California insurance commissioner seeks more marijuana coverage

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is calling on private insurers to provide more widespread coverage for the state’s marijuana businesses.

During a public forum on Thursday, Jones discussed his efforts to get mainstream insurance providers to work more closely with marijuana businesses and to get those in the cannabis industry to help educate insurers on their needs.

“The voters have spoken, so now it’s our job as state officials to make sure that we successfully implement the legalization of cannabis,” Jones said in a news release, and that includes working with stakeholders “to encourage commercial and surplus lines insurers to fill the insurance gaps faced by (the) cannabis industry.”

The commissioner is brokering ongoing meetings between insurance company executives and marijuana industry leaders, including tours of “major cannabis businesses,” to help bridge the insurance gap, according to the release.

The insurance hearing was timely, coming in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires in Northern California that torched tens of thousands of acres, including dozens of cannabis farms and businesses.

The wildfires highlighted the underinsured nature of the cannabis sector, several MJ industry insiders said, as well as the fact that multiple companies will be struggling to get back on their feet because of a lack of coverage.