Why Natural Disasters Hit Cannabis Business Owners So Hard

marijuana insurance after natural disaster

2017 has delivered a series of harsh reminders about just how much damage one natural disaster can do.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are projected to cost an estimated $200 billion in property damage.

The wildfires in Northern California have already destroyed 245,000 acres and could do more than $5 billion in damage before they’re contained.

In May, Denver was hit by a vicious hail storm that did an estimated $2.1 billion in damage.

Millions of people have lost their homes and businesses in the storms and fires. And, if the pace and strength of natural disasters continues unabated, 2017 could become the most expensive year on record.

For many, the rebuilding process will begin immediately (though it could take years to fully recover).

Unfortunately, federal marijuana regulations are making recovery efforts harder—in some cases impossible—for many cannabis entrepreneurs.

Lack of Insurance Options for Marijuana Businesses

For many businesses (cannabis or otherwise), insurance is a must. It can protect against property damage, loss of inventory, and even personal injury claims made against the business.

Unfortunately, federal regulations have made it harder—and more expensive—to insure dispensaries, growing facilities, and other marijuana-based businesses.

While an increasing number of specialized insurance companies are starting to crop up to help growers, dispensaries, physicians, and landlords, it can still be difficult for many business owners to find reliable coverage.

Many larger insurance companies consider the marijuana industry high risk, on account of its Schedule I status. Others are wary of covering an industry that hasn’t been fully tested in court. Some have found the constant changes to state and federal law too costly to keep up with. And, a few simply don’t want to be associated with what they perceive to be “stoner culture.”

With so many hurdles to jump over, many cannabis companies don’t have enough options to find the coverage they need. They either have to spend too much or cover too little.

Prices will likely come down with time. As Bolder Cannabis and Extracts co-founder Adam Weiss noted in an article for Forbes, “We’re seeing more of the big name players enter the market now that they’ve seen others dip their toe in successfully.”

Until then, however, minimum coverage just isn’t enough for many businesses to recover when their building and inventory are destroyed.

And, as one California business owner recently learned, even receiving community donations can be off limits for cannabis companies.

Lack of Financing & Fundraising

The Northern California wildfires have destroyed 34 marijuana farms, many of which don’t have proper insurance and can’t receive federal aid.

To help these businesses and families, the executive director of the California Growers Association, Hezekiah Allen, started an online fundraiser on YouCaring.

If you check out the fundraiser page, though, you’ll notice that it isn’t accepting donations.

About the time the fundraiser reached $13,000 (toward a goal of $25,000), YouCaring suspended the campaign and began refunding the donations.

As the fundraising site relays, its payment providers don’t allow marijuana-related fundraising. That’s because—with cannabis illegal at the federal level—processing payments would technically be considered money laundering.

Without reliable insurance, banking, or even the ability to raise money on personal fundraising sites, many cannabis companies and business owners are left with no option but to shut their doors after a natural disaster.

Karing Kind is Boulder’s First Recreational Marijuana Dispensary

We strive to offer a top-tier experience every time you enter our store. Our extensive menu of clean-grown bud, award-winning budtenders, incredible deals, and the lowest marijuana tax rate in the state make us the perfect Colorado cannabis destination.

Karing Kind is located just off of US-36, one mile north of Broadway, open daily from 9am to 10pm.

While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available.