What exactly makes a good budtender ‘good‘ and a bad budtender ‘bad‘? Budtenders are the most valuable resource for medical and recreational dispensaries since their clients are looking to them for guidance on which products to try.

The Budtender position in a dispensary provides the first impressions a patient or consumer has about your dispensary, and it really ‘sets the stage‘ for how visitors are treated so it is crucial to the success of the dispensary. To paint a clear picture of why budtenders are so important in a dispensary, we will explain how they can make an amazing impression on a dispensary, or how a good dispensary can make for a bad experience.

We’ve put together a list of Budtender (click here to see a Budtender Certification) qualities and business practices unique to bad budtenders so here are four (4) bad budtender habits that customers notice and hate.


1. They’re Impatient & Rude Customers

Budtenders constantly repeat the same effects and characteristics for products, so it’s easy to forget that each customer is a unique and new interaction every time. All customers have a distinctive history of using cannabis, so the first step is you need to figure out their level of familiarity.

Avoid coming off lazy to enthusiasts with repetitious callouts, like, ‘Indica makes you sedated’ or ‘Sativa is headier’ so go more in-depth and base your recommendations on what the customer needs. It’s also important to stay away from the snobby mentality of “knowing it all” and rushing new customers who may be indecisive; it is the very last way you want to grow your dispensary’s business and customer rapport.

Budtenders need to educate clients about cannabis while also continuing their training in dispensary product lines and this sets the best budtenders apart from the ‘ok‘ ones. It’s a tough balance, but making people feel dumb or unimpressed by your dispensary experience is bad Budtender practice.


2. Don’t Differentiate Between Medical & Adult-Use

Not individualizing a customer’s needs or differentiating medicine from adult-use cannabis is important for both types of customer experience. Feedback showed that a fair amount of medical patients dislike budtenders who treat their medicine as “weed,” whereas adult-use consumers tend to be overwhelmed by advanced explanations.

Customers are often there for different reasons so medical patients can feel a lack of care if Budtenders treat the conversation unprofessionally, and adult-use consumers can feel alienated by a lack of understanding of cannabis. They’re different conversation types that Budtenders need naturally adjust their conversation style and level of understanding.

3. Basic Personal Hygiene

It’s never a good sign when a customer is concerned with a Budtender’s cleanliness such as dental hygiene or dirty hands. Cannabis is medicine, it needs to be handled properly. This should be a huge no-no for any Budtender.

This guideline is simple and like purchasing food from a restaurant or food stall. But, there are a lot of concerns surrounding the handling of cannabis products – from general hygiene to making sure customers can smell and see the product prior to the purchase.

Patrons expect Budtender to have clean hands, hair tied back, and attractive dispensary displays. The emphasis on cleanliness applies to their appearance working in dispensaries so Budtenders need to pay attention to the way they handle product – for example, use chopsticks, tongs, or gloves to retrieve cannabis from a jar instead of your bare hands.

Always go above and beyond when allowing customers to see and interact with the product by offering them a closer peek or the chance to smell the strain’s aromas. Keep in mind that the product is going to be consumed by someone other than yourself, so always allow your customer to experience (smell, see, etc.) the cannabis product first.

Lastly, keep hair and other contaminants out of your customer’s stash as best as possible since nobody wants a dirty product, especially one they’re going to ingest or inhale later.


4. Knowledge About Products (or They Simply Don’t Care)

Lack of passion and knowledge of the cannabis products was our largest “cringe” for working Budtenders, which is not surprising. Dispensaries must train their Budtenders a lot, from familiarizing them with specific product lines to understanding the basics of cannabis.

If you’re a new Budtender who is not yet up to speed on cannabis industry knowledge, then be honest with your customer and ask a more experienced co-worker for assistance. Exhibit your passion for the cannabis movement and be as helpful as possible so you will be able to give your customer the best experience possible (even if you aren’t the most knowledgeable yet).

Cannabis information is just started to be actively shared in the industry, so it is ‘okay‘ to not know everything right off the bat. It makes customers feel like they are part of an experience that is something beyond the traditional transaction when you care for the cannabis movement and can own up to your lack of expertise in certain areas.

Ultimately, Budtenders need to get up to speed on their cannabis knowledge to do their jobs well and to be able to help as many patients and customers as possible. Knowing industry holidays, cultural references, and general ‘Cannabis 101‘ is a must for successful Budtenders who are working in the industry.

Be in the know and learn as you go so it builds trust and makes customers feel like they’re being taken care of. For dispensary owners, training Budtenders to embody these qualities is essential but it is hard to teach someone passion though, so selecting budtenders based on their interest and desire to learn is a safe bet.

Let us know what you think.