Working at a Dispensary at 18: What You Need to Know

Working at a Dispensary at 18: What You Need to Know

Under federal U.S. law, the possession, sale, and use of marijuana is illegal. However, individual state laws contradict the federal position since many allow it for medicinal or recreational use.

Laws about the legal age for working in dispensaries vary by state, but in most states, it’s 21. If working at a dispensary at 18 seems impossible, here’s what you need to know if you want a career in the cannabis industry.

1.     Dispensary Jobs for 18-Year-Olds

You cannot work at a dispensary if you are under 21 in most cases because most states that have legalized cannabis have set a minimum age of 21. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, you may work in a dispensary from 18 or older but with some restrictions in some states. Some are that you cannot sell or handle the products.

It’s essential to know your state and local laws on the sale of marijuana to determine if you qualify for a job. Sometimes, dispensary owners also have age restrictions. A quick look on Indeed reveals that some positions are available for 18-year-olds in states like Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Working in a dispensary, particularly a cannabis dispensary, can be a rewarding job for individuals 18 or older, depending on the legal requirements in your location. Here are some potential job opportunities for 18-year-olds in a dispensary:

Budtender: Budtenders are like the salespeople of the dispensary. They help customers choose the right products, provide information about different strains, and assist with purchases. They also handle cash transactions and maintain inventory.

Receptionist: Dispensaries often need receptionists to greet customers and verify their age and identification, ensuring a smooth flow in the business.

Manager: The manager oversees the dispensary’s operations, including staffing, customer service, and inventory management.

Security: Dispensaries often hire security personnel to maintain a safe and controlled environment. Security staff check IDs, monitor surveillance cameras, and ensure the safety of customers and employees.

Packaging and Inventory: Employees can work in the back of the dispensary, handling packaging and inventory. Their jobs may entail labeling products, restocking shelves, properly storing products, and general inventory control.

Delivery Driver: In locations where cannabis delivery is legal, some dispensaries hire delivery drivers to transport products to customers’ homes. Applicants must have a driver’s license and a clean driving record.

Cleaning and Maintenance: Dispensaries need to be clean and well-maintained. Jobs in cleaning and maintenance involve keeping the dispensary in top condition by ensuring it is clean and organized.

Grower: Growing and harvesting marijuana requires a good knowledge of biology. You could get a job at 18 in some states to help cultivate and trim the plants.

Knowledge about cannabis and its effects, as well as excellent customer service skills, is often an advantage if you want to work in a dispensary. Be sure to research the specific requirements and job listings at dispensaries in your area and consider gaining relevant training or certifications if required.

2.     Exploring Employment Opportunities at Dispensaries

Exploring dispensary employment opportunities can be exciting and potentially rewarding, especially if you are interested in the cannabis industry. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to go about it:

Check Local Regulations

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the regulations and laws regarding cannabis in your area. Regulations vary widely from one location to another, so it’s crucial to understand the legal requirements. Ensure you are of legal age and meet any other specific criteria your local government sets.

Education and Training

Consider acquiring relevant education or training. While not always required, knowing cannabis products, strains, and their effects can make you a more attractive candidate. Some states or regions may also have specific training or certification programs for industry workers.

Prepare Your Resume

Craft a professional resume that highlights any relevant experience, skills, and education you have. Emphasize customer service skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work in a regulated environment.

Job Search

Start your job search by checking local job listings, online job boards, and the websites of dispensaries in your area. You can also network within the industry by attending cannabis-related events or joining online forums and groups.


Many dispensaries have an online application process. Carefully follow the application instructions, providing all the necessary information, including your resume, cover letter, and references.

Interview Preparation

If you secure an interview, prepare for it by researching the specific dispensary and its products. Be ready to discuss your knowledge of cannabis, your customer service skills, and your enthusiasm for the industry. Emphasize that you are prepared for a job in this highly regulated environment.

Budtender Training

If you’re interested in becoming a budtender, you may need to complete additional training or certifications. Some dispensaries offer on-the-job training, while others may require prior experience or certifications.

Compliance and Ethics

Understand that working in a dispensary requires compliance with strict regulations. You’ll be responsible for checking IDs, verifying customer information, and ensuring the safe and legal sale of products. Ethical conduct is crucial in this industry.

