How to Get Your Alaska Marijuana Handler Card

How To Become A Budtender

Budtenders are one of the newest service jobs. With the recent passing of laws that allows the legal sales of recreational cannabis in Alaska, the industry is booming.

Now is an opportune time to become a budtender in Alaska. However, there are many rules and requirements surrounding the industry that budtenders must know before selling cannabis in Alaska.

Because there are many regulations surrounding budtrainers, becoming a budtender in Alaska requires a specific permit that you can obtain through training. 


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What is a “Budtender?”

A budtender is a person who sells cannabis products in a legal dispensary. Since selling recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado in 2014, the cannabis industry has been booming. As more states legalize the sale of marijuana, more job opportunities arise.

The day-to-day tasks of a budtender include:

  • Educating customers on products
  • Selling cannabis products
  • Customer service
  • Working a cash register
  • Checking customer IDs
  • Recommendations

Budtender’s jobs are constantly evolving as the industry develops. The budtender position is also referred to as a patient specialist, dispensary agent, or patient consultant.

To be a budtender, you need to have a passion for the cannabis industry and excellent customer service skills. Many customers need to be educated and can be new to using cannabis. A budtender is a person customers talk to when looking to purchase cannabis products. You need to understand cannabis in all its forms. You also need to understand the different strains of cannabis and how it affects those who consume it.

Budtenders need to be at least 21 years old and have a clean criminal record.

Do Budtenders Need Training?

Being a budtender is not a job that should be taken lightly. You are the primary communication that guides a customer through their cannabis experience. You need clear communication and thorough knowledge to be an effective budtender. For this reason, cannabis training is a fantastic option to learn how to communicate and interact within the industry with skill and clarity.

Each state has different regulations about whether or not training is mandatory. But training sets each potential job candidate apart as someone who cares about their job and wants to succeed in the industry.

Budtender Requirements in Alaska

To become a budtender in Alaska, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a marijuana handlers permit
  • Have a municipal food handlers card
  • Have no prior criminal history

Some dispensaries may require the following requirements from potential budtenders:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Previous budtender or other relevant work experience
  • Previous sales, education, and customer service experience

The Steps To Becoming an Alaska Budtender

  1. Have a passion for the industry

This job requires a commitment to education on products and regulations. This is a job for someone who cares about cannabis use and wants to help others have a positive experience.

  1. Take a state-approved budtender course

Taking a budtender course shows you are serious about working in the cannabis industry. Our budtender course teaches regulation compliance, customer safety, and product knowledge. After taking this course, you will be ready to handle a number of cannabis industry-related situations.

  1. Complete the myAlaska Marijuana Handlers Permit online application.
  2. Complete the approval process via the Marijuana Control Board here: Marijuana Handler Permit Education Course.
  3. Obtain your Criminal History Background Check via any Alaska State Trooper Post.
  4. Gather the following required documents: Standard Cover Page, Marijuana Handler Permit Education Course Completion Certificate, Alaska budtender permit fee ($50), government-issued ID, and a Criminal Background Check.
  5. Apply for jobs

Find work in your area at a local dispensary willing to train and inform new budtenders. The dispensary must have the potential positions that you are interested in moving into eventually. If you are interested in customer service, make sure there is ample opportunity for you to have a customer-facing role. If you are interested in healing properties, consider finding a dispensary that specializes in medical marijuana. If you want to learn cannabis botany, find a dispensary attached to or affiliated with a grow house.

What Career Path Does A Budtender Have?

Becoming a Budtender is your first step in the door of the Cannabis industry. And, with a rapidly growing industry, more opportunities emerge every day. As weed legalization grows, so do potential jobs.

A budtender has ample opportunity to learn about the cannabis industry. Working as a budtender allows you to explore the various roles and positions essential to a successful cannabis business. If you are looking to grow, you must look for opportunities to participate and learn about other positions in the industry.

Learning what you are passionate about is essential in shaping your cannabis career.

Do you like working with customers? Educating customers about various strains and consumption methods is exciting for many budtenders. If you enjoy this business side, look for opportunities to help with management and interindustry relationships. Budtenders see the customer-facing side of the job and need to be well-educated in all areas of cannabis. Your responsibility is to help a customer find what they are looking for and guide them through a positive experience.

Do you like working with plants? Becoming a botanist for the cannabis industry is a behind-the-scenes position in the cannabis industry. You get to work with growing, prepping, and packaging cannabis. This job is great for those who prefer not to work with customers but still wish to be a part of the cannabis industry. If you are good with plants and understand the process of growing marijuana plants, this is a promising potential position for you.

Most weed dispensaries look to promote from within. Showing interest in different parts of the industry and actively participating in areas outside your role shows your employer that you may be an excellent fit for new roles in the business.  

Challenges of Being a Budtender

The growing pains of the marijuana industry are one of the biggest challenges a budtender faces.

A budtender must keep up with the constantly evolving changes in industry regulations. These changes affect the entire business. If a regulation changes, a dispensary and everyone working within it must understand how to manage their jobs to adhere to the changes effectively.

The best ways to stay on top of cannabis regulations include:

  • Ensuring you are up-to-date on budtender training
  • Keeping track of cannabis news
  • Having clear communication with your management

Another challenge budtenders face is when out-of-state individuals want to purchase marijuana. Some individuals seek cannabis for medical reasons and travel to get it. However, they cannot take it out of state or buy more than the legal amount within a time period.

How Much Do Budtenders Make?

The starting salary for inexperienced budtenders is between $30,000 and $45,000. However, the industry has ample opportunity to grow and earn more. As you become more confident and knowledgeable within the industry, you will make more and find that the Alaska Cannabis industry can be a career with huge potential.

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