So, you want to work in cannabis? Working in a dispensary is one of the most rewarding, fun, and challenging jobs in the industry.
It’s easy to assume it’s like any other retail job. It’s not. Many people depend on cannabis for their quality of life. They depend on the budtenders to know about the products, the effects, and cannabis in general. The budtender is not only the sales associate, they’re also the product expert, the cannabis emissary, and the friend. For many, the budtender is the first person who will introduce them to this magical plant.
What do we look for in a budtender?
Experience is important but it’s not required. We asked our Director of Retail, Richard Tran, what he looks for when he’s hiring new people. He explains he looks for “Someone that will share their experience with us, but also be willing to learn and adapt. Someone that will keep pushing to improve themselves and the others around them. Simply put, we look for someone that will help us excel as a company and for the client.”
It’s important you understand your influence on how customers will use and view cannabis in the future. This may sound like a lot of pressure but it’s actually just a really great opportunity to help others and your community. You’ll get to know the customers and you’ll see directly how you’re positively helping their life.
Let’s look at an example.
If someone comes into the dispensary and says they’re new to cannabis, they don’t want to smoke, and they’ve heard edibles are a great place to start. If the budtender gives this person a 100mg THC chocolate bar with no instruction, it’s very likely this person will eat too much and have a harrowing experience. It’s also very likely this customer will not try cannabis again, at least not for a while.
Now let’s say instead, the budtender took the time to educate the customer a bit and instead of a 100mg THC chocolate bar, they recommended at 1:1 THC:CBD chocolate bar. The budtender explained to the customer that the effects can be delayed up to two hours and they should start small – with 2mg or less. It’s much more likely this person will have a better experience and want to try cannabis again.
The budtender took the time to get to know the customer, recommended the best product for that customer’s needs, and took the time to educate the customer on the product. The result? The customer will come back to the store in the future and more importantly, they’re more likely to continue using cannabis and enjoying the benefits of the products.
What if you don’t know anything about cannabis?
No one starts out an expert on cannabis. You have to be ready and willing to learn A LOT.
Cannabis is a unique product and a unique industry. New products are constantly coming out. New studies and information on how cannabis interacts with the human body are constantly being released. Even if you consider yourself an expert, there’s always more to learn.
Where can I start to learn the basics of cannabis?
There are so many great ways to learn about cannabis and most are free! Besides experimenting yourself and talking with friends who use cannabis often, here are some great ways to increase your understanding of the plant and the products made from it.
Leafly is one of the best places to learn about cannabis. They have articles on everything from the endocannabinoid system to how to roll a joint. All the content is free to access and they make even the most complex subjects easy to understand.
Go to dispensaries!
This sounds like common sense, but many people don’t do this before applying to work at one. Go into different dispensaries. See how they operate. Talk to the budtenders. Ask them questions. See what they like about working in the dispensary. Ask them about the products and what sells well. It’ll help you better understand not only what to expect but also how to prepare for an interview.
Sign up for cannabis newsletters
If you like receiving emails, sign up for some industry newsletters. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter from the dispensary you want to work at. It’s important to see what they have going on and it gives you something to talk about in an interview.
Follow brands, dispensaries, influencers, and cannabis media on social media
So many brands do a great job with social media content. Follow them to learn about their products and cannabis in general. Some great examples:
Papa & Barkley https://www.instagram.com/papaandbarkley
Beard Brothers https://www.instagram.com/beardbros_pharms
Broccoli Mag https://www.instagram.com/broccoli_mag
Great Moments in Weed History https://www.instagram.com/gmiwhpodcast
Follow The High Note Instagram.com/the.highnote
Go to cannabis events
Once COVID has eased and events start happening again, cannabis events are a great place to learn about brands and meet people in the industry.
Ok, so now you know how to prepare but where do you find out about open job positions?
Here are some great places to start your search but remember, a lot of dispensaries are always hiring budtenders but may not always have a job post up. If you don’t see any job listings for the dispensary where you want to work, send them an email and inquire!
Company’s website – be sure to check out hehighnote.com/careers
There are a lot of recruiting agencies in the cannabis space now. If you’re having trouble finding opportunities on your own, try talking to some of the below recruiters. These companies already have connections with cannabis companies and can make getting hired a lot easier. Most recruiters will also help you prepare for interviews, improve your resume, talk to you about your career goals, and provide advice on how to achieve those goals.
Viridian Staffing https://www.viridianstaffing.com
THC Staffing Group https://thcstaffinggroup.com
We get a lot of emails every day from people who want to work at The High Note. Here are some tips to help you stand out:
- Include a resume.
- Tell us why you want to be part of the cannabis industry. Do you like helping people? Do you have a personal story with the plant? Are you excited about being part of the prohibition repeal of cannabis? Let us know!
- Tell us why we should hire you! Do you have relevant experience, are you a people person, are you ready to learn?
- Watch your grammar and spelling.
- Don’t be afraid to follow up. If you don’t hear back, reach out again!