Friday, April 1, 2016

Do I need a safe for my Marijuana business?

Do you need a safe? If you are not insuring your products for theft then the insurance company does not require an 800lb safe with a one hour fire rated bolted to the ground. The underwriters came upon this size after studying years of robberies of Cannabis stores. A safe’s job is to slow down the bad guys. Are all safe’s created equal? Here is a quick educational video. . Just because a safe’s door looks big, doesn’t mean it keeps your products safer. There are a lot out there that have skinny metal and sheetrock.

In Washington State, I talk with Dave Giussi about quality safes. He is the owner of Graffunder Safe and Vault and understands the industry. I would not feel comfortable with $500,000 worth of concentrates being stored overnight behind just sheet metal in a locking file cabinet. Contact Dave if you want good protection for your products.

Here is why a safe is bolted to the ground:

Another box store safe:

Friday, March 4, 2016

Products Liablity & Marijuana Insurance

Products Liability is a huge question for a business owner in today’s market. Yes, it is expensive however with the average cost of defense running at $500,000, it becomes smart money. Recalls and lawsuits are expensive. Yes, there are cases that are cheaper and plenty that are more expensive. As you are thinking of protecting your investment, think of how many product recalls occur in the US on a weekly basis. Did you know that there are websites dedicated to this? Most of us have received at least one notice in the mail concerning our cars. Why would we think that a fast moving industry such as the marijuana industry would be different?

If you are a dispensary or a retail store then you should consider adding it to your store’s insurance package. When there is a suit, everyone possible gets named and it usually takes a lawyer, money and time to get untangled from a lawsuit. Our first run in with this was the Mirth Soda in three of the legal stores in Washington State. Who do you think would be named in a lawsuit if a bottle exploded in a customer’s hands?

If you sell Vape Pens and do not have Product’s liability then you are in a risky situation. The batteries can catch fire and the US Department of Transportation has limited them on flights in the US. There have been instances where Vape Pens have exploded. Be a Captain of Industry and know every step of production underneath your operation. By understanding where your products come from and how they are insured/treated only promotes your long term success.

Grower and processors, the first chance that you can cover your products, cover them. The Marijuana industry came out of the shadows with little regulation and oversight. Do you follow good manufacturing procedures? When was the last time you checked the chemical list for banned substances? Is your equipment being cleaned between runs of different growers or are you blending products? Being careful also includes being careful about what you bring in to your product stream.

There have been policies that I have refused to sell because of clauses against Cannabis/Marijuana’s product liability. A client buying a product has an expecation of the product being safe and if they find out otherwise then you are looking down the wrong end of a lawsuit. You never know who is going to try to take a short cut below you on your product stream and you don’t know how someone is going to use your product when you sell it. If you want to protect your business then you have product liability.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mini Marijuana Pumpkin Pie Recipe

It’s Thanksgiving and you have smoked your turkey and now it is time to get baked with your four closest buds. What better way to do it than with a tiny pie? This recipe makes four mini pumpkin pies and remembers, you can always adjust the amount of cannabis you put in according to your tolerance level.

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 to 6 tablespoons ice water

1 can (14 or 15 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (14 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 gram finely ground hash or kief
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger

Treat them like you are Dexter, chop the butter and the shortening in to small chunks and place it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
While the butter is getting cold, toss in the sugar, flour, and salt in a food processor and blend everything together.
Add in the cold butter/shortening mix and pulse until everything is looks like a bunch of crumbs.
Take the mixture out of the food processor and put in to a large mixing bowl.
Add in the ice water and mix together with your hands until it balls up and is a little wet.
Pat the dough in to a disk and wrap it with plastic wrap, carefully setting it in the fridge for about 20 minutes before removing it and rolling. Cut the dough into quarters.
Take a quarter and place it on a piece of wax paper and sprinkle it with flour. Cover it with another piece of wax paper and use a rolling pin to roll the dough in to a circle to form your mini pie crust.
Put your rolled crust in to a pie pan and press the edges in firmly to make your pie forms correctly. Place the crusts in the freezer to harden while you now make the crust.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have tiny pie tins then use a muffin pan! Multi-tasker is good.
The Filling:
Take a large mixing bowl and beat the eggs with a mixer until they’re frothy.
Add in the pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, hash/kief, vanilla, cloves, sweetened condensed milk, and ginger.
Beat everything until it’s well combined.
Pour the mixture in to the prepared crusts that you have ready and bake them for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. (Small pies make for quicker baking).
Check their centers with a toothpick and if they come away clean, the pies are ready. If not, continue to check them at 5 minute intervals until the toothpick comes out clean.

