6 Skills to Be a Great Budtender

February 7, 2022

Cannabis dispensaries are popping up everywhere, providing more and more front-line retail jobs in this exciting industry. Cannabis “budtenders” serve customers and patients, and must be well-versed on the wide range of cannabis products on the market and how they affect the body.

The role of a cannabis budtender is like a hybrid of a pharmacist and a bartender. A budtender must not only be well-versed in the potential effects of the products they sell and current scientific literature but also be able to provide a pleasant and entertaining experience for their customers.

Here’s a look at six skills that will set you apart as a great budtender:

1) Customer Service: This is undoubtedly the highest priority and the most important qualification. As a budtender, you must always maintain a friendly demeanor with customers and uphold high standards of professionalism. Remember, for most new patients and customers, you will be their first point of contact with the cannabis industry and you should do your best to make sure they have a positive experience.

2) Queue Management: While you need to be personable and help your customers feel at ease, it’s also important to keep the line moving. You must be able to quickly assess your customers’ needs and preferences, and know your products well enough to identify the best ones to recommend. All budtenders should have a sense for when things are slow enough that they can have a more in-depth conversation with their customer, and when things are busy and they need to close the sale. 

3) Dosing Smarts: Just as a bartender must take care not to over-serve their customers and take steps to prevent them from driving while intoxicated, a budtender is responsible for providing accurate information on dosing and informing customers of the potential risks associated with taking cannabis and driving. Especially with new customers, always recommend starting “low and slow.”

4) An Open Mind: Pre-existing cannabis knowledge is not as crucial as one might think. In fact, many employers prefer to provide the same training to all of their budtenders so that the entire team is using the same terminology and on the same page. For an employer, cannabis knowledge is much easier to train people on than customer service skills, which can take years to master. 

5) Discretion: A crucial qualification every budtender must have is the ability to be discrete. It is absolutely imperative that you protect patient privacy. Many dispensaries have rules against using cell phones and taking photos or videos inside. Others opt to follow The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), even though it technically does not apply to dispensaries. Do not disclose health information or “out” anyone who visits your store.

6) Relevant Experience: When you are applying for budtender jobs, feature your customer service experience, regardless of whether it is directly related to the cannabis industry. Beyond that, highlight any personal experience you have with cannabis. Talk about why you consume cannabis and how it has affected your life, or mention your favorite cultivars. Of course, you also want to focus on any direct cannabis work experience, even if it is just home cultivation or making your own edibles and concentrates. In particular, you should also emphasize any special training or education (for example, a course from OU) that will set you apart from other applicants. 

Oaksterdam University’s Budtending Certification Program offers everything you need to know to become a budtending professional. Earn your Oaksterdam credentials at your own pace, or in our new Budtending LIVE course.



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