Do I really have to pay $100 to work in recreational marijuana?

YES, YOU REALLY DO. And you must pass a test and a criminal background check. If you conquer these three labors like a modern-day Heracles, you should be golden.

Oregon recently followed Colorado’s lead in requiring that weed industry workers carry papers. Whereas Colorado workers sport classy “badges,” however, Oregon workers will just be getting “permits.” This permit requirement applies to everyone toiling in the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s (OLCC) seed-to-sale system. Their counterparts in the medical marijuana program, as well as lab and research certificate employees, are exempt. So if you really, really hate tests, or you are a pauper or felonious type, this may not be your enterprise.

The test itself is a breezy, 30-question, multiple-choice affair, whereby one must demonstrate minimum competency (21 correct answers) on a computer. In that regard, it feels a bit like a DMV exercise. The pot exam is nicer, though, because you can take it in the comfort of your home. It’s also no big deal if your eyes are bad, and no one inquires about your weight or the fate of your organs. Most of the test questions are based on program rules; others are common-sense “how to do life” stuff. I know these things because I took the test myself. And I was pleased to pass.

If the OLCC is reading this, I hope they will not mind if I give a few gentle pointers. One is to read through the helpful “education materials” posted on the OLCC website. Another is to avoid choosing the following wrong answers, which were included on my exam: (1) it is okay to smoke pot as a customer tutorial; (2) it is okay to smoke pot in the parking lot with a customer to “make it legal”; and (3) you cannot sell marijuana to old people. Altogether, the pot exam is sort of fun to take and if you start to mess up, you can really steer into it.

Assuming you pass, I should advise that any permittee who fails to follow program rules is subject to a five-headed hydra of possible administrative sanctions, and that employers themselves may be liable for employee misdeeds. If a permittee or employer wishes to challenge an OLCC sanction, that challenge can be heard before an administrative law judge. The judge reviews the OLCC decision and asks herself if the decision is subject to reversal for being “arbitrary and capricious.” Then, she tends to decide that it was not.

The idea behind pot worker permits is similar to the OLCC requirement for alcohol service permits, although alcohol permits are not required for back-end industry workers. With pot, however, states tend to regulate comprehensively, because the federal government expects it. So sharpen your pencils and empty your change bowls. The permitting process is now underway.