Colorado is well known as one of the most cannabis-friendly states in the U.S., with a booming industry that hit record-high sales of more than $2.2B in 2020. Thanks to the incredible success of Colorado’s canna-businesses, the state has also become one of the most desirable locations for professionals just entering the industry. With plenty of jobs available and virtually endless possibilities for professional growth, Colorado is the place to be if you are just starting your cannabis career.

In this guide, we’re laying out the roadmap for success as you take your first steps to apply for a cannabis job. While there are lots of opportunities in Colorado, you will need to get some things in order before you can start to apply. Here’s everything you’ll need to do before you can begin seriously exploring employment opportunities in recreational cannabis.

Do You Have What It Takes?

Working in cannabis might sound like a dream come true – and it is, in many ways – but it is also a highly regulated industry that requires you to follow certain rules and restrictions. Yes, you’ll meet amazing people, work with cannabis, and learn a lot about your favorite plant, but you’ll also need to comply with State and local rules.

It’s also important to remember that not all cannabis jobs are the same. What does it take to be a budtender in Colorado vs other states? What does it take to work in a Colorado cultivation facility? What does it take to work at a dispensary? With each job comes unique training and qualifications, so it isn’t as simple as just getting that first job.

Having said this, if you are a diligent and curious person, you love cannabis and learning about plants, and you want a career helping people and working with a diverse community of professionals, you might just have what it takes to work in Colorado cannabis!

Step 1: Fill Out the Application

Before you can apply for work in the cannabis industry in Colorado, you will need to apply for and obtain a Marijuana Enforcement Division Employee License/Badge (MED badge.)

The MED Badge application process is fairly straightforward. You’ll need to fill out the application which includes basic information for identification purposes, a release for a criminal background check, and other legal forms. A copy of a State or Federal photo ID must be included with your application, along with proof of residency in the state of Colorado.

While anyone over the age of 21 can apply, there are some restrictions to consider. MED badges will not be issued to people who:

  • Have been convicted of a felony within the past 3 years…
  • Are currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction including probation or parole…
  • Have outstanding payments due to the IRS…
  • Are or have been a licensed primary caregiver or physician…
  • Are the spouse or child of someone working for the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division
  • Work in law enforcement or local licensing authority…

Step 2: Get Fingerprinted

Hold up! Rewind! Once you begin your MED badge application, you’ll probably notice that you also need to submit a copy of your fingerprints. Your prints must be sent to CMED before your application, and because they don’t offer this service themselves, you’ll need to find an official third party to take your fingerprints.

Luckily, CMED does have a list of trusted Colorado fingerprinting provers, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to complete this step.

Step 3: Pay a Fee

The Colorado MED badge application fee is $105.00. If you are mailing in your application, this fee should be included in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Colorado Department of Revenue or CDOR. If you are submitting your application via email, a member of staff will contact you after it is received to send you a link where you can submit your payment.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Once your application, fingerprints, and payment are ready to go, they can be submitted. Applicants have three options to submit:

  1. Online via their Colorado Department of Revenue profile/account
  2. In-person at 1697 Cole Blvd., Suite 200, Lakewood, CO 80401
  3. By mail to the Lakewood, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, or Longmont offices (full details here)

Step 5: Get “Badged” & Start Your Search

If your application is accepted and you pass your background check, you will be sent the official MED badge by mail to the mailing address listed on your application. Once you have been ‘badged,’ you will be able to begin searching for and applying to jobs in the Colorado cannabis industry.

Not quite sure where to start your job search? Hemp Temps makes it easy to apply for temporary positions that can become long-term career opportunities in cannabis.