Medical Marijuana and Insurers

A Los Angeles Times blog post reports that marijuana lollipops were for sale on the Lakers parade route yesterday.

Apparently a food truck, Weed World Candies.com, was handing out the lollipops for free to customers that had a prescription card allowing them to purchase marijuana.

In addition to the orange and blue marijuana lollipops, the truck carried a variety of marijuana brands, according to the LA Times.

California became the first state to approve medical marijuana in 1996 and this November voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana even without a medical prescription. The liberalization of state marijuana laws is an issue that insurers are monitoring.

A BestWeek article by Meg Green via insurancenewsnet.com reports that to-date 14 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, while another 10 states have medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot this year and insurers are playing a key role in this emerging market. BestWeek says:

Billions of dollars are at stake. Marijuana is the biggest cash crop in California, where it brings in $14 billion a year in sales. That’s almost twice the amount brought in by the state’s second-largest agricultural commodity, milk and cream, which brings in $7.3 billion a year, according to the most recent USDA statistics.

As marijuana moves from the counterculture world into the mainstream, a new wave of businesses — including growers, suppliers, manufacturers, transporters and dispensaries — is emerging, and the insurance industry has taken note.†

As well as an emerging market, the legalization of medical marijuana is a growing employment-related issue with potential implications for workers compensation insurers. Fellow bloggers over at Workers Comp Insider have a number of posts on this topic. Check out an earlier post that provides a great overview of some of the key issues.

Meanwhile, over at National Underwriter Susanne Sclafane writes that employment practices liability (EPL) experts see the use of medical marijuana as a growing issue for EPL insurers. Check out her article here.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has an overview of state medical marijuana laws here.

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