5 Jobs That Aren’t Legal in All States

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5 Jobs That Aren't Legal in All States

The US is made up of 50 states, and as such, certain laws differ from state to state. A particular job or act may be legal in one state, but it might be controversial or completely illegal in another. Here, we’ll check out 5 jobs that aren’t legal in all states in the US.

Reselling tickets, possessing or selling illicit drugs, provision for same-sex marriages, working for free or near to nothing, and delivering babies outside hospital norms are the most common jobs that are considered controversial as well as illegal in many places in the United States, but under certain terms, can be legal in other places too.

A certain job can be legal or illegal depending on many factors, such as if the act harms others, it is an unethical way of making money, it exploits the employee, etc.

However, different states have different laws for such jobs, making them legal in some places, but illegal in others.

Let us take a look at these jobs in some detail…

Reselling Tickets


Scalpers are people who resell major sports, arts, theater, and music concert tickets at a price far above the original cost. Scalpers manipulate the market by supplying last-minute tickets to a sold-out event, and in turn make hefty cash profits.

Scalping is controlled in most US states, and the law on this varies from state to state. An offender could easily get penalized anywhere around $1000 – $20,000, or even be sent to prison in case of repeated violations.

Conducting Same-Sex Marriages


There are 9 US states plus Washington, D.C. that allow same-sex marriages, whereas the rest of the states have banned such marriages. 6 states allow civil unions, but not marriage. Opposition groups argue that legalizing same-sex marriages would eventually lead to polygamy or group marriages. It violates not only natural law but also denies a child a father or a mother, and so must be opposed. Anyone caught providing same-sex marriage services in any of the states where it is illegal, could end up in prison.

Selling Marijuana


According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in the year 2010, around 22 million people (aged 12 and above) used illegal drugs, marijuana, being the most commonly used drug. Even though selling medical marijuana to people with a prescription is legal in 18 states across the US, it is illegal and a criminal offense to use, possess, buy, sell, or cultivate cannabis (marijuana) in other parts of the US. Offenders can get penalized around $150 – $25,000 or more (depending on the substance/quantity), and be imprisoned for life in case of repeated violations.

Unpaid Internships


If a company benefits from an intern’s work, they need to pay a minimum wage to that employee, and not use the intern as a method to obtain free labor. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) fact sheet #71 states that, “If an employer uses interns as substitutes for regular workers, these interns should be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked.” Also, interns need to be given work that would improve their expertise and benefit their career, and not odd jobs around the office. Although working for free is fairly common in most US states, it is a violation of federal labor laws, and the employer could face some serious legal problems.

Delivering Babies at Home


Providing prenatal care outside hospital norms by midwives or people who are not licensed as medical professionals is considered illegal in more than half the US states. Many women opt or demand for home birth services to have a natural birth, but with all the medical advantages available today, opting for home birth is like intentionally putting the mother and baby in jeopardy. People or midwives who provide this service could get arrested, as most US states consider midwife-assisted home birth a felony.

Disclaimer: This article is solely for informative purposes, and laws may vary from state to state, and change from time to time.

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