Include These 5 Things on Your Budtender Job Application!

by Stu Waters,

Being a budtender isn’t as easy as it looks.


Dispensaries put a great deal of trust in their budtenders. Not only are you responsible for keeping a large amount of valuable product safe and secure, but customers rely on your expertise to improve their quality of life and, in some cases, get relief from serious medical conditions.

But there are plenty of benefits to becoming a budtender, and top-performers are able to earn significant negotiating power with their employers, thanks to a high rate of industry turnover. Arriving at that prized position can be daunting, but it can be done if you keep these simple tricks in mind.

Make a Great Impression With Your Resume

As with any job, the first step in the process is putting together a stellar resume. If you want your budtender application to stand out from the rest, you should include the five crucial things that your future employers are looking for:

1. Pick the Right References

References are key to making a good first impression. Whoever you pick to represent you should have your back and know what they’re talking about. 

This is especially important in the cannabis industry. Pick references that are politically supportive of the marijuana industry and who are personally supportive of your participation in it. This might seem like a no-brainer, but plenty of applicants list references who are less than enthusiastic about the marijuana industry, and that opinion inevitably comes out when the employer calls.

2. Demonstrate Product Knowledge

Product knowledge is as important in cannabis as it is in any industry. The important thing for an aspiring budtender is to realize is that there is a difference between experience and knowledge

Telling an employer that you smoked pot every day since you were 14 is going to look unprofessional, no matter what industry you’re applying for. Explaining nuanced differences in strain varieties and cultivation practices is a different story entirely – and it doesn’t come without doing research.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the state of the cannabis industry today and your prospective employer’s position in it. The more you know about the position you are applying for, the better you can present yourself as the ideal candidate for it.

3. Showcase Some Technical Experience

Everyone knows budtending is a demanding social job. You will be putting your social skills to the test every day to drive sales. But what’s less well-known is the fact that budtending also comes with technical requirements. The better you understand the technical infrastructure behind cannabis retail, the more valuable an asset you will be to the dispensary.

At the very least, you should have a broad understanding of how inventory management systems and SKUs work. You should not be intimidated by the fact that every transaction that occurs inside a cannabis dispensary has to be recorded, verified, and sent to regulators for approval. Applicants who can key data into a system quickly and accurately are going to have a better shot at earning the position they’re looking for.

4. Talk About Compliance

Speaking of regulators, if there is one thing that keeps dispensary owners up at night, it’s compliance. This is especially true when hiring budtenders because it’s rarely the case that the dispensary owner personally makes a compliance mistake that triggers an inspection – more often than not, it’s a forgetful budtender who takes the fall.

Compliance is complicated and demanding. Applicants who understand how regulations work and who demonstrate the ability to adhere to complex rules are going to have a significant upper hand over applicants who have never heard of the word before.

The more you know about cannabis compliance laws in your state, the better-positioned you will be to take on business-critical responsibilities for the dispensary you’re applying to. You don’t have to memorize the entire legislative agenda – just do your homework enough to take some of the burden of compliance training off your employer’s shoulders. 

5. Tell Your Story

Have a favorite pastime? A hobby you enjoy? Maybe you’re part of a wider social or cultural movement that you care about? Talk about it! Budtenders have to showcase their social skills. The more social activities you’re engaged in, the greater the sense of rapport and understanding you will be able to generate with customers will be.

This is especially true of activities that go together with a passion for cannabis. Writers, politicians, doctors, and scientists throughout history have used marijuana to supplement insight into their various fields of activity. What are yours? How has cannabis played a role in your life story? 

These are the kinds of things you’ll be talking about with customers, so you can bet your employer is going to want to hear it first.

Be Prepared for a Comprehensive Interview

If you have taken the time to add all of the following to your application, you are now ready to move on to the interviewing process. You are almost certainly going to answer questions about the things listed above – especially product knowledge and compliance – so be sure you’re ready. 

Expect to explain what you would do if you caught a co-worker stealing. In a tightly regulated industry like cannabis, inventory discrepancies can lead to surprise inspections and revoked licenses. Turning a blind eye to a co-worker’s abuse of trust might end up costing everybody their job. 

Nevertheless, the cannabis industry represents an exciting opportunity and an especially attractive option for people who are passionate about cannabis and ready to devote their time and energy to expanding its legal presence in peoples’ lives. Make your resume reflect that, and your application will jump to the top of every employer’s desk.