When Californians last year stepped into the poll booths late last year and approve Proposition 64, a ballot measure that legalized the recreational use of marijuana, starting in January of 2018. This would make it as easy to smoke a joint as it would to have a martini at quittin’ time.
With each Californian soon to be able to grow six pot plants per year and eight states now recreationally legal, the states are trying to build the framework of rules under which the fragrant buds will be grown, processed, transported and sold because all of this is still technically federally illegal. The new industry has a projected value of $7 billion initially for California. The state and local governments could eventually collect $1 billion a year in taxes.
While many are focused on how the legalization of marijuana will roll out across the United States, I am of course thinking about the various financial implications with one of the largest coming in the area of life insurance and long term care insurance. Since life insurance has always been a bit subjective and a bit objective when an insurance company takes you through the underwriting process, marijuana users should be informed of their options so their isn’t the level of awkwardness I have seen in the past when someone asks me, “Sooo…how long is it going to be before I have to pee in a cup?”
As this industry evolves there will be certain life insurance companies that are more friendly than others when it comes to marijuana. Consider that in 28 states you have legal medical marijuana use and now in 8 states you have legal recreational use. This trend will only continue because history has a way of repeating itself. Remember, when prohibition was in the United States from 1920 to 1933, the main reason alcohol became mainstream again is that the Government was under extreme pressure to bring in more revenue due to The Great Depression. Hmmm…anyone notice that we are about to crack $20Trillion in federal debt.
When it comes to getting life insurance underwritten favorably, believe it or not you could actually get preferred rates. For many years now, the insurance companies have had to deal with cigars and determining the difference between a celebratory cigar and those who are frequent cigar smokers. So, instead of hiding the fact that you make have “toked” up (of course you didn’t inhale, did you?) once or twice a year, there actually may be a much more legitimate way to handle this when you fill out your life insurance application.
It is incredibly important that you understand the landscape of the insurance business and which companies are more friendly when it comes to underwriting life insurance for pot smokers (or people who just like to eat gummy bears) and which ones are not on the bandwagon at this time. Banner Life Insurance, Prudential, and United Of Omaha are just three that I will mention, but each company has a specific underwriting process that you will want to follow closely.
Getting your insurance done with the right company versus the wrong company could save you hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. The most important part of this process is not doing what people tried to do in the past…NOT disclose. The right methodology now is to fully disclose if you are a recreational user, a user on a semi-frequent basis, or you use for medicinal purposes. This is especially true in the states where legal laws have passed because no longer can this drug be 100% seen as a crime.
If you have avoided getting life insurance (or long term care) because you are concerned about how the marijuana tests could hurt you, call me up and I’ll help guide you through the process no matter what state you live in within the United States.