Article by Jared Lindzon, Globe and Mail
The role: Now that cannabis prohibition has come to an end, Canadians are able to purchase recreational marijuana legally, although there are still gaps in most consumers’ understanding of the product. Those employed by licensed legal cannabis retailers to educate consumers and assist in their purchase of marijuana products are known as “budtenders.”.“Their role is to connect the dots between the consumer and the product,” explains Stuart Ryan, Vancouver-based budtender for Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store. “We’re looking into what intent the consumer has when they’re coming in, and making some parallels with some products we have in the store, whether based on the consumption method, an activity or a mood.”.While the role is heavily based around customer service and education there are other responsibilities typical of retail settings, such as store maintenance, organization, cleanliness and display upkeep. Mr. Ryan adds that since products come prepackaged the role does not require any behind-the-scenes preparation..Budtenders are, however, often required to maintain up-to-date knowledge about the products and brands that are available at their location. “Licensed producers come into the store to speak about their products – whether it’s a new product coming onto the shelves or a more in depth product knowledge session on products we carry – to better prepare budtenders to communicate with the consumer,” Mr. Ryan says..Salary: According to employer review website Glassdoor the average hourly compensation for a budtender in Canada is $17, and Mr. Ryan adds that it typically ranges between $15 and $18 an hour..“If you have a background and an understanding of both the Canadian legal market as well as the products in general, that would [facilitate] a higher starting wage,” he says “Another thing that can really improve it is your sales experience.”.After gaining some experience Mr. Ryan adds that budtenders can also advance into other, higher-paying roles such as product merchandising, store management or guest relations..Education: Educational and licensing requirements vary by province, with some requiring mandatory training, and others only requiring a background check. For example, budtenders in Ontario are required to first receive CannSell certification, and those in Alberta are required to complete the SellSafe training program, while those in B.C. only need to apply for Worker Security Verification.