Canadian Insurance Company Adds Medical Marijuana Coverage


Canada’s medical marijuana patients may soon find their medication covered by Sun Life Financial, thanks to a new plan under consideration by the Toronto-based insurance provider.

Dean Connor, Chief Executive Officer for Sun Life Financial, announced last week that the company’s move to include medical marijuana coverage was driven by an elevated interest from Sun Life’s Canadian clientele.

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For Canadian patients battling a wide spectrum of debilitating ailments, “medical marijuana has become a very important part of their treatment and pain management program,” Connor explained.

In the Great White North, roughly 235,621 patients are enrolled in Canada’s medical marijuana program as of September 2017. In a province-by-province analysis, Alberta and Ontario both witnessed a noteworthy increase in the total number of medical marijuana patients. In Alberta, 60,479 people were registered as medical marijuana patients as of April 2017. By September, the number of patients had increased to 91,150 — an increase of more than 30,000.

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Cannabis At Work@cannabisatwork

Health Canada has released their newest market data for medical cannabis, showing a continued increase in patient enrollments. 235,621 active registrations were recorded up to September 30, 2017. The most registrations in Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia.

1:41 PM - Jan 23, 2018

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On March 1, 2018, patrons of Sun Life’s plan will have the option “to add medical cannabis coverage to extended health-care plans, ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 per covered person per year,” according to the Financial Post.

Jonathan Zaid, the 24-year-old executive director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, was cautiously optimistic about the news.

“Although there may not be an immediate benefit for patients as specific plan sponsors will need to purchase the coverage, this move will make covering medical cannabis simpler than today’s exception process and speaks volumes to the broader acceptance and legitimacy of medical cannabis,” Zaid noted.

Currently, Canadian medical marijuana patients who wish to have their medication reimbursed by insurance must request an exception for coverage of medications not on the list of eligible benefits, while some plans offer no coverage at all.

While the Canadian company’s plan excludes some qualifying conditions, the insurer’s new offering is a step forward for Canada’s licensed medical marijuana patients.

Manulife Financial Corp., one of Canada’s largest healthcare insurers, also provides insurance coverage for Canada’s medical marijuana patients suffering from debilitating spasticity and neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis.

How Many Dispensaries Are In Each State?


How many dispensaries are in each state? With 29 states that all have some form of legalized marijuana, the number of dispensaries in the country is rapidly increasing to serve existing and emerging markets. States like California have recently implemented their recreational marijuana laws. As a result, many old dispensaries have shut their doors and new ones have surfaced as companies await their license to sell. We used data from state governments with legalized marijuana to see how many dispensaries are in each state.

Recreational Marijuana State Dispensaries


With many states adopting recreational marijuana laws, the number of dispensaries countrywide is rapidly changing.


Dispensaries: 261

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana but not the first to go recreational. In 2016, California’s Proposition 64 passed, legalizing the sale of cannabis to adults. There are currently no businesses with full licenses to sell in California. However, temporary licenses are being awarded so retail cannabis is being distributed. According to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, there are currently 261 active temporary retail licenses to sell cannabis for adult use.



Dispensaries: 61

Nevada had their first medical marijuana dispensaries opened in 2015. Residents voted to legalize recreational cannabis in 2016. The laws went into effect on January 1st of 2017. Now, weed can be legally acquired at any of the 61 dispensaries listed on the state government’s website.


Dispensaries: 93

In 2014, Alaska voted to tax and regulate the legal production, sale and use of marijuana. A license search on the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development website yields 93 results for Oregon dispensaries.


Dispensaries: 560+

According to the Oregon government website, the number of approved licenses to marijuana retailers went from 213 in July 2016 to 560 by the end of January.

Washington – 103 retail stores

Dispensaries: 103 retail

Washington has had recreational marijuana for quite some time now so there are now many dispensaries in the state. According to Washington’s Department of Health website, there are currently 103 retail cannabis stores but many more “medically endorsed stores.” This means they have medical marijuana consultants on staff.


Dispensaries: 520


Colorado has by far, the largest number of dispensaries in any state. The Colorado Department of Revenue has a list of all the licensed recreational and medical marijuana dispensing centers. There are 520 recreational facilities with 505 medical ones as well.


Dispensaries: 19

On November 8th, 2016 Massachusetts became the first state on the East Coast to legalize cannabis. As of December 31, 2017, Massachusetts has 19 registered marijuana dispensaries around the state.

Medical Marijuana State Dispensaries


California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Since then, about half of the nation’s states have legalized medical marijuana. In states with strict laws, medical marijuana is limited to patients with truly debilitating conditions. Other states that allow a wider range of patients to register as medical marijuana patients and they have more dispensaries as a result.


