Since voting to approve the recreational Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act in November 2018, businesses working in the industry have moved swiftly in preparation of the license application process that is set to open on December 6th, 2019. However, any youngsters aspiring to open a cannabis dispensary (or even work in one) will be forced to wait until they are 21 due to a clause in the ballot proposal that has been overlooked by many.

While the ballot proposal will make the Great Lake State the 10th in America to legalize recreational marijuana use, there are several elements that will vary from the sale of medical marijuana, which has been possible since 2008. The most important clause for young workers stipulates that the minimum age of a worker will be set to 21.

In no uncertain terms, the ruling states: “No marihuana establishment may allow a person under 21 years of age to volunteer or work for the marihuana establishment.” This is a clause that Andrew Brisbo, director of the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency, has openly backed and clarified in recent times at the CannaCon conference, which suggests that the authorities won’t even consider overturning it.

People who oppose the decision argue that it isn’t logical to set this age restriction when people are legally permitted to sell alcohol at the age of 18 despite not being allowed to consume it until 21. It has been argued that this type of age discrimination is unfair on young adults who will need to delay their careers. Moreover, working in retail is usually a sector that is heavily populated by young workers.

Aside from restricting aspiring young workers and entrepreneurs looking to embrace the new commercial opportunities that the approval brings, the law causes major issues for youngsters already working in medical marijuana sales – as well as the dispensaries they work for.

There are no laws or age limits on selling medical marijuana, which can be prescribed to adults and children for managing the pain and symptoms of varying health conditions and ailments. Protesters have also argued that, if anything, it would make more sense to have age restrictions in place for products sold on medical prescriptions.

Anyone already working in any of the 200+ medical marijuana dispensaries can continue to work in the medical sales department. However, this is only permitted if the medical areas of the business are clearly segregated from the recreational areas. This naturally puts established businesses in very difficult situations as they try to prepare for the impending period of transition. It is inevitable that some of the young workers in the industry will lose jobs while younger business owners could be left behind by being restricted to medical sales alone.

Aspiring youngsters aren’t the only ones that should take note of the ballot’s restrictions, either. Another clause states that, for a period of two years, only existing medical dispensaries are permitted to apply for a recreational marijuana license. So, any new business models in this industry will need to sit patiently.

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