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California Cannabis Farmer Gets $1M Payout for Thomas Fire Crop Damage

A cannabis cultivator in Carpinteria, California has won a $1 million insurance payout after ashes from the Thomas Fire destroyed thousands of his plants, the Santa Barbara Independent reports. However, because of the payout total, the carrier has decided it would no longer cover cannabis farmers.

The farmers paid $30,000 in premiums with a $25,000 deductible. The coverage was provided by Brown & Brown Insurance, who have about 20 clients in Carpinteria and Lompoc, and Vice President Matt Porter indicated they expected to get up to $8 million in payouts for their Carpinteria clients. The policy for the farmers included the precise language “change in atmospheric conditions.”

Tests found the plants were contaminated with high levels of asbestos, lead, arsenic, and magnesium following ash-fall and the farmers were able to get market price for the damaged products – or about $1,000-$1,600 per-pound.

Porter indicated that of the 50 times he has presented crop insurance, just about 10 percent of the clients decided to purchase it. Although the carriers who had to make the payout will no longer work with cannabis businesses, Porter said he is working with other European carriers to provide the insurance.

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