Insurance Premiums for Pot Smokers Reach New Highs

This June 5, 2017, photo shows a marijuana leaf in the vegetative room at Alaska Cannabis Cultivators in Fairbanks, Alaska. Voters in parts of Alaska will decide in local elections on Tuesday, Oct. 3, whether to ban commercial cannabis operations, including retail stores and cultivation facilities. (Eric Engman/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner …
Eric Engman/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner via AP

Pot smokers who sign up for life insurance may be paying stiff penalties as life insurance premiums reach new highs for those who smoke marijuana.

The New York Post reports that marijuana smokers face increased premiums as insurance companies are beginning to put pot smokers in the same risk category as cigarette smokers.

One broker said that some insurance policies could cost five times as much for pot smokers compared to nonsmokers who purchase the same policies.

The increase in premiums and assumed risk comes as eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug for both medicinal and recreational use.

Although the federal government outlaws marijuana, a San Francisco federal judge ruled that the federal government cannot interfere with state laws permitting medical marijuana. Twenty-one states have laws that legalize pot for medicinal use.

Mark Maurer, president of the independent insurance agency LLIS in Tampa, Florida, said that while some policy issuers will jack up life insurance rates for marijuana users, they would not necessarily turn down an applicant for coverage.

“Right now, I don’t know of any life insurance companies who will out and out decline an applicant because they smoke marijuana,” Maurer said.