When you walk into a dispensary, the first person you’re likely to see is the budtender. In a dispensary, the budtender is akin to a bartender at a bar, or a barista at a coffee shop. Budtenders prepare products for purchase, advise customers on how to use and consume cannabis in all its forms, and answer any questions you might have about the world of weed.
And just like there’s a difference between the bored barista behind the mega coffee-chain counter and the friendly face behind the roaster who can’t wait to tell you about his latest all-organic brew, there are good budtenders and bad budtenders. Whether you’re new to the world of MJ or a regular consumer, a helpful budtender behind the local dispensary counter makes a world of difference.
How can you tell if your budtender is the real deal? In this blog, we’ll highlight five signs that your budtender is a professional. Next time you’re in your local dispensary, be on the lookout for these characteristics of a totally pro budtender.
1. They’re Passionate about Cannabis
It’s easy to spot someone who loves what they do. Budtenders who get into the game because they are passionate about the product are more than retail employees; they are on-site cannabis experts.
Many can (and do) talk at length about the different strains, how they’re grown and what effects they have. One surefire sign your budtenders are passionate about their craft: they’re excited and eager to help customers find the perfect product for their needs.
Pro budtenders don’t shy away from expressing a preference and are always honest about what they like and don’t like. They’re also happy to share their own experiences with different strains and products so you can make an informed decision. If your budtender seems uninterested in cannabis or doesn’t seem to know much about it, they’re probably not a pro.
2. They Know Weed
Passion and knowledge often go hand-in-hand, but it’s worth calling out that pro budtenders should not only be able to wax enthusiastic about weed, but also be able to answer your cannabis questions. They should be able to explain the basics of weed — things like how THC differs from CBD — as well as more complex questions like “What are terpenes and how do they affect my high?”
They should also be able to recommend specific strains based on your needs. For example, if you’re looking for a strain that will help you relax, they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Pro budtenders also understand the array of products within the dispensary. They’re always trying new products to ensure they are knowledgeable about the latest and greatest strains, edibles, topicals, etc. They want to be able to provide their customers with information about a variety of products so that the customer can make an informed decision about what they want to purchase.
Even if a budtender is partial to smoking, they understand the benefit of topicals and edibles for customers who may prefer to partake differently. They never let personal preference cloud the needs of the customer in front of them.
Finally — and maybe most importantly for the customer experience — if a pro budtender isn’t sure about something, they won’t fake it. Nobody expects budtenders to be walking encyclopedias of weed wisdom, but if your budtender doesn’t know, you bet your buds a good one will take a stab at finding out for you.
3. They’re Up on the Industry
Cannabis is one of the most highly regulated industries in the country. Even in places like Oregon, where recreational weed is legal, there are still strict rules and regulations around who can buy what and when.
Budtenders are not only responsible for dispensing cannabis products; they also must understand and adhere to all the rules to keep their shop up and running and their customers safe.
A good budtender will stay up-to-date on all the latest industry news and developments to provide their customers with accurate information and recommendations. They will also be able to answer any questions about the legalities and logistics around cannabis, whether you’re a first-time user or an experienced smoker.
4. They Provide Excellent Customer Service
When you go into a dispensary, the last thing you want is a budtender who is dismissive, distracted or rushes through your purchase. A good budtender will ask questions to get to know your preferences and needs.
They might inquire about what kind of effects you’re looking for, what other strains you’ve enjoyed and what time of day you typically like to consume cannabis.
By asking detailed questions, they can make better product recommendations that fit your individual needs. They should also take time to answer any questions about the products and help you understand how to use them correctly. If your budtender is rushing you or seems eager to move on to the next customer, they’re probably not a pro.
5. They Have a Hella Good Attitude
As in any customer-facing job, a good attitude is one of the most important qualities a budtender can have. They should be positive, friendly and helpful. A pro budtender will go out of their way to ensure you have a great experience — especially if you’re new to the cannabis world or feeling a little nervous about jumping in.
If your budtender is friendly, takes the time to get to know you and what you’re looking for and expresses genuine interest in meeting your needs, you’ve probably got a pro on your hands.
As the cannabis industry expands, and with it the number of budtenders behind dispensary counters, there are bound to be some bad apples. If you walk into a dispensary and feel disrespected, ignored or unimportant, don’t hesitate to turn around and leave. You can also check reviews online before visiting a dispensary. If you see a sea of single stars you may want to keep on looking.
A good budtender will be passionate about cannabis, knowledgeable about the products they sell, understand the industry and be able to provide excellent customer service with a great attitude. Keep an eye out for these qualities the next time you visit your local dispensary!