Download our FREE 2024 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide

How to Get a Job at a Cannabis Dispensary

how to get a job at a cannabis dispensary

Cannabis dispensaries are like elaborate candy shops for adults. Walk into one, and the pleasant aroma of marijuana greets you, smiling budtenders brighten your day, and a plethora of cannabis products are waiting for you to take them home. Since you’re here, it’s safe to say that you’re at least considering cannabis jobs at a dispensary. With over 400,000 full-time cannabis employees in the industry, there are plenty of people who have crossed over to the green side. If you’re wondering how to get a job at a cannabis dispensary, we’re here to help. 

In California alone, there are over 1,000 dispensaries. With more states like New York and Maryland legalizing adult-use cannabis, more dispensaries are bound to pop up. And, there are plenty of cannabis jobs available. However, more and more people are looking to transition to the cannabis industry so the talent wars will grow. Our cannabis staffing agency would like to provide you with a guide on how to get a job at a dispensary to give you an edge. 

Group of three working on their laptop

Cannabis Dispensary Jobs: Temp or Full-Time?

There are plenty of cannabis temp jobs you can get at a dispensary. For example, many cannabis dispensaries hire budtenders on a temp or contract basis. By taking up cannabis temp jobs, you’ll have the opportunity to get your foot in the door and make connections to build your cannabis network. Going the temp route is a smart choice for those who want to build their cannabis industry experience. Remember that a temp position can act as a stepping stone to a full-time cannabis career

If you have experience that translates rather well to cannabis dispensary jobs, looking for a full-time role is logical. Candidates with retail experience at any level have a promising chance of landing a full-time cannabis job at a dispensary. Highlight your relative skills on your resume and cover letter and take some time to explain how your skills can benefit the cannabis dispensary you’re targeting. For example, if you managed a staff of 10 and created a strategy to increase sales throughout your run at another retail industry, that would be worth highlighting in a cover letter. Take a quick inventory of your skills, then decide if you’ll focus on finding a temporary or full-time position. 

man weighing the cannabis product

Align Yourself with the Right Cannabis Dispensary Jobs

Step back and take a look at your resume in detail. What is your relative experience? What skills do you possess that can translate to the cannabis industry well? You may not have professional cannabis experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an asset to a dispensary. Make a list of your hard and soft skills to find out how you can benefit a dispensary. Reminder: soft skills are personality traits, and hard skills are related to technical knowledge. In the process of how to get a job at a cannabis dispensary, focusing on positions that speak to your skill set and experience is pivotal. 

Once you jot down your skills and experience, analyze what section of a dispensary business you can support. There are various dispensary sections to consider, including customer service, management, operations, and marketing. Hone in on applying to cannabis jobs that make sense for your skills and experience. However, do not be afraid to go for higher-end cannabis roles in the dispensary space even if you don’t have cannabis experience. Talent from other industries that mirror cannabis, including the food and beverage industries, can flourish in full-time roles at a dispensary. Since the cannabis industry is still relatively young, the ability to adapt and pivot accordingly is essential. So find ways to boost your creativity. Cognitive flexibility is a big plus for a dispensary, since competition continues to rise as cannabis legalization is gaining more momentum. 

Woman writing notes on cannabis education

Brush Up on Cannabis Education

Working at a cannabis dispensary means you have to be knowledgeable about cannabis beyond consuming it. It’s essential to know how cannabis is grown and the many benefits of the magical plant. Additionally, keeping up with all the novel cannabis products popping up is a must. Keep your finger on the pulse of the industry and showcase your knowledge. There’s plenty of free cannabis content that will boost your cannabis industry IQ. For example, Leafly has plenty of free educational cannabis articles covering everything from rolling a joint to decarboxylation. 

If you’re considering getting a cannabis certificate or degree in cannabis, you’ll have an edge in the resume pool to land a cannabis job. University of California, Davis and the University of Washington are just some of the colleges offering cannabis degrees and certificates. You can also get certified by legitimate organizations like Green Flower. The online cannabis education company offers certificates in cannabis business, medicine, policy, and more. To impress any dispensary hiring managers who are reviewing your resume, being active on social media and displaying your cannabis knowledge can also make a difference. Join cannabis groups on social platforms, network with others, and provide meaningful comments to cannabis conversations. 

Research Dispensaries & Network

Research Dispensaries & Network

Following a promising procedure for how to get a job at a cannabis dispensary, you have to be willing to do research. Not all dispensaries are built the same. Head to the dispensary’s website and analyze their cannabis brand. What is their mission statement? Do they carry a variety of products? What are their unique selling points? You can also peruse their social media channels and get a feel for their voice and company culture. Furthermore, you can even check out review pages to see how the cannabis community views them. Do as much as you possibly can to get to know the dispensary. Keep in mind that aligning with the dispensary’s beliefs and goals is ideal. 

