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The emerging legal marijuana economy will see explosive growth in the coming years. Insurers should be prepared to adopt policies that spell out coverage for legally grown marijuana plants and medical marijuana property. The cannabis industry is expected to grow to nearly $15 billion over the next four years. In states where manufacture, sale and use is legal for recreational purposes, legalization will have a profound impact on not only personal lines insurance, but also commercial coverage, workers’ comp, product liability, healthcare insurance and more.

Currently, 27 states have either decriminalized or legalized marijuana use in some form. Four states: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, and the District of Columbia allow recreational use. In addition, recreational marijuana initiatives are expected to appear on the 2016 ballots in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. According to a recent Gallop poll, 51% of Americans now support full legalization. In 2014, Oregonians voted to legalize marijuana by a 56 to 44% margin. More Oregonians voted to legalize cannabis than voted to retain their incumbent Democratic governor or senator in the same election.

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