Budtender Product Knowledge Is Key for Dispensary Owners

First off: What is a Budtender?

A budtender is a key player in the cannabis industry, similar to how baristas serve coffee enthusiasts and bartenders mix drinks for patrons. At a legal cannabis dispensary, whether it is a medical or recreational marijuana dispensary, the budtender is the go-to person for all things cannabis. They greet you with a smile and guide you through the various products, from different strains of cannabis flower to edibles and tinctures, ensuring you find exactly what you need.

What Does a Budtender Do?

Budtenders wear many hats. Their primary role is to assist customers in finding the best cannabis products for their needs. This involves asking thoughtful questions to understand the customer’s preferences and requirements. Budtenders also provide insights and recommendations on medical cannabis products, although they may lack the proper training to give scientifically accurate advice. Some questions might include:

  • Do you prefer to stay active or relax after consuming cannabis?

  • Are you seeking relief from specific symptoms?

  • How often do you consume cannabis?

These questions help budtenders make informed recommendations, ensuring a positive and safe experience for the customer. Proper product knowledge is crucial, as incorrect recommendations can lead to unpleasant or even harmful effects.

The Importance of Staying Up to Date

In the ever-evolving marijuana industry, staying updated with the latest industry trends and compliance requirements is essential for budtenders. New products and research emerge regularly, and budtenders need to be in the know to provide accurate product suggestions and comply with state laws. This continuous learning ensures they offer the best guidance to their customers, enhancing the overall experience.

Job Description of a Budtender

Being a budtender involves more than just selling cannabis. Their responsibilities include:

  • Helping customers choose the right cannabis products.

  • Providing detailed information about different strains and their effects.

  • Ensuring compliance with legal regulations.

  • Keeping the sales floor clean and organized.

  • Staying informed about new products and industry trends.

Qualifications and Training for Budtenders

Most budtenders need a high school diploma and some retail experience. Additional qualifications can enhance their effectiveness, such as:

  • Budtender certification.

  • Knowledge of cannabis cultivation and different products.

  • Excellent customer service skills.

  • A positive attitude and helpful demeanor.

Potential Benefits and Salary

Budtenders’ salaries vary based on location and experience, typically ranging from $12 to $18 per hour. Many dispensaries offer benefits like health insurance, employee discounts, and opportunities for career growth in the cannabis industry.

Product Knowledge Is Key for Dispensary Owners

If you were to go into your local coffee shop, you’d be served by a barista. If you happened to stumble into your local bar, a bartender would be there to serve you. In the Cannabis Industry, when you walk up to the counter of a cannabis dispensary, a “budtender” is there to greet and assist you.

Budtending is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the Cannabis Industry. Those employed in this role have the responsibility of greeting customers and assisting them in figuring out the best strain or form of consumption for their symptoms or needs. This means that the Budtender must ask the appropriate questions to understand what they should be recommending for the client or patient:

Do they want to be active after smoking or snuggle up on their couch and watch a movie? Are they taking it to relieve any sort of symptom? How often does the individual consume Cannabis?

These are the sort of questions that Budtenders need to ask so that they’re able to recommend the correct form of Cannabis. So what would happen if they don’t do their due diligence?

The Role of a Budtender in the Cannabis Industry

Just as baristas are essential to coffee shops and bartenders to bars, budtenders are the backbone of cannabis dispensaries. Budtenders work with products like cannabis flower and other related items. They are the face of the dispensary, greeting customers and patients, and guiding them in selecting the best cannabis products for their needs. The role of a budtender is not just about selling cannabis; it’s about understanding the unique requirements of each customer.

Essential Cannabis Knowledge for Budtenders

A well-informed budtender must know the various cannabis strains, marijuana products, their effects, and their uses. This knowledge allows them to ask the right questions to provide tailored recommendations. For example:

  • Do you want to stay active or relax?

  • Are you seeking relief from a specific symptom?

  • How often do you consume cannabis?

These questions help budtenders recommend the most suitable product, ensuring customer satisfaction and safety. Without proper knowledge, the risks of negative experiences and legal repercussions increase.

Consequences of Inadequate Training on Legal Regulations

Imagine if a patient came in and wanted help with relaxation as they suffer from anxiety, which affects over 40 million individuals in the United States according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). In this situation, an Indica strain of medicinal or recreational cannabis could help alleviate this stress but the budtender accidentally provides them with a Sativa strain. Because of this, the patient ended up having severe anxiety to the point where they needed to go to the hospital. That patient has the right to come back to that Dispensary and sue them because of the Budtender’s mistake, which ended up causing the patient to have unwanted side effects.

Or imagine a diabetic walked into a recreational store and asked the budtender for sugar-free edibles. However, the budtender doesn’t realize the difference in the edible packaging and gives the diabetic customer the wrong edibles, which ends up spiking their blood pressure and giving them unwanted health effects. Again, this customer has the right to come back to this Dispensary to sue them for their budtender providing the wrong product, which caused adverse effects of what they wanted.

Customer Feedback on Budtender Knowledge

With this industry being so new, it is only a matter of time until lawsuits from patients and customers begin coming out against Dispensaries due to their Budtenders being untrained and not providing the appropriate medicine/products. Cannabis newbies often require more guidance from knowledgeable budtenders. You are already starting to see the inexperience of Budtenders becoming an issue.

Leafly, who is the world’s largest cannabis information resource (according to their website), took a poll of their audience to find out what people liked the least about Budtenders. The biggest complaint about Budtenders was “They lack knowledge about the Products they carry (or they simply don’t care)” and a review that they pulled said “mainly the lack of knowledge. When you ask if they have 710 specials, and none of them even knew what 710 was. Ask about sugar-free edibles, and some budtenders give you the dumbest look.” This only reinforces the need to make sure that those employees who have the responsibility as a Budtender are educated and understand the product’s that they are recommending inside and out.

Ensuring Quality Service in Cannabis Dispensaries

Because of this, Dispensary’s need to be cautious of who they assign as Budtenders and ensure that they know their products and the questions that need to be asked to their customers to ensure that they are providing the highest quality service to meet the needs of their clients/patients. To become a budtender, individuals must meet age and background screening requirements, complete a certification course, and understand cannabis compliance regulations. This could mean only allowing employees who get a Budtending Certification to be budtenders or making them pass their own type of test but Dispensaries need to be aware that what their Budtenders recommend could end in a lawsuit if they aren’t careful.

Protecting Your Business

Reach out today, and we can make sure that if this happens to you that you have the correct coverage in place to protect your business. Don’t let one wrong recommendation end up in court!

By investing in the education and training of budtenders within the legal cannabis industry, dispensaries can improve customer satisfaction, enhance safety, and protect their business from legal risks.

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