Budtender – Your Go-To Resource for Cannabis

The revolution of the cannabis industry and the legalization of cannabis have brought about and created the necessity for several new jobs, including the ‘budtender.’ 

We know what you’re thinking. It sounds a lot like a bartender, right? You’d be surprised just how similar these job roles are. However, for the sake of complete transparency, they are not the same thing. 

To help distinguish the difference, we have put together a detailed guide to give you a better understanding of who budtenders are and what they do. 

This background information can provide some much-needed context for the first time you purchase marijuana at a dispensary, so you know what to expect. 

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

What is a Budtender?

The term “budtender” has been around as far back as 1997, but it wasn’t until 2018 when it was officially recognized as a word by the Merriam Webster Dictionary

It is indeed a blend of the terms bud and bartender and describes someone who works on a dispensary storefront.

Budtenders are what many refer to as the face of the cannabis industry, as they work directly with customers to provide education on cannabis products, including what they are, what they do, and other effects.

Their role lies largely in customer service, as becoming a budtender does not require medical training and instead involves being a source of cannabis information for the customer.

What do Budtenders Do?

what do budtenders do

As we said previously, budtenders are the face of the cannabis industry and primarily perform a customer service role. They are responsible for the upkeep of the dispensary and making customers feel safe and welcomed. 

Budtenders facilitate the sale of both recreational and medical marijuana and educate customers on the various cannabis products available on the market and within their specific dispensary.

Depending on the dispensary, budtenders may also be responsible for proper weighing and packaging of cannabis products and, in some cases, obtaining medical cards for medical marijuana patients. 

In this way, a budtender’s job also entails record-keeping, staying up-to-date with cannabis legislation, and ensuring the current laws are upheld.

How Does One Become a Budtender?

To become a budtender in Canada, you need to firstly be of legal age to consume cannabis and have a clean criminal record.

Unlike many other professions, you don’t need a specific degree to become a budtender. There are several online certificate courses available, but many dispensaries provide on-the-job training. 

It is vital to have a good attitude towards the nature of the job and to have some relevant experience in the customer service field, whether as a host/hostess, cashier, or merchandiser.

Signs of a Good Budtender

Besides having a wide variety of cannabis strains and products, a dispensary will need to have good budtenders to provide their customers with an understanding of cannabis products and excellent customer service.

Below are some characteristics of a good budtender.


A good budtender pays close attention to the customer’s needs to suggest the best marijuana products. 

A good budtender also pays close attention to the store to keep it in order and makes sure products are correctly displayed. He/she will also watch the market to keep updated on trends and demands.


signs of a good budtender

Budtenders need to have strong knowledge of the various products and cannabis products sold at the dispensary. It is not enough to simply be a user of marijuana, know the difference between indica vs sativa, or read the label of products to customers and get a sale. 

The budtender must know the names and effects of the individual cannabis strains, along with the various cannabis products available in the store. 

This knowledge is especially useful if the budtender has had actual experience with the products. 

In the same breath, they mustn’t overwhelm customers with information, especially if the aim is to pressure them into buying more cannabis products. 

Budtenders should also avoid medical-related questions as they are not doctors and cannot offer medical advice, especially to customers with chronic illness.


Budtenders must be able to be patient with customers, especially if they are beginners. 

The world of cannabis is vast, and there is no such thing as a stupid question. The customers must have someone willing to walk them through the cannabis products available without feeling rushed or pressured into buying something.


A good budtender is a people-person, meaning that he/she has a great personality and makes customers comfortable. 

Good budtenders can also read a customer and determine if they are the chatty type or get-to-the-point type. It is also easy for a customer to spot someone who isn’t passionate about their job, and it can make interactions pretty unpleasant.

How to Spot a Bad Budtender

For new customers, having a bad budtender can significantly impact their experience with marijuana. 

Here are some tips for spotting a bad budtender:


While it would be great to sell more cannabis to customers, budtenders should never pressure them into taking more than manageable, especially in terms of dosage. 

One of the golden rules of cannabis is to start low and slow, then work your way up to larger doses as your tolerance builds. Recommending large quantities is a sign a budtender is either incompetent or does not care about the clients.


Budtenders should not be rude to customers, no matter how annoying the line of questioning can get. 

Their job entails answering questions, no matter how basic they may seem. We are all human and have bad days. However, their job is to help, not to offend.


Even though a dispensary sells cannabis products, it is entirely inappropriate for a budtender to be under the influence while at work. 

Cannabis laws establish clear guidelines for cannabis use in the workplace, and being a budtender is no different. A budtender must be able to perform his/her tasks without impairment and should not be under the influence of anything while at work.

Unprepared for Questions

Budtenders are responsible for familiarizing themselves with every product that comes into stock.

They must be able to answer most questions a customer may have about cannabis products and cannabis in general or should refer you to your doctor in the case of medicinal usage. 

A budtender who does not have a clear knowledge of all the products he/she is selling is a bad budtender.


Budtenders must be properly attired for their job. They must wear gloves and hairnets and use tongs to handle cannabis. In other words, they must maintain some of the same health standards common to the foodservice industry. 

As well, the dispensary should be maintained with clear labels, and products must be appropriately packaged.

If you spot a bad budtender, you can keep other customers from having the same experience by speaking to him/her about the service provided or mentioning it to the manager. 

You may also leave a review online.

Budtenders – The Sommeliers of Cannabis

Some persons refer to budtenders as the sommeliers of cannabis, and rightfully so. 

Budtenders help to guide us through all the cannabis options and find the most ideal fit according to our desires.

The next time you come across a budtender, be sure to make proper use of their services and watch how much your cannabis experience improves. 

And, if allowed, don’t forget to tip and thank your budtender for a job well done!

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