Share and enjoy.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Affordable Health is here.: Health Insurance Washington 2016

Affordable Health is here.: Health Insurance Washington 2016: The first week of open enrollment has been exciting. We have had some new customers and some old. When we first started and I looked at t...

I didn't know that there are over 180 total plans that the exchange was offering. Even when I narrow it down to county, I am often sorting through 72 health insurance plans. Do not be over whelmed grab a broker. There is no charge to using one and they are trained and can advise how plans function. The smartest people that I know use advisors all the time.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Can my kids get poisened from Halloween candy?

Happy Halloween!! As a dad and a professional in the Cannabis Insurance Industry, I get a flood of scary things about the creepy neighbor down the street poisoning my 9 year old. Last year it was from the newly licensed Recreational Marijuana Stores in Washington and Colorado. It appears to have dropped off the social media darling list for now but I think that the week is just starting.

We have Police Department.
We have Forbes.
Snopes talks about it.
Wikipedia talks about it.

Let’s skip beyond the obvious that Edibles can be expensive or who would think of doing that to a kid doing Trick-Or-Treating. How many kids have been poisoned over the years from Halloween?

I am going to go with a Professional, Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware who specializes in candy tampering legends. Best looked into all the newspapers published between 1958 to 1983 and found fewer than 90 instances that might have qualified for actual candy tampering. Of those, he found five child deaths initially thought to be caused by homicidal strangers but none were investigated. For example, one was a child eating uncle’s heroin stash. A child is more likely to be injured by being struck by a car than finding candy laced by strangers.

So when Halloween rolls around have fun. Send the kids Trick-or-Treating making sure that they can see and be seen. Check the candy for anything damaged. Have fun because the odds are favor that you will get sicker from all the sugar than anything drug laced. Don’t believe the hype and have fun. If you want to talk about insuring a Cannabis business then give me a call.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How do I start a Marijuana Business?

These days it seems like everyone is trying to find out how to start a marijuana business. Some call it a ‘Green Rush’ others just smart business. After all of these years working around the industry, I have developed some tips:

1. Walk away from the $9,000 lawyers and talk to an assortment of experts. One of the best is the 420college. They have classes in a bunch of states and assemble some of the best people that I have met in the industry. It is also at the most reasonable prices with the ability to come back.
2. Select a specialized accountant. The 280E is no joke. Find someone that will work with you and not just take information from you. Al Capone was snagged for taxes don’t be that person.
3. Select an insurance expert. Find someone that is current in the industry. You shop for experts, let your experts shop for products. They can even start advising you on underwriting pitfalls such as protecting your marijuana in a particular size of safe so that it can be insured.
4. Select a legal expert. Find someone that understands the laws. For example in Oregon there are some areas that will not allow a marijuana business.
5. Join an association and find out what associations your experts are in. Not only do some associations you get benefits, you also can meet other professionals and educate yourself. In Washington, I recommend checking out Coalition for Cannabis Standards and Ethics as they are a good mix of benefits, lobbying and networking.
6. Build a business plan and understand product flow, people flow and cash flow. Do not bank on product selling itself and that bad things won’t happen to you. I have seen dispensaries shut down for Robberies and wind wiping out crops.

This is a business like any other with thousands of people wanting to make money. Many of which will not set themselves apart by doing the hard work and learning everything that they can. It is not for everybody. Good luck, I look forward to seeing you out there.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Lloyds and Marijuana Insurance

I get questions about Lloyds and Insuring the Cannabis Industry on a regular basis. It can be from a new client in Colorado to an old one in Washington asking about renewals. (The two questions that I have had this week).

There are actually quite a few articles on the subject talking about how horrible this event is however I have found the experience refreshingly old school. I tend to refer people to industry Articles about Lloyds leaving the business.

Today was the first time that I got a hard copy letter from the carrier stating the end of Lloyd’s and Marijuana Insurance. Check it out:

It had little effect for my clients because the previous February, I switched over to Hannover as a primary carrier. I work with multiple companies. It is an ongoing process to see what company can do for different categories of clients. I have literally told client’s if they find a company that is better than the one I am using then let me know as I am more than happy to add on to my offering.

Insurance has always been about the customer. Picking good insurance involves picking a good broker.