As more states legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, it only stands to reason that the cannabis industry that serves these markets is going to be in hot pursuit of qualified workers to help them capitalize on what is now a $50 billion monster. One of the most in-demand positions on the scene is the front-of-the-house-sales-professionals known as Budtenders.
These men and women are the first point of contact for a customer when they step inside a dispensary – they are the faces representing what legal marijuana is all about in its newly legal climate. These rock star consultants assist the consumer in a variety of ways: answering questions regarding the various cannabis products, offering up product recommendations, as well as providing them with expert advice over dosage and product safety.
A recent report from the Detroit Free Press indicates that budtenders are being sought out with a vengeance right now, as Michigan’s medical marijuana program moves into more legitimate waters. But anyone who has ever seen the film Glengarry Glen Ross understands that companies are always on the prowl for super talents to put on their sales forces.
This means anywhere marijuana is now legal, there are cannabis firms searching for savvy sharks to stand behind the counter and sell the heck out of as much cannabis as humanly possible. After all, the cannabis industry didn’t grow into a multi-billion dollar beast by being passive on the sales floor. Along with eager customers, dispensaries need knowledgeable pot pushers to put as many grams, edibles, oils etc. into the bags of the hundreds of customers they service each day. It is those workers who subscribe to the A-B-C philosophy (Always Be Closing), while focusing in on customer care, who are destined to be the most successful sales personnel in the business.
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People who are enthusiastic about cannabis that also possess the skills to sell Kool-Aid popsicles to individuals in white gloves can go to work in the cannabis industry making $35-40K in the first year. Some dispensaries start their sales staff out at between $12-$14 per hour, while others pay a higher wage. It’s good work if you can get it.
So how do you get it?
To become a budtender there are some requirements. Dispensaries owners are not just going to throw a wad of cash at someone every week simply because they’ve seen Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke 420 times. In fact, including this little tidbit of information on a resume might even sabotage a person’s chances of getting hired.
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The cannabis industry is determined to present an image that goes against the grain of the stoner stereotype. So avoiding tie-dyed clothing, nappy dreadlocks and blazing red eyes during the interview process might be best. These rules are not written in stone, mind you. They are just something to consider. Prospective budtenders might also want to check out the Netflix series Disjointed, and do the complete opposite of everything they see happen during its two short seasons. For some reason, the cannabis industry was not a fan.
1. Some of the best budtenders are not only enthusiastic about the products they are selling, but they have a certain charm and the gift of gab that enables customers to trust them right out of the gate. Introverted personalities are not going to be good at this job.
2. Extensive product knowledge is definitely a plus. Budtenders who can tell the customer anything they want to know about the various flowers, edibles etc. without running to the manger are always the most successful. The more information a budtender has on the cannabis products stocked in the dispensary the better. Most dispensaries will provide some on-the-job training, but having a basic grip on the various strains, at least, will increase one’s chances of getting the job.
3. Great customer service skills are invaluable in this position. Having a friendly, helpful attitude will go a long way.
4. Clean physical appearance is always a plus. As we mentioned earlier, the cannabis industry is doing what it can to move beyond pothead fashions.
5. Not getting high before or during the application/interview process is encouraged. We know, what a bummer.
6. Highly organized individuals with a strong work ethic will go a long way in the businesses of selling weed. It’s the same rub as any sales job – it’s a hustle every second of the day. Showing the employer this level of determination in the early rounds of the application process is a solid method for getting a call back.
7. A clean criminal record is necessary. Although the cannabis trade is rooted in outlaw shenanigans, the industry is just like any other in the way that it is looking to recruit trustworthy individuals. Murderers, rapists and thieves need not apply.
8. Some education might be helpful. Although the characteristics of a person are more important in this line of work than actual education, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have some higher learning. There are some budtender certificate programs available online. For under $300 a person can get certified in the various aspects of retail cannabis. But we suggest discussing this move with a potential employer before jumping the gun. Many dispensaries are more than willing to hire budtenders without this kind of training.