If you're interested in a job working with marijuana in Colorado, a state occupational license is a requirement. (Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file)

Ask The Cannabist: Are U.S. pot industry jobs open to foreigners?

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 askthecannabist@gmail.com.

Hey, Cannabist!
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.

Fees vary for MED’s three types of badges — Support, Key and Owner. They are all privileged licenses, and all licensees must pass statutory requirements.

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

More Ask The Cannabist: Readers have lots of questions about growing marijuana, workplace issues, Colorado culture