Cannabis be true? Marijuana smokers and insurance companies on the same side?

Jun 30, 2016

Cannabis smokers and life insurance can now be friends as the industry reverses it long standing policy of exorbitantly rating them … finally. In a first for the country, BMO, Sun Life, and now ivari announced that effective immediately, they will no longer be calling on marijuana smokers to tick the “smokers” box on the life insurance questionnaire, reversing the long-standing policy that using the plant was on par with tobacco. It’s a coup for medical marijuana users given that smokers can pay anywhere from 30 to 50% more in premiums.

As research by insurance company’s increases, the life insurance industry has been paying close attention to studies in Canada and the U.S on the effects of medicinal marijuana. More specifically, the research has focused on the effects of infrequent marijuana usage compared to the effect of tobacco on cigarette smokers.

In terms of specifics, Sun Life and ivari have opted to classify all marijuana users who don’t smoke tobacco as non-smokers, while BMO’s policy will limit the status to those who smoke up to two “marijuana cigarettes” per week.
ivari has also taken the opportunity to make changes to those who occasionally smoke cigars, spiritual pipes, and water pipes. If you use these less than 12 times per year (once per month), you can be considered a non-smoker.

Follow these tips to get best coverage and price if you’re a marijuana user:
  • Work with a good independent agent who can steer you to companies that are more marijuana-friendly.
  • Be upfront about your marijuana use. Life insurance medical exams typically include blood and urine tests that will reveal pot use. If you lie about use, and a lab test reveals the drug in your system, the insurer likely will deny your application for coverage or worse, you can be denied your claim.
  • Ensure your agent sends a cover letter explaining the marijuana use with your application.
  • Compare life insurance quotes among insurers.

Already rated as a smoker due to your marijuana use? You do have the option to go back to your insurance carrier and ask for a reduction of your premium costs or you can apply for a new policy.


Pamela Coquet
Financial Strategist at Savanti Wealth

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