What to know if you want to work at a FoCo dispensary


Collegian | Falyn Sebastian

Bella Eckburg, Opinion Director

Back in the day, you’d be getting your weed from a friend’s friend in their Honda Civic in some local park, but times have changed. Living in Colorado, you’re likely getting your cannabis from a different dealer — a dispensary.

Working at a dispensary is different than regular retail. In fact, it requires certification. 


“I first needed to have a marijuana enforcement badge from the (Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division), which includes going through a background check and application process,” said Daniel Dundas, an employee at Verts Neighborhood Dispensary since April 2022. “This all (cost) me $150 out of pocket. After completion, I received my badge in two weeks. Receiving the badge is the first step to getting your foot into the cannabis industry.”

On top of completing background checks, getting certifications and understanding the industry after being hired, budtenders need to ensure they’re abiding by all of the relevant laws and protecting themselves and the business they work for.

“Most people don’t know that working at a dispensary brings in a lot of stress and patience,” Dundas said. “When it comes to checking IDs, if a budtender fails a sting, they not only lose their jobs immediately, they lose their license and receive thousands of dollars in fines, and that’s why IDs are checked so thoroughly.”

Because cannabis is not federally legal, it’s crucial that all dispensary employees not only prevent underage purchases but also help the dispensary in adult marketing. 

Dundas shared a fun fact about cannabis marketing, saying, “No dispensary is legally allowed to advertise cannabis strains with the word ‘candy’ in it because it can draw the attention of children, so they replace ‘candy’ with ‘@$&#!’ So when you see strains like @$&#! Cake, its original name is Candy Cake.”

Although all this industry information can seem like an overload, Dundas said it’s something he’s passionate to continue learning about. 

“I absolutely love how much I’ve learned about cannabis,” Dundas said. “I used to be a typical stoner before I started working in the industry, and when I was a typical stoner, all I knew was the strain types and what was going to get me high. … Another thing I absolutely love about working in the industry is hearing about how helpful cannabis is to cancer patients (and) people with arthritis, anxiety, depression, pain and inflammation.”

If you’re interested in becoming a dispensary employee, knowing everything there is to know about weed isn’t totally necessary. Working at a dispensary will grant you an inside look at the industry and teach you more than you could’ve imagined. 

“The second I started working at my first dispensary, I had co-workers and knowledgeable videos teaching me about cannabis products and their effects,” Dundas said. “Again, I only knew strain types and their effects before I got into the industry. Now, I know how to make edibles, grow cannabis plants and make hash. There is so much (information), I could write a book on cannabis — I love it.”

Fort Collins has a plethora of dispensaries to choose from. All of them possess different products and environments but likely have people more than willing to help you grow in the industry if you’re looking for a job or more knowledge. 

If you aren’t looking to work in a dispensary directly, dispensary employees are a great resource if you’re new to cannabis consumption. With their knowledge, they can undoubtedly point you in the right direction to a product you’ll love. 

Any question you have they’re sure to answer, and they’ll often share personal experiences with you too, if you’re unsure. 

For Dundas, he has a few recommendations for his favorite products. 

“I would recommend Wyld gummies for novice users,” Dundas said. “(It’s the) best tasting edible and is the most popular edible. … For more experienced users, I would recommend Lazercat rosin or any of the Spcy Canna flower or Verts flower. These are the grow facilities (where) the flower came from.”

Reach Bella Eckburg at cannabis@collegian.com or on Twitter @yaycolor.