Budtenders do more than just stand behind a counter and ring up cannabis sales.
“The great ones are well-educated on the cannabis culture and understand the hottest strains, cross breeding, genetics and other characteristics that set each one apart from the other,” says Chris Fanuzzi, owner of Lionheart Cannabis, Montana’s leading medical and recreational cannabis provider.
He adds that budtenders are extremely knowledgeable about all the different ways to ingest cannabis, as well as the various delivery methods, including the assorted tools and accessories that can be used. “This can include everything from electronic smoking devices and oil infusers to traditional water pipes and rolling papers.”
Fanuzzi explains that good budtenders can help define what a customer might be looking for just by being a great listener.
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“A good budtender must be really honest with customers about not just what they think is the best strain, options and value for them, but also be someone who is a good listener,” Fanuzzi says. “It’s probably one of their greatest attributes.”
Allowing customers to sort through, see, and smell different varieties is an important part of the shopping and purchasing experience, he says. And having a knowledgeable budtender guide a customer through this part of the process is critical.
Lionheart offers customers multiple purchasing experiences: deli-style, pre-packs, express pick-up, curbside and online — all coordinated by the budtender.
Deli-style allows the customer to peruse the various products, open a jar, and smell the contents. Budtenders can direct customers to strains that work best for them.
For deli-style products, budtenders must be astute in checking the jars of buds to ensure there is no “shake,” as in smaller pieces of buds breaking off and littering the bottom of the jar. In those instances where this has occurred, the budtender will remove the smaller pieces, repackage and sell for a lower price.
Prepackaged cannabis is just that: clean product that is sealed and ready to buy.
Founded in 2007, Lionheart is renowned for its focus on quality, top-of-the-line products, service consistency, compassionate patient care and educational awareness among clients.
The company’s budtenders undergo rigorous internal training that emphasizes product education, pricing, specific cannabis batch characteristics, proper dosage and quality control, as well as best practices in customer service.
Budtenders are monitored daily to ensure they’re providing the best customer service using advanced software that includes text messages sent to customers, where they can rate their favorite budtenders.
Fanuzzi says Lionheart budtenders must stay up-to-date on the legal intricacies associated with state and federal cannabis requirements. This includes verifying IDs, complying with the different rules on sales to recreational users versus medical patients, and ensuring that every sale rung up matches the state tracking regulations for each product, among many other things. In addition, all budtenders must have a Montana state employee badge, which must be worn at all times while working.
“A lot more goes into budtending than meets the eye,” Fanuzzi says. “Additional training focuses on how the cannabis products are packaged, presented and even displayed on the shelves. Product placement, as well as the quality of the product on the shelves, is paramount to good customer service.”
Thirty of Lionheart’s more than 75 employees are budtenders and, once in the system, Fanuzzi says many of them move into management at the local and regional levels. Even though he’s at the head of the company, Fanuzzi himself still enjoys serving as a budtender during visits to each of the company’s dispensaries located throughout the state.
To learn more about Lionheart Cannabis, visit lionheartcannabis.com.