Your buddy in the wonderful world of bud

WSU student and local budtender shares her insight into the unique occupation


WSU student Sydney Rigg works as a budtender at Kush21, a favorite late-night dispensary for local students.


Dispensaries can be overwhelming, with shelves and shelves of cannabis products that seem to go on forever. That is, until budtenders come into play: a personal cannabis guru that guides customers through the endless maze of options while answering any “burning” questions. 

“I see budtending basically like bartending, but for marijuana,” said Kush21 budtender Sydney Rigg. “Just like how bartenders have to take exams showing that they know what kind of drinks to make and how much to pour, budtenders have to go through a similar thing.”

While being around weed 24/7 sounds fun, being a budtender is no easy job, according to Rigg. She also juggles her professional responsibilities with her responsibilities as a WSU student in the Murrow College.

“The hardest thing about being a budtender would be the memorization,” Rigg said. “Memorizing the prices of the different products and the standards of farms that the weed came from. The cannabis industry is ever-changing; it’s always updating and improving, so just staying on top of those adjustments and new products can be really difficult.”


Cannabis-related jobs (at least legal ones) have increased by 690% percent since Colorado and Washington first legalized recreational cannabis in 2012, according to Forbes Magazine. The growing industry does not look to be slowing down anytime soon, with the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act last week, which would decriminalize cannabis on a federal level. 

However, the industry is still fairly new, which Rigg said leads to a lot of misconceptions around the craft.

“A lot of people who come into the shop and don’t necessarily buy weed all the time will treat us like drug dealers,” Rigg said. “They don’t understand that there’s a real transaction that has to go through and all the legal issues with IDs. We are actually really educated on the products and not just some drug dealers selling whatever type of weed.” 

There are a lot of details within the products that the average cannabis consumer probably does not consider. Rigg explained that when working with a customer, she always starts by asking how they want to feel. 

“A lot of people come in wanting to try weed for different reasons,” Rigg said. “A lot of people want to try weed because they have pain and want some relief, but there are also people who just want to smoke for a good time.” 

Budtenders can help make the whole process of purchasing weed more enjoyable and informative for first-time cannabis users or self-proclaimed pros alike. 

“A good budtender is always honest,” Rigg said. “If someone asks you, ‘how did this strain make you feel’ and you actually haven’t tried that strain, just being honest is key because you never want to lead people in a direction if you aren’t 100% sure.”