DENVER, CO – MARCH 11: A customer pays for his marijuana at Euflora Dispensary in Denver on March 11, 2015. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

industry | 01.01.2022

Why Budtenders Don’t Last Long In Their Jobs: A Report

There’s an extremely high turnover rate among dispensary employees in Colorado and Washington.

The turnover rate for budtenders is extremely high, according to a report by Seattle-based data company Headset. The report tracked dispensary employees’ recorded sales to see when they began and stopped working.

The data was collected from dispensaries in Colorado and Washington, which were the first states to legalize cannabis in 2012. The industry has been thriving in both states ever since, yet it appears that low-level employees within that industry have not.

The average rate of turnover across dispensaries in both states sits at 30 percent with summer seeing the highest number of employees leaving their jobs. Among employees who leave, Colorado has the higher rate of turnover with only 38 percent of employees staying on over the 12-month period that was tracked in the study. In Washington, 47 percent of budtenders held onto their jobs.

DENVER, CO – April 25, 2016: Selections of sativa and indica dominant cannabis strains on display at The Colfax Pot Shop, an adult-use marijuana dispensary on Colfax Ave in Denver. (Photo by Vince Chandler / The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Nearly 60 percent of budtenders who left their jobs didn’t last two months, which analysts pointed out is likely an issue of making employees feel comfortable as they are brought on or not incentivizing budtenders to stick around during sales slumps. It comes as no surprise that those who sell more tend to stick around as success in the workplace is an indicator of employee satisfaction.

Analysts believe that much of the turnover rate can be attributed to the fact that low-level dispensary work is largely occupied by college-aged employees, which might account for spikes in job openings in the fall. In Colorado, a spike in job openings in the winter was attributed to the ski season.

According to the Cannabis Industry Institute, which offers industry advice and training to the cannabis industry, many budtenders are entry-level workers who leave their jobs to look for better opportunities in cannabis.

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