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Worker Licensing

Resources for Aspiring Cannabis Workers

Worker Licensing FAQs

Do I need to be licensed to work in the cannabis industry?

You need to be licensed if you are a key employee or backer of a cannabis establishment. A key employee is someone who is either A) the top-ranking individual at the establishment (the person who is responsible for staff and business operations) OR B) the financial manager OR C) the compliance manager. A backer is someone with financial interest in a cannabis establishment that is over 5% of the overall ownership of the establishment and/or participates directly in the management of the establishment. All employees of a cannabis establishment must be registered with the state. Registration can be completed here.

How do I obtain a work license?

You likely will not require a license to work, but for those who do, applications are not currently available, but there are 14 different licenses and registrations. There are two lotteries to pick applicants: 

  • Social equity lottery 

  • General lottery


The social equity lottery is run first by an outside operator, followed by the general lottery. For each license type, at least half of the licenses will go to social equity applicants. You qualify as a social equity applicant if you:

  • Had an average household income of less than 300% of the state median household income over the three tax years immediately preceding the application

  • Were a resident of a disproportionately impacted area for at least five of the ten years immediately preceding the date of application or were a resident of a disproportionately impacted area for at least nine years prior to turning 18


Process for social equity lottery

  1. Fill out application as a Social Equity Applicant and pay lottery fee

  2. An outside lottery operator will run the lottery

  3. Once the social equity lottery has been run, DCP will share the lottery winners with the Social Equity Council to decide if the applicants qualify as social equity applicants

    1. If the applicant does qualify, a background check will be run

    2. If the applicant does not qualify, the applicant can pay the difference for the full lottery fee and enter into the general lottery. If the applicant does not pay the full lottery fee, the application process will end for that applicant, and another applicant will be picked for the social equity lottery.


Process for general lottery

  1. Fill out an application and pay a lottery fee. 

  2. An outside operator will pick applicants until the Department has filled all the available licenses for each type.

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