9 Things To Include In A Budtender Training Manual

December 10, 2020

Building a quality team should be a primary goal for your dispensary, and ensuring your team is trained and provided with everything they need to succeed is critical.

For these reasons, your dispensary should have a manual provided to new hires as part of their onboarding process. 

Having this be part of the onboarding process will save you time and set your budtenders up for success.  

You could check this dispensary HR software to help you out with everything you need when hiring and onboarding!

What is a budtender training manual?

A budtender training manual is a book created by management that helps train employees for their position. A budtender training manual might include company culture guidelines, the rules, dispensary SOPs, compliance information, technology tools to learn, best practices, and resources for learning or HR.

A budtender manual should help set your new hire up for success and share expectations around the rules and the role.

Why do you need a budtender training manual?

Building a dispensary dream team takes time and effort. Once you have located, interviewed, hired, and onboarded your new team member, you should do everything you can to ensure you are setting them up for success, so they stick around. 

In a recent study by headset.io, approximately 55% of budtenders across North America left their dispensary jobs within one year of being hired. To put this into context, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a turnover of 47.2% across all industries.

However, factors linked to higher retention included good onboarding and high budtender sales! Building a quality training manual is the key to helping you keep great people - and increase sales! So what should you include in a budtender training manual? Here are our top pics.

What are the 9 things to include in a budtender training manual?

  1. Table of contents and structure
  2. Company culture
  3. Clearly defined tasks and SOPs
  4. Company rules
  5. Technology resources
  6. Guidelines on compliance
  7. Sales and product training information
  8. Their job description 
  9. Resources for if they need help
sharing cannabis

1 - Table of contents and structure.

Make your budtender manual easy to navigate (and maybe fun?) Organize it professionally in a binder with clearly defined sections. You want it to feel easy and professional, and you also want them to feel special. Creating a document that is easy to navigate will contribute to their understanding of your requirements. If they don't understand the guide or their role, that could be a symptom of a poor manual or lack of organized systems within your retail store.

2 - Company culture.

During the employee onboarding process sharing company culture and values is key. The training manual is the perfect place to share the company's culture and help them understand its importance. 

Values could be principles you stand by, like how you expect them to treat their coworkers and customers.   It could also share your dispensary mission statement and allow new hires to feel like they are a part of a bigger goal than sales targets.

Allowing your new hire to understand the culture will help them succeed, feel connected to a larger purpose, and show up appropriately,

3 - Clearly defined tasks and SOPs.

Does your dispensary have clearly defined dispensary SOPs? You really should. 
Having solid SOPs outlined in your budtender training manual gives your new hires a place to return if they feel unsure of a specific process. It also gives you a reference to cite if they get off track. 

The more you can systemize your dispensary operations, the easier it will be to get new people on the same page. If you are curious about what dispensary SOPs to implement, check out our free guide on dispensary SOPs here.

4 - Company rules.

Sharing rules and systems up front with the employee will make them feel comfortable and aware of how to do the right thing. 

The rules section might include things like:

  • Dress code
  • Vacation days
  • Break compliance and rules
  • Visitors
  • Punch in, punch out rules 
  • Rules around conduct 
  • Compliance non-negotiables
  • Consequences 
  • and more!

5 - Technology resources. 

Here you will share all of the tools your new hire will be required to learn and master - as well as any resources, manuals, or guides they might find helpful should they have to troubleshoot on their own.  

A typical list of dispensary technology that they might like information on could include: 

  • Scheduling software
  • POS software
  • Payment software (and hardware)
  • Credit card processing software (and hardware)
  • Security software
  • Cash-out procedures software
  • Time tracking software 
  • Employee mobile apps 
  • Payroll and payment information
  • How to book time off (HR software)
  • Inventory management software

Additionally, you could check this article on how to choose the best HR software for your dispensary

cova technology

6 - Guidelines on compliance.

Compliance is crucial for dispensary employees to understand. 

They should have a solid understanding of how compliance works in the cannabis space, but regardless, this should be a chapter updated regularly in your budtender manual. 

The compliance chapter might include things like:

  • How to greet customers in a compliant way
  • How to run payments in a compliant way 
  • How to sell products in a compliant way
  • How to touch products in a compliant way
  • How to punch in and out in a compliant way
  • And how to stay up to date on their certificates

7 - Sales and product training information. 

As we mentioned before, sales is linked to retention. That is why having a selling and training resources is so essential to help staff thrive. 

Share educational tools

Helping budtenders obtain more education is a significant factor in sales and improving the customer experience. Here are a few ways to make this happen.

  • Host patient appreciates days (PADs) Where brands visit your store and educate on their products. Share these dates in the guide.
  • Offer a Toptender subscription, the learning, and development app for cannabis.
  • Hold regular learning sessions educating staff on new products, strains, and strategies
  • Establish a training cadence on new products
  • Outline what they need to learn about what products, and why

Create a playbook for customer interactions

Customers hold the key to sales secrets, create a playbook for budtenders to build relationships, and gain valuable insights by covering things like: 

  • How to offer deals to return customers
  • Pitching customers on appreciation days 
  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Customer samplers or goody bags
  • How to share customer information with the store buyers (requests, demographics, popular items or asks) 

Make sure budtenders are up to date on the specials.

Establish workflows around selecting specials to ensure budtenders know how to share the information with customers.

two people onboarding

8 - Their job description. 

People do their best work when they know the work they are required to do. Your budtender training manual might include a list of all the tasks you expect your new hire to do. Those might include: 

Sales and product requirements.

  • Offer guidance, direct customers to make informed choices, and provide professional advice on the appropriate products according to each customer's needs, preferences, and budget.
  • Possess and demonstrate good communication skills and offer a pleasant customer experience for all customers.
  • Take time to answer the questions of each customer. 
  • Maintain an updated product inventory and ensure the sales floor is adequately stocked.
  • Display a full understanding of the products in-store and how to sell them.
  • Connect and build relationships with regular clientele.
  • Understand how to use sales technology.

Compliance requirements.

  • Properly check the ID of customers for age verification.
  • Understand how to properly package and label products.
  • Understand inventory management and avoid oversight.
  • Provide accurate on-demand sales reports in the format required by the local government.

Technology to learn.

  • Understand how to use the POS system.
  • Understand how to use the inventory management system.
  • Understand how to use the workforce management system for scheduling and time tracking.
  • Ensure proper processing of customers' payments through the dispensary's point of sale system, and make sure all transactions are up to date.


Standard Operating Procedures they are responsible for.

  • Offer help with the opening and closing of the dispensary.
  • Ensure that customer check-in procedure are met.
  • Take appropriate security measures during product delivery.
  • Oversee the tracking and tracing of product inventory.
  • Be in charge of quality assessment to make sure that products are up to the required standards.
  • Be responsible for product recalls and emergencies, especially when a defective product is in store.

9 - Resources and the tools they need.

From log-ins to uniforms, make sure your new budtender is set up for success on their first day and doesn't have to ask you for anything. 

Your new team member should feel like you are excited for them to join the team, and have anticipated their every need. This leads to feeling valued and appreciated, another key to retention. Consider including links or operations around how they can connect with you if they have a concern or request.

We hope that this was a helpful resource to help you create a quality budtender training manual at your cannabis dispensary. 

If you're beginning your hiring process, check these 6 things you need to know when hiring at your dispensary!

Onboarding a new budtender? Download our free budtender onboarding checklist!

free budtender onboarding template

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December 2020


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