State of Washington is Serious about Enforcement of Cannabis Insurance Laws
Enforcement of cannabis insurance laws was something we wanted to know was actually being performed in Washington. Sure enough, the State of Washington Liquor and Cannabis Control Board (“LCCB”) mandates by law cannabis licensees must procure insurance under statute cited in §WAC 314-55-082 Insurance Requirements. The State of Washington is one of the few states to include insurance as a condition of being a licensee. The regulations essentially states the purpose, guidelines, and meeting certain coverage limits to include naming the LCCB as a additional insured, etc…..
As a result, we were curious to know if any actions had been taken against licensees for failing to buy cannabis insurance by contacting the LCCB who promptly responded.
Since 2015, there have been 43 enforcement actions charged against various licensees for violating §WAC 314-55-082. Based on the report, it would appear most licensees are receiving a verbal warning. However, a certain number of licensees were given multiple warnings including written, suspension, and eventually fined.
There have been a total of 4r licensees who have been fined for failing to buy insurance in Washington. In 2015, there were a total of 18 insurance violations. The lowest number of citations was in 2017 with just 1.
Is the LCCB enforcing the purchase of product liability insurance?
This information was requested, but the report only indicates the licensee had violated §WAC 314-55-082.
This information would have been important to know if the LCCB was enforcing their interpretation of the statute to buy product liability coverage as it was reported here some confusion had previously existed on the interpretation of this statute.
Less than 1% chance of being cited, but not worth the risk
In our opinion, the State of Washington continues to demonstrate they have the most active and stringent cannabis laws of any state. The chance of being cited for operating without the proper insurance is low. With approximately 1,500 licenses, that chance is less than 1%.
However, the enforcement actions do indicate the LCCB will continue to punish those who operate without insurance.
This is a risk most licensees will want to avoid.