Friday, May 11, 2012

Insurer Terminates Lawyer's Coverage Because of Medical Marijuana Ties

After several years of representing clients who are and were in the medical marijuana industry, Denver-based attorney Ann Toney was informed her insurer would no longer cover her for malpractice.

The Hanover Insurance Group, the company that covers Toney, told her the termination was because of her involvement with medical marijuana. The Medical Marijuana Business Daily speculates that this may have a similar, chilling effect on other professionals who provide services for medical marijuana clients, such as other lawyers, other insurers and accountants.

This action comes at a time when banks are skittish handling similar transactions and U.S. Attorneys are stepping up raids on dispensaries in states that have legalized pot for medical use.

The Medical Marijuana Business Daily quotes Brian Vicente, another Denver medical marijuana attorney as saying:
I’m concerned that this could spread, as insurance carriers can be very risk averse at times. However, there are many (lawyers) out there who represent the mob and child molesters, and the fact that (an insurance company) would say that’s OK and medical marijuana isn’t doesn’t make sense.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Insurance for Growers, Dispensaries Covers Fires, Theft and (Some) Law Enforcement Seizures

If you don't need more proof of the growing acceptance and tolerance of medical marijuana, consider that this formerly outlaw product is now being covered by the most pedestrian of industries — insurance.

Oregon's KOMO reports that insurance agents are now offering coverage to dispensaries and growers to cover the usual concerns of any business owner, such as fire, wind, rain and theft. But the policies also include coverage from law enforcement raids...though not all kinds of raids.

 Seizures by local and state law enforcement are covered under the policies, but raids by federal agencies are not. The reasoning is that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and paying growers and dispensaries for losses incurred by the DEA would be aiding and abetting.

The policies run about $1,200 to $2,000 a year with a $5,000 deductible.