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BURLINGTON, Vt. – Some captives are writing cannabis risks, but not in Vermont for now as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, according to the state’s captive regulator.
“There are not a lot of captives writing cannabis,” David Provost, deputy commissioner, captive insurance, Vermont Department of Financial Regulation in Montpelier, Vermont, said at the Vermont Captive Insurance Association’s hot topics session Thursday in Burlington, Vermont. “There are some. The common thread seems to be they are staying in their state, (writing) primarily for medical cannabis, but some recreational, for pot that is grown (or) distributed in the states within the state. The money is going to be put into a state banking institution and apparently the feds are leaving them alone for now.”
Marijuana is legal for medical use in 30 states and Washington, D.C. Nine states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational use. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, on par with cocaine and heroin.
Vermont has “essentially decriminalized marijuana,” but has not created a retail market or a regulated commercial market for growing marijuana, Mr. Provost said.
“We still don’t feel like we can license a captive in Vermont to insure cannabis-related businesses for now,” he said. “As long as it’s a Schedule 1 drug, I think we will keep that way. Once it’s off of Schedule 1, then I think the commercial market will step right in and fill that gap.”
Most of the state regulators, captive or otherwise, have the issue with marijuana being a Schedule 1 drug, Mr. Provost said.
“The biggest issue we have is where do you put the money,” he said. “You can’t put it in anything other than a credit union or a state bank and, even then, those banks get federal deposit insurance so there are concerns with a bank.”
“Eventually the feds will have to follow” the states in legalizing cannabis, Mr. Provost added.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners will establish a cannabis insurance working group, led by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, according to a statement released Wednesday.
Cannasure Insurance Services plans to launch a comprehensive coverage program for the cannabis industry, the MGA and wholesale broker said in a statement Tuesday.