How to Get a Cannabis Job in Washington State
What it takes to work in Cannabis in Washington State
Recreational Cannabis Workers should come prepared with retail sales experience and a knowledge of cannabis
Currently, Washington has two legal cannabis markets; recreational and medical. The medical market in Washington State is slowly phasing out and the recreational market is actually expanding at the moment. The state sets the number of retail cannabis business licenses issued, that number has recently increased from 334 retail dispensaries to 556 across the state.
To work as a budtender in Washington, workers must be 21 years or older and apply for the job directly to the hiring business. At this time, no permit is required. Individual hiring processes depend on the hiring business. Some employers may require a criminal background check, however prior marijuana convictions are typically exempted by employers. Retail dispensaries may favor candidates possessing a knowledge of Washington’s medical marijuana program processes. The medical program is overseen by the Washington State Department of Health and requires medical facility customer liaisons to obtain a Medical Marijuana Certified Consultant certification.
In Washington state, it is against the rules to speak of cannabis’ therapeutic benefits at a dispensary, so other knowledge like growing practices and a deep understanding of the shops various vendors is an excellent start. Recreational shops see a lot of “newcomer” customers looking for knowledge to guide their first time buying legal weed, and the Medical Marijuana Certified Consultant certification process includes a 20 hour training program that teaches workers what they can and cannot do when selling retail marijuana.
This certification is not a prerequisite for working in recreational cannabis in the state, only at medical shops, but the certificate can be very helpful in getting hired at a retail dispensary.
Positions at retail pot shops in Washington State include: budtenders, shop key holders, shift managers, greeters, and more. Applicants must be at least 21 years old. Washington State recreational cannabis retailers see a lot of business and these jobs are coveted, so applicants should be prompt and professional and never show up to work intoxicated.
Retailers typically prohibit consumption during the shift, and the law prohibits smoking cannabis on premises or in any public place or space. Expect to handle lots of cash and be good at counting and making change. Budtending shifts can be high paced, so anticipate lots of time on your feet, and repetition explaining various methods of consumption and the differences between various forms of cannabis…to customer after customer, for hours on end.
A knowledge of computers and POS systems is helpful. Bringing upbeat vibes and a good spirit to the interview and your daily job is certain to help get a foot in the door. High volume customer service, with a smile, is the name of the game.
Currently, under Washington law, licensed businesses can not sell or serve alcohol and cannabis under the same business license. While recreational cannabis is open to consumers 21 or older, public consumption of cannabis remains illegal in Washington.
People age 21 or older looking to work in Washington should check out Craigslist and search the job listings for “cannabis” to explore a number of opportunities in their desired city or town: https://seattle.craigslist.org/search
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