Marijuana and Life Insurance in the State of Washington

Smoking marijuana is not nearly as taboo as it used to be and life insurance companies are starting to be more lenient from an underwriting standpoint. Currently eight states and the district of Columbia have legalized recreational Marijuana. In the past if you smoke or ingest cannabis life insurance companies would rate you the same as a cigarette smoker and some companies are still this way. If you smoke or ingest cannabis and live in the State of Washington and are looking for a life insurance quote, speak with an agent at Pacific Insurance Group or swing by their Bellevue office. Multiple life insurance companies offer non-tobacco rates for people who use cannabis but there is one company who will give you a standard plus non-tobacco rating if you:

  • Are over the age of twenty-one
  • Use cannabis for recreational use only
  • Only smoke marijuana less than 3 times per week
  • Do not smoke cigarettes

There are several other life insurance companies who will give a standard non-tobacco rating if you consume marijuana, but the rates may be more expensive over the length of the term than a standard plus non-tobacco rating. Furthermore, most of the companies who only offer non-tobacco ratings as the highest potential rate class for people who use cannabis are more restrictive on the amount of times per month a person consumes may consume marijuana, such as eight to ten times per month versus three times per week or roughly twelve times per month. It is also significant that most life insurance companies view smoking and ingesting cannabis the same way, however about half the insurance carriers are still stuck in the dark ages and will only give tobacco or smoker ratings as the best rate class for people who smoke or ingest cannabis.


When you apply for life insurance the company will typically underwrite your health and come back with an “offer.” Even if you are in such poor health that one company declines you, a knowledgeable independent agent will generally be able to find a different company which may accept you. A standard non-tobacco rating is typically three time less expensive than a tobacco rating, so if you do not smoke cigarettes or use tobacco and only use marijuana recreationally, you could save around sixty-five percent by taking out a policy with a carrier who will give you a non-tobacco rating even though you occasionally use cannabis. If you want the best deal it is critical to work with a knowledgeable independent insurance agency that has your best interest in mind, this way they can shop multiple markets for the lowest cost life insurance policies for someone who uses cannabis. There are multiple insurance companies who do not discriminate against cannabis users and you should not pay more than you need to for life insurance.

Medical Marijuana

A common misconception people have in regard to medical marijuana is that it is looked at more favorably than recreation marijuana. The problem with medicinal marijuana is there needs to be an underlying health condition before a doctor with prescribe a medical marijuana card which can adversely affect the rating from the life insurance underwriter. Numerous analysts believe nearly 80% of people with a medical marijuana card exaggerate an illness to qualify for a green card, such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Migraine headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Arthritis
  • Severe Nausea

The issue is that, when filling out the application, these exaggerated ailments will typically cause the life insurance underwriter to give the proposed insured a worse health rating than they normally would have by just admitting to recreational use. For example, if a person where to go into the doctor and say they have bad migraines the physician might write in the medical records they recommend the patient to go get an MRI done. If the patient was exaggerating about the migraines and does not have the MRI completed (just trying to get their medical marijuana) it is very likely the life insurance underwriter will not make an offer until the proposed insured completes the MRI. Even if the proposed insured passes the MRI with flying colors, the underwriter could still give them a worse rating. Exaggerated anxiety can allow cause the life insurance underwriter to negatively view the file, ultimately resulting in a poor rating or offer from the insurance company.

State vs Federal regulation

Around November 2012 selling cannabis for recreational use was legalized in the State of Washington through the passing of Initiative 502, but to this day it is still Federally illegal which puts life insurance companies in a difficult position because insurance companies are not federally regulated. Life insurance companies are regulated by the states in which they conduct business. Since more states have begun legalizing marijuana for recreational use life insurance carriers have loosened their underwriting guidelines. It went from being an almost automatic decline when someone who uses marijuana was applying for life insurance to now potentially getting a standard plus non-tobacco rate if everything else health wise checks out. In May 2017 Washington State governor Jay Inslee signed off on legalizing the right for adults to share a joint, whereas before this point it was illegal to share cannabis with other adults. Recreational marijuana is still illegal on the federal level but some in the United States Congress support legalization on a federal level because it could help curb the black market, increase regulation, and decrease money laundering.


In the past if you work in the marijuana business as a grower or distributor it was impossible to get a life insurance policy because insurance companies were concerned about money laundering. However, recently there is talk of one life insurance company who will issue a policy as long as the marijuana business is not associated with the life insurance policy in any way. Meaning the owner, grower, or distributor can personally own the life insurance policy so long as they don’t pay the premiums out of the business checking account. This is great news for people who work in the cannabis industry who want to protect their families and loved ones from a premature death, and or want to potentially supplement their retirement income by taking distributions from the permanent life insurance cash value.

If you live in a state where recreational cannabis is legal and are looking to purchase life insurance you should speak with an agent at Pacific Insurance Group based out of Bellevue Washington. This life insurance agency specializes in getting people the correct amount of life insurance at the best rates possible. Pacific Insurance Group and its agents are appointed with several insurance companies which makes them able to offer the lowest cost life insurance in Washington State and the rest of the country. You can contact their office in Bellevue Washington by calling 425-246-4222 or emailing

marijuana and life coverage