One of the least talked about topics, in my opinion, is tipping your Budtender. Yes, a Budtender role is quite different from a Bartender or Server role, where tipping is common practice. But when we take a closer look at the role of a Budtender in the Cannabis industry, it’ll show why it is important to leave them a tip.
The typical salary of a Budtender ranges from $12-$14 an hour, depending on your location. Their wage is usually right at, or just above, minimum wage. This is one of the lowest paying positions in the industry, besides being a receptionist. Budtenders in the Cannabis industry are not usually seen at a seniority level, nor mid-level, but more as an entry-level position. Medical benefits are usually not provided to people in these roles, only with few exceptions.
With that being said, here’s what is generally expected of a Budtender:
Budtenders are required to have a vast amount of knowledge on the science and application of cannabis. They are expected to know the chemical composition of the plant and how it can interact with the human body. Good Budtenders should also have some understanding of the common ailments that Cannabis can help treat, such as; insomnia, epilepsy, anxiety disorder, cerebral palsy, arthritis, migraines, etc. Not only that, Budtenders also need to know every product in the store; from the way it was made, to the ingredients, suggested dosage, and possible side effects.
Even though legalization is on the rise, there are still very few general health practitioners that are for Cannabis. As a Budtender at a dispensary that serves both medical and recreational patients, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard patients tell me they’ve been dismissed from a doctor’s office because they’ve used Cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Or how many times I’ve had nurses come in and know nothing about the Endocannabinoid System and how Cannabis interacts with it. Because of this lack of formal supervision on medical cannabis use, a Budtender is also responsible for making sure to keep track of their patient’s progress with Cannabis. Budtenders should take the initiative to learn and educate their patient(s) to the best of their ability on the side effects of Cannabis and what possible outcomes may occur when taking certain prescriptions with it. In essence, Budtenders are Pharmacists, and one of the most important roles in the industry. Now, doesn’t that sound worthy of being more than just a $12-$14/hr position to you?
So, next time you are at a dispensary and your Budtender helps you select a great product and answers your questions, you should tip them. Period. The amount is never based off of a certain percentage, it’s all up to you and what you feel is deserving. Some shops do not allow tips so if you do not see a tip jar, ask your Budtender if you can leave them a tip. I promise you, even if they aren’t able to accept your tip, the idea of someone appreciating the work they are doing is just enough of a reward.
By Natalia Hashh (@NataliaHashh)
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