by Melissa C. | Ark420 Newsletter Archives
The COVID pandemic has caused many changes in our country. One of the most recent to come into the spotlight is the number of American workers who are looking to change jobs and/or careers. The pandemic has only highlighted worker dissatisfaction in many positions—leading to an estimated 40% of workers who are looking to make a career or job switch (even with a pay cut). The cannabis industry is an attractive alternative, giving people a shot at better job satisfaction, work-life balance, and fulfillment from helping others. Curious about what a job in the industry is like? We were too, so we set out to interview a few people who have employment (past or present) in the industry. In response to our request for interview, we can provide a little insight into one of the most visible positions, the cannabis budtender or cannabis guide.
What’s it like and what’s it take to be a budtender?
Regardless of the current PC job title, the cannabis budtender is the employee most people think about when considering a job in the industry. We interviewed former assistant manager of Body and Mind Dispensary in West Memphis, Cherish Long, and asked what the everyday job is like for these employees. Cherish says that in her experience, ”it is much like any other retail job.” She says that sometimes you would get a new patient that would come in with questions and requests for guidance but that patients usually came in knowing exactly what they want to buy. “We would just process the transaction similar to any other retail store.” General duties include processing orders, ringing up transactions, managing inventory, and other duties as assigned. Current budtender at Green Springs Medical Dispensary, Summer Dawn, says that at Green Springs, they rotate other job duties including front desk reception, phone calls, and patient intake.
When asked what employers may be looking for in an employee, Cherish says that retail, inventory, and customer service experience can be a huge plus. “People who are educated in cannabis would have a better shot, of course, but education was not required for hire.” Summer agrees that although she completed an online training course on her own, a formal cannabis education is not a requirement for the position. “Each dispensary has their own individual wants and requirements that may be a little different though.” As a general note, every dispensary is required to have a pharmacist consultant that is available for patient consults and that helps to develop employee education programs. Trainings are required on a yearly basis.
What is the best and worst thing about working at a dispensary?
Summer says that the patients and colleagues at Green Springs have become a close-knit family. “You really become very close to patients when learning about them. We rejoice and cry with them.” Both ladies agree that the moments of helping patients find their way to better health are truly magical and fulfilling. When asked about the challenges in the position, Cherish and Summer say that disgruntled patients have been known to be threatening when prices are too high or product is not what they want, but security is available to keep everybody safe.
What’s the hiring process like?
The process of being hired by an Arkansas dispensary can be long. After advertising and choosing someone to hire, the dispensary must notify the ABC Division to obtain a Registry ID card. The process is as follows:
1. Dispensary sends a Notice of intent to hire someone and application form to the ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) Division along with half of the $50 application fee ($25).
2. The applicant must go through a background check via the ASP and fingerprinted for an FBI criminal background investigation (fees are associated).
3. Once applicant is approved by ABC Division, the dispensary must send in the other half of the Registry ID application fee (the other $25). Background checks can take up to three weeks to complete.
4. The Registry ID card will be issued within 10 days of receiving the entire fee. The person is not allowed to perform duties until the card is received. These cards must be renewed yearly as they expire on 6/30 which costs $50 to renew. If a person is employed at multiple facilities, they must have a Registry ID card for each one.
As for who pays these costs? It is up to the individual hiring dispensary—always ask!
Best words of advice for people looking to get into budtending?
Cherish and Summer agree that educating yourself should be a priority. “Never stop educating yourself. There is always going to be a new patient coming in. There’s your opportunity to truly touch and change their life.”
Check out the Arkansas budtending jobs on ARK420 available here. Have a cannabis industry job to advertise? Contact Melissa or Chris to get it added.
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