Cannabis Businesses Have More Insurance Options to Consider

Obtaining adequate and affordable insurance coverage remains one of the many challenges in the cannabis industry. Most large insurance carriers – adverse to the risk posed by unfavorable federal law – have so far chosen to leave millions of dollars in potential annual premiums that cannabis industry businesses are willing to pay on the table. But there is some good news to report while we wait for federal law to change: More carriers are entering the market, a growing number of insurance brokers have established expertise in procuring coverage, and a new cannabis coverage endorsement to standard commercial property policies is now available in most states.

More Competition to Cover Cannabis

According to the Cannabis Working Group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the number of insurers underwriting coverage for cannabis-related businesses has risen from only six in 2020 to more than 30 today. More competition should put some downward pressure on premiums, even though premiums are likely to remain high even for relatively narrow coverage. Policy limits currently remain low even for large operations, with coverage for commercial general liability (CGL), property damage, and product liability coverage typically maxing out at $1 million per occurrence/$2 million aggregate.

A New Endorsement Broadens Property Coverage

A standard “Cannabis Coverage” endorsement now available in most states covers property damage to “cannabis stock” owned by the insured or in the insured’s care in a covered building, including growing plants. The endorsement also covers losses from business interruption and extra expenses incurred to mitigate a slowdown or stoppage of business related to the property damage.  The endorsement adds cannabis exclusions to the standard commercial property policy, but the exclusion is not applicable to the categories of coverages the endorsement specifically provides. Covered “cannabis activity” is broadly defined as

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Free legal aid available to help expunge cannabis convictions, arrests in Illinois

Illinois’ legalization of cannabis didn’t automatically clear records for those previously arrested or convicted marijuana violations. But the state created a process to offer support to get the records clear.

New Leaf Illinois, a state-funded network of 20 nonprofit legal aid and advocacy organizations, aims to clear past cannabis arrests and convictions for free. It was created to correct the unequal enforcement of old cannabis laws that disproportionately targeted communities of color.

An effort to spread the word comes on the heels of President Joseph Biden’s executive order that will pardon those with federal convictions for simple cannabis possession.

New Leaf partners aim to spread information about how to get records expunged with free legal aid resources.

According to New Leaf Illinois:
A two-year impact study on the organization’s efforts on “cannabis expungement shows that free legal services have been provided in 79 of 102 counties in Illinois. To date, 311 cannabis convictions have been vacated and expunged and 183 non-conviction and other cannabis records have been expunged and sealed.

Attorney Beth Johnson, project manager for New Leaf Illinois, said, “The presidential pardons issued are an act of forgiveness and reconciliation of past harms and the barriers faced by people because of outdated, failed policies.”

“Some cannabis records in Illinois fell under the automatic pardon and expungement process, but there are thousands more that did not and require a court filing. If you or your loved one wonder about the status of a past cannabis arrest or conviction or aren’t sure how to approach the expungement process, reach out to New Leaf today,” she added.

New Leaf helps people determine their eligibility for relief through an online registration portal or via phone at (855) 963-9532.

“Legal aid organizations within the New Leaf Illinois network provide free services in

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