Here’s something that never would have happened without marijuana legalization: A California cannabis farmer received a $1 million insurance payout after ashes from the deadly wildfires destroyed his crop.
According to a report in the Santa Barbara Independent, many Northern California cannabis farms damaged by last fall’s wildfires were uninsured. But one grower in Carpinteria, a small oceanside city located in southeastern Santa Barbara County, will get compensated for his losses.
According to the report:
“A lot of this wasn’t insurable,” said Matt Porter, a vice president at Brown & Brown Insurance, one of the largest firms in the world. But in the last several months, Porter and his colleagues have won over area cannabis operators. They now have about 20 clients in Carpinteria and Lompoc, he said. They are expected to get up to $8 million in insurance claim payments for their Carpinteria clients.
Mere months before the Thomas Fire spread throughout large chunks of the state, Porter had written the crop insurance policy for the Carpinteria cannabis grower, the Independent reported. The policy language covered “change in atmospheric conditions” — that triggered the $1 million payout.
White ash particles circulated throughout the region, damaging the marijuana crop with high levels of asbestos, lead, arsenic, and magnesium.
A little bit of bad news: Because the payout was so large, the insurance carrier will no longer cover cannabis farmers. Porter said he is in talks with other carriers in Europe to fill the gap.
Last summer and fall, wildfires torched the western states, damaging property, homes and farms throughout the region. In Northern California alone, the National Interagency Fire Center estimates that 411,742 acres were destroyed or damaged by 3,692 fires.