Budtenders and Baristas – Dispensary Etiquette 101


Here is a fun metaphor to help you understand your budtender a little better on your next marijuana dispensary visit. “A budtender is a barista of cannabis” This might help you with your dispensary etiquette. Yes…even you. If you have had a conversation with your budtender about anything other than the medicine being sold then you too need help with your dispensary etiquette. Every marijuana dispensary waiting room is full of people wondering two things.

The first thing they are wondering is if their pitch is going to work this time. “Will this be the time the budtender actually thinks I’m a grower??”, “Will this be the time I actually dazzle by spewing what I read on the internet about weed laws??”, “Will this be the time I stump the budtender with my endless quizzing about cannabis cultivation??” or the most popular “Will this be the time I get the budtender’s cell #…or even get my endless flirting returned??”. Everyone has an angle, some are even thinking “How can I distract the budtender and swipe a sample jar or dip in the tip jar?” while others are waiting to list their medical issues for what seems like eternity to those in the waiting room…and the budtender.

The second of the two things these people are wondering is universal among all of them. “What’s taking so long?”

That’s right, most people rehearsing their “pitch”, whatever it may be in the waiting room have no clue that the three people before them have all been delivering their “pitch” to a now apathetic budtender. The budtender is apathetic because all day long they have been hearing someone’s pitch…whatever it may be.

So here is the metaphor that will help you….”Your budtender is a barista of cannabis” That’s right, look at your dispensary waiting room like the drive thru at your favorite coffee stop or the lobby of a Starbuck’s with a very long line.

Why would this help you? Try these five simple scenarios on for size and see if you can’t figure it out for yourself.

  1. Before you try discussing “where this weed was grown with your budtender” imagine striking up a conversation about where the beans of your local coffee shack were grown with a busy barista. Get a real clear image in your mind of the kind of person who would quiz a busy barista about commercial coffee bean production.  Before you become that person remember there are people waiting and a budtender’s sole purpose is in the name dispensary…to dispense.
  2. Before you waste everyone’s time asking the cute budtender endless questions about strains you’ll never buy just to spend more time in the bud room you might want to consider how pathetic an over flirtatious person would look picking up on a coffee barista while a huge line of people wait. Please remember that even if the budtender isn’t working under a no fraternization policy with clients the bud room is not the place to go speed dating.  Before hitting on the budtender remember there are people waiting and the budtender’s sole purpose is in the name dispensary…to dispense.
  3. Before you try to pose as or call yourself a medical marijuana grower you should picture what a person would look like telling a coffee barista how much coffee bean they have grown or trying to sell the barista strawberries from their garden for smoothies. If you cannot produce pounds of tested, high quality marijuana consistently the dispensary does not consider you a grower.  No dispensary wants to talk about your 6 ozs of half assed weed…you look like a gardener trying to sell a barista strawberries from your back yard.  Please remember that if you were a real grower you would know better than to pitch the budtender, there are people waiting and the budtender’s sole purpose is in the name dispensary…to dispense.
  4. Before you try to burst on the cannabis scene by dazzling the budtender with your strain knowledge and work ethic I want you to picture how ridiculous someone would look pitching their resume to a barista….listing coffee concoctions they’ve read about…and their knowledge of “coffee law” all while an apathetic barista stares and you wait in line.  Its Ok to ask for an application or if the dispensary is hiring but the secretary who took your license/med card is the appropriate person to ask.  If they are hiring the applications are most likely in the secretary’s work area, not the budtender’s.  Before wasting time applying to a budtender remember that they can’t hire you, people are waiting and the budtender’s now painfully obvious purpose is in the name dispensary…to dispense.
  5. Before you list your medical history to a budtender try to imagine being in line for your morning coffee and the line stops because someone is telling the barista every reason they need the coffee they are ordering. That’s what you are doing, you are telling your medical woes to a kid who is legally sack slingin’ weed for ten bucks an hour.  Your budtender cannot diagnose, prescribe or cure your cancer.  In fact, different strains, concentrates and edibles affect each person differently.  Your research is to be done by you, a budtender can give strain info and traits but they will offer little guidance.  Your research is your own responsibility.  You should know what you want before you get there or take the budtender’s suggestion for milder strains if it’s your first time.  But remember, there are people waiting and the budtender’s sole purpose is in the name dispensary…to dispense.

So the next time you have the need for weed help the budtender speed up that long line at the dispensary.  Most dispensaries have their menu on their website or linked to a larger service like Leafly.  They most always have their menus available in the lobby or posted on whiteboards in the waiting room.  Use these menu placings and know what you want.

And ask yourself “Would I look like an idiot saying this to a barista” before you say it to a budtender. And if the answer is “yes”…don’t say it.  The budtender is not there to educate you, prescribe to you, entertain you, hire you or fall in love with you.  Their sole purpose is in the name dispensary…to dispense.


  1. Enjoying your blog and your videos. Thank you!

  2. Amazing! Its in fact remarkable article, I have got much clear idea about from this piece of writing.

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