Tipping is a huge part of American culture, but there are lots of situations where people aren’t quite sure if tipping is appropriate. Even if you do know that you should probably be tipping in a situation, it is hard to know how much is customary. I think we all know that waiters will usually be tipped around 15% to 20%, but even that percentage seems to be ever changing. Other services don’t have as concrete of a system, such as bartenders, but it is still often based on the total amount. On the other hand, there are plenty of other positions that this doesn’t apply for, such as bellhops. All of this tipping confusion has made its way into the cannabis community now that so many dispensaries are sporting tip jars of their own. This has got plenty of people wondering what the proper standard is for tipping your budtenders. I don’t recall ever pulling out an extra five bucks to tip my weed dealers back in the day, but they were also 20 minutes late and .3 short! Now that the experience has become much more professional and involves receiving legitimate advice and information about your products, I think it might be time to let the generosity flow.
One state that has had people talking about tipping at dispensaries quite a bit is Washington. Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board put out a statement in January that changed their position on tipping at dispensaries. Previously it was not allowed because they thought that dispensaries were manipulating the price of products based on how big of a tip they were given, to avoid paying as much in taxes. However, in January they changed their mind to allow tipping. This came with some obvious contingencies. For example, the tip can’t be required and it can’t change the original price to avoid taxation. So, yes, we can legally tip our budtenders, but I’m sure many of you didn’t even know that was ever in question. The new question is when to tip and how much?
Budtenders around the country seem to be in agreement that a tip is just an added bonus and isn’t usually expected. There are a few situations where being tipped as a budtender seems to be more common. One of them is when the overall price of the purchase is enough that a few extra bucks will just be drops in the bucket. The most rewarding time to be tipped as a budtender is after they have spent quite a bit of time to answer your questions and help you make an informed decision on your cannabis purchase. Budtenders aren’t just service industry cogs in a machine, they are consultants as well. One of the hardest parts of being a budtender is the constant research and information you have to learn to keep up with the newest trends in the industry. If you have a budtender that cares enough about the plant and the patients to do his homework and help educate you, then it can be nice to show them some extra love. That being said, the common theme seems to be that at this point it is still completely just a nice bonus that no one is going to demonize you for not participating in.