Do I need an OLCC Marijuana Worker Permit?

If you want to work for an Oregon recreational cannabis company in a capacity that will involve handling of cannabis or cannabis products, you are probably going to need to get a Marijuana Worker Permit from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). You will need a Marijuana Worker Permit to work for an OLCC licensed producer, processor, wholesaler, or retailer and participate in the possession, production, propagation, processing, securing, or selling of recreational cannabis products for your employer; the recording of the possession, production, propagation, processing, securing or selling of recreational cannabis products for your employer; checking identification of customers of your retailer employer; or supervising any person performing any of these activities.

OLCC lab and research certificate employees are not required to hold Marijuana Worker Permits, nor are employees of Oregon Medical Marijuana Program companies or industrial hemp companies.

Because the OLCC will need to receive your completed background check before you are approved for your Marijuana Worker Permit, you should apply for your permit as soon as you decide you want to try to find a job in the industry. The permit fee is not due until your permit application is approved and you are ready to print your permit, so you can wait until you are hired before paying for your permit.

How Do I Get a Marijuana Worker Permit?

Individuals must be at least 21 years old to obtain a Marijuana Worker Permit. There is no residency or citizenship requirement.

To obtain your Marijuana Worker Permit, you will need to pass the online OLCC administered test with a score of 70% or higher. The OLCC publishes a review workbook in English and Spanish for applicants to review prior to taking the test. You can find the workbook here. The purpose of the test is to ensure that all people working with recreational cannabis have a basic understanding of the rules governing recreational cannabis businesses, including those regarding safe handling, checking identification, and recognizing visible signs of intoxication. The test questions are far from all-encompassing, but rather hit on some of the OLCC’s primary concerns for people working for recreational cannabis companies.

Once you have reviewed the workbook material you can take your test here.

After you pass your test, you will complete your application by registering for a Marijuana Worker Permit account. Once you register for the account, you will receive an email with a link to verify your identity and upload a valid photo ID and your test Certificate of Completion.

Your information will be reviewed, and your background check results will be sent to the OLCC. Your background does not need to be perfect for you to qualify for a Marijuana Worker Permit. Many imperfections will not disqualify you from obtaining a Marijuana Worker Permit, especially those related to minor crimes under old marijuana laws. The state and the OLCC want to welcome into the legal industry people who were involved in the industry prior to legalization.

The following are reasons your Marijuana Worker Permit application might be denied: you had an OLCC license or Marijuana Worker Permit revoked within the last two years; you have a conviction on your record for certain drug crimes (though convictions for the manufacture or delivery of marijuana that are more than two years old, as well as convictions for possession of marijuana regardless of the date of conviction, will not be considered); you have been convicted of a violent crime within three years of the date of the Marijuana Worker Permit application; you have been convicted of a felony for a crime of dishonesty or deception, including but not limited to theft, fraud, or forgery, within three years of the date of the application; you have been convicted of a felony for a crime involving a firearm within three years of the date of the application; you have more than one conviction for any of the above crimes within five years of the date of the application; you have a violation of any of the state’s cannabis regulations or any of the rules adopted under the cannabis regulations; you have made a false statement to the OLCC.

Once your background check and other materials are received, reviewed, and approved, you will receive an email telling you that there has been a change of status for your Marijuana Worker Permit application. The email will direct you to log in to your account, where you will be able to pay for your application using a credit card. The fee is $100 and is not due until your Marijuana Worker Permit is approved. Immediately upon successful payment of the application fee, your Marijuana Worker Permit will be available online for you to print. You will not receive a hard copy of your Marijuana Worker Permit.

I Have My Marijuana Worker Permit, Now What?

Your employer will need to see your Marijuana Worker Permit and verify your identity before allowing you to handle recreational cannabis products, so bring you permit and your identification on your first day of work. You are required to present your Marijuana Worker Permit on demand to OLCC representatives and law enforcement officers while you are at work, so you should also carry your permit on you whenever you are at work.

You Marijuana Worker Permit is valid for five years from the date it was issued to you. You are required to notify the OLCC within ten days if you are convicted of a crime, whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor.

How Do I Get a Job in the Recreational Cannabis Industry?

Oregon’s recreational cannabis industry is dynamic, with businesses continuously popping up, merging, growing, going out of business, and so on. There are entry-level positions across the various license types. Seasonality is a major consideration for most companies during the hiring process. Outdoor harvests occur in the fall which increases activity for most businesses statewide. Depending on your employment goals, you might consider seeking employment at outdoor farms (the majority of which are in southern Oregon) in the fall for seasonal work. More permanent positions are available year-round but are generally more difficult to get.

A good place to start looking for a long-term position is at a company that provides industry support services, like Packaging Brothers, which has entry-level positions in wholesaling, pre-roll rolling, trimming, and packaging. Companies like that, which offer services to many other licensees, also give employees the opportunity to meet other potential employers. Cannabis connoisseurs might be best suited for budtender positions with retailers, where they can guide customers to the perfect product. Experienced home growers might find a job in cultivation at a farm. Love the idea of visiting a bunch of different farms? Apply for a job with a trim staffing company, like Green Force.

Once you nab that job, remember that this is a hot industry with many people in line for your job. To keep it, make sure you show up on time, do good work, and, please, do not show up high! Your employer is probably supportive of you becoming familiar with their product but do it on your own time. An owner of a retail chain recently told me of showing up unannounced to a shop and finding a very high new hire budtender, who was fired on the spot.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me Get My Marijuana Worker Permit?

No! You do not need to hire an attorney to help you get your marijuana worker permit. The information in this article and the OLCC’s Marijuana Worker Permit website have all of the information you need to get your Marijuana Worker Permit. If you have trouble, email marijuana.workerpermit@oregon.gov or call 503-872-5000.

Once you have put your Marijuana Worker Permit to use and are ready to start your own business, give us a call.