Cannabis and Insurance

Cannabis Legalization: Rules and Regulations

 

          With Cannabis recently becoming legal across Canada there are many regulations and rules with regards to the possession, growth and consumption of this plant. These rules and regulations differ between each of the provinces and territories in Canada. The following will be a point form look at the rules for cannabis in Ontario and the impact of legalization on Insurance as well. The government has also introduced legislation that, if passed, would help the province move forward with a tightly regulated private retail model by April 1st, 2019.

 

Cannabis and Insurance

  • Now that cannabis is legalized it will become common practice for insurers and brokers to ask clients questions about their intentions to use cannabis in their homes

  • At the times of renewal and during the application process there will be specific standardized questions that the broker or insurance provider will ask. Insurers need to start gathering knowledge as to which of their existing insureds or potential insureds are growing recreational marijuana

 

  • Attempting to get at the risk through questions would be no different than trying to assess the risks associated with owning a swimming pool at someone’s house

  • The questions that insurers ask may revolve around electricity use, lighting, and the different types of chemicals that may be present to assist the plants to grow bigger and faster

  • What are some of the questions I should ask my insurance provider or broker? Do I have coverage for medical marijuana the same way I have coverage for other pharmaceuticals? Will my car insurance premiums increase due to being a cannabis user or due to the legalization and the response from the insurance market? Am I protected if I smoke cannabis in my house? What about growing Cannabis in my home.

  • Another area to pay significant attention to is the limit on plants per house hold or commercial grow operation, remembering that it is not 4 plants per person but 4 plants per house hold, this is a key point as going over the legislated amount of plants could void an agreement

  • The problem with personal growing of cannabis is that, at the moment, there are no bylaws that address issues raised by Health Canada – additional security, taller fences, gates, alarms, approval of electrical work, ventilation, things of this nature. At the moment there is very little regulation and this leads to greater risk without the implementation of safeguards

  • Insurers who are concerned about the risk of fire and burglary arising from cannabis growth may be adding cannabis-related exclusions when renewing homeowners’ policies

  • Some home insurance policies have exclusions specifically for losses arising from growing cannabis. Other home insurers do not exclude cannabis specifically but do exclude losses arising from drugs which are listed as illegal by the federal government

  • The impact of this legalization is still to be seen and the effect that it has on insurance is presumed to be fluid until regulations have been firmly established

  • Will being a cannabis user increase my insurance rates? Right now, the answer is unlikely but it is possible. While no insurer has said what the plan to do yet, there is a precedent in the United States. In States where cannabis use has been legalized, there has been no increase in car insurance rates. But, what does impact your insurance rates is driving convictions. Being found guilty of driving under the influence will result in your car insurance premiums increasing

  • Are all the laws in place for cannabis and insurance? As of legalization the laws are not all currently set. As such things are likely to change as we know more about how local, provincial, and federal governments regulate cannabis usage. 

 

 

Medical Cannabis

  • Medical cannabis will continue to be subject to different rules than recreational cannabis

  • The only way to purchase medical cannabis is from: a federally licensed producer online, by written order, or over the phone and delivered by secure mail

     

  • You can also receive a license from Health Canada to grow medical cannabis on your own or designate someone else to grow it on your behalf

  • It is best to consult the government of Canada website or the province of Ontario’s website to determine how the laws differ for medical cannabis

 

Minimum Age

  • You will need to be 19 or older to buy, produce, or use cannabis in the province of Ontario. The same minimum age as that of Alcohol and Tobacco.

Appropriate Places for use

  • The government has proposed legislation that if passed would provide rules for using cannabis both medical and recreational

  • Private Residences: this does not include residences that are also workplaces

  • Many outdoor public places

  • Designated guest rooms in hotels motels or inns

  • Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (i.e. sleeping facilities that are permanent, cooking facilities, or the vehicle is parked or anchored)

  • Scientific research and testing facilities

  • Controlled areas in: long term care homes, certain retirement homes, residential hospices, provincially-funded supportive housing, or in designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities

  • Additionally, restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal bylaws, lease, agreements, and the policies of employers and property owners

 Where should you not smoke or vape?

Indoors

  • Indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings, and university/college residences

  • Enclosed public spaces and enclosed work places

  • Non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns

Schools and places where children gather

  • At a school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20m of these grounds

  • On children’s playgrounds an public areas within 20m of playgrounds

  • In child care centres, or where an early years program is provided

  • In places where home child care is provided – even if children aren’t present

Hospitals, hospices, care homes and other facilities

  • Within 9m from the entrance or exit of hospitals, psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities

  • On outdoor grounds of hospitals and psychiatric facilities

  • In non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities, and residential hospices

 Publically owned spaces

  • You would not be able to smoke or vape cannabis in publicly-owned sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 m of these areas

 Vehicles and Boats

  • You are not able to consume cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or is at risk of being out into motion

 Other outdoor areas

  • In restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within 9m of a patio

  • On outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings

  • In reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment location

  • Grounds of community recreational facilities, and public areas within 20 m of those grounds

  • In sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (i.e. a busy shelter)

 Driving

  • Using cannabis and driving is illegal and dangerous

  • If a police officer finds that you are impaired by any drug, including cannabis, you will face serious penalties including: an immediate license suspension, financial penalties, possible vehicle impoundment, possible criminal record, as well as possible jail time

  • Police officers will be authorized to use oral fluid screening devices at roadside. Once a federally approved device is available, this device will be implements to help police to enforce the law

 

Zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers

  • You will not be allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federacy approved oral fluid screening device if you are driving a motor vehicle and: are 21 or under, have a G1, G2, M1, or M2 license, the vehicle you are driving requires and A-F driver’s license or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR)

 Where to buy recreational cannabis

  • With cannabis now being legal people over 19 years old will be able to purchase cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Online orders will be delivered safely and securely. Consumers will be required to verify their age to accept delivery and no packages will be left unattended at the door

  • As of October 17th the Ontario Cannabis Store website will be the only legal option for purchasing recreational cannabis and will follow strict rules set by the federal government

  • Private stores would be introduced in April of 2019 with strict controls to safeguard children and youth and combat the illegal market 

Growing cannabis

  • You will be able to grow up to four plants per residence (not per person) 

Travelling with cannabis

  • Under the Cannabis Act, the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada will not change Canada’s border rules.

  • Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis into, or outside of Canada, remains illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties in both Canada and abroad. This will apply even when travelling to or from places that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis.

  • Bringing cannabis used for medical purposes across the Canada/US border will also remain illegal

  • While travelling domestically each traveller is allowed to bring up to the maximum personal allowance with them (30 Grams) on the plane whether that be in checked or carry-on luggage

 

  • It is not known whether or not these guidelines, with regards to domestic air, rail, and bus travel, will change in the coming months or years so it is a good idea to stay up to date on current legislation and regulations

 

          We at HRC insurance hope that this blog was informative and provided you with a little bit of insight into this new landscape of cannabis legalization and its effect on insurance. As always the best way to understand the rules and regulations of legalized cannabis is to do some research yourself. With this being such new legislation the likelihood of rules and regulations evolving is very high so always stay up to date on the issues.



Since the 1900's...

Born under the name George Hutcheson, Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Ltd. began providing insurance policies in Muskoka since the early 1900s. Bernard Reynolds joined the firm in the 1940s and purchased the firm from George Hutcheson in 1967. Finally, in 1980, David Caswell joined the company's ranks to complete Hutcheson, Reynolds and Caswell. We have grown along with our name and provide the same dedication to superior customer service and top-notch insurance coverage that George Hutcheson was famous for over 100 years ago.