In my earlier article we began a discussion of insurance liability exposure for canna crops. So here is further amplification. Farm products on all fronts, especially food, are under the microscope because illnesses from lettuce, spinach, melons, and tomatoes have all sent people to the hospital with E.coli, salmonella, listeria and other unforeseen conditions.
Cannabis, whether farmed indoors or outdoors, faces similar but not identical issues. The main problem, other than infestation, is that with both grow products there is processing, packing, labor and distribution activity. Given that medical cannabis has two basic products, hemp non-THC and medical with THC there is ample opportunity for innocent errors,
The 2018 Farm Bill allowed the cultivation of industrial hemp in the United States but set a threshold of 0.3% THC for the entire plant being distributed. Federal and some state regulatory bodies have seized cannabis plants and usually hire forensic laboratories to distinguish between legal hemp and “illegal” cannabis. At this juncture, with a lack of national standardized canna/hemp regulations and solid analytical tools, the process of keeping these products safe for consumption is in its infancy and there will be lawsuits filed by people who cite illness from consumption.
On the federal level, a first grant recipient was the National Institute of Standards and Technology lab governed by the Department of Commerce. This organization concentrates on dilution, extraction protocols, measurement tools, and producing valuation studies. But in the current era of less tax dollars and less regulation, how much protection will honest, secure, conscientious cannabis businesses have from lawsuits, and will their carriers defend them? Remember what happened in Oregon from our previous article. They say the road to H – – L is paved with good intentions; as far as Kanna Knowledge knows only one state, Maryland, has been cooperating with NIST.
We all realize that farm liability coverage does not cover liability from the sale of processed products, especially if the farmer sells his or her own product. A unique commercial general liability policy is required for the altered products. These insurance policies notoriously tend to be quite ambiguous. We urge all your cannabis clients to beware of these facts about a possible lack of coverage. Just recall the Tylenol scare decades ago, because the sales and use of cannabis is growing exponentially which makes it an ideal target for the plaintiff bar.
We want to conclude with some data on what your cannabis crops might be infested with. Be sure that when you spray your plants you get the undersides of leaves as well, because this is where many pests like to hang out. There is a “one-hand pressure sprayer/mister” that works well on leaves. So, what are your main plant killers?
- Barnacles/scale insects
- Bud rot and mold
- Caterpillars and Inchworms
- Fungus gnats
- Plant hoppers
- Root rot
- Russet mites
- Tobacco mosaic virus
- White flies
- White powdery mold
- Yellow leaf spot
We can provide a more detailed explanation of the damage these pests represent: just let me know. Even if you are an indoor grower please beware and try to get your insurer to recognize these issues. Let us know if you want more help. Because of the value and importance of crop insurance coverage for cannabis grows, we will write more about this in our next issue
Have a great holiday: see you in January.
Michael B and the KRM Research Team