Skip to main content

Are you looking to start an exciting career in the marijuana industry and want some tips and tricks on how to work in a dispensary in Colorado, check out our guide.

We take you through the laws and regulations needed to join the dispensary workforce. It's never been easier to get your start in a Colorado dispensary.

How to Get a Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) Badge

If you want to work in a dispensary in Colorado, or Colorado's marijuana industry in general, you'll need to obtain a Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) occupational license, commonly known as the MED badge. A MED badge allows you to work at a licensed medical and a recreational marijuana shop.

Let's take a look at some of the different types of MED badges that were available before January 2020. The “key” and “support badges” referred to key employees in operational or management positions and support employees who worked for companies such as budtenders or trimmers. A support badge ran you $75 and a key badge was $250.

For entry-level positions, a support badge is all that you needed to have a better chance of getting hired. Unless you planned on getting hired as a manager or master grower, you didn’t need the key badge. As of January 2020, the key and support license was combined into a new Employee License. Now, the application fee is $100.  

In order to qualify for a badge, you need to be a Colorado resident and have proof of residency such as a driver's license or a utility bill. You’ll also need to be over 21 and have a clean criminal record to apply. The following individuals cannot receive a MED badge:

  • Anyone with a felony conviction within the past five years
  • A licensed physician who makes medical marijuana recommendations
  • An employee or close family member of an employee for the Marijuana Enforcement Division
  • A member of law enforcement
  • Anyone who has had their primary caregiver status revoked

To obtain a MED badge, you’ll need to download and complete the application and schedule an appointment at one of the four MED licensing offices located in Colorado Springs, Longmont, Lakewood, and Grand Junction. At the appointment, you’ll turn in your application, documents, and fee, as well as take a picture for the badge and give fingerprints.

How Do You Get a Job at a Dispensary in Colorado?

If you're looking to get hired at a dispensary in Colorado, you'll have to consider which position you qualify for or which one you have enough experience in. Customer-facing dispensary jobs require superior customer service and sales skills. Employees must also be familiar with different strains, effects, and products.

Back of the house positions can also help you succeed in the industry. For instance, an inventory specialist is responsible for inventory management in a dispensary. You must be able to routinely perform administrative tasks, track package orders, and ensure you organized medical and non-medical inventory. Inventory specialists can earn anywhere from $16 to $22 an hour.

If you have some administrative experience, you can apply for a dispensary reception position. A receptionist needs to be outgoing and detail-oriented. They must welcome customers with a smile, check customer IDs for age verification, use a point-of-sale system, and provide an overall welcoming atmosphere.

If you have management experience or have proven yourself capable of managing teams within a retail operation, you may get hired as an assistant manager and eventually a dispensary store manager. While these jobs come with a lot of responsibility to remain compliant with state regulations, they can pay a handsome salary of about $50,000 annually.

 Dispensary security jobs in Colorado require you to provide security and safety to staff and customers. Security personnel may check for ID’s, monitor the store and parking lot area, and be vigilant for criminal activity. Those with a military or law enforcement background or prior security experience are encouraged to apply.  Security jobs can earn about $16 an hour.

 Colorado’s hospitality and delivery market are set to expand over the coming years, as soon as the new laws take effect allowing social consumption lounges and cannabis delivery. That means that there will be Colorado dispensary job openings in social consumption lounges and dispensaries as hosts and budtenders, and delivery drivers.

For any marijuana dispensary job in Colorado, previous experience in a similar position is preferred, but you can also showcase a strong background in cannabis and the education to back it up. Signing up for an online cannabis program can bring you up-to-speed on the latest national and state regulations, strains, products, and other information needed to succeed in the industry.

How Do You Become a Budtender in Colorado?

If you’re looking for budtender jobs in Colorado, you're going to have to start by obtaining a Marijuana Enforcement Division badge. We detail how to obtain this, the application fees, and the requirements needed to get a speedy license above. Once you have your MED badge in your possession, you can go out and hunt for Colorado dispensary jobs.

Search job boards such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Craigslist, or any marijuana-centric job boards available. For budtending jobs, type in “budtender” or “dispensary” into the search bar and feel free to filter by location to the cities closest to you. Most dispensaries will ask you to apply and submit a copy of your MED badge, an updated resume, and a short cover letter to introduce yourself.

How Much Do Budtenders Make in Colorado?

The budtender salary in Colorado is decent for entry-level job seekers. Budtender hourly pay in Colorado is just slightly over the state minimum wage currently at $12 per hour. The average pay for a budtender in Colorado is about $13.50 per hour. Some relatively high-paying budtending jobs can pay up to 15 an hour or $17 for budtending supervisor and leadership positions. Generally, however, pay depends on experience.

Where to Find Dispensary Jobs in Colorado?

Colorado is full of dispensary jobs ripe for the taking. If you want to have a better chance of getting hired, Denver, Colorado is by far the best place to look for dispensary jobs. Denver has dozens of entry-level and management positions available. Other cities with cannabis employment opportunities include Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Federal Heights, Aurora, Garden City, Trinidad, and Fort Collins, among many more.

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

marijuana extraction course - Johanna Rose
Makes $24.50 @ THC +

Colorado Marijuana College

Colorado is one of the most robust and competitive marijuana markets in the world. To date, Colorado has made over $1 billion in marijuana sales. Hundreds of applicants apply hoping to get a start in this relatively new industry. In order to stand out from the other applicants or to understand the industry as a whole, enrolling in a Colorado marijuana College and becoming certified can give you the tools you need to pass the interview and get hired.

CTU's online marijuana training program not only gives you Colorado budtender training, but also teaches you how to find a job in other sectors of the industry such as cultivation and cooking or even starting your own business. Don't hesitate any longer on pursuing your career goals. Sign up for CTU’s online Colorado marijuana college today.

Fred Hernandez - Cannabis industry expert writer
Fred Hernandez

Fred Hernandez is a highly accomplished and versatile writer, boasting an extensive background in the cannabis industry. With an in-depth understanding of various sectors including cultivators, processors, retailers, and brands, Fred's expertise spans across the entire cannabis landscape. As a prominent contributor to CTU, he consistently delivers insightful articles exploring the latest developments, news, and regulations shaping the cannabis industry. Whether it's delving into the intricacies of cannabis products, cannabis strain reviews, or providing comprehensive analyses of cannabis laws, or sharing expert insights on cannabis cultivation techniques, Fred's wealth of knowledge positions him as an invaluable writer and educator for all cannabis-related subjects.

Enroll Now