Want To Be A Marijuana Budtender? Here’s How To Do It

An educational peek inside Seattle's blossoming marijuana retail scene.

budtender
Photos courtesy of The Evergrey

Want to be a Seattle budtender? It’s a growing business, you get to meet interesting folks, it’s not going to be outsourced, and, let’s see… free weed, right? Not so fast. I took a sobering look at your job prospects and spoke with some folks in the know around Seattle to get the lowdown on the high life of a budtender.


The Qualifications

Pot shops are looking for personality and passion for the product, and if you’ve got experience in customer service, either in retail, managing people, or even food service, that helps.

Kalie Sandstrom in human resources at Lux in Ballard looks at diversity, not just in tats, piercings, and hair color but in race, gender, and life experience. It takes a village, so to speak. A budtender may even have a criminal background, so long as he/she can get along with people.


Overeducation isn’t a detriment but neither is it a prerequisite. In your interview you’ll be asked about your experience with the product and how you use it. Don’t worry about needing to pee in a cup.

You don’t need to be an expert, but passion pays off. Jay Berger at Pot Stop in Fremont says that “you have to love people.” It’s easier to teach budtenders about cannabis than how to get along with people. “The job is very educational,” he said. “You can’t not learn on the job.”

The Education

Like others, Jay came from the medical side to the recreational side. Pot Stop started back in 2010 as SMMA (Seattle Medical Marijuana Association) and still is authorized to sell to medical patients. If you’d like to be a budtender on the medical side, you’ll need a bit more education: a 20-hour online course. Then you’ll have consultant certification.

Your folks might have bragging rights knowing the fruit of their loins is certified, but should stop referring to you as a “budding doctor.” Still, it’s a career with a future. If you stick with it, you can move up quickly. Jay sees this is as the start of the “green rush.” Dani from Queen Anne Cannabis Co. left a gig at Old Navy (unlike Popeye, she had a different kind of spinach in her pipe), answering an ad on Craigslist, and two years later she’s gone from budtender to buyer and inventory manager.

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Don Goldberg is a member of The Evergrey Writing Group. He’s written jokes for the Emmys, satire for Jerry Springer, help screens for Microsoft, web pages for HP, The History of Rock and Roll for radio, church bulletins, documentaries for Children and other work for hire he’s not as proud of. No matter how hard he tries to be serious, he finds the humor in it because he revels in the absurdity of it all. He has lived all over the United States but settled in Seattle 26 years ago because, as he puts it, there was no other place left. He lives with his wife, Gail, and his daughter, Maya (until she moves out of the house), and is currently working on an irreverent spiritual sendup novel and a companion cookbook about a rebellious teenager and her family.


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