Out of all the questions I get standing behind our bud counter, “how do I become a budtender?” is one of the most common. I guess there’s just something mystic about my job, something romantic or salacious, that makes everyone want to jump on board (or maybe it’s my employee discount). Either way, I get it, because being a budtender is awesome. We get to slang ganja all day and talk about it nonstop with the people who want it. Seriously, if you’ve always loved marijuana, the legal cannabis market is the place to look for your dream job, but most people already know that because we meet a jobseeker almost every day. So, this week, I wanted to write about what it takes to become a budtender so you’d have a resource if you’re one of the many people who are looking to jump into something perfect.
However, this all comes with a disclaimer or two. For one, we’re not hiring or accepting resumes as I type this. Selling legal weed really is a dream job for many, and since we’re the best Durango dispensary, and the highest rated dispensary in the southwest, people usually swing by here first, and our roster is usually full. But that’s not to say we won’t be hiring soon because employees are always moving up or out, so keep checking in. And two, please take everything I say with a grain of salt; just because I’m telling you “how to be a budtender” doesn’t mean you can actually be one. I’ll explain…
Step one in becoming a budtender is to get your badge. It’s the license you’ve seen around the neck of every budtender you’ve met because it’s an absolute necessity, and not everyone qualifies for one because the state does a background check. I can’t say for sure what type of recorded offence leads to a “no,” and I know it’s difficult to get a badge with a felony on your record, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. And I’ll tell you from experience that it’s pointless to walk into a dispensary looking for a job without a badge because the guy who came in right before you already had his, and dispensaries won’t usually waste time on someone who may or may not get a license.
So, click HERE or google “MED occupational license application” to find all the paperwork you’ll need to submit to get your badge. After you print and fill out your paperwork, there will be a couple hoops to jump through before getting your license (like driving to the closest MED office for fingerprinting and whatnot), but you can learn about all of the hoops HERE.
Once your badge arrives, make a photocopy of it and then staple the copy to the back of your resume. Then all you need to do is blanket all the town’s dispensaries with copies of your badge and resume just like you’d do if you were looking for a regular job. And that’s the key: “regular job.” Most applicants assume that because we sell marijuana, we don’t have the high standards held by other employers, but that’s false. Our business is a business plain and simple, and when we’re hiring, we’re looking for professional businesspeople. Just because we sell things that get you high doesn’t mean you should be high when you come in looking for a job; just because pot is associated with lazy stoners doesn’t mean that’s who dispensaries are looking for when it comes to employees. So, dress professionally, act professionally, and for the love of everything holy, don’t come in with red eyes and a pipe tied around your neck (it’s happened).
Now, here comes the part you wouldn’t expect: nobody cares that you don’t have any cannabis industry experience. Frankly, it’s not like they teach this stuff in school (although you can read a list of colleges offering pot-related degrees HERE), and it’s not like all experience is good experience. Many shops are like our own Durango dispensary, and we prefer applicants to have no experience in the cannabis industry because most of the shops out there don’t do things correctly—it’s easier to teach new behaviors than to correct bad ones. That being said, retail experience is definitely a good thing, but I’d never touched a cash register before working here, so it’s still not necessary.
However, if you’re the anxious type who feels naked without a hint of cannabis experience on your resume, there are resources out there for you. For instance, there’s a state-regulated program called “METRC” that all dispensaries use to track legal cannabis. METRC is used in many states, so experience with it is a boon no matter where you’re looking to work. “METRC,” which we pronounce “metric,” stands for “Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance,” and if I’m being honest, knowing this fact alone will give you an advantage because I’d bet a few of my coworkers don’t know the meaning behind the acronym. And there are plenty of METRC tutorial videos on YouTube that you can watch HERE if you’d like to add a touch of “experience” to your resume, but remember, it’s not necessary, and these videos are for reference only and shouldn’t be taken as gospel.
Other than that, there are plenty of “how to” books out there about being a budtender, but I’d steer clear of them if I were you. For one, most of those books are written by ex-budtenders who are looking to make a buck (and there’s usually a reason for the “ex” part), and for two, this industry is constantly changing. Our regulations are always evolving. There’s a huge chance that most of the book you might buy is centered on the regulatory dos and don’ts, and they change so often that most books are irrelevant about a month after publication.
Lastly, if you want to work in the marijuana industry, it’s pretty damn important to like marijuana; most of us are downright passionate about it. And you need to know a lot about pot if you want a leg up, which is easy—you’ve obviously found this blog, and if you go back through our archives, you’ll find more than 100 blogs just like this one that’ll teach you more about cannabis than any resource I can think of. That, and please feel free to come in and chat with us at our Durango dispensary on 208 Parker Avenue. Even though we’re not hiring presently, any of our budtenders can give you the inside scoop as to what it’s like to do this for a living, and we’ll teach you anything you’d like about cannabis for free if you’re looking for free knowledge. Other than that, if you’re looking to become a budtender, we wish you luck, because We’re Your Best Buds!