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Thursday December 30, 2021

By Erin Hiatt


If you live in Colorado and you want to land a job in the cannabis industry, you’ll have to get a Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) badge, commonly known as Colorado MED badge, or just MED badge for short. These badges allow individuals to work for MED-licensed medical and retail marijuana facilities or vendors that provide services to such businesses.

Obtaining a MED badge is crucial for anyone looking to work in the cannabis industry, and many companies will not hire someone without one. Thankfully, the process is rather simple and we’re here to help guide you every step of the way!

How to Get a MED Badge in Colorado

Prior to January 2020, those hoping to work in the Colorado cannabis industry had to apply for either a Support or Key License. That’s all been simplified and is now combined under one license type, the Employee License Category.

Now that this application process has gotten easier, you can submit digitally, drop off your application (at the Lakewood location only), or submit by good old snail mail. 

Getting a MED badge isn’t difficult, per se, but you need to be able to prove your Colorado state residency (more on that later) and many other requirements as outlined by the state.

To get your med badge, you’ll need to have the following qualifications:

MED Badge Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a Colorado resident and have the driver’s license (or state-issued ID) to prove it plus another form of identification to show your current address, like a utility bill or pay stub.
  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Have not been convicted of a felony in the three years preceding the application
  • Are not currently subject to a felony conviction sentence
  • Have not failed to remedy any outstanding delinquency for any judgments, taxes, interest, or penalties due to the Department of Revenue relating to a regulated marijuana business
  • Have not served time, including parole or probation for any felony in the past five years
  • Are NOT a physician making cannabis recommendations
  • Have never been a primary caregiver that had your authority revoked by the state
  • Are not the spouse or child living in the household of any person employed the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division
  • Are not a sheriff or deputy sheriff
  • Are not a police officer
  • Are not a prosecuting officer
  • Are not an officer or employee with the state licensing authority or local licensing authority

Can you say all of that with certainty? Great! You can now move on to actually applying

 key badge and MED occupational license applciation.
An example of a key badge and MED occupational license application.

First, you’ll have to complete the application, which you should look at carefully because incomplete applications will NOT proceed through the pipeline.

Here’s what you’ll need to be prepared with for the application: 

  • Your social security number or a sworn statement that you do not have one
  • Age
  • Physical and mailing addresses
  • Employment history
  • Criminal history
  • Citizenship
  • If you are not a Colorado resident, proof of enrollment in a MJ Workforce Development or Training program for non-residents studying cannabis
  • $105 application fee
  • You must have your fingerprints taken by a third-party vendor prior to submitting your application. 

Pro Tip: The MED advises that it’s better to disclose all information than face denial, revocation or criminal prosecution. Additionally, be sure to be paid up on your taxes because you can’t get your MED badge if you owe the government any money.

The MED Employee License page also suggests that you double check your application to ensure it’s complete in its entirety (italics courtesy of the state), and that your signature is provided in ALL required fields throughout the application.

How to Apply

You can submit your application electronically, drop off your application at the Lakewood MED office location, or mail in your application to the MED office closest to you. Application fees can be submitted electronically. For hardcopy applications, make your check payable to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Once you’ve filled out and submitted the application, the next step is simply to wait. If your application is correct and complete and you pass your background check with flying colors, you should receive your med badge in the mail. Otherwise, the MED will reach out to you to rectify any discrepancies.

Obtaining a med card is key for working in the cannabis space.

Since the last time we at PotGuide covered this topic, the rules for obtaining a med badge and the application process have changed a lot and may change again, probably because of COVID. Your application could be held up by even small mistakes, so here’s the contact information for MED offices throughout the state. 

Once you get your badge and you’re working in your new marijuana dream job, be sure to keep that badge displayed at all times above the waist with the photo visible. Now that you know the process, it’s time to apply for your badge and get to work!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a Colorado ID to get a med badge?

In most cases, yes, but there is one caveat. In order to get one as an out-of-state resident, you’ll need to be registered in a marijuana training program in the state of Colorado. You will need to prove residency with a Colorado REAL ID and a document like a utility bill.

How long does it take to get a med card in Colorado?

That depends. There are several steps along the way to obtaining your med badge, from filling out the paperwork to waiting for your completed background check. To be on the safe side, assume a month or more. Especially if you are seeking a job in the industry, be aware that you’ll likely have to have your badge completely sorted before you can apply to businesses.

How do I renew my Colorado Medical Badge?

This handy web page from the state of Colorado can guide your steps. Remember - if your former license expired, you’ll have to start all over as a new applicant, so make sure to keep your badge current.

What was your experience like getting your MED badge? Or what questions are you curious about if you’re looking to get one? Share in the comments!


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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