Background Check

Be prepared for a background check, as many dispensaries conduct them in their hiring process.

Keep Current

The cannabis industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. Stay informed about industry trends, regulations, and products to give you a better chance of getting hired and remaining a valuable employee.

Remember that competition for jobs in the cannabis industry can be intense, as it’s a growing field with many enthusiasts. Tailor your approach and application to demonstrate your commitment to responsible and ethical cannabis use and your desire to contribute positively to the industry.

3.     Is it Possible to Land a Job at a Dispensary at 18?

Several qualities can make it easier to land a job at a dispensary at 18 if it’s allowed in your state. These are the most important to ensure you’re a good fit:

  • Interest and enthusiasm for the industry and a willingness to learn everything about it
  • Positive attitude and excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Ability to follow the strict guidelines within the industry
  • Attention to detail
  • Yearning to help others and good customer service skills
  • Strong work ethic, proving a willingness to go above and beyond

4.     Career Options at Dispensaries for 18-Year-Olds

If you’re 18 years old and interested in pursuing a career in the cannabis industry by working at a dispensary, you can consider several entry-level positions. We explored these earlier in the article, but remember that job opportunities and requirements may vary based on your location and local regulations.

Increase your chances of securing a job in a dispensary by understanding the products, laws, and regulations related to the cannabis industry. Additionally, emphasizing your enthusiasm for the field and demonstrating responsible behavior is essential, as the industry places a premium on ethics and compliance.


Remember that working in a dispensary, especially at a young age, comes with responsibilities related to legal compliance and ethical conduct. Ensure you meet your area’s age and legal requirements before applying for advertised positions.

Read more about locations where you may qualify for a career option at a dispensary on Zippia and find jobs based on your location.

5.     How to Start Your Journey in the Cannabis Industry at 18

Starting a career in the cannabis industry at the age of 18 can be challenging due to age restrictions and the specific legal requirements in many areas. However, there are still opportunities to gain experience and knowledge. Here are some steps you can take:

Education and Knowledge: While you may not be able to work directly in a dispensary or cultivation facility due to age restrictions, you can start educating yourself about the industry in preparation to join it as soon as you legally can. Research the history, science, and regulations of cannabis. There are online resources, books, and courses that can help you gain knowledge.

Volunteer or Intern: Some cannabis-related organizations or advocacy groups may accept volunteers or interns who are 18 or older. Use these opportunities to get involved and gain experience while supporting the industry.

Networking: Attend cannabis industry events, conferences, and seminars to meet professionals in the field. Networking can help you make connections that may lead to opportunities once you reach the legal age to work in certain positions.

Advocacy and Education: Get involved in cannabis advocacy and education. You can join or start organizations or initiatives aimed at promoting responsible cannabis use and supporting legalization efforts.

Ancillary Services: Look for opportunities in ancillary services related to the cannabis industry. These could include marketing, security, or consulting services. While these roles may have age restrictions, they might be more flexible compared to direct involvement with cannabis products.

Plan for the Future: Use this time to plan your future in the cannabis industry. Consider pursuing higher education, such as a degree in horticulture, business, or public health, to prepare for more advanced roles once you are of legal age.

Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with industry trends, news, and regulation changes. The cannabis industry is dynamic and evolves rapidly, and knowledge is valuable.

Responsible Use: If you choose to consume cannabis, do so responsibly and in compliance with the laws in your area. Demonstrating responsible and ethical behavior can enhance your credibility when you seek employment in the industry.

Remember that regulations and opportunities in the cannabis industry can vary greatly depending on where you live. Ensure you understand your region’s specific laws and age restrictions and adapt your approach accordingly. As you gain experience and knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to pursue a career in the cannabis industry when you become eligible for relevant positions.

6.     Breaking Into the Dispensary Industry at a Young Age

As you have gathered so far from the information provided, the regulations around the dispensary industry make it challenging to break into the industry at a very young age in many states. However, there is no reason why you cannot use your youth to gain the knowledge required and experience, making it easier to start building your career once you are legally able.

7.     Dispensary Jobs: Age Requirements and Opportunities

The prospects for employment opportunities in the cannabis industry continue to grow as more states legalize it for medicinal and recreational use. There are both benefits and challenges for those seeking opportunities in the industry.


