Yannick Craigwell shows off some of his edible marijuana baked treats in Vancouver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward)

VIDEO: Cannabis edibles may drive up life insurance premiums

Edibles are set to become legal in Canada on Oct. 17, with sales expected 60 days later

Canadians looking to enjoy soon-to-be-legalized pot-infused edibles could get hit with higher insurance premiums — depending on the size of their appetite.

Many insurers no longer treat cannabis users as cigarette smokers — who pay much higher premiums due to the high-risk activity — provided there is no tobacco or nicotine in the products they use.

The shift came in recent years as Canada moved to legalize pot for recreational use, starting with dried flower, oils, plants and seeds.

However, to avoid paying more, cannabis usage must stay below a set number per week and many insurers count any kind of pot, whether it is smoked or sipped or chewed.

The threshold ranges from two to four cannabis usages per week, depending on the insurer, said Lorne Marr, LSM Insurance’s director of new business development.

“More than four, then you would still be treated as a non-smoker with most companies, but there would be an extra rating or extra premium attached to that marijuana use,” he said.

“And most companies treat the edibles as similar to smoking.”

But the approach among insurers varies, with some allowing for unlimited edibles consumption and others deeming a client a smoker after more than four weekly pot usages.

“You definitely want to shop around, because there could be a big difference,” Marr said.

Cannabis-infused foods, beverages as well as topicals such as lotions containing cannabidiol — known as CBD, the non-intoxicating compound found in pot are set to hit retail shelves as early as mid-December.

Earlier this month, Ottawa said the legislation regulating these new, next-generation cannabis products will come into force on Oct. 17. In turn, due to regulatory requirements, the earliest they can go on sales is 60 days later.

Companies are expecting brisk demand for these products as they appeal to a broader base of consumers, including those who don’t want to smoke.

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said pot consumption, for either recreational or medical use, will be taken into account when assessing risk and premiums.

“However, our members are continuing to assess the risks of any form of cannabis and will make adjustments to the risk profile as cannabis becomes more prominent in the market and more evidence of health impacts are known,” a spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Manulife Financial Corp. said it reviewed its underwriting around cannabis use in 2016 and currently, any users who do not use any nicotine products or e-cigarettes will be classified as non-smokers.

The insurer’s individual insurance products are available to both recreational or medical cannabis users, but factors affecting the rates include the amounts used, the company said in an emailed statement.

“The information about quantity used is proprietary, most recreational users are issued standard premium rates… Edibles are currently considered the same as all other forms of consumption,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Metal theft attempt in Nanaimo damages fire hydrant

Nanaimo RCMP hope public can help identify suspect

VIU theatre department debuts instructor’s original new musical, ‘SlugFest’

Writer and director Ross Desprez created the musical with his students

Parties make last push to try to win Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding

Greens, Conservatives, NDP and other parties focus on getting out the vote Oct. 21

UPDATE: One person hurt in crash at busy Nanaimo intersection

Minivan, sport utility vehicle collide at old Island Highway, Bowen Road and Norwell Drive

UPDATE: Man who was missing has been located

Search and rescue teams, RCMP were involved in search in south Nanaimo

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

British family deported after ‘accidental’ U.S. border crossing

U.S. officials deny it was mistake, release video of vehicle crossing into Washington from Langley

LETTERS: Wolf kills, wilderness protection and caribou recovery

Readers respond to Tom Fletcher’s column on B.C. program

Kamloops man hangs on to back of stolen truck as suspect speeds away, crashes

The pickup truck was seen leaving the roadway before bursting into flames

Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot

Island pharmacist shares concerns, recommendations before flu season hits

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Electric cello, stolen from vehicle in Williams Lake, returned to U.S. owner

Rita Rice of Texas said she and her husband had given up hope of ever seeing it again

Vancouver Island’s West Coast going wild about cycling

Ongoing project will tie Tofino and Ucluelet together with a paved cycling trail

Most Read