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My Cannabis Business Insurer Is Stonewalling: Can I Get Attorneys’ Fees For That? (In Washington, You Might)



Insurance issues in the cannabis space are multiplying daily as operations continue to expand across United States markets. Cannabis companies face the risk of operational losses as a result of fires, burglary, business interruptions, and myriad other events. Cannabis companies also pay hefty premiums on insurance policies to cover those very losses.

Many companies discover, however, that despite their premium payments, insurers can be particularly difficult when the time comes to pay a claim. Some companies discover that they may need to pay more in attorneys’ fees to bring their insurer into line than they may have paid for the premium on their policies. Who should bear the risk for those fees in a live dispute between an insurer and a policyholder? Washington state has decided that under some circumstances, the insurer must pay those fees.

Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA,” RCW 48.30.010 et. seq.) provides special protections for policyholders dealing with an especially intransigent insurer. One of those protections is a statutory basis for the policyholder to seek the attorneys’ fees it incurred in pursuing it’s claim for coverage. IFCA provides that no insurer shall engage in unfair methods of competition or in unfair or deceptive acts when handling an insurance claim.

If an insurer’s denial of a claim is “unreasonable,” then the policyholder may bring an action in Washington court seeking to recover the actual damages sustained as a result of any loss (what should be covered under the insurance policy to begin with), as well as reasonable attorneys and litigation costs for having to go to court at all. This is a compelling statutory lever for any cannabis business to deal with a bad-faith coverage denial.

Moreover, IFCA identifies statutory violations that would entitle a policyholder to collect the attorneys’ fees and litigation costs it incurs when it has to sue its insurer on any particular claim. An insurer may not engage in any of the following conduct in Washington unless it is ready to pay for the costs of litigation:

  • Specific unfair claims settlement practices (defined to include misrepresentations of fact, failing to acknowledge communications from a policyholder, or refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation, among others);
  • Misrepresentation of policy provisions (defined to include withholding information about applicable coverages, giving false deadlines, or requiring execution of a release extending beyond the subject matter of the dispute, among others;
  • Failure to acknowledge pertinent communications (defined to include failure to acknowledge receipt of notice of a claim within 10 working days (or 15 for group coverages));
  • Failure to promptly investigate a claim (requiring a complete investigation within thirty days after notification of a claim unless such time would be unreasonable); and
  • Failure to notify a policyholder whether a claim is accepted or denied within 15 working days of receipt of a fully completed and executed proof of loss.

In any of these situations, a policyholder has the right to collect the attorneys’ fees and costs it spends when it sues a stonewalling insurer. If you are experiencing difficulty communicating with your insurer or otherwise presenting a claim for coverage, a Harris Bricken coverage attorney can evaluate whether you may have a basis to collect professional fees for your representation. Having