Cannabis Insurance Litigation: Oregon Federal Court Rules for Hemp CBD Home Processor in Coverage Dispute

Insurance is a key part of any business (or home). That is no less true in cannabis and several insurers—at least on West Coast—provide insurance for marijuana businesses as well as hemp. The barriers to purchasing insurance related to hemp, of course, decreased substantially following the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill. But purchasing an insurance policy, as most of us know, is not the same as having coverage for certain kinds of losses.

A recent Oregon federal case illustrates the kinds of questions that insureds, insurers, and courts may face in the coming years. Plaintiffs owned a home in Grants Pass, Oregon, (the “Property”) which was insured by homeowner’s policy (the “Policy”). Among the coverages provided were damages for losses caused by fire to the Property. In early January 2019, a fire caused significant damaged to the Property while one of the homeowners was in his garage making a salve from cannabis containing cannabidiol (“CBD”) from hemp.

Plaintiff’s insurance company denied coverage for the loss under a controlled substances exclusion (the “Exclusion”). The Exclusion provided that that the Policy did not cover:

Loss or damage arising out of the use, sale, delivery, transfer, possession, growing, production, processing, warehousing, transportation,

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