Several months ago, I wrote an article about cannabis growers in California who had their crops destroyed because of the wildfires ravaging the state. In the article, I referenced the fact that having your cannabis crops insured – even in a state where growing is legal, like California – is nearly impossible. This is because cannabis is still completely illegal on a federal level in the United States and insurance companies don’t want to take a chance on cannabis cultivation, as well as hesitation on the part of cannabis growers to have people poking around in their business.
But a cannabis farmer in Carpinteria, California recently won a payout from their insurance company in excess of $1 million to compensate for their marijuana crop that was damaged last year during the Northern CA wildfires.
One of the largest insurance brokers in the world – Brown & Brown Insurance – now has about 20 cannabis cultivator clients in the Carpinteria and Lompoc area, and they expect millions more in payments to their clients who have had crops damaged.
The farmer who recently won the above-mentioned payout had their crops degraded by the ash from a nearby wildfire; it got into their greenhouses and when the damaged cannabis was tested, it came back with high levels of asbestos, lead, arsenic, and magnesium.
The insurance carrier that will be making the payout is based in London, England, and has decided that they will no longer insure cannabis growers after the massive hit they are taking on covering the growers in CA. Brown & Brown Vice President Matt Porter has said the broker will look for other carriers in Europe for future crop coverage policies in the cannabis industry.
If marijuana is ever to become as mainstream as the substance it is most-often compared to – alcohol – being able to get insurance coverage is a must. The industry must have access to all of the advantages that more-established industries have; advantages that allow companies to stay in business even after something catastrophic happens.
And as with most areas of the cannabis industry, a change in federal law is going to be needed to allow the opportunity for this type of advancement. As long as cannabis carries the heavy weight of federal illegality, the industry itself will forever be restricted from reaching anything close to its full potential.