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More and more states are legalizing marijuana for either medical or recreational use or both; growers, dispensaries, and other companies are forming in order to meet demand. These organizations need insurance, just like everyone else. However, because marijuana is still federally illegal, obtaining insurance is difficult if not impossible for companies to obtain. Senators Menendez, Paul, Merkley and Kramer have introduced a Senate bill ensuring access to insurance for cannabis-related businesses.

 It is called the Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana, or CLAIM Act. The act first defines a number of terms. Cannabis is defined as marijuana as defined in the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S. C. 802). A Cannabis Product is anything containing cannabis, including concentrates, edibles, tincture, topicals, flowers, or a cannabis-infused product. A Cannabis-related business is a manufacturer, producer, or any person or company that engages in any business or organized activity involving cannabis or cannabis products. Such activity includes cultivating, producing, manufacturing, selling, transporting, dispensing, distributing, purchasing or displaying any cannabis or cannabis-derived products or deriving any proceeds from such. Therefore, growers, processors, dispensaries, and related businesses are all cannabis-related businesses by definition. Also included are organizations providing any financial services including retirement plans, exchange trade funds; renting, selling or leasing property; legal services, business services or ancillary services related to cannabis. This addresses not only banks and credit unions, but building owners, equipment suppliers, and other providers of services an organization may need.

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Christine G. Barlow, CPCU

Christine G. Barlow, CPCU, is Managing Editor of FC&S Expert Coverage Interpretation, a division of National Underwriter Company and ALM. Christine has over twenty-five years’ experience in the insurance industry, beginning as a claims adjuster then working as an underwriter and underwriting supervisor handling personal lines. Before joining FC&S, Christine worked as an Underwriting Supervisor for Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, and as Senior Underwriter/Underwriter for companies Montgomery Mutual, Old American, Charter Group, and Nationwide. The publications Christine has written or edited include Personal Lines Unlocked: The Key to Personal Lines Underwriting, Personal Lines Endorsements Coverage Guide, Commercial Flood Insurance Coverage Guide, Personal Flood Insurance Coverage Guide, Homeowners Personal Lines Coverage Guide 5th Edition, Personal Umbrella Coverage Guide 2nd Edition, and Condominium Coverage Guide 2nd Edition, all published by the National Underwriter Company. Christine regularly writes for Claims Magazine and National Underwriter Magazine. Christine regularly presents and moderates webinars on a variety of topics and is an experienced presenter. Christine graduated cum laude from Towson University, Maryland, with a degree in Sociology/Psychology with a concentration in Gerontology.

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