The Ohio Supreme Court ruled this week that it is now legal for attorneys in Ohio to counsel medical marijuana patients, physicians, cultivators and business owners. The amended ethics rule comes specialized insurance companies, like Cannasure in Westlake, are profiting.
"We cover the plants, all of the furniture fixtures and equipment, just like any mainstream American business," said Patrick McManamon, founder and CEO of Cannasure.
Cannasure provides property and casualty insurance for the medical and recreational cannabis industry. Its roughly 1,000 clients are nationwide and include dispensary owners, cultivators and manufacturers of products like edibles.
"Ninety percent of our customers are west of the Mississippi," he added.
But now that medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, McManamon, a Cleveland-area native, is gearing up for even more business. And so are local attorneys like Tom Haren.
"We are getting calls from people who are interested in opening cultivation facilities, processing facilities, dispensaries," said Haren.
But one of the biggest challenges, according to Haren and McManamon, are the banks. Most banks are not willing to participate in any medical marijuana activity, even though it is legal statewide. That's because marijuana is still considered illegal at the federal level.
McManamon, who said his company is one of about a half dozen in the country, understands the frustration of banks first-hand.
"We have lost five banks in four years," he said. "As we have these businesses come in, there has to be a banking solution."
McManamon added that an insurance policy for a dispensary is about one percent of the business' gross revenue.