Cannabis Ontario retail

How to become a Budtender in Canada

Learn how to be consumer ready in Canada to sell Cannabis

bud-tenderCannabis retailing in Canada is just beginning to ramp up and there will be a large demand for front line retail staffing in the coming year.  Do you have what it takes to sell cannabis? Are you super passionate about all things marijuana?

The folks working behind the counters are not called sales associates or sales reps but more commonly they are referred to as a budtender. 

If you love people and all things green than the budtender job maybe for you!  Through this you will meet some amazing people, hear some equally amazing stories and get to support them with all things marijuana.

Budtender job description

In this job you are the first point of contact for a customer when they step inside the store – and some of them will REALLY need your counsel support and advice.  You will be the face and voice representing and educating consumers on what legalized adult-use marijuana is all about.  Budtenders help the consumer in a variety of ways: answering questions regarding the various cannabis products and strains, as well as dolling out expert advice about brands, accessories, dosage and product safety and consumption techniques.  It is really important that the solution provided will fit the customers needs.  The outcome will reflect on the store and will positively or negatively impact the experience for the customer.


Some of the best budtenders are not only enthusiastic about the products they are selling, but they have a certain charm and the gift of gab that enables customers to trust them right away.  Outgoing types with good listening skills will be good hires.  Great customer service skills are essential for this position. Having a friendly, helpful attitude will go a long way.  However, the stores of tomorrow are not the head shops of yesterday.  The look and feel of Cannabis retailing is more aligned to an Apple Store than a headshop.  The styling, attitude and personality of the budtender will need to match the retail offering.


A key component of the service being provided by a budtender is customer education.  Customer education refers to a company’s role in providing consumers with the information, skills, and abilities needed to become a more informed buyer. Therefore, extensive product knowledge is essential for a good Budtender.  This creates trust and builds credibility for the Retail store or chain with the customer.  Budtenders who can answer questions on various flowers, strains, ingestibles, vapes, pens etc. without running for help will bring customers back time and time again. Just like finding a mechanic you can trust – finding a budtender you can trust will be something consumers rely upon and share with others.  Budtenders can and do build businesses.   The more information and intimacy a budtender has on the cannabis products stocked in the dispensary the better.  Most dispensaries will provide some on-the-job training, but having a basic grip on the various strains, at least, will increase one’s chances of getting the job.

If you have not been self educating for the last few years you may want to try an online budtender certificate program.  There are several available.

If you are superstar candidate your company may even have its own program or offer to pay for your training.  Here are some to explore:

Oaksterdam is considered one of the industry’s most prestigious cannabis educational centres.  They now have online learning in addition to the campus.

THC University provides online content and is great for someone in need of flexible learning solutions.

Many provinces have certification that you must take before you begin work as a budtender like Cannsell. Typically a budtender course would prepare you with the following curriculum elements:

  • Cannabis strain and dosage for customers
  • Explain factors that affect the pricing of cannabis
  • Safety and security measures and techniques
  • Cannabis Flower
  • Consumer Tolerance
  • Smoking versus vaping
  • Topicals & Alternatives
  • Edibles & Concentrates
  • Regulations
  • Proper handling, display, and storage of cannabis

Don’t make these common Budtender mistakes

  1. Budtenders do not get stoned before going to work.
  2. Budtenders need to arrive on time for their shift and be responsible.  This is a business and a real job.
  3. Budtenders need to stay current on product offerings and industry news.
  4. Budtenders need to have good hygiene and a clean physical appearance is always a plus and as we mentioned earlier, the cannabis industry is doing what it can to move beyond pothead fashions.
  5. Budtenders need to match knowledge of customer to intel offered – don’t overwhelm customers with too many details.
  6. Never tell someone that a particular product will result in a specific effect. Remember that you are not a doctor.  It is acceptable to provide anecdotal information based on personal experience, the stories of others, or research.
  7. Budtenders need to know the provincial and federal laws and regulations.

Good luck with your job search and please let us know if you land a good gig!

7 comments on “How to become a Budtender in Canada

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