What it's like to work as a 'budtender' in the legal marijuana industry

Coffee shops have baristas. Bars have bartenders. And marijuana retailers have "budtenders."

An estimated 30,000 Americans work in legal marijuana dispensaries, with a significant portion of those retail employees assisting customers at point of sale. Budtenders have an intimate knowledge of the products sold and can make recommendations based on customer preferences — whether they prefer smoking or vaping, for example, or whether they want to get high while partying or binge-watching TV.

With marijuana legalization at the state level on the rise, there's been a growing demand for people to fill these entry-level jobs, LA Weekly reported in May.

In 2016, Nikki, who declined to give her last name because marijuana is illegal on the federal level, left an e-commerce business she founded to work as a budtender at upscale dispensary Barbary Coast in San Francisco. She tells Business Insider she leaves every day feeling...

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