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A hybrid job as a canna-barista / weed sommelier, budtenders do a lot more than just expedite sales and package meds.

Budtenders represent the frontline of customer service and education at dispensaries.

Generally naïve to their many cannabis product options, today’s patients and customers engage with budtenders first – asking for their expert advice. Highly valued for their perceived knowledge, the budtenders’ “demographics, workplace characteristics, medical decision-making, and online behaviors” were put under the microscope for a new study.

Published on August 21, 2017, the study examined a “cross-sectional” service survey administered to budtenders throughout the Bay Area and Southern California. Queried from June through September 2016, a total of 158 budtenders participated in the survey.

Budtender Service Survey: Trained vs Untrained

customer service at the dispensary

Among the 158 budtenders surveyed, the study found: “56% had received formal training to become a budtender. Several demographic differences were found between trained and untrained budtenders. For workplace characteristics, trained budtenders were more likely to report budtender as their primary job (74% vs 53%), practice more than 5 years (34% vs 11%), and receive sales commission (57% vs 16%). Trained budtenders were significantly less likely to perceive medical decision-making as very important (47% vs 68%) and have a patient-centered philosophy (77% vs 89%). Although trained budtenders had significantly lower internet usage, they were significantly more likely to exchange information with patients through email (58% vs 39%), text message (46% vs 30%), mobile app (33% vs 11%), video call (26% vs 3%), and social media (51% vs 23%).”

budtenders and education

Regardless of what you call the person behind the counter at your local dispensary – budtender, canna-pharmacist, weed sommelier, or friend – their expertise with marijuana matters. With pricey meds and fastidious customers, savvy dispensary owners understand the value of educating their budtenders – for their own profitability and protection.

Photos courtesy of Allie Beckett