, depending on your budtender’s knowledge of their product offerings, they may be able to identify specific terpene profiles or intended effects of the products that you are considering.
Cannabis lounges and cafes
Moving on, while “budtender” may be casually and colloquially used to refer to anyone who sells cannabis at a dispensary, there are some businesses that use the term to refer to specifically-qualified individuals, who have specialized training related to the nuances of cannabis and cannabis experiences. To clarify, among them are cannabis lounges and cafes, the cannabis equivalent of a bar, where consumers can go to purchase small amounts of cannabis to consume on site. In fact, these cannabis consumption lounges and cafes are beginning to pop up across the country, and many of them are still set up as BYOC (bring your own cannabis), but the lucky ones with sales licenses are attempting to offer more resources for both unfamiliar and discerning consumers.
The wine sommelier of cannabis
Next, think of these “budtenders” as closer relatives of a wine sommelier or a whiskey ambassador; these individuals possess extensive knowledge of the cannabis plant, consumption modalities, variances in effects, and the endocannabinoid system, that allow them to make specific recommendations based on desired effects, terpene profiles, and consumption methods while avoiding adverse and unwanted side effects. In comparison, unlike your casual sales clerk, these budtenders will be able to offer insight and knowledge on every product that they offer, as well as provide instruction for consumption and use of the product(s).
4 Tips for interacting with your Budtender:
Start a conversation
- For instance, not every budtender is alike, and they don’t all want to have a conversation, but most spend their days dealing with the monotony of purchase-related questions. In addition, if you see a cool pin or recognize your favorite band on their shirt, strike up a conversation and be personable, you’ll likely get better service and have a more positive shopping experience.
Your budtender doesn’t (shouldn’t) care how much you spend
- To explain, one of the biggest pressures for new consumers, especially when interacting with budtenders, is to assume that you will only receive quality customer service if you are spending $1000s. By way of contrast, your budtender is here to help, and they want you to be satisfied with your purchase, whether it’s a $5 pre-roll or a $1500 ounce. In the end, if you feel like your budtender or dispensary is only paying attention to high-dollar shoppers, consider switching it up and trying somewhere new.
Ask for their opinion (not their advice)
- As a matter of fact, no one can give you medical advice on cannabis use unless they are a licensed medical practitioner (doctors, nurses, etc.). Nevertheless, while your budtender cannot give you medical advice, they can offer their opinion and recommend products and varieties based on overall buying behaviors that they notice, anecdotal evidence from other customers and patients, and even their personal preferences.
Tip your budtender
- That is to say, whether it’s your neighborhood dispensary budtender or the most sought-after cannabis sommelier, let them know that you appreciate their knowledge, recommendations, and familiarity with the product by tipping them. To clarify, there isn’t a standard or commonly accepted tip amount in the cannabis industry, but factors to consider include the amount of time your visit took, the amount of questions your budtender answered, or whether you felt they were helpful in assisting your purchase. At the very least, a good rule of thumb is that if you’re breaking a bill and the change is less than $10, throw it in the tip jar.
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In conclusion, on every cannabis tour with My420Tours, you’ll get to interact with a variety of professionals in the cannabis industry, including budtenders, bud trimmers, growers, and owners. Moreover, we offer comprehensive tours that showcase the cannabis industry from seed to sale, and we partner with well-known, licensed businesses to ensure that the budtenders that are part of our experiences can answer your questions about this burgeoning industry. Finally, learn more by signing up for one of our cannabis tours in Colorado.