Wednesday, September 16, 2009

California Insurance Agents Cater to Medical Marijuana Clinics

Ever since President Barak Obama came into office and his attorney general said the administration would not pursue medical marijuana dispensaries, the number of such businesses has exploded.

Now, a few insurance agents are catering to them.

Medical marijuana "is a huge, huge business," says Rich Pitto, a broker at Hayes Insurance Agency, El Sobrante, Calif. "There's a lot of Johnnies-come-lately. It's actually getting somewhat ridiculous."

Pitto, who has been writing policies for medical marijuana dispensaries for 14 years and whose agency advertises to marijuana businesses, says that at least three dispensaries in California have revenues of over $20 million a year and hundreds of employees.

Estimates are that California now has at least 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries, many of which have opened up in recent months. In fact, a number of cities, worried about these businesses popping up with the fecundity of Starbucks outlets, have imposed a moratorium on new ones until they can investigate what limitations might need to be imposed and what requirements they might have. Those cities include Sacramento and Oakland.

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