How to Work In Cannabis

Requirements by State

Map of the United States

Politics, budgets, and public support vary widely by state, which means each state’s requirements to work in the cannabis industry look completely different from one another.* This map and corresponding state information is not updated in real time. For up-to-the-minute information on requirements to work in cannabis, visit the governing body links provided on each state page.

17States & DistrictsAdult use cannabis is legal
21States & DistrictsMedical cannabis is legal

How to get your cannabis license in:

In the cannabis industry, change is the only constant. If you thrive in that kind of dynamic, full-of-opportunity environment, this is absolutely the place to be. But breaking in can be tricky – especially since every state has its own unique set of requirements to work in cannabis. We know the laws are nuanced and can even feel confusing (thank you, Uncle Sam!). But learning all about the regulations in your state is an essential first step on your cannabis career journey. In fact, our recruiting experts will tell you the more you know, the more it’ll help you stand out with potential employers.

The best way to stand out is by being genuine about why you want to join the cannabis industry and begin educating yourself on what that transition will look like. Learn about the industry, understand the regulations, and start networking with advocates in your area. The barrier to entry into cannabis may be high, but by setting yourself apart from the average applicant, you’ll be able to join a great team.- Kelsea, Head of Community Partnerships at Vangst
So, where to start? As you explore this guide you see there are three types of states in the US:
  • Adult use states
  • Medical states
  • Illegal states

What's the difference? “Recreational marijuana” (or “adult-use cannabis”), is legal marijuana sold in licensed dispensaries to any adult ages 21 and older. This might come in any variety of forms, from smokable flowers to vape cartridges to edibles and more. “Medical marijuana,” on the other hand, is only legal for patients who maintain a valid medical cannabis card. States where adult use cannabis is decriminalized but where sales are currently not regulated or in the process of being regulated will not appear marked on our map. Additional information on decriminalization is available within each state page where applicable.

You’ll also notice that not all companies in the cannabis industry require state licenses, but most growers, processors, and retailers do. If you’re considering a company that touches the plant, it’s important to work only with licensed operators in the cannabis industry.

Explore the unique laws and regulations in your state by clicking into the tool above. Still have questions? You’re not alone. Pop into the Vangst forum and ask the community, or check out our additional resources. The Vangst community is here to help you along your cannabis career journey – every step of the way.

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