Put yourself out there and network with cannabis professionals. Sign up for webinars and live cannabis industry events to make connections with cannabis dispensary owners and workers. You can even join cannabis groups on social media, giving you plenty of opportunities to engage in discussions with cannabis dispensary owners or employees. If there’s a specific cannabis dispensary you want to work for, follow their social channels and interact with their posts. 

Preparing for Cannabis Job Interview

Prepare for your Cannabis Job Interview

For many, the hardest part in the process of how to get a job at a cannabis dispensary is interview preparation. Make a checklist of the following to ensure you’re thoroughly ready for the hot seat: analyze job duties and responsibilities, do a deep dive research of the cannabis dispensary, practice answering common interview questions, review your personal brand, and choose the appropriate interview attire. Additionally, if you’re doing an online cannabis job interview, test out your equipment and practice with a friend to pinpoint any technical problems. 

  1. First, review the job duties and responsibilities again. Break down how they align with your skills and experiences, so you can tie them together during the interview. Furthermore, you can develop questions about the cannabis dispensary job to show the interviewer you’re invested in the position.
  2. Second, do further research on the cannabis dispensary. Learn about their values and beliefs by heading to their website, observing how they respond to people on social media, taking note of what they post, and reading the biographies of the management team. The more you learn about the company and employers, the more comfortable you’ll be in building rapport.
  3. Third, review common interview questions and behavioral interview questions. Practice answering them, weaving in ways to showcase your strengths, cannabis industry knowledge, and eagerness to learn.
  4. Fourth, review your personal brand. What do you specialize in? What are your beliefs and values?
  5. Lastly, wear the appropriate attire for the interview. Not only will you make a notable first impression, but you’ll be more confident. 

Woman getting a cannabis dispensary job

Popular Cannabis DispensaryJobs


The role of budtender may be an entry-level cannabis position, but it’s one of the most important cannabis dispensary jobs. Their main responsibility is guiding the patient or customer to the cannabis or CBD products they’re looking for. They should be knowledgeable about all products and comfortable making suggestions and answering questions. Collectively, they are the face of the dispensary. 

Average salary starting at $36,000

Inventory Specialist

The inventory specialist oversees all cannabis products in the dispensary. Their duties consist of checking on all incoming cannabis products, ensuring products satisfy compliance regulations, reporting any inventory inconsistencies, and product organization via a tracking system. It may seem like a tedious role to some, but it’s a vital part of any dispensary. 

Average salary starting at $55,137

Compliance Specialist

The compliance specialist is an expert in the state’s specific cannabis laws and regulations. Out of all the cannabis jobs at a dispensary, their role may be the most important, as it’s their responsibility to maintain the legality of the establishment. Someone with impeccable attention to detail and experience with the law would be ideal for this role. Typically, there’s a compliance specialist that oversees multiple locations. 

Average salary starting at $89,600

General Manager

The general manager of a cannabis dispensary is the head coach of the storefront. Their duties include overseeing and training staff, handling customer complaints, and ensuring quality service. Candidates with retail management experience are likely to prosper in this role.

Average salary starting at $78,900

Security Guard

A dispensary security guard protects the assets and premises of the retail shop. Their duties include keeping employees and guests safe, reviewing camera footage, and monitoring alarms. There are armed and unarmed roles depending on what the dispensary needs. Candidates who have security experience in other retail industries will do well in this role.

Average salary starting at $38,294

What Are the Certifications and Licenses Needed to Work at a Dispensary?

The certifications and licenses required to work at a cannabis dispensary vary depending on the state and jobs. Here are some common certifications and licenses that you may need:

Budtender or Retail Sales Associate:

  • Many states require budtenders to undergo training programs. The programs cover topics like responsible sales, product knowledge, customer service, and legal compliance.
  • Some states might require budtenders to get a “Cannabis Worker Permit.”

Dispensary Manager:

  • This role might more certifications related to management, business operations, and compliance.

Security Personnel:

  • Security personnel working in a cannabis dispensary might need to get security licenses or guard cards.

Medical Marijuana Consultant:

  • Medical marijuana consultants might need specific certifications or training in medical cannabis usage, patient consultation, and understanding medical conditions.

Delivery Driver:

  • Delivery drivers might need a valid driver’s license
  • They may also need endorsements or permits required for commercial delivery.

Cultivation and Production Staff:

  • Cultivation, manufacturing, or production staff may need certifications related to cultivation techniques, manufacturing processes, and safety protocols.

Note that cannabis laws and regulations can vary by location. The specific requirements will depend on the laws of your jurisdiction. As the cannabis industry evolves, new certifications and requirements may have emerge.

Check with your local government authorities responsible for regulating cannabis and potential employers for the most up-to-date information.

Do you have more questions about how to get a job at a cannabis dispensary? Contact us at, and one of our recruiters will be more than happy to answer your questions and offer guidance. 

More Cannabis Industry Insight

2022 Tri-State Cannabis Salary Guide

Salary guide download for the Tri-State cannabis market

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

2024 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content