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Jenny Bloom

January 16, 2019

With a well-established medical marijuana industry and a successful recreational one, there are tons of entry-level positions available for those looking to build their careers in the Oregon marijuana industry. Two of the most prized beginner positions are trimmers and budtenders.

Of course, both the medical and recreational marijuana industries are heavily regulated, which simply means there are a few more hoops potential employees need to jump through before starting their new job. Let’s review the legal requirements of working as a trimmer or budtender in the state of Oregon.

Legal requirements to become a trimmer or budtender in Oregon

In the state of Oregon, all workers within any aspect of the marijuana industry must receive a marijuana worker permit to be legally employed. This is handled by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, or the OLCC, although the medical marijuana industry with different licensing might not require this specific permit (although plenty of them do require it anyway).

Since business in the recreational marijuana industry is booming and will likely overtake the medical marijuana business in Oregon, hopeful trimmers will most likely be more interested in learning about the requirements they will need to work for a recreational marijuana company. For that reason, let’s take a look at what goes into this marijuana worker permit.

Legal requirements to become a trimmer or budtender in Oregon
Legal requirements to become a trimmer or budtender in Oregon – Image powered by Coloradocannabistours.com

To be eligible, you must be at least 21 years of age. You then must go through some education materials (offered both in Spanish and in English) to prepare for an exam. The test requires a pass of at least 70% to be eligible to receive your permit. If you do pass, you’ll get a Certificate of Completion, but that is not to be confused with an actual worker permit. It’s used simply for submitting your permit application.

The test will include a wide variety of topics relevant to the cannabis industry. There are specific, official terms you will have to learn, even if it is relatively irrelevant to your hopeful position. Trimmers, for example, likely won’t need to know what the “activation time” (the time it takes for the user to feel the effects of marijuana) of a given strain of marijuana is, but nonetheless, they still need to take this exam.

The workbook is just over 20 pages long, and it gives you an entire education about the different branches of the industry (wholesalers, producers, retailers, and processors). The idea is that all marijuana workers should have a foundational knowledge about the industry in Oregon as a whole.

The next step is to complete your worker permit application. You must register for an account (see the Oregon government’s website), verify your identity via email, and answer a few questions about yourself. You will need to upload a photo ID and the certificate of completion from passing the test, and then you simply wait until you find out if or when your permit has been issued.

Once you receive this notification (via email), a fee will be due. This fee is $100 at the time of writing and will be paid online with a credit card. Finally, you can print your permit (after your payment is received), and that means you are officially certified!

This may seem like a lot for an entry-level position, but as the first step in building your career in the legal marijuana business, it is a process well worth the investment and time. Don’t forget: preparing for and taking the test is supposed to help you learn something — so you may as well take advantage and learn everything you can before getting your foot in the door.

Remember: the marijuana worker permit is required for anyone working in the marijuana industry in Oregon. This even applies to people who are only there for a seasonal trimming (or other) position, so it’s important to plan ahead and get your permit before starting a part-time or temporary gig.

Budtenders and medical marijuana

For those looking for a career in the retail side of things as a budtender, the requirements for that initial marijuana work permit will be exactly the same as a trimmer (see above). However, some budtenders are particularly excited about working in the medical marijuana industry, in which case the process might look a little bit different.

If you are working (or would like to work) at a medical marijuana business, the Oregon Health Authority, or OHA, is in charge of the requirements for employment. Part of this is because the medical marijuana program in Oregon has been around for nearly two decades, so it is logical that it so far remains separate from the fairly new recreational industry.

Budtenders and medical marijuana
Budtenders and medical marijuana – Image powered by Civilized.life

Workers employed by an OHA-certified medical business won’t need the same permit as workers employed at recreational marijuana businesses, but there will likely be other things needed. This may include a background check, among other things, but according to the law, it may not include a credit history check.

Some dispensaries are both medical and recreational, meaning numerous requirements may be part of the deal for their employees. For example, it’s possible that an OHA Food Handler’s Card will need to be acquired by the employee before they start working in addition to their marijuana worker permit.

It is therefore essential to know what exactly the dispensary or company you are applying for legally needs from its employees before you apply or agree to take the job. In most cases, you can apply without having the permit(s), as long as you obtain them before your first day on the job.

Marijuana legislation can be complicated, but Jenny Bloom is always up for the task. Although not a lawyer, her experience as a reporter and PR specialist helps her understand legalese – especially when it relates to growing marijuana. A passionate supporter of legalization and home... [read more]

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