Like any emerging industry, the #CannabisCommunity is in the process of finding its voice.

What was once a black-market trade that operated in the shadows is currently a billion-dollar enterprise that demands consistency and professionalism.

A key part of the cannabis industry’s development is an evolution of the most consumer-facing position in dispensary sales: The #budtender. Without the proficiency and expertise of these front-of-house dispensary representatives, patients may risk receiving ineffective medicine, and retailers could miss the opportunity for a profitable sale.

The following are a few of the more prominent courses available for gaining the skills necessary to dispense cannabis with confidence and expert knowledge.

Trichome Institute

Realizing the prevalence of shared problems across the emerging legal cannabis industry — namely, a lack of credibility, accuracy and thoroughly researched information — the Trichome Institute has set out to be the definitive voice in “professional certifications, consumer education, and quality assurance, providing the industry with the best information available.”

With curriculum certified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Marijuana Enforcement Division, the institute’s cannabis customer service training module provides students with the skills to make a reasonably accurate assessment of a customer’s cannabis tolerance level, and to recognize the goals of each customer in order to recommend safe and appropriate products and consumption levels.

Green CulturEd

Green CulturEd offers an introductory course providing the basic skills needed for a dispensary technician in a retail setting. Students can learn essential cannabis dispensary skills, including determining the quality of product, weighing, inventory tracking, and effective patient-customer rapport. The course includes 19 videos running over four hours, with access to supplemental video materials.

The University Of Vermont

If you’re looking for a more academic approach to budtending, The University of Vermont offers a non-credit program — titled “Cannabis Science and Medicine Professional Certificate” — a seven-week online course that includes valuable material for dispensary personnel and budtenders. Classes are designed to give students a competitive advantage as knowledgeable, trustworthy providers who can “effectively minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of cannabis for therapeutic use.”

Applicants must be aged 18 years or older, have a bachelor’s degree, and have completed college-level foundational science courses in biology and chemistry.

Cannabis Trainers

With an ethos toward ensuring the responsible and knowledgeable process of safe cannabis sales, Cannabis Trainers’ Sell-SMaRT™ program includes segments on preparing budtenders, cannabis consultants and front-line staff to effectively and safely handle complex situations that arise in marijuana retail. Classes are currently available in Las Vegas, Denver, Oakland and Sacramento.