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Cannabis Dispensary Staff Survey

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

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Cannabis Dispensary Staff Survey

A December 2016 study entitled "Training and Practices of Cannabis Dispensary Staff" that was published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research investigated "the training and practices of cannabis dispensary staff." The design of the scientific investigation was that of an online survey involving 55 self-identified dispensary staff members featuring a mean age of 32 and an age range of 22-63.

A budtender dispenses loose-leaf cannabis in a dispensary in Portland, Oregon.
How smart is your budtender?

Participants were 55 percent female and 33 percent married, with 60 percent holding a college degree. Eighty-four percent of subjects worked full-time. Their employment duration ranged from one month to seven years. Twenty percent of survey respondents reported having worked at another dispensary prior to their current position.


"The study reported that just more than half of the dispensary employees had received formal training."

The study reported that "the proliferation of cannabis dispensaries within the United States has emerged from patient demand for the legalization of cannabis as an alternative treatment for a number of conditions and symptoms." The researchers lamented that fact that "nothing is known about the practices of dispensary staff with respect to recommendation of cannabis strains/concentrations for specific patient ailments."


Cannabis Dispensary Staff Survey Conclusions

Cannabis Dispensary Staff Survey. Most survey respondents worked for dispensaries located in Colorado, followed by California and Arizona. The dispensaries were located as follows:

  • Arizona, 16 percent

  • California, 20 percent

  • Colorado, 41 percent

  • District of Columbia, five percent

  • Northeast (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine), 10 percent

  • Oregon, two percent

The study reported that just more than half of the dispensary employees had received formal training. The research noted that dispensary staff job responsibilities included customer service (91 percent), stocking inventory (79 percent), ordering supplies or dealing with vendors/growers (67 percent), counseling patients (63 percent), record-keeping (63 percent), and budgeting/finances/accounting (46 percent).

A chart of the conditions for which dispensary customers seek relief.
Major dispensary customer requests.

The study reported that dispensary staff dealt were queried by customers regarding a variety of health conditions, including chronic pain (93 percent), insomnia (80 percent), and anxiety (80 percent).


"Many dispensary staff recommending cannabis that has either not been shown effective for, or could exacerbate, a patient's condition."

"Although many dispensary staff are making recommendations consistent with current evidence, some are recommending cannabis that has either not been shown effective for, or could exacerbate, a patient's condition," concluded the study's authors. They reported that their data and analysis "underscore the importance of consistent evidence-based training of dispensary staff that provide specific recommendations for patient medical conditions."


View the original study.

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