5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Budtender


If you own a business, chances are you know a thing or two about hiring employees. Few people who own a bar would hire a bartender who didn’t know how to mix the simplest of drinks or someone who wasn’t good at gab. A good one has to be able to talk to the customer about his bad day and recommend the best whiskey to drown his sorrows with.

In the steadily growing cannabis industry, the rough gig equivalent to a bartender is that of a budtender. A good budtender has to know his strains, like a good bartender has to know what is on tap. A great budtender also has the ability to talk to customers, particularly medical marijuana customers, and recommend the right strain for them.


Like a good bartender can spell the success – or lack thereof – of a bar, a good budtender can greatly contribute to your dispensary’s success. Mistakes can be made when looking for the best budtenders for your business. Here are a few common ones to avoid in your search:

1) Hiring Someone Who Is Not Experienced

While hiring someone who is familiar with the nuances of the different types of strains can be beneficial, hiring someone with only that knowledge can be a pitfall, especially if this person has no retail customer service experience. Your dispensary is a business that deals with customers. Happy customers are customers who return. So ideally, you will want to hire someone who has retail customer service experience. Also, working with people who are suffering from ailments comes with its own set of challenges, so knowing that someone has patience and a retail service background can go a long way toward keeping patients and customers happy and profits coming in.

2) Hiring Someone Who Is Clueless About the Industry

Hiring your best bud (no pun intended) just because he can “hold his smoke” may be a mistake, particularly if he or she is unaware of both retail and legal trends that could affect the industry. In states where recreational use is legal, for example, there is a difference between what a medical patient might need and what a recreational user might want. Knowledge about trends in the industry is also important.

3) Not Offering Continuing Education

The industry is not static. New strains are bred constantly. Consider keeping an expert on staff or having monthly seminars or job training to keep your employees in the know concerning new strains and trends. This can go a long way toward keeping your business successful.

4) Failing to Check an Employee’s Background

We’re not talking about refusing to hire someone who did some time for a non-violent drug offense here. But failing to do a background check and hiring someone who has a robbery or theft conviction can backfire in a big way. The cannabis industry is a growing money-maker, yet it still lacks access to banking, and all that cash can prove a tempting target for criminals. Especially as more and more states legalize both recreational and medicinal cannabis, you do want to make sure that your employees can hold up to government scrutiny. Also, having an ex-violent offender on the payroll can lead to some unwanted government attention focused on your business. Remember, cannabis is still a schedule I drug at the federal level.

5) Hiring Someone With No Medical Knowledge

You need not hire an actual MD for your shop, but hiring someone with at least a base knowledge of differing medical conditions treated with cannabis can make a huge difference. For example, someone who knows that a patient enduring chronic pain will want a high-CBD strain, while a patient suffering from insomnia might want a high-THC strain. Or that aged cannabis is better for insomnia that a new leaf. Having a little medical knowledge about chronic conditions and the types of cannabis that can help them will ensure that your employees know what to recommend.

There you have it. These are five mistakes that a cannabis dispensary owner can make when hiring a budtender. You do not need to hire someone who meets every single qualification, but staffing your business with just anyone willing to work at minimum wage can backfire as well. Having a well-qualified core staff who are continually willing to learn and grow will take you – and your business – to the finish line.

Michael Jacobs is a marketing and creative content specialist at GotVape.com with primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined with a healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points.


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