With the recent stories in the news regarding the loosening of some laws (in certain states) pertaining to the recreational or medical use of marijuana…do pot smokers now have a better chance at getting life insurance? Here’s the latest dope on the subject.
In the not-so-distant past, being a pot smoker meant that most of the good rates for life insurance were beyond one’s reach. That’s because most life insurance policies require you to submit to a medical exam, which typically includes a blood test. And Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that gives pot its punch, can be detected in the bloodstream for a long time (as long as a month later) after that last toke. In short, if you smoked marijuana, trying to get good rates on life insurance was truly a bummer.
What are the new insurance rules regarding smoking marijuana?
But as that Bob Dylan song goes: “The times…they are a–changin’.” Since some states have now legalized the medicinal (for certain medical conditions) and recreational (in small quantities) use of marijuana, some insurance companies now categorize marijuana in their “tobacco” or “smoker” rate categories.
Even though the federal government still considers marijuana a “Schedule 1” substance (which means that there’s no officially recognized medical use for the drug), the “medical” use of marijuana is now legal in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia (each state has their own limits on how much one can legally possess).
As far as “recreational” use of marijuana goes, Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug for that purpose (again, each state has different possession level criteria). To see what the marijuana laws are in your state, this link is a good resource.
Some of the possible medical benefits to marijuana include the treating autoimmune diseases, seizures, and substance abuse. These medical benefits are currently being tested at the National Institute for Health (NIH).
Marijuana is used frequently by about 5 million Americans (at least 51 times a year), which accounts for about 75 percent all current illicit drug use.
With so many millions of Americans partaking in smoking pot (socially or medically), insurance companies have started to take notice. Truth be told, insurance carriers need customers to stay in business.
So slowly, but surely, the societal stigma against smoking pot is going up in smoke. As stated earlier, some life insurance companies are now giving recreational marijuana smokers the same rates they offer tobacco smokers. That’s a huge step forward.
What are the health risks to smoking pot?
For the record, marijuana does increase your risk of heart attack (in the first hour after taking the drug), and when you smoke a doobie, you inhale the same respiratory irritants as tobacco smokers. That’s why pot smokers will probably never get “preferred” rates…the best rates in the marketplace. Besides, you have to be in really great health to get that top-tier, pristine rate anyway. So if you thought you could get that great rate, then maybe you are smoking a tad too much of that funky stuff.
But getting “smokers” rates for marijuana users is a huge first step. In fact, it’s totally rad. So now, just because you occasionally light up, you can probably get the life insurance you need to take care of your family. Rock on!