Medical marijuana is currently legal in 29states and the District of Columbia, with legalization pending intwo additional states. Attempts to legalize it failed this year in13 states, and it is still considered a Schedule 1 controlledsubstance on the federal level. Recreational use of marijuana iscurrently legal in eight states.

The increase in legalization has created a new industry for growoperations and a number of coverage issues for insurers willing toinsure these enterprises that are legal on a state level, butconsidered illegal by the federal government. Part of the challengestems from a lack of actuarial information in order to assess andprice the risks associated with these farming operations.

Then there is the legal issue of providing coverage to anillegal operation. Insurers have already encountered coveragequestions relative to medical marijuana used by terminally illpatients or those managing the pain from chronic illnesses.Physicians cannot prescribe it for treatment, but can recommendthat patients consider it as part of a pain management program forsome conditions.

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Patricia L. Harman

Patricia L. Harman is the editor-in-chief of Claims magazine, a contributing editor to, and chairs the annual America's Claims Event (ACE), which focuses on providing claims professionals with cutting-edge education and networking opportunities. She covers auto, property & casualty, workers' compensation, fraud, risk and cybersecurity, and is a frequent speaker at insurance industry events. Contact her at [email protected]