If you've ever wondered “do you need a license or certification to be a budtender?” you should know that the short answer (at least for now) is no. We don't yet have a national licensing standard for budtenders, as the herb's illegal status at the federal level still imposes many limitations on the cannabis industry.
Instead, most “cannabis experts” behind the counter at dispensaries are self-taught marijuana connoisseurs with a passion for pot. The first budtenders gained their knowledge by talking to marijuana farmers, extraction technicians, edibles chefs, and other cannabis enthusiasts.
However, just because you don't necessarily need a certification to be a budtender doesn't mean that completing a training program wouldn't be helpful to your prospects of landing a budtending job. There are several reputable training institutions (such as Green CulturED, the Cannabis Training Institute, and Cannabis Trainers) that offer certifications showing you've completed their courses. Some of these budtender certification courses are offered online, while others are intensive workshops that require your attendance. Each institution offers its own curriculum (some of which include a textbook or other course materials), but common topics among all are:
- various strains of cannabis (including a focus on medical marijuana varieties)
- cannabis concentrates, edibles, and topical products
- different ways to consume cannabis (vaping, ingesting, etc.)
- chemical compounds in cannabis
- growing cannabis (indoor and outdoor techniques)
- cannabis laws (sale and possession of the herb and plants)
- medical marijuana and conditions it's approved for
- responsible cannabis use (dosing and tolerance)
- customer and community relations
- professionalism in the cannabis industry
- budtender responsibilities
- how to educate patients and customers
- administrative duties of working in a dispensary (advertising, inventory management, etc.)
- safety and security (including checking identification)
To end, if you're serious about becoming a budtender, getting a certification from an institution isn't such a bad idea. However, be sure to do your research. Some budtender certification programs have a poor track record of their graduates finding work budtending in dispensaries or they simply don't provide the comprehensive training needed to properly prepare course takers for a job as a budtender.