5 Jobs That Aren't Legal In All States

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These Jobs Aren't Always Legal

Wanted: An adventure-seeking, entrepreneur who thrives on controversy. Those who lack conviction need not apply.

For a very few people, a job post like this just might be enticing. Here we look a few jobs that are so controversial that they aren't even legal in all states.

1. Ticket Scalping

It's not uncommon to find "scalpers" at major sporting, arts and music shows, and they can often be a way to get last-minute tickets to a sold-out event. However, scalping is highly regulated in many states, if not banned entirely. This is because scalpers can sometimes drive the cost of tickets up by buying up large blocks and causing the show to sell out, allowing them to sell more tickets at a higher rate - essentially manipulating the market. While legitimate scalpers who operate within the law do exist, incidences of stolen or counterfeit ticket resales are part of what make scalping so controversial.

2. Selling (Medical) Marijuana

In states where medical marijuana is legal, obtaining the drug is no longer a shady, street corner transaction (assuming the buyer has a prescription). Many states have active medical marijuana programs, which means that many legitimate business owners are making a living - and have built careers - around providing medical marijuana to the public. However, try this in a state where marijuana isn't allowed and you may be charged with a criminal offense.

3. Providing Same-Sex Weddings

According to Reuters, five states and the District of Columbia were allowing gay marriage in 2010. A 2008 article in the Boston Globe referenced a study conducted for the state's Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, which predicted that same-sex marriages had the potential to create an economic "boomlet" for hotels, caterers and other providers of wedding-related services. When a new niche emerges you can bet that someone will step in to fill it and specialize in providing marriage and tourist services to gay couples. Although providing these services in a state where such unions aren't recognized won't get you into trouble, it would take a change in state laws to really make this a viable business.

4. Delivering Babies

Being a midwife - particularly if it involves delivering a baby outside of a hospital setting - is illegal or subject to many restrictions in more than half of U.S. states. In many cases, midwives who are not licensed as medical professionals (such as a nurse), get into trouble for practicing medicine without a license. This means that "direct-entry midwives", who are educated in midwifery through a program that does not require prior education as a nurse, are unable to assist women in childbirth in many states.

5. Working For Free

In a tough and competitive job market like this one, many students are happy just to get their foot in the door at a big company - even if it means working for free and getting by on peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles. Although this type of free labor is still relatively common, it poses some legal problems for employers - namely that employing someone at menial work (which many internships entail) without compensation is a violation of federal labor laws.


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, if an intern is to work for free, he or she needs to benefit from the arrangement and not just provide free labor for a company or displace regular paid workers.

Not Always Illicit Jobs

Although these illicit jobs have their benefits, those who work in these fields may be on shaky ground. After all, even when these activities are allowed, they often remain controversial, which could mean that the legal winds could shift at any time, leaving those who depend on them out of luck.

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