Welcome to our Ask The Cannabist column. Clearly you have questions about marijuana, be it a legal concern, a health curiosity, a Colorado-centric inquiry or something more far-reaching. Check out our expansive, 100-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, email your question to Ask The Cannabist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it possible to work in the new and developing U.S. marijuana industry if I’m from a different country? — Foreign Flower
Hey, Foreign Flower!
For most jobs in Colorado’s cannabis industry, the first step is to get a badge — an occupational license from the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). A badge is needed if the work involves touching marijuana or working in the restricted areas of licensed marijuana businesses, for example as a budtender or assisting in plant cultivation. Industry work that does not require a MED badge includes ancillary businesses that provide product packaging or software, among many others.
Natriece Bryant, communications specialist for MED, clarifies that noncitizens need to have a U.S. work visa and a Social Security number for proof of filing taxes, must be a Colorado resident at time of application and meet all statutory requirements for occupational licenses in order to work in Colorado’s marijuana industry.
All occupational license applicants must be over age 21, be a resident of Colorado for three months and have a Colorado-issued driver’s license or state ID. Bryant adds that applicants cannot have certain felony convictions or be a police officer.
Outside of Colorado, unregulated seasonal weed work can be found helping with the fall harvest as a “trimmigrant” in northern California’s so-called Emerald Triangle of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. However, that is a riskier proposition. XO