Dispensaries: 8

8 total Medical Use of Marijuana Program Dispensaries

Maine joined Massachusetts in legalizing recreational marijuana on the East Coast. However, retailers currently have no way to get the required licenses. As a result, the only dispensaries in the state are only accessible to medical marijuana patients. There is currently 8 listed medical use of marijuana program dispensaries on the state government’s website.


Dispensaries: 100+

Arizona is one of the first states with a drive-thru dispensary. Unfortunately, they are one of the few states that keep their list of dispensaries confidentialto anyone other than registered medical marijuana patients that cannot grow their own marijuana in the state.

However, the number of dispensaries allowed in the state is somewhere between 120 and 126. The number of dispensary agents is public. There are 4,731 individuals that can distribute marijuana on behalf of a dispensary.

New Mexico

Dispensaries: 68

New Mexico’s medical marijuana law was signed in 2007. Since it’s been more than a decade, there are now many dispensaries for the state’s patients to choose from. The state has 12 manufacturers that distribute from their own dispensaries. Recent data shows a total of 68 dispensaries in New Mexico.


Dispensaries: 50+

Medical marijuana laws in Montana were signed in 2004. Only patients with severely debilitating or terminal conditions qualify for medical marijuana in the state. Despite this, the number of dispensaries in the state has gradually increased over the year. According to the Montana Department of Health, they cannot give information out about dispensaries. However, there are over fifty listed online.

North Dakota

Dispensaries: 0

The North Dakota medical marijuana law was only signed in 2016. The program is not yet operational and there are no current dispensaries. The program was supposed to go into effect on April 18, 2017. The earliest effective date for medical marijuana rules would be on April 1, 2018.


Dispensaries: 8

The Minnesota medical marijuana law was signed in 2014 and it is currently operational. Several state-licensed dispensaries have opened. In fact, the Minnesota Department of Health has eight locations listed on their website.


Dispensaries: 100+

Michigan is currently in the process of accepting medical marijuana business license applications but there are over 42,000 caregivers registered to supply cannabis. There are currently well over one hundred dispensaries listed online but they will close soon if they don’t receive a license when they’re distributed later this year.


Dispensaries: 53

Illinois is one of the states with a long list of qualifying conditions but they have a decent number of dispensaries. The medical marijuana laws in Illinois were signed in 2013. Since then, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation list 53 licensed dispensaries across the state.


Dispensaries: 0

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has yet to release the list of licensed dispensaries despite the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. There is a delay because the law only came into effect in 2016 and the program is still a work in progress. So far the Department of Finance and Administration has released a list of all the names and proposed locations of applicants.


Dispensaries: 0

The Louisiana medical marijuana program has yet to start. Worst of all, the number of doctors that are approved to issue a “physician recommendation form” can be counted on one hand. If all goes according to plan, the program will begin operating this summer.


Dispensaries: 27

Florida has medical marijuana laws but they are restrictive like the laws in other states like New York. Medical marijuana treatment center is the term for a dispensary in Florida. These centers are responsible for cultivating and processing the cannabis. Additionally, they sell to qualified medical marijuana patients. There are 27 dispensaries total listed on the state government’s website.


Dispensaries: 0

The Ohio medical marijuana laws were signed in 2016 but the program hasn’t started yet. The State Board of Pharmacy may award up to 60 dispensary licenses. So far, the board has received hundreds of applicants. There is no one to sell medical marijuana in the state yet. Unfortunately, patients will have to wait while the program starts handing out licenses to sell.

West Virginia

Dispensaries: 0

West Virginia signed their marijuana laws in 2016. As a result, the program is not yet operational. Therefore, there are no operating dispensaries in the state as of now. The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Program will release the application for dispensaries in the first quarter of 2018.


Dispensaries: 6

Six dispensaries received approval to start selling medical marijuana products once they are available. The only dispensary to have a grand opening is in Lehigh Valley. Unfortunately, they have no product. Therefore, patients won’t be able to make purchases until mid-February or later.


Dispensaries: 0

A judge temporarily halted the medical marijuana industry in Maryland on the request of a company that alleged state regulators ignored racial diversity when deciding who could grow legal cannabis. A trial in June will determine whether state regulators acted outside of the law when awarding the first fifteen preliminary licenses to grow. So, there will still be some time before Maryland sees its first operational medical marijuana dispensary.


Dispensaries: 2

Delaware currently only has two dispensaries owned by the same company. First State Compassion is currently the only provider of medical marijuana in Delaware and more are on the way.

New Jersey

Dispensaries: 5

New Jersey adopted their medical marijuana program rules in 2011. Since then, only a few dispensaries have opened up their doors in the state. In fact, the state currently has five operational medical marijuana dispensaries with more on the way.

