National

Medical marijuana insurance coverage set by California-based company

A Rancho Cordova-based insurer Monday launched what it calls the first nationally available insurance coverage designed specifically for the medical marijuana industry.

Only 14 states allow use of medical marijuana today, but Statewide Insurance Services is nonetheless offering coverage in all 50 states.

"Given the growth in the industry, I think it's only a matter of time" before other states allow medical marijuana, said Mike Aberle, a commercial insurance agent with the local firm and national director of its Medical Marijuana Specialty Division.

He added: "Now that we can offer (services) in all 50 states, we can start the minute they go legal, without delay."

Aberle said the nationwide program covers "all aspects of the industry," including medical marijuana dispensaries (MMDs for short), workers' compensation, general liability, auto insurance (motor vehicles used to transport product), equipment breakdown/damage, property/product loss (including pot spoilage) and operations related to marijuana growing.

The door for dispensaries and commercial insurers opened in 1996, when California voters approved Proposition 215, which allows physicians to recommend cannabis for treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines or "any other illness for which marijuana provides relief."

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