Throughout October 2017, devastating wildfires have taken lives and caused millions of dollars in damage all across California. While the destruction is tragic for all Californians who have been affected, one particular group of small business owners have been hit especially hard by damage. Marijuana growers are generally prohibited from insuring their businesses. This has left many Northern California marijuana growers with vast amounts of property damage and destruction, but no manner of recouping their losses. Worse, the losses come just as legal marijuana sales are set to begin in January.
Why Marijuana Farmers Cannot Insure Their Businesses
Marijuana is entirely prohibited under federal law. There are no provisions for personal or even medicinal usage. Because of this, insurance carriers – most of whom are subject to federal regulations – are prohibited from insuring the businesses, products, or assets of marijuana businesses. Even when businesses are cultivating cannabis lawfully under the state’s Medical Marijuana Program (California Health and Safety Code §11362.7 to 11362.85), they are not able to access insurance coverage. These business losses have been even greater due to the timing of these wildfires. Salon reports that many business owners have spent “their life savings” getting permits and preparing their crops for legal sales on January 2, 2018. Continue reading