  • Working in a fast-growing and exciting industry
  • Good pay and benefits
  • Helping people find relief from medical conditions
  • A great way to learn about the types of cannabis strains and the benefits of the different products
  • The industry provides many opportunities for career and professional growth


  • Dealing with demanding customers, especially if they are in pain or anxious
  • Regulations and laws change frequently, requiring adaptability
  • Handling of the business stock and cash means that dispensaries may become a target for robberies
  • Dispensaries often have a lighter atmosphere, but their employees must maintain a professional demeanor

The challenges are some of the reasons there’s an age limit of 21 in most states for working in the industry. However, that doesn’t mean that in states where you must be at least 21 to work as a budtender, you won’t be able to find other opportunities. These include security, packaging, delivery, maintenance, and administrative roles.

Researching your area’s specific age requirements and job opportunities is essential, as cannabis laws differ significantly from one location to another. Always ensure that you comply with the local laws and meet the age requirements for the specific role you are interested in. Additionally, ensure you have a strong understanding of cannabis and its products while demonstrating responsible and ethical behavior. These are an advantage when applying for dispensary positions.

Las Vegas – Circa June 2019: Marijuana Dispensary. In 2017, Recreational Pot was legalized in Nevada I

A Budding Opportunity: Tips for Young Aspirants in the Cannabis Industry

Embarking on a career journey in the cannabis industry at the tender age of 18 might seem like a daunting venture, given the stringent age restrictions and legal frameworks surrounding it. Yet, the blossoming cannabis sector is full of potential. Here are some nuggets of wisdom for young enthusiasts eager to carve a niche in this green arena:

  • Get the Lay of the Land:
    • Familiarize yourself with both federal and state laws regarding cannabis. Your state’s stance on the leafy matter significantly impacts your eligibility for employment in a dispensary.
    • Stay abreast of any legislative changes. Laws surrounding cannabis are ever-evolving, and staying updated could open new doors of opportunity.
  • Education is Key:
    • Indulge in a self-education spree about cannabis. Understanding its medicinal and recreational attributes, different strains, and the science behind its effects can make you a valuable asset to potential employers.
    • Look for formal education or certifications related to the cannabis industry. Some institutions offer courses on cannabis cultivation, law, and business.
  • Networking and Mentorship:
    • Build connections with individuals already working in the industry. Mentorship and networking can provide invaluable insights and possibly open doors to employment opportunities.
    • Attend industry-related events, workshops, and seminars. They are excellent platforms to learn, network, and even stumble upon job openings.
  • Volunteer or Intern:
    • Seek internships or volunteer opportunities in cannabis advocacy organizations or related businesses. Though you might not be directly handling cannabis, the experience and industry knowledge gained could be priceless.
    • Engage in community outreach and education about responsible cannabis use. This showcases your dedication and responsible attitude toward the industry.
  • Explore Ancillary Roles:
    • Delve into roles that support the cannabis industry indirectly, like marketing, legal, or consulting services. These might have more lenient age requirements and can provide a segue into the industry.
  • Craft a Convincing Resume and Cover Letter:
    • Highlight any relevant experience, education, and skills. Showcase your passion for the industry, attention to detail, and willingness to comply with the stringent regulations governing cannabis sales.
  • Practice Patience and Persistence:
    • The cannabis sector is competitive. Don’t get disheartened by initial setbacks. Keep honing your skills, expanding your knowledge, and networking.
  • Plan for the Long Haul:
    • Consider higher education that will give you a solid foundation for a future in the cannabis industry. Degrees in business, law, or horticulture could be beneficial.
  • Showcase Responsible Behavior:
    • If you choose to consume cannabis, ensure you do so responsibly and within the legal confines of your state laws. Demonstrating a mature and responsible attitude toward cannabis use can significantly enhance your credibility in the eyes of potential employers.

Embarking on a career in the cannabis realm at 18 might have its share of hurdles. Still, with a blend of passion, education, and the right strategy, you could be well on your way to cultivating a rewarding career in this budding industry. Your journey might be the seed that grows into a flourishing career in the cannabis verdancy.