1. Start with education & mentorship for budtenders
No matter how long a person has been smoking, dabbing, eating or growing cannabis, the aspiring budtender needs to put their ego aside and first learn to play the role of the student.
There have been a large number of groundbreaking academic publications (sign up here to receive the ‘Key Academic Articles for Budtenders’ ) in the past few decades that the most experienced industry workers have been drawing from for their daily practice in one way or another.
Take the opportunity to learn about the most influential scientific discoveries that impact your field and pay attention to how industry leading retail professionals do their job.
In the end, getting the education one needs to become the best in their field always takes a combination of initiative and having good mentors.
For example, the CannaReps Cannabis Sommelier Level 1 course is specifically designed to provide the opportunity for students to interact with experienced retail and production specialists, while learning cannabis fundamentals based on today’s leading scientific discoveries.
Whether you choose to take a course or pursue self-directed learning, ensure to build community with those who are more experienced so that you can cross-check your facts/methods and broaden your perspectives.
2. Take care of yourself & learn to enjoy the process
Being a budtender is hard. Showing up to work everyday with an authentic sense of passion and positivity to serve people 8 hours a day is a challenge in any service sector job.
Every budtender has to know that they will never be able to give their clients the attention they need if she or he does not first take care of themselves on and off the job.
Off the job, taking care of yourself means eating right, getting enough sleep and doing your best to pursue happiness without hurting others.
On the job, taking care of yourself means learning to enjoy the process of daily work by building bonds with co-workers through kindness, humor and an unbridled passion for good product. Nothing gets the day going like a solid geek-down on the newest high-end cultivar that just hit the shelves!
Feeling joy while being at the service of others is a skill which few take the time to foment. It requires putting your own needs aside and being present for another person.
The lessons that you will learn by focusing on providing joyful and inspired service until the last minute of your day will carry with you as key tools in all future roles that you will play. Knowing how to listen, knowing how to become interested and connect with others regardless of age or background will leave you beaming with a strength and positivity that will carry your career to new heights.
3. Always be tasting
The motto of the Cannabis Sommelier. Keep in mind that to always be tasting doesn’t mean that our organization promotes getting high all day. No, tastings can be conducted without the intent of getting high at all (learn this method in our Cannabis Sommelier level 1 course).
The goal is to get outside of your bubble and always be broadening your knowledge through direct experience interacting with the plant and its by-products. Over time, your encyclopedic knowledge of cultivar genetics and their associated aromas/biochemical contents will grow to the point where you will become a true master.
Do not fool yourself into believing that you can achieve the fullest degree of product mastery by cruising the net looking stuff up online. Interacting directly with the plant and, if possible, with the folks responsible for producing—or even breeding the cultivars you love—is one of the best ways to really get to know your product.