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California Approves First-Ever Insurance for Cannabis Businesses

The insurer sign-off is too late for those affected by recent wildfires, but will help canna-businesses protect their assets moving forward.

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In a historic first, California has approved an insurance provider for the state's cannabis industry. In a recent press release, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that a commercial insurance company has been approved to write policies that cover cannabis-related businesses. This will allow the company, Golden Bear Insurance, to begin offering coverage immediately, reports HuffPost. The approval is too late for Northern California businesses who lost their cannabis crops to last month's wildfires, but will help shore up the weed industry against future disasters.

“This is the first of what I hope will be many commercial carriers filing insurance products to fill insurance coverage gaps for the cannabis industry,” Jones said in the statement. “Consumers who visit cannabis businesses, workers who work there, businesses who sell products to or rent property to cannabis businesses, and the investors, owners and operators of cannabis businesses all should have insurance coverage available to help them recover when something goes wrong just as any other legalized business does.”

Like the banking sector, the insurance industry has been hesitant to deal with businesses that handle cannabis, out of fear of federal persecution. To assuage those concerns, Jones began a campaign earlier this year to convince insurers to cover the cannabis industry, setting up several meetings between commercial insurers and some of the state's largest kush companies. The commissioner also set up a number of tours of cannabis cultivation centers and processing facilities to give insurance execs a chance to see how carefully these businesses follow safety regulations.

“Our mission remains insurance protection for all Californians, which includes insurance for California's legalized cannabis businesses and customers,” Jones said. “We encourage more insurance companies to file cannabis business insurance products with the department to meet the needs of this emerging market.”

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