How to Become a Budtender in California and Beyond

budtender in California, budtender jobs

New marijuana legislation is sweeping through the United States, and dispensaries are popping up everywhere. Cannabis jobs have quadrupled since 2016, with the most budtender postings showing up in California. If you’ve been contemplating a job in the cannabis industry, there’s no better time to get started. We’ve got the 411 on how to become a budtender in California and beyond – and be successful at it, too! 

What Makes a Good Budtender?

When you go out for dinner or pop into your local pub, your bartender or server can make all the difference. They know what is fresh that day, and they can offer recommendations based on your tastes. A successful budtender is very much the same, but a great budtender has three main qualities:

  1. A Service-Based Mindset: A budtender is the dispensary’s “face” when a customer enters the building. If you can chat with the seasoned smoker about strains and flavors and with Grandma Sue about edibles for anxiety, you will do great. You are there to guide the customer experience and help them make the best choices for their needs. 
  2. Know the Laws: The laws surrounding cannabis are constantly evolving and changing, and it is part of your job as a budtender to stay on top of things. A great way to be informed is to attend conventions (consider CannaCon Northwest), or subscribe to industry newsletters. You want to work within the laws to keep yourself, your customers, and your employer safe. 
  3. Product Knowledge: You need to know more than the difference between sativa and indica before you become a budtender. People will ask you about their medical conditions and the effects of many different products. Attend conferences, read up on the industry, chat up your local budtenders, and always ask questions! You may even consider taking budtender courses online. 

Budtender Training

There are no set regulations on how to become a budtender (yet). Up until now, education was through exposure and experience and that’s still one of the best ways to build your knowledge. Of course, we don’t recommend putting “high-school pothead” on your resume, even if it counts as “experience”! Try taking any job within a cannabis company; you will be exposed to the industry, professionals, and products simply by being at work. Bonus: you’ll get paid to learn! 

Still, more budtender courses are popping up all the time. If you want to learn the basics quickly, this might be a good choice for you. There is no existing “budtender certification” standard, so look for schools with good reviews and reputations, and those that are upfront about the course content. Some industry-favorite budtender training courses are taught by Cannabis Training Institute (CTI) and Green CultureED Online Cannabis Education

Where to Find Budtender Jobs

Decades ago, if you worked with marijuana, it was in the shadows and definitely not legal. These days, you can find budtender jobs just like you do any other position: through word of mouth and job boards. 

Connections within the industry are key to becoming a budtender. By attending conferences, talking to business owners, and chatting up other budtenders, you expand your knowledge and your network. Use these opportunities to ask how to get started as a budtender and about job openings.

Once you have built up your knowledge base, begin searching the job boards. Cannabis jobs abound, and the best keywords include “cannabis”, “marijuana”, and “dispensary”, with “budtender” being the most common job title.

Explore Budtender Jobs at a CannaCon Expo

The cannabis industry is young but growing quickly. If you are considering a job as a budtender, there’s no better time than now to get your foot in the door. If you are passionate about the industry, consider attending a CannaCon event near you. Not only will you have the opportunity to educate yourself with regard to cannabis topics, you’ll be able to network with industry experts and potentially procure that job you’re pursuing. Register today so you don’t miss a thing!


  1. Geneva Baskerville on November 17, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    I now, have a better understanding of the Cannabis industry.

    Thank you

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