Stoner Dictionary | Budtender

Budtender: noun 1. a person who weighs out portions of medical marijuana and provides information about the suggested use of each product to his or her patient/members 2. a volunteer at a medical marijuana collective

Example: “The budtender suggested the perfect strain to help with my sciatica pain.”

A highly coveted position in the marijuana community, the work of a budtender is both fun and fulfilling. In the state of California, for example, budtenders are not employees, but rather “volunteers” working for “donations.” This verbiage is extremely important, as the words profit, empIoyee, or price, can lead to outrageous drug trafficking implications or DEA raids. While this seems extreme just because of a few misused words, it is unfortunately a reality. Having worked many years in the medical marijuana industry, budtending is definitely one of the most rewarding, albeit fleeting, professions. Acquiring this position is not as easy as responding to a help wanted ad or registering on Monster, though some dispensaries do post ads in various job search forums. Most of the time, however, it is a position based entirely on trust and networking. Many dispensaries run with a manager, security guard, budtenders, and receptionists. Sometimes, these roles are combined or traded off. During slower times, the budtender or security guard can often act as a receptionist as well. Most dispensaries are run using the same formula, but there is definitely something unique about each one.

While there are many budtenders who are not knowledgeable, unhelpful, and unprofessional, there are many who appreciate and put their hearts into this profession. I have had patients of all ages, ranging from 18-90 years old, all races and all personalities. Though there are some who are clearly only medicating for recreational purposes, the majority of people I encountered were truly battling painful, and some fatal, ailments. I have aided patients suffering from various forms of cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, sciatica, nerve damage, paralysis, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, Agent Orange and many more. To accurately recommend and provide them with the appropriate strain or product gives these patients hope and solace from a life of pain. Even for those who merely want relief from the day to day anxieties of this stress-filled world, I am thankful to provide them with peace and comfort as well. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel better, no matter what it is you’re feeling better from. Budtending is a true reward that can never be equated with money. The feeling of recommending a particular strain to a patient and then hearing how much it helped improve their quality of life, is unrivaled. The budtender plays a very curcial role in the medical marijuana world. Some take this responsibility lightly, simply doing it for the discount and bragging rights. I can assure you though, that many of the most popular and successful dispensaries got there because of a charismatic, knowledgeable and helpful staff, truly living up to the name “compassionate care.” So next time you visit your local dispensary, don’t forget to tip your budtender!

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