NEW YORK, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Insurers are quietly gearing up for a potential ten-fold increase in sales to the booming $17.6 billion-a-year cannabis industry as Congress inches closer to legalizing pot at the federal level.
While 36 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use, insurance for growers, testing labs and retailers is being held in check largely by strict federal laws that criminalize pot alongside heroin, methamphetamine and LSD.
U.S. legal cannabis sales jumped 45% last year and are expected to hit $41 billion in 2026, Colorado-based research firm BDSA said.
But the industry only wrote about $250 million in policies last year, insurance agents estimated for Reuters, with a handful of carriers offering limited property and liability coverage.
Businesses also need coverage for crops and theft, along with larger payout limits, according to more than a dozen insurers, brokers, agents, lawyers and cannabis business owners interviewed by Reuters.
As Congress considers bills that would loosen federal laws, some insurers are trying to fill the gap with new types of coverage. Because insurers are regulated at the state level, they can now offer coverage in states where the drug is legal, and federal decriminalization would expand the market. [Read More @ Reuters]
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