What to Expect for Your First Day as a Budtender

So you’ve decided to become a Budtender! That’s super exciting!

If you’re already very knowledgeable in the world of cannabis then you’ll pick things up much faster than if you’re new to cannabis. However, as long as you are eager to learn and willing to try everything, you’ll be successful.

I want to start off with a few disclaimers before I go any further; I will not tell you which dispensary I work for but I will tell you that I am a Budtender in Washington state. That being said, if you are in a different state, your growers/farmers/vendors are going to be different but the strains they use will be very similar. I also cannot guarantee that your experience as a Budtender will be as wonderful as mine has been.

Now that that’s out of the way, the first day as a Budtender is going to be just like any other job; paperwork and videos! Dispensaries have a lot of additional legal hoops to jump through, so you will most likely have more paperwork to sign than if you were to become a barista, for example. And, since you’ll be selling marijuana to people, you have more paperwork to sign expressing the legal ways in which you can do so.

Additionally, you’re going to need a badge so you can get in and out of the building without showing your ID to security and signing in every day. My badge also provides me access to areas of the building (like the stock room and admin offices). You’ll also have your typical I-9’s, W-2’s, etc.

The videos will consist of basic cannabis information, how to check IDs, how to process medical patient information, HIPAA compliance information, and examples of how you are and are not allowed to sell products to customers. Some dispensaries will also provide videos with an overview of their usual vendors and types of products.

Once that’s done, you’ll most likely get a somewhat thorough tour of the store. I highly recommend paying as much attention during the tour as possible, because knowing where things are is one of the hardest parts of the job. There are thousands of products and most of them are in little packages, which means they can be difficult to locate if you don’t already know where they live. Hopefully your dispensary will have things stocked in logical locations and sections throughout the store. You’ll most likely get a tour of the storage room as well. The same rule of thumb applies here too; try to remember where things are as much as possible.

Some store managers will consider that to be enough for your first day and will send you home at this point. However, some managers will have you start shadowing a Budtender that is certified as a Trainer. Shadowing a Trainer usually consists of:

  1. Listening to them converse with the customer to determine what they are looking for. (During these conversations, pay attention to the wording they use and their recommendations.)
  2. Watching the Trainer find the products they recommended for the customers needs or wants. (Pay attention to where they are getting the different products.)
  3. Listening to them as they provide an overview of their experiences with the products they recommend. (Pay attention to their experiences because you’ll want to use some of their vernacular for those products until you try them for yourself.)
  4. Listening to the conversation as the customer comes to a decision.
  5. Helping the Trainer return the un-purchased products back to the shelf. (This exercise will help you learn where products belong.)

When it’s slow, the Trainer will most likely ask you questions about how you use and like certain strains, methods, and products. Use this time to ask them questions about the job, the vendors, and the products. The Trainer might also have you use the register to look up information about popular strains, which provides you with product knowledge and teaches you to use the tools at your disposal.

Depending on the length of your shift, you may start to learn the register and help to verify IDs. If you’re already knowledgeable about the strains and products your dispensary carries, your Trainer may have you make suggestions to the customer.

For most dispensaries, that will be your typical first day as a Budtender! If you are new to cannabis, I would highly recommend picking out a diverse selection of products to try so you can increase your knowledge base as quickly as possible. My personal recommendations for things to try would be:

  • 0.5-1 gram of indica, hybrid and sativa flower from different vendors. I would also recommend getting them in different price ranges as well. This will give you an idea of the body and mind effects of specific strains and the general quality of the vendors.
  • A vape battery and a cartridge or two. Start with the most popular battery and get some 0.5 gram cartridges. I would recommend getting a strain specific cartridge and a flavored cartridge from different vendors.
  • A low-end and a high-end gram of concentrate (for dabbing). If you don’t dab and you have a low cannabis tolerance, I do not recommend trying it until your tolerance is a little higher (but it’s up to you!).
  • A couple single serving edibles. For the edibles, I recommend choosing what sounds appetizing. If you have not tried edibles before, I would also recommend starting with half the normal dosage. People react to edibles in many different ways, so starting with a low dosage is generally the easiest way to ensure a good experience. It may take up to an hour to notice any effects (it depends on your metabolism, whether you ate before or after, how much you weigh, etc).

Obviously you’re getting a job as a Budtender to make money, not spend it. You won’t be able to consume all of the above products in one night, so feel free to start with one and work your way through the list. Most dispensaries provide employees with a generous discount on products, so make sure you take advantage of that! It’s not just a perk of the job; it’s designed to provide a cost effective way to become knowledgeable about the products.

When you take products home and try them out, I also recommend keeping a small notepad or a sheet of paper next to you to write down your experiences:

  • What was the consumption process like? What did it taste or feel like? What did it smell like? What was the texture like?
  • Describe the body high.
  • Describe the mental high.
  • Did you sleep well afterwards?
  • Did you get up and go hiking or clean the kitchen?
  • Were you giggly or chatty?
  • Were you anxious? How was your heart rate?
  • How would you recommend or sell this to someone else?

I wouldn’t recommend taking your notepad to work with you, but writing things down and reading them later will help you remember your experiences. (I have a hard time remembering some of my experiences if I get super stoned, so writing them down is very helpful for me.)

If you are already a Budtender, leave me a comment and tell me what your first day as a Budtender was like!

Thanks for reading!



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