This Lakewood Budtender Wrote the Book on Dispensary Life

Being a budtender comes with an entirely different shelf of concoctions than being a barkeep.
Scott Lentz
Being a budtender comes with an entirely different shelf of concoctions than being a barkeep.
Working in the legal cannabis industry might seem like a fun, easy gig for anyone who likes pot, but it comes with a lot more nuance and requires more attention to detail than you might think. To help prospective dispensary employees figure out if they're ready to take the plunge, Bethany Weisbacher has now written the book on budtending.

During her years working in various positions for Colorado cannabis companies, Weisbacher noticed a lack of training manuals and literature for budtenders. As the employees who spend the most time with customers and give out product recommendations, budtenders play an important role in not just how a dispensary is perceived, but how the entire cannabis industry is regarded. So Weisbacher was surprised that nobody had provided a guide on an accessible platform.

That all changed on April 15, however, when her book went online with Amazon and was published by EPUB, an electronic publishing company that provides e-books for Apple devices.

"It's really versatile," the Lakewood budtender says of her book, Dispensary Life: Cannabis Industry Survival Guide. "Budtenders can use it, managers can use it. People who are in rural parts of the U.S. would be able to read and identify sativa versus indica — it really provides a base knowledge for everyone."

Weishbacher drew from nearly five years of experience working for companies such as Buddy Boy, Kind Love and Neos in writing her book, and also incorporated tips picked up during her current budtending position with Denver dispensary The Farmers Market. The budding author believes Dispensary Life will help people decide if budtending is the right job for them while also helping newcomers who are struggling through the daily grind.

click to enlarge
Paperback versions of Dispensary Life cost $16, while the electronic edition is $10 on Amazon.
Weisbacher Publishing
While training programs and cannabis employee education is available from companies like the Trichome Institute and Clover Leaf University, this book serves as an introduction to the industry as well as a training manual. Early chapters teach readers how to get licensed by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division to work for cannabis businesses; later segments go into the cultivation of the plant and how its cannabinoids can affect the body; and there are sections on leadership, marketing and product knowledge. With a price tag of $10, the e-book is a much cheaper option than courses that cost hundreds of dollars.

"If you look on Amazon, you can't find anything else specific for budtenders themselves. When I was becoming a budtender, I wanted to see what was out there — what was online or at the library — and there was absolutely nothing," says Weisbacher. "That struck me, so when I was training with my managers to become a budtender, I'd start writing all my training down."

Equating the book to an "eternally long paper" that she would write in college, Weisbacher tried to weave in information about local and state regulations from various government agencies without losing the attention of readers. "If you can't follow basic regulations, then you can't be in this industry. You have to follow these basic rules and regulations set by the state," she explains.

But much of the book is about being yourself and being unafraid to make the occasional mistake, adds the author, who believes the legal pot industry is ripe for employee advancement.

"I went from trimming to couriering to vape pens to a dispensary — and that's where I really found my home. It's about figuring out where you want to be in this industry. But you also have to be on it, whether it's being punctual and present, you have to be there," Weisbacher says. "That's the thing with budtenders: They can be spacey. And you can be spacey sometimes, but you need to show people you're a professional."