When someone walks into a dispensary, who are they most likely to interact with?
Dispensary Agents, also known as Budtenders, are the frontline of any retail medical marijuana operation. They are one of the most sought after marijuana jobs. As product experts and customer service specialists, dispensary agents guide patients through the purchasing process. They have the power to make or break a patient’s experience.
Therefore, dispensaries should hire the best and most qualified candidates. But what defines “qualified” in the cannabis industry? After all, the federal illegality of cannabis has kept national standards from coming into place. Plus, the role of a dispensary agent is still a fairly new concept. Most people do not have the experience yet, especially on the East Coast in state with a new program. So how else can dispensaries source the right expertise?
By looking for trained medical marijuana candidates. People who have gone through professional marijuana dispensary training are a step ahead of candidates who lack this expertise. Employees are the backbone of any business. Dispensaries who want to make it in the long haul need to invest in proper staffing.
If you’ve ever wondered whether Dispensary Agents need medical marijuana training – here’s what you need to know.
Working at a Dispensary is Not Like Working Retail
One of the most common misconceptions among aspiring dispensary agents or budtenders is that working in retail prepares them for careers in cannabis. Retail sales are only one of many job responsibilities a dispensary agent has. Unlike shoe stores or dress shops, medical marijuana centers are selling a medicinal product. Patients with very serious conditions and illnesses come to dispensaries seeking relief. Dispensary Agents must be equipped to serve the needs of these customers. A passion for cannabis and experience in retail is just not sufficient experience for dispensary agents. There is much more to this job than working a register or increasing sales. Dispensary agents must also be a trusted source of knowledge and resource for patients.
Cannabis is a Complex Medicine
The cannabis plant possesses a wide array of medicinal qualities. In fact, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the full capabilities of cannabis. The progression of research in the space is astonishing. While exciting, this rapid, and in many cases, new, knowledge can be overwhelming for patients. Dispensary agents must have a thorough understanding of cannabis as medicine. This knowledge goes far beyond explaining the difference between an indica and a sativa. Dispensary Agents should be able to:
· Clearly explain what the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is
· Understand how cannabis medicine works within the body
· Know the difference between hemp and cannabis
· Understand what cannabinoids and terpenes are and how they interact with the human endo-cannabinoid system
· Understand the different types of cannabis medicine (flower, tinctures, edibles, capsules, topicals, concentrates,) along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
· Understand the Local, state, and national cannabis regulations
· Have knowledge of the symptoms that medical cannabis can be recommended for and which cannabinoids/terpene combinations work best for those symptoms
· Know how to recommend the appropriate Medical Marijuana dosage
· And much more…
This is just a fraction of the knowledge every dispensary agent should possess. Cannabis is a diverse medicine with numerous medicinal applications. Having a passion for cannabis alone is not sufficient for patients seeking guidance. Dispensary Agents should have a sophisticated knowledge of medical marijuana to better handle patients’ needs.
Product Knowledge is Essential
In addition to a thorough understanding of cannabis as medicine, dispensary agents must also have extensive product knowledge. A single dispensary may have dozens of products. Helping patients find the best products to suit their needs is a big part of a dispensary agent’s job. Dispensary Agents need to know what’s in stock and what each product does. The doctor only give the patient a recommendation, they do not tell them which product to use, which is why a dispensary agent must know their products. This information isn’t something that can be learned overnight. Having a strong understanding of cannabis and the current marketplace is essential.
Dispensary Agents Represent the Entire Cannabis Industry
People walk into dispensaries every day who have never tried cannabis before. Their experience significantly influences their perception. Dispensary agents are therefore a direct extension of not only a dispensary but the entire cannabis community. How a dispensary agent carries themselves is important. A sloppy appearance, bad attitude, and lack of knowledge reflect poorly. Patients from all walks of life come into medical marijuana centers -Dispensary Agents must be able to assist everyone equally.
Staying in Compliance is Vital
Cannabis is an exciting industry but it’s also a risky one. Under federal standards, cannabis is still a Schedule I substance in the United States. This has put the cannabis industry in a legal limbo. And because dispensaries are in direct contact with the plant, the situation becomes that much harrier. Dispensaries face harsh and in many cases excessive regulations. Maintaining compliance is crucial to the longevity of any retail cannabis operation. Dispensary Agents must be familiar with the unique legal position of cannabis and how it applies to dispensaries in their state specifically.
Is Certification a Requirement to Become a Dispensary Agent?
Are Dispensary Agents required to complete medical marijuana training? Technically, no. There is no national mandatory standard for dispensary agents. However, just because certification isn’t a requirement doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. A professional cannabis training company prepares candidates for careers in the cannabis industry. Dispensary agents who complete certification are prepared to do their job successfully. In an industry that is not only new but constantly evolving, proper training is vital, and hiring manager as well as business owners know this and look for it when hiring.
What to Look for in a Medical Marijuana Training Program
The right program is certainly helpful for getting a Budtender Job. However, not all medical marijuana training programs are created equally. Many courses will try to charge candidates an arm and a leg, meanwhile, their instructors don’t have any real world experience in the cannabis industry. Any dispensary training program will have qualified teachers with years of experience in a legal marijuana dispensary. Before signing up, double-check all instructor credentials. Anyone who doesn’t possess industry experience is not someone you probably want to learn from. In addition, inquire about a course curriculum. This will give you a much better idea whether a cannabis training program is right for you.
HempStaff has trained and certified over 3,300 dispensary agents nationwide. All of our courses are held in-person and specific to the state we’re teaching in. Want to learn more about our upcoming training events? Click here for a full medical marijuana training schedule.