Building a Dream Team: Essential Roles to Consider When Hiring for Your Cannabis Dispensary

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As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so too does the need for well-trained and knowledgeable staff in dispensaries. Hiring the right staff for a dispensary can be a daunting task, but it is crucial to the success of the business.

Hiring the right staff is crucial to the success of any business, and a cannabis dispensary is no exception. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, dispensaries must prioritize hiring experienced professionals with a strong understanding of the products and regulations in the industry. By carefully considering each role and its requirements, dispensary owners can create a well-rounded team that can deliver the highest quality products and customer service to their clients. With the right team in place, cannabis dispensaries can thrive and become leaders in this emerging industry.

The specific staff positions needed may vary depending on the size of the dispensary, the products and services offered, and other factors but in this article, we will explore the various roles commonly found in a cannabis dispensary and what skills and experience are required for each role.

 

The must haves of dispensary hiring

If you want your dispensary to succeed — or even function — there are certain roles that are non-negotiable. Here are the must-hire roles for your dispensary.

  • Purchasing Manager: A Purchasing Manager is responsible for managing the procurement process for all products sold in the dispensary. This role requires a strong understanding of the cannabis industry and knowledge of various cannabis products, including strains, concentrates, and edibles. The Purchasing Manager should have at least 3-5 years of experience in the cannabis industry. The ideal candidate for a Purchasing Manager role should have excellent communication and negotiation skills, as they will need to work with vendors to ensure that the dispensary is receiving quality products at a fair price. They should also be familiar with compliance requirements and regulations to ensure that all products meet state and local requirements.
  • Dispensary Manager: A Dispensary Manager is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the dispensary. They manage inventory, supervise staff, ensure compliance with regulations, provide excellent customer service, and ensure compliance with local and state regulations. The Dispensary Manager should have at least 3-5 years of experience in a similar role, preferably in the cannabis industry. The ideal candidate for a Dispensary Manager role should have strong leadership skills and be able to manage a team effectively. They should also have excellent communication skills and be familiar with compliance requirements and regulations.
  • Budtender: A Budtender is responsible for greeting customers, assisting with product selection, and processing sales transactions. They should be knowledgeable about different strains and products and able to answer customers’ questions. A Budtender should have some customer service experience, preferably in the cannabis industry. The ideal candidate for a Budtender role should be friendly, outgoing, and able to provide excellent customer service. They should also be familiar with different strains and products and be able to make recommendations based on customers’ needs.
  • Security Guard: A Security Guard is responsible for maintaining a safe and secure environment in the dispensary. They should have prior experience in security or law enforcement. The ideal candidate for a Security Guard role should have a strong understanding of security procedures and protocols. They should also be able to de-escalate situations effectively and provide excellent customer service.
  • Receptionist: A Receptionist is responsible for greeting customers, answering phones, and scheduling appointments. They should have some customer service experience. The ideal candidate for a Receptionist role should be friendly, outgoing, and able to provide excellent customer service. They should also be organized and able to manage appointments effectively.
  • Inventory Control Specialist: An Inventory Control Specialist is responsible for managing the dispensary’s inventory, tracking sales trends, and making recommendations for reordering products. The ideal candidate for an Inventory Control Specialist role should be familiar with inventory management software and have strong analytical skills. They should also be able to work collaboratively with the Purchasing Manager to ensure that the dispensary has the right products in stock.
  • Marketing and Sales Specialist: A Marketing and Sales Specialist is responsible for marketing the dispensary and its products, developing sales strategies, and building relationships with customers. The ideal candidate for a Marketing and Sales Specialist role should have strong marketing and sales skills, as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They should be able to develop effective marketing strategies that appeal to the dispensary’s target audience.

The nice-to-haves of dispensary hiring

We covered the absolute must-have team members you need for your dispensary to succeed. But once you have those team members in place, there are other people you can add to take your dispensary to the next level.

Some nice-to-have team members include:

  • Education Officer. One thing the majority of successful dispensaries have in common is a focus on education. Hiring an Education Officer to manage the process of educating staff and developing training materials on products, medical cannabis, consumption methods, and general cannabis knowledge can ensure your dispensary gets the reputation as the most well-informed in town (and becomes a customer favorite as a result). Hiring someone with a background in corporate training — and a serious knowledge and interest in cannabis — would be ideal for this role.

