How to Work at a Dispensary – The 2020 State-by-State Guide

Learning how to work at a dispensary means you can help people who are visiting and want to make a purchase but do not always know what they are looking for. They will want to talk to the budtender for help and information. To get a job in a dispensary means you will have to have all the basic cannabis knowledge as well as excel in the area of customer service.

Learning how to work at a dispensary will showcase your passion regarding cannabis, show your in-depth knowledge about various cannabis products while also being able to offer amazing customer service. Bringing a positive attitude, good work ethic and lots of knowledge means that you will be in line for success when it comes to working at a dispensary.

Understanding Where You Can Work

Not every state has the same laws and regulations when it comes to cannabis. If you want to work in a dispensary then know which states have them and what they are legally allowed to sell. As of January 2020, cannabis is legal in 11 states and Washington DC for those who are adults.

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington, DC

Medical marijuana is allowed in 34 states (including the 11 full use states) in various medical capacities. Be sure that the system is set up for sales if one of the following the preceding or following states is somewhere you are hoping to work.

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

Any that are not included in the previously listed states, do not have legal medical or recreational cannabis.

How to Work at a Dispensary

How to Work at a Dispensary


If you want to work at a dispensary and it is legal in the state, then here are some things that will help you while job hunting.

1. Know the products in the dispensary. You need to know the lingo, how cannabis is grown and cultivated as well as the use of the plants and production. Invest both time and money into your career so you are well versed in everything about the product to be sold. This applies to both medical and recreational cannabis.

Budtenders need to know how products were created such as where it was grown and how it was made and if it is a cannabis derivative. They need to be able to explain quality and pricing. They also need to be sure to know the dispensary’s inventory and what are their best selling products. Read reviews and look for info on sites like so you can find the details and info you need to be fully prepared. Understand a strains particular genetics and which ones are the most asked for.

Knowing the major strains and their intended uses shows that you know what you are talking about and can make you stand out from others that are applying for the job as well.

2. Know the Trends. Many people coming into a dispensary may not know exactly what they need. This is especially true with medical cannabis. If you want to have a job in a dispensary then being on top of the trends is critical. Industry blogs can help as well as social media for understanding what is going on in the world of cannabis. Check out trends in concentrates, products that are THC or CBD infused and extractions as well. You always want to be able to educate a customer whether it is about products or ways to ingest it. Again, knowing the area laws is crucial when it comes to this side of the dispensary business.

3. Learning how to work at a dispensary means working on your connection and ability to relate with people. Tell short stories that show you understand what they need and how it will help them. Personal short antidotes will help them connect and telling short relatable notes shows your interviewers how personable you are. The job in a dispensary is to not push products but to educate people so they can make informed purchases. Potential employers will love that you are not pushy but are very engaging.

4. Be selective in your dispensary education. If you are serious about obtaining employment in the dispensary business, then look at taking a budtender certificate program. It is a good way to obtain product knowledge, resource background and other helpful skills that will build up budtender knowledge. Having a certification can help in the hiring process.

While education is helpful, make sure the education chosen is a good course and have the content you are looking for. Read reviews, talk to previous graduates, see what the hire rate is of people who have completed the course. You do not want to pay for something that is not going to be beneficial when it comes to a job search.

5. If you do not feel quite ready to be a Budtender in a dispensary, perhaps you can be a cashier so you can learn the basics. It would be a first-hand learning experience and can give some experience with customer service as well. A great way to get this type of job is to have some cashier experience and be pleasant and eager to learn. Getting this type of job allows you to work your way towards promotion in a dispensary.

Final Thoughts

Figuring out how to work at a dispensary will give you the upper hand when applying to the position. Every extra course, experience, and skill you bring to an interview makes it easier to get this specialized job. Showing that you bring a specialized skill set offers a higher chance that you will be in the search committee’s top choices when it comes to obtaining employment. Bringing both education and experience will make you the prime candidate when it comes to the final hiring decision.

Source of Featured Image:

Olivia Solero

Olivia Solero is the Co-founder of Cannabis Stack. Olivia has an unusual blend of creative thinking and the ability to put that thinking into effect. She likes to write; loves to edit; she knows how to lead, follow or get out of the way; she is good with a buck and wicked smart when it comes to data.

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