Imagine if you live in NOCAL have a retail business in town that was looted over the summer and a farm that has been or about to be burnt down during the unprecedented fall wildfires.
Politico talks to some business owners who’ve taken the double hit and are at their wits end with insurance..
Tyson Haworth’s Portland, Ore., dispensary was looted in May, costing him thousands of dollars worth of cannabis products. After a second break-in in July, Haworth found out his insurance company wouldn’t cover the claim on his liability policy. When wildfires swept dangerously close to his farm in Canby, Ore., in August, Haworth was confronted with another insurance problem: His 8-year-old cannabis farm has no crop insurance.
“Crop insurance for weed is just ridiculous,” Haworth said. “It just seems like a waste of money.”
Many of the nation’s largest insurance providers will not work with the weed industry because marijuana is illegal under federal law. The few liability, property and crop insurance providers who do offer policies typically charge untenable rates. In addition, marijuana farms cannot access federal subsidies for crop insurance that would cut those high costs, making the price prohibitive. And when disaster strikes, businesses in the marijuana industry cannot apply for the same federal disaster funding as their neighbors.
Congress has done little to address the issue. A group of Oregon lawmakers introduced a bill in September that would make federal disaster funding available to the cannabis industry, but it has little chance of passing in the waning days of this Congress. Separate legislation would create better access to banking — potentially allowing some small business owners to borrow money to pay for insurance or to cover losses — but it would not give farmers access to federal crop subsidies or encourage insurers to cater to the industry.