New York

Dispensaries: 19

New York has one of the stricter medical marijuana programs for patients with debilitating conditions. In fact, there is no actual smokable cannabis available at dispensaries. However, other cannabis products are available at New York’s 19 registered medical marijuana dispensaries. More are opening soon which will more than double the number of dispensaries in the state.


Dispensaries: 4

Vermont has had medical marijuana laws since 2004. Despite the early start date, few dispensaries have opened in the state. More than a decade later, there are only four operational dispensaries located in Montpelier, Brandon, Burlington and Brattleboro.

New Hampshire

Dispensaries: 4

The Therapeutic Cannabis Program passed through the state legislature in 2013 but things have moved slowly since then. In fact, only a few dispensaries have opened up. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services lists 4 dispensaries or “alternative treatment centers.”


Dispensaries: 9

Medical marijuana laws in Connecticut came about in 2012 and not too many dispensaries have opened up since then. According to Connecticut’s official state website, there are 9 total medical marijuana dispensary facilities in the state. That will change soon because the state is looking for more medical marijuana dispensaries.

Rhode Island

Dispensaries: 3

Rhode Island medical marijuana patients can purchase their medicine at compassion centers around the state but there aren’t many. As expected with a small state the Rhode Island Department of Health website lists compassion centers in only Providence, Warwick and Portsmouth.

Washington D.C.

Dispensaries: 8

Washington D.C. has legalized recreational marijuana but there are currently only medical marijuana dispensers. There are eight medical dispensaries in the state total but most of them in the North East region.

Final Hit: How Many Dispensaries Are In Each State?

Since marijuana laws in several states have changed in recent years, the online listings of marijuana dispensaries in certain states are unreliable according to research.

“The online listings appear to be inaccurate. We only found 815 out of the listed 2,174 dispensaries were active. This is 37 percent of the listings,” Erick Eschker, co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research stated.

The number of how many dispensaries are in each state will change because a few states are currently working on implementing their programs. Once they are operational, the number of dispensaries nationwide will continue to increase.

Cannasure Launches Insurance Program For Weed Businesses


Being federally illegal and operating with cash-only, weed businesses come with lots of risks. Some of them are specific to the cannabis industry. As a result, insurance companies, like Cannasure, that cater to the needs of businesses in the industry have been around for years. And now, Cannasure is launching a new comprehensive insurance program for weed businesses so farmers and dispensers can finally sleep at night.

Cannasure Launches Cannabis Program

Cannasure Insurance Services is based in Cleveland, Ohio but their insurance program for weed businesses will expand to every state with legalized marijuana. They cover both medical and recreational marijuana businesses. This includes dispensaries, processors/manufacturers, ancillary businesses, landlords and testing laboratories. Considering a greener approach to your business, like growing organic weed? Cannasure covers cultivation too.

There is even coverage for marijuana events. Cannasure has event relocation coverage, event cancellation coverage, product coverage and equipment coverage. Cars at cannabis events have been broken into and festivals have been raided with all the medicine at the event being seized. Now, there is even insurance coverage that will take care of any monetary losses experienced due to misplaced products or medicine at an event.

“The cannabis industry is evolving at an unprecedented rate and because of this so are the industry-specific risk factors and operational demands,” said Patrick McManamon, CEO of Cannasure Insurance Services.

The program will be managed by Kieran O’Rourke, who has over twenty years of property/casualty underwriting and senior management experience.



Businesses will be eligible for up to $5 million in general liability as well as property protection. This includes furniture, fixtures and equipment. Even medicine can be covered. They claim the rates are affordable and you can see the money cannabis companies have saved so far on their website.

On top of property coverage, the money lost during the time it takes to re-open your business after a fire is also covered. For some dispensaries a few days closed means a huge tank in profits. Fortunately, Cannasure can make that a problem of the past.

Cannasure’s program aims to satisfy the specific needs of the cannabis industry. As a result, they cover any loss of medicine from theft or fire. They also offer coverage for any weed being transported from cultivation site to dispensary.

Since dispensaries are forced to operate in cash, they have been the perfect target for robbers. As a result, businesses have had to dish out for 24-hour security for facilities and for transporting cash or product. They couldn’t afford a loss because it might not be covered by their businesses insurance.

On top of inventory coverage against risks like fire and theft, Cannasure offers product liability. This means if someone sues due to an unexpected reaction to medicine, the insurance company will cover the expenses of both the cost to defend the lawsuit and the potential loss.


Final Hit: Cannasure Insurance Program For Weed Businesses

A fire or theft doesn’t need to result in an unrecoverable loss for weed businesses. Cannasure has been one of the leading forms of insurance coverage for marijuana since 2010. The launch of the program for new business submission will be effective on February 1st of 2018. Weed businesses can reach out to them and other insurance companies for quotes to compare coverage and prices.