5 Dispensary Team Hiring Mistakes


Assembling a team of cool people to run a dispensary seems like a simple task. This task requires a lot more thought than you might think.

There are aspects such as customer demographic, industry unique obstacles, culture building skills, and a couple more that ownership teams miss the mark on when hiring dispensary staff.  Here are the top 5 most common mistakes that dispensary owners make when cultivating their team.


pretty girl smoking cannabis

#1 – Hiring staff based on the amount of cannabis a potential hire consumes

Yes, it absolutely is important that dispensary staff have experience with the products. More importantly, they need to be able to describe their experience with the products effectively. Owners often make hiring decisions based on product consumption and neglect to ensure that a candidate has the ability to describe specific details about each separate product experience. Make sure your candidates can say more than things like, “this strain gives you a good body high.”


hiring dispensary staff

#2 – Overly casual interviews

The cannabis industry is more casual than many, especially because of the longstanding, laid-back, social based cannabis culture. While relating to the culture is valuable, owners often, in an attempt to adapt to the existing culture, give in to the casual component and forget that they need staff who are eager and who take the job seriously. Though the culture is casual, it is acceptable to expect candidates to step up their game a bit in interviews to show that they genuinely care about working for your company. The industry deserves to have members who strive to live up to higher standards.


Cannabis dispensary retail staff

#3 – Heavily focusing on retail experience

Dispensaries are a hybrid of retail and compassionate care. Focusing heavily on a candidate’s sales experience can backfire. If you wind up with an employee who treats their job as solely a sales position, customers will not feel cared for and therefore will purchase less and likely choose to frequent a different dispensary. The social and compassionate components of the cannabis culture and of the dispensary experience are what make the cannabis industry truly unique. The ideal dispensary employee understands the nuances of balancing sales and customer care.


Parks and Recreation team

Parks & Recreation

#4 – Neglecting to consider the team as an aggregate

When owners make the mistake of stereotyping cannabis consumers they often wind up hiring a team that only serves a small portion of the cannabis consumer demographic. Owners need to define the core traits and values they are looking for in staff, and then make sure that the remaining traits are dynamic and diverse. This will create a team that has shared values and thus can work well together, and that has traits dynamic enough to serve different sectors of the cannabis consumer demographic.


cannabis dispensary setting

Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson

#5 – Assuming that previous dispensary experience means a candidate will be useful at any dispensary

Keep two things in mind: cannabis markets are not created equal, and dispensaries are not created equal. When owners put a lot of weight on previous dispensary experience (or black market experience), without any knowledge of the operational practices or legal standards of the candidate’s previous dispensary, they run the risk of having to teach an old dog new tricks when they believe they have someone who knows all the tricks.

Owners can circumvent this mistake by having a defined list of questions pertinent to previous dispensary experience to see if the experience matches their company standards, by researching a candidate’s previous dispensary, or by deciding not to put weight on previous dispensary experience at all and rather focusing on other important factors.


I promise you that product selection will become increasingly similar amongst competitors. As this happens, your team, not your product selection, is what will sell people on your dispensary. Avoid these top 5 mistakes dispensary owners make by mindfully cultivating a powerful team, and you will be one step closer to emerging as an industry leader than those that think mass cannabis consumption is a viable job requirement.



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