Whether it is public support or politics, each state has different regulations in place to operate a cannabis business. Interestingly, state-by-state cannabis business requirements and dispensary resources continue to evolve over time.

As of June 2021, 18 states support the legal use of cannabis, whereas 36 states support the legal use of medical cannabis. So, if you plan to start a cannabis dispensary store, find out the requirements and legal loopholes of “your” state. Once you open a high-risk merchant account, you should continue to learn more information to ensure compliance and cut out potential disqualification issues.

Below, Paybotic will focus on the requirements of the most competitive U.S. Mountain and Pacific states that allow cannabis businesses to operate.

Helpful Recreational Dispensary Resources for Mountain and Pacific States


Arizona mandates an agent card of the cannabis facility. This agent can be the board member, principal officer, cannabis testing facility, employee, or even a volunteer. Like other states, it is vital to make sure the facility agent does not have a felony record and is over 21 years old.

If you want to operate a cannabis business or testing facility in Arizona, you will need a valid agent license from the Department of Health Service for Marijuana Use. Also, only registered agents can work for the cannabis facility with approved license for the testing facility.

Cannabis businesses that want to operate in Arizona also must pass a background check. Again, it is vital to make sure cannabis business owner or hired employees do not have a prior felony conviction that might compromise cannabis business operations.


California is one of the first states that passed legislation in support of legalizing cannabis and medical marijuana. According to Adult Use of Marijuana Act, California allows the use and sale of cannabis for adults over 21 years old. But unlike other pacific states, California does not mandate a particular license to operate.

Moreover, cannabis business owners have the right to conduct a background check of potential employees. California emphasizes transparent hiring practices and imposes disqualification if an employer starts cannabis operations without any regard for standard hiring practices.


The medical use of cannabis has been legal in Colorado for more than two decades. The application and requirements are more straightforward than in other states. Colorado mandates a MED badge that works as an employee license. It also requires people who want to work in the cannabis industry to have a few years of experience in handling cannabis products and plants. In Colorado, a thorough background check is also mandatory to operate and work in the cannabis sector.


Oregon has adult and medical use of cannabis programs. In 2020, Oregon records more than 18,000 people offering assorted services in the cannabis sector. In Oregon, the main emphasis is on a Worker Permit for individuals who want to be part of the cannabis industry. State officials believe that the requirements are in place to avoid cannabis market saturation.

OLLC issues the license for recreational marijuana that includes valid licenses for a worker permit. It also covers businesses that need licenses for processors, producers, retailers, and wholesalers. If you want to get a worker permit, there is a minimum passing score requirement of 70%.

Once you hit or cross this mark, you can get a Completion Certification that will become part of your application. Whether it is a false statement or cover-up of a felony record, OLLC reserves the right to disqualify you if you do not meet its criteria for a worker permit.


Nevada’s adult cannabis marketplace rose to heights in 2017 and paved the way for more than 10,000 jobs. Like Arizona, Nevada also mandates an agent card for employees, volunteers, contractors, board members, and officers of a cannabis establishment.

According to Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board, the registration of the agent card requires continuous upgrades. The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board determines the eligibility of individuals for agent cards.

The board conducts a proper background check of the applicant and establishes the eligibility of the agent registration card. If someone has a previous felony charge, Cannabis Compliance Board would revoke the temporary registration.


Washington is the first state that legalized marijuana for adult use and purchases back in 2012. In 2021, Washington increased its cannabis sector revenue from $1.8 billion to $2.13 billion. Cannabis businesses find Washington to be the most convenient and flexible state to operate.

In fact, Washington does not require any cards or licenses for people who want to work in a cannabis dispensary or cannabis testing facility. If you are 21 years old and have a clear background check, you can use and sell cannabis products in Washington.

Why do States Require Cannabis Permits and Licenses?

The objective of permits and licenses is to prioritize public safety and meet tax requirements. From Arizona to Washington, each mountain and the pacific state has its own registration and licensing requirements for cannabis businesses.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis payment processing solutions

Since cannabis is highly regulated industry, licensing in some states is complicated. Compliance requirements also vary from one state to another. Ultimately, your licensing and compliance requirements come down to the state you want to operate in the U.S. In some instances, states follow an open application protocol and approve a lot of licenses. But some states are not open and impose rigid rules and accept a small number of cannabis business licenses.

Reach out to Paybotic today to learn about our payment processing solutions for the cannabis industry. 


Post date: 10/7/2021
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