Drug Law

Nation's 1st Insurance Plan Offered to Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The insurance industry is getting into the marijuana business. A California-based company is offering what it calls the nation's first-ever comprehensive coverage for those in the medical marijuana industry.

According to a report in the Sacramento Bee, Statewide Insurance Services is offering plans in all 50 states, even though just 14 states allow the legal use of medical marijuana.

"Given the growth in the industry, I think it's only a matter of time" before other states allow medical marijuana, said Mike Aberle, national director of Statewide's Medical Marijuana Specialty Division. "Now that we can offer (services) in all 50 states, we can start the minute they go legal, without delay."

Aberle said the program covers "all aspects of the industry," including medical marijuana dispensaries, auto insurance for vehicles used to transport pot, equipment breakdown/damage, property/product loss (including pot spoilage) and operations related to marijuana growing.

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The company currently has policyholders in California, Colorado, New Mexico and Rhode Island. Premiums range from $650-to-$25,000 a year, depending on what type of coverage a business chooses. Typical policies have annual premiums in the $1,000-to-$4,000 range.

Max Del Real, a lobbyist with California Capitol Solutions in Sacramento, characterized Statewide's national program as a milestone in an industry that needs insurance protections for everyone in the distribution chain, from growers of medical marijuana to those who use it.

"It's very big, especially right now with public safety. Safety protocols need to be put into place," he said.