How Much Do Budtenders Make? What You Should Know

herbal wellness center team
How Much Do Budtenders Make?
This is a fair question aspiring budtenders ask. They want to know how much they can expect to make if they choose to pursue a budtending job. When I first started in the industry, I had the same question. 
There was not a lot of information out there. The reason for that is because a budtender’s pay varies from state to state and city to city, and even dispensary to dispensary! 
Why is that?
A budtender’s pay is dependent on many factors including the dispensary’s success and geographic appeal. Every dispensary has different requirements they ask of budtenders depending on their needs. For example, the big corporate downtown dispensary may be looking to fill quantity gaps, while corner-store mom and pop needs one solid good hire. This will drastically change the budtender’s daily requirements. 
And let’s face it. A lot of the statistical career websites typically dish out that data still have that “reefer madness” mentality. It can be quite difficult to find any real answers. 
That is, unless you know someone in the industry!
I bet that is how you found me today. So, let’s take a detailed look at the budtender’s salary from an insider’s point-of-view. We’ll take a look at budtender’s pay all throughout the United States so you know where you may want to relocate, if you have the opportunity! 
I’m even going to hook you up with some tips on getting your resume seen! 
I you want to know if you’re getting paid the salary you deserve, you’re newly relocated and looking for budtending jobs in your area, or just looking for a change, you’ll find a lot of answers here. 
So, grab yourself a cup of tea and let’s get this ball rolling. 
***REQUEST*** The answers I provide here are based on my current knowledge and research at the time of publication. I am constantly connecting with dispensaries and cannabis processors, but I can’t possibly know everything! If I haven’t included your state or if you would like to add your input, please let me know by leaving a comment at the end of this article. Without your help, this would not be possible, so I greatly thank you for your contributions! 

Keep This in Mind:

How much a budtender makes depends on:
-What state/city you are in
-What type of dispensary/employer you are working for (upscale, mom ‘n pop)
-The time of day/hours available
-Your skills & experience
Some of these things will be out of your control– and that’s okay. For example, a small town medical dispensary in the Midwest will not have the same pay as a tourist-y dispensary in a recreational state.
But, you can control how good of a budtender you are, and this will have a big impact on your pay! Ideal budtenders will always have better chances of making higher money than the average budtender. Why?
-They are paid for their skills
-They make more tips (if you’re working for an employer who allows you to have your tips!)
-It is easier to land a job in a high-paying facility
-They are more likely to get the dreamy shifts
-And they have more flexibility in the schedules than others
Now that you know what factors are out of your control, doesn’t it make sense to focus on those that you can control? Become the absolutely best budtender candidate, and with hard work, the money will come!

Budtender Pay in the United States

Glassdoor says:
Salaries for Budtenders vary by company. 
Hourly low: $10.00 an hour
Hourly high: $17.00 an hour
Budtender’s Life says: 
If you are looking to get into the industry as a Budtender: Please don’t let an employer low ball you with anything below $11hr. You are worth more as a human being and the profit margins are far to high to be working for such a little wage. Excellent advice. 
Yearly salary working full time 40hrs a week:  $21,120 – $26,880
Plus tips: $3,000 – $4,800
While this is more money than some industries pay, many of our applicants ask me how to ask for more pay for a budtender job or if they should look for another job. The average hourly wage is a great way to gauge. If you are a young person without any dependents, a $11 an hour budtender job might be sufficient. But if you have a family of four to feed, budtending might not be the right job for you.
-An acclaimed dispensary, like Harborside, which frequently is looked upon as a model of how others could operate might expect applicants to have budtender education.  These are the situations where you have good hourly pay, great benefits, and work extra hard in a busy, volume dispensary.
-A fast paced trendy dispensary with high turnover may provide an excellent jumping off point to obtain experience but will have lower pay. But a busy Friday might make pull in extra tips.
-Small boutique dispensaries, where there are only a handful of people on staff, may pay $17-22/hour, but might not allow budtender tipping.
-A budtender environment where the employer gives you outrageous pay, such as $30 an hour or more, to cover a special promotional event.
-A dispensary that requires that you pool your tips with other budtenders who work the counter. Some budtenders never see the tips as they are donated to charities of the dispensary’s choice.
Take a look at how much money you’re making versus the times you’re working a week.  A beginner budtender should average around $11-13 an hour plus tips.  If you’re making under $11 an hour, that’s a signal to take the experience and plan to find a better paying position. However, if you’re bringing in $15-20 an hour, you’re making above average budtender pay. Consider yourself a lucky ducky. 

The Take Away

  • You have probably heard outrageous stories about budtender’s pay.A friend of a friend who makes $17 an hour plus tips. The lady at the dispensary who’s been there for 3 years, pulls in 6 figures, and gets comped tickets to all the music festivals she wants, and the dude at the cultivation center who gets a vehicle, gas pay, and a solid benefits package even though he doesn’t actually step foot into the grow but once a week.
    These are great stories, but there are a lot of factors that affect a budtender’s pay. It’s because unlike other professions, budtenders rely on good faith that employers will pay fairly in an unregulated industry, which makes pay standardization difficult to outline.
    The lowest I’ve heard is around $9 an hour, working part time shifts a week, at a very poor quality dispensary.  The highest I’ve heard, was $25 an hour at a busy metropolitan dispensary. However, there are many instances where that’s been exceeded, like when a budtender performs other duties outside the typical budtender role, such as managing the operations or marketing outreach.
    On average, however, research seems to support that budtenders make between $12-20 an hour depending on their location and experience.
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About April Olshavsky
I'm April Olshavsky, job coach, resume specialist,
heart mender, dog trainer, dispensary operations manual writer,
inventory specialist, H.B.I.C.at Staff MMJ

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