Marijuana Report: Changes in Washington – Insurance Journal

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles on the the marijuana insurance industry to appear on InsuranceJournal.com. Upcoming stories will include regional reports on how medical marijuana is impacting insurance in states across the nation. Previous reports included coverage on the marijuana insurance market, Washington state’s new recreational market, and the how workers’ compensation market could be impacted.

Pro-legalization groups say they are seeing positive developments at the federal level in Washington. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers during a House Appropriations Committee hearing in April that the Obama administration is open to working with Congress to reschedule marijuana, which is currently on the list of federal government’s Schedule I drugs.

“Marijuana is currently, according to the federal government, one of the most dangerous drugs in the country and has no medical value. That’s Schedule I, alongside heroin and LSD,” said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, the country’s largest medical marijuana advocacy organization.

The federal government needs to reclassify that to start with, said Hermes, and defer to state governments to adopt laws that protect patients under these circumstances and to encourage research. “Even though the therapeutic efficacy is well established, there is far more that we can learn and understand about cannabis and its effect on the human body,” he said.

In Congress, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Financial Services appropriations bill in July that prohibits the Treasury Department from appropriating funds to penalize financial institutions that provide banking services to legitimate medical marijuana businesses in states that have enacted medical marijuana laws.

The House of Representatives also passed the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment in May, which prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from appropriating funds to raid, arrest or prosecute medical …read more