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Velazquez Reintroduces Bill to Help Businesses in the Cannabis Sector Obtain Insurance

Velázquez Reintroduces Bill to Help Businesses in the Cannabis Sector Obtain Insurance
March 22, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Looking to ensure entrepreneurs within the cannabis sector can readily access the insurance they need for their businesses to thrive in states where it is legalized,  Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) have reintroduced the bipartisan bill H.R. 2068, the Clarifying Law Around Insurance Marijuana, or CLAIM Act, which would prevent federal criminal prosecution of insurers and end civil liability for brokers, agents, and insurers that deal with companies in the cannabis sector.

“Insurers are reasonably reluctant to offer coverage to cannabis-based businesses, given the current discrepancies between federal and state law,” said Velázquez. “All the same, these promising new businesses are left extremely vulnerable to any flood or fire that may come along and destroy all they’ve worked to build with no safety net in place. This bill will establish a safe harbor for insurers working with these businesses, allowing them to legally operate in states that legalized marijuana without fear of repercussion.”

“We have to legislate for the reality we live in, and that reality is that there are legal Ohio businesses in the cannabis industry that are facing huge risks, but can’t access insurance as a result of a patchwork of state and federal laws,” Stivers said.  “The CLAIM Act would ensure that legal cannabis businesses can get the financial products, like insurance, that they need to operate.”

Velázquez incorporated an additional measure into the bill which would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study of the hurdles facing both women and minority entrepreneurs considering a career within the cannabis sector, in order to address the historical legacy of targeting minorities through marijuana-related charges.

The text of the bill can be found here.

The CLAIM Act was introduced alongside its companion bill in the Senate, led by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and cosponsored by Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).