Do you want to learn how to become a budtender in Illinois? Illinois’ surging demand for adult-use cannabis has prompted many marijuana dispensaries across the state to search for experienced budtenders who can handle this unique and exciting retail position.
What are the Cannabis Laws in Illinois?
Cannabis use is legal for both medical and recreational purposes in Illinois. Adults over 21 can possess and buy cannabis, while medical marijuana patients can buy, possess, and grow the plant. Minors with debilitating conditions can designate a caregiver to assist with obtaining or growing cannabis.
In 2013, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP). Medical patients are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis during a 14-day period and grow up to five plants.
Adult-use cannabis sales began January 1st, 2020. Adults are able to possess 30 grams of cannabis flower, up to five grams of concentrates, and 500 milligrams of cannabis-infused edibles. Non-residents can possess half of the resident limits.
Part-time and full-time budtending positions are available across Illinois dispensaries. Budtenders are responsible for providing exceptional customer service, which may include recommending products and educating customers based on their needs.
Budtenders work in a fast-paced environment but must be sure to meet the needs of one customer at a time. Budtenders responsibilities include the following:
Must welcome all dispensary customers
Must be knowledgeable about cannabis products
Advise customers on cannabis strains, compounds, and more
Educate customers on product types, consumption methods, and uses of different products
Dispense products and remain compliant with state and local laws
Complete sales transactions
Budtender requirements include the following:
Must be 21 years of age or older
Must be able to pass a state and federal criminal background check
High school degree or GED
Prior customer service or hospitality experience
Strong problem-solving, computer, analytical, and communication skills
Knowledge of cannabis strains and uses
Illinois’ entry into social cannabis consumption lounges means in the near future budtenders may be able to use more of their soft and hard skills to help customers set-up an e-Nail at the dab bar or help customers roll a joint to enjoy in a safe consumption space.
How to Get Hired as a Budtender in Illinois
If you feel you’ve got what it takes to excel in a budtending position in Illinois, the first step you should take toward getting hired is to submit an application to a hiring dispensary. Job applicants that are hired will undergo a background check.
The dispensary will file and submit an application for you to receive a dispensing organization agent identification card from the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. All cannabis industry employees in the state must obtain this card.
Not everyone is eligible to obtain the card, however. If you’ve been convicted of a felony offense, you may not qualify for a dispensing agent card depending on the presented evidence of rehabilitation and the amount of time that has passed since the conviction.
If you’re hired, that’s great! Now, it’s time to undergo two types of training: state and dispensary training. Aspiring budtenders must complete the training, which can cost up to $300, within 90 days of the hiring date. Training must be received annually.
Health and safety concerns of cannabis use, including the responsible use of cannabis, its physical effects, onset of physiological effects, recognizing signs of impairment, and appropriate responses in the event of overconsumption;
Law and regulations on driving while under the influence;
Sales to minor prohibitions;
All relevant Illinois laws and rules;
Acceptable form of identification, including how to check identification and common mistakes made in verification;
Safe storage of cannabis;
Compliance with all inventory tracking regulations;
Waste handling, management, and disposal;
Health and safety standards at the dispensary;
Maintenance of records;
Security and surveillance requirements;
Permitting inspections by state and local licensing and enforcement authorities;
Privacy issues; and
Packaging and labeling requirements
Dispensary training includes the following topics:
How to effectively operate the point-of-sale system and the state’s verification system;
Proper inventory handling and tracking;
Specific uses of cannabis or cannabis-infused products;
Instruction regarding regulatory inspection preparedness and law enforcement interaction; and
Awareness of the legal requirements for maintaining status as an agent
How Much Does a Budtender Make in Illinois?
Dispensing or dispensary agents, also known as budtenders, in Illinois make about $15 per hour. Benefits as a budtender in Illinois include dental insurance, disability insurance, employee discounts, health insurance, life insurance, paid time off, and vision insurance.
Where to Find Budtender Jobs in Illinois
Illinois has about 37 dispensaries across the state. Marijuana dispensaries are primarily located in big cities such as Chicago and its adjoining towns such as Oak Park, Cicero, Berwyn, Evanston, and more.
Budtender dispensary jobs can also be found in Springfield, Sauget, Rockford, East Peoria, Champaign, Aurora, and Quincy, Illinois, among other municipalities.
Some of the best dispensaries to work at in Illinois include the following:
The Healing Clinic
Innovative MMJ Care
Chicago Compassion Club
The Green Solution
Columbia Care Dispensary
Budtender Training Illinois
Are you ready to start your career in the cannabis industry? CTU offers students worldwide the chance to complete an online cannabis training curriculum to train students to work in medical or recreational dispensaries.
Our instructors have decades of experience working in their respective fields. A relatively low price of entry makes cannabis education and marijuana dispensary training accessible for nearly anyone with an internet connection and a smartphone, laptop, or tablet.