Lead photo via David Jones
As the mass of wildfires blazing across Northern California have finally surpassed 90% total containment, the area has begun to rise from the ashes and start on the long road to recovery. But while Santa Rosa residents and Calistoga winemakers alike file insurance claims on their lost homes and product, the dozens of cannabis farmers affected by the uncontrolled infernos were largely not as lucky, with most insurance companies siding with banking institutions and the federal government, refusing their services to even state-approved canna-businesses.
In an effort to protect the Golden State’s ganjapreneurs from any other unforeseen forces and normalize the state’s impending legal weed industry, California Insurance Commissioner David Jones is calling on private insurers to step up and embrace legal canna-businesses with open arms.
At a public hearing and in a subsequent press statement released late last week, Jones detailed the steps he has already taken and plans for the near future, all with the expressed goal of protecting California’s cannabis industry and the people that make it grow.
"Cannabis businesses face insurance availability and insurance gaps – which means that cannabis customers, workers and business owners won't have access to insurance to help them recover if there are accidents, injuries, property damage, or any of the things commercial insurance typically covers," Commissioner Jones said. "As insurance commissioner, my goal is insurance protection for all Californians, which includes California cannabis businesses, workers and customers."
Earlier this year, Jones began a campaign to shore up the cannabis industry’s insurance shortfalls, organizing meetings between commercial insurers and leaders in California’s cannabis industry. Jones said those meetings have been integral in getting insurance executives to recognize marijuana’s multi-billion dollar fiscal impact.
To give the insurance bigwigs a better idea of what they would be working with, Jones has put together a number of tours around marijuana cultivation centers and production businesses, showing the tentative executives just how serious the state’s canna-businesses are.
Going forward Jones has pledged to work directly with both commercial insurers and cannabis companies to craft symbiotic products and policies for both industries, making California Department of Insurance resources available to both parties.
"The voters have spoken so now it's our job as state officials to make sure that we successfully implement the legalization of cannabis," Jones said. "This includes working with the insurance industry and cannabis industry to encourage commercial [insurers] to fill the insurance gaps faced by cannabis industry."