An insurance agent in Fayetteville will offer general liability insurance and worker's compensation for medical cannabis growers and dispensaries, he said Monday.
Paul Dunn, who has operated the Paul E. Dunn Insurance agency for 24 years, said he'd researched the issue after a customer asked about a quote on crop insurance.
Dunn's brother died of lung cancer and marijuana helped him keep food down during his radiation and chemotherapy treatments; that's why he supports the industry, he said. The policies would be surplus line, written for entities with unique risks that aren't covered by regular insurance companies. He thought it would be good to get in on the ground floor. "That's where everything is going," Dunn said.
Dunn did not reveal the underwriter for the insurance.
"I'm in favor of it [medical cannabis] because of my brother, though that's not solely the reason. I think with it being a natural herb, the good Lord wouldn't have put it here if it were wrong."
A Gallup Poll taken last month shows that a majority of Republican voters, for the first time, support the legalization of marijuana, with the percentage leaping to 51 percent from 42 percent last year. Could that be an indicator of Republican angst over the man they elected to be president? Gallup doesn't say, but its headline writer had a heyday with this: "Record-High Support for Legalizing Marijuana Use in U.S."
Support by respondents identifying as Democrats was at 72 percent. Independents were at 67 percent. The poll was taken of 1,028 adults in all 50 states.
Overall, 64 percent of Americans now favor making the use of marijuana legal, the highest percentage since Gallup began polling on the issue in 1969, nearly 50 years ago. (Just two years after the Summer of Love, it should be noted. Gallup was paying attention.) In 1969, support was at 12 percent.
A majority of Americans have supported legalization since 2013. Democratic respondents have shown majority support since 2010.
Gallup noted that more than one in five Americans now live in a state where they can obtain marijuana legally.
Yet the Republican Congress moved last week to block a measure proposed by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) that would have prevented the federal government from punishing banks for working with legal marijuana businesses. Both men represent states where marijuana can be obtained legally.
The congressmen consider the issue one of public safety, to get cash off the streets. A security guard at a marijuana dispensary in Aurora, Colo., was shot to death during an attempted robbery last year. Perlmutter talked about the killing at the banking committee meeting, and told his colleagues, "I don't think there's a single person on this committee that is in a state that doesn't allow some level of marijuana use." According to the publication Marijuana Moment, 46 states have either comprehensive medical cannabis laws or the use of low-THC marijuana extracts. Republicans on the committee blocked consideration of the amendment.
David Couch, a lawyer who drafted Arkansas's medical marijuana law, said there is a statewide bank interested in allowing dispensaries to create accounts. The bank wants to remain anonymous until the licenses for growers and dispensaries have been issued.
After he failed to get his amendment adopted, Perlmutter issued this statement: "I'm appalled at House Republican leadership for denying the opportunity for a vote on the marijuana banking amendment which gets cash off the streets and prevents future crime in our communities. How many more armed robberies must we witness and security guards lives lost before we take action? House Republicans claim to despise regulation but yet they are governing the House under one of the most regulated processes I've ever seen."
A Gallup Poll taken in July found that 45 percent of people living in the U.S. say they have tried marijuana.