  • Human Resources Manager. As your dispensary grows, so will your staff. Hiring a dedicated human resources manager is the best way to facilitate that growth. HR managers are responsible for onboarding new staff members, running background checks, facilitating training, maintaining HR paperwork, payroll, and managing benefit programs. Anyone with a background in human resources could be successful in this role — but someone with an interest in cannabis and/or experience in a budding startup would be ideal.

  • Finance Officer/Accountant. There’s a lot of cash that flows in and out of a dispensary, and you need someone to manage that cash flow. A finance officer or accountant is responsible for maintaining financial records for your business, managing AR/AP, and managing financial reporting. Hiring an in-house financial officer to manage the books is ideal — but if you’re a smaller operation or you don’t have the budget for a full-time person, you can outsource your financials to a part-time CPA or bookkeeper.

  • Marketing Manager. As mentioned, the cannabis business is a competitive one and if you want to grab your ideal customers’ attention, you need the right marketing strategy. There are strict laws about how you can and can not market a dispensary, so hiring a marketing manager with experience in the cannabis industry is a great way to drive business into your dispensary and avoid any potential compliance issues.

  • Brand Ambassador. If there are cannabis influencers in your city, partnering with them for influencer marketing campaigns ( essentially making them a brand ambassador for your dispensary) can help drive people into your store. Just be prepared to spend a good chunk of your budget; influencers (especially influencers with a large, engaged following) typically charge a hefty fee for sponsored posts.

  • IT Professional. With the increasing amount of technology entering the cannabis industry, it’s important to make sure everything is working correctly. An IT professional can help you troubleshoot day-to-day tech problems and also streamline the best tech partners for your unique dispensary needs.

Dispensary hiring tips

Here are a few general dispensary hiring tips to keep in mind as you’re sourcing, interviewing, and hiring your team:

  • Experience isn’t everything. Cannabis is an emerging industry, so not everyone you interview is going to have direct experience in the cannabis space, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a slam dunk for the role or your team.

  • Instead of focusing on cannabis experience or job title during the hiring process (which great candidates may or may not have), look for relevant skills, transferable experience, and candidates who would be a good culture fit.
  • Make your dispensary a place people want to work. As mentioned, the number of dispensary jobs and opportunities in the cannabis space is exploding — which means you’re not just interviewing talent, they’re also interviewing you.
  • If you want to attract and retain the best dispensary associates, you need to make your dispensary a place people want to work. Offer benefits, invest in employee training and onboarding, and cultivate an environment that makes your team excited to go to work.
  • Post in the right places. Mainstream job resources, like Indeed and LinkedIn, can be a great resource for job posting and finding quality candidates. But in addition to tapping mainstream resources, you’ll also want to post any open roles on industry-specific job boards. Some of the most visible cannabis boards for job postings include:
  • Tap into your network. The best hires often come from personal recommendations, so tapping your network (including your current staff) is a great place to find the best talent for your dispensary. In order to incentivize your network to refer top talent, offer a referral bonus for every recommendation you bring on as dispensary staff.

  • Sponsor, host, or exhibit at a cannabis career event. Just like traditional job fairs, there are cannabis job fairs, and as the industry grows, these hiring events will just become more frequent. Get involved — either as a sponsor, host, exhibitor, or attendee — and use these events to find quality candidates for your dispensary hiring.
  • Make sure you understand any relevant hiring laws, rules, or regulations — and make sure you follow them.
  • Document SOPs. Standard operating procedures create clear, consistent processes in your store. Create/use an employee management SOP to outline your processes for recruiting, hiring, onboarding, monitoring, training, reviewing, rewarding, and firing.

 

 

In conclusion, it’s clear that hiring the right staff for a cannabis dispensary is a complex process that requires careful consideration of each role and its unique requirements. By taking into account the size of the dispensary, the products offered, and other factors, dispensary owners can create a well-rounded team that can deliver the best possible customer experience.

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