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Perhaps more than any other city in the U.S. Denver, Colorado has been at the forefront of marijuana legalization and cannabis culture. An overwhelming interest in Denver marijuana dispensary jobs has germinated a massive pool of applicants eager to take a slice of the multi-billion dollar business.
While dispensary work may seem like an easy avenue to explore for the pot enthusiast, working as a budtender or receptionist requires a well-rounded knowledge of cannabis products and legislation, and an ability to perform effective customer service during every shift.
What Denver Marijuana Dispensary Jobs Are Out There?
Visiting local Denver dispensaries, you will find that the staffing needs and store layout vary from place to place. High traffic dispensaries obviously demand a larger staff, possibly with less crossover between positions than, say, a small dispensary might experience. Dispensaries of all sizes thrive on the presence of a dedicated, knowledgeable and creative team of employees. Especially with the legal marijuana industry still using its training wheels, it’s necessary for businesses to hire individuals who best represent the direction employers see this industry going.
It’s almost impossible at this point to discuss the marijuana industry without the word “budtender” coming up on a number of occasions. Like the origin of its name suggests, budtending is a position not unlike that of its alcohol-related cohort. While there are a number of aspects that link these two substance-related customer service positions, there are notable differences between the products offered by each and the service implications that surround them.
Working a Denver marijuana dispensary job means being the face of Colorado’s legal cannabis industry. Not only does it behoove budtenders to offer friendly, compassionate service as a way to retain customers, budtenders must remember they are assisting medical patients and helping educate recreational customers. Unlike alcohol, cannabis products are beneficial in treating a variety of illness including chronic pain, anorexia, anxiety, epilepsy and insomnia just to name a few; therefore, budtenders must take their products seriously by educating themselves on different strains, consumption methods and medical implications.
Additionally, budtenders will suggest products to recreational users who may be looking for specific effects, flavors and levels of THC/CBD. In this vein, a well-rounded budtender is an essential inspiration for experienced marijuana users and novices, alike. Just knowing the difference between an indica and a sativa won’t cut it: a great budtender will have opinions and/or experience with a variety of individual strains of flower, concentrate, edibles and more.
Daily obligations for budtenders remain consistent with the customer service based precedent detailed above. In addition to providing feedback and answering customer questions, budtenders must actually follow the transaction through point of sale, packaging, labeling and distributing all legislative literature and receipts.
Non customer service related duties assigned to budtenders involves the maintenance of an organized dispensary. Stocking, organizing and re-stocking products, as well as display cleaning and “pre-roll” joint filling are some of the upkeep related tasks delegated to this position.
Qualifications for Denver marijuana dispensary jobs will depend on the employer. Having spoken to several dispensary managers (and employees) regarding what they look for in applicants, some consistencies became clear to me. Let’s take a look at those now.
Most hiring managers seem to be looking for someone with experience working with cannabis, or who has a extensive knowledge of marijuana. This can be a hard role to fill for both the employer and the applicant, as many people either haven’t been able to work directly with cannabis due to illegality; or, did work illegally with cannabis and aren’t sure if they should put that on their resume. This is sort of a tricky subject with no clear answer. Ultimately, employers don’t want a casual marijuana smoker with little know-how coming in giving customers suggestions.
Dispensary employers also actively seek applicants with viable direct customer service/sales experience. Working as a bartender or barista in the past is great job experience to highlight in your application, especially if you don’t have hands on experience!
If you appear to be knowledgeable about cannabis and have a long history of positive customer service experience, some managers may be willing to train you on some of the hands-on marijuana tasks based on your other credentials!
Another thing worth considering if you have zero professional experience is cannabis industry certification. One of the best marijuana exclusive online training providers right now is Green CulturED. Before you begin applying to Denver marijuana dispensary jobs, you may want to check them out.
The last thing most employers mention when seeking new hires is their desire for someone who is punctual and consistent. Service industry jobs of this sort experience a lot of turnover, highlighting the value of a dedicated, dependable worker.
Base Compensation for most Denver marijuana dispensary jobs usually begins around ten dollars per hour, with opportunities for steady pay increases and regular tips.
Denver’s dispensary receptionists are the undersung heroes of the business. There is often a blending of tasks between this position and budtending as some business hire employees who work one or both positions depending on the shift, but reception is a job in its own right!
Receptionists perform many of the administrative duties associated with front desk and office work, including data entry and email/ phone correspondence with customers and outside queries. Receptionists update dispensary managers of of anything requiring their attention, and fill the in the spaces needed to operate successfully on a daily basis.
Receptionists may process and store patient and customer identification information in an online database in order to comply with state and city regulations, making organization an important element of the job. Similarly to budtending, reception demands a heavy customer service element that includes answering questions, queuing customers in the waiting room, then guiding them toward a budtender.
Receptionists may be tasked with updating company social media, and updating store menus and information on sites like Leafly and Weedmaps.
Receptionists must possess office work related-skills, such as writing emails, answering phones, word processing, updating spreadsheets and online databases. Experience working in sales, retail or direct customer service is an asset to a receptionists application as well, given that this position is also a service job.
Of course, knowledge of Denver’s specific medical/recreational cannabis legislation is important to keep up to date on as a dispensary receptionist. Before even applying for Denver marijuana dispensary jobs, be sure to visit colorado.gov for the most current regulations.
Wages for receptionists begins at minimum wage and increases from there on a similar scale to a budtender’s.
Dispensary managers wear many hats as leaders in the day to day ins and outs of store operation. Managers likely work directly with customers as budtenders in addition to their administrative and management responsibilities. Managers are given the difficult task of interviewing, hiring and training employees in order to elevate and strengthen the existing staff. Managers have to make sure all employees understand Denver marijuana regulations, and that they are complying with them on a daily basis.
Ordering and inventory is a task often delegated to the manager, as well as the creation of employee schedules and reporting information when needed.
Dispensary managers must have significant retail management experience, ideally in the marijuana industry. Managers must be knowledgeable enough to guide a group of employees, educating them about cannabis with confidence. Since this position involves overseeing subordinates, it helps to have positive, professional management who are able to effectively lead a team, while also being understanding and compassionate to employees and customers.
Dispensary Manager Pay:
Since dispensary management requires certain exact qualifications and responsibilities, manager compensation can be a competitive hourly rate or salary based on experience.
As far as the hierarchy of Denver marijuana dispensary jobs goes, you can’t get any higher than ownership. Dispensary owners are the visionary individuals willing to take the financial risk involved with opening up a successful cannabis dispensary. Given the excitement surrounding the marijuana industry, ownership is a tempting idea; with that said, establishing a dispensary is hard work that involves a lot of legislative hurdles, financial capital and perseverance. The recreational marijuana industry is still in a nascent stage and dispensary ownership often requires professional marijuana consultation in order to navigate the complex road to opening day.
To list the responsibilities of a dispensary owner would be moot since the owner is responsible for overseeing essentially everything that happens within their business, as well as any other events that require their attention on a daily basis. Owners must facilitate interactions between employees, customers, the Colorado state government and any other regulatory boards.
While anyone with enough capital and compliance with legislation can open a Denver dispensary, as my grandfather would put it “Not everyone should…”. Owning a dispensary means dedicating years of your life to it’s successes and failures. Having experience in business ownership, management and of course, cannabis are all imperative qualifications for dispensary owners. Even though there is a lot of opportunity for growth in the marijuana industry, only the most passionate individuals will reap the rewards of the business.
Dispensary Owner Pay
These are tough numbers to nail down. Ultimately, dispensary owners get you what they put in. There’s no way to know exactly what will happen financially with a business, but there is a vast range of opportunity for personal and company compensation.
The four Denver marijuana dispensary jobs detailed above represent the positions you are most likely to see or hear about when it comes to Denver marijuana jobs. Depending on the store, there are a number of other career opportunities involving cannabis dispensary work.
In order to stand out from the pack of Denver dispensaries, stores may enlist media and marketing help, as well as art and graphic design assistance. Individuals that work these positions do so as employees or independent contractors who use their branding and creatively sensibilities to highlight the benefits of one dispensary from the rest.
Information Technology jobs are highly valued in dispensaries as these workers help keep operations running smoothly, without error. Issues surrounding POS systems, servers and security are all issues that require professional support.
Looking Toward the Future:
As Denver’s legal marijuana industry forges ahead, greater opportunities for dispensary work will make themselves available. In order to take advantage of this industry boom without being left in the dust, apply to several different businesses, center your application around relevant skills and ask questions! Inquire to your local budtender about what the application process was like for them. They may offer you valuable advice on finding the cannabis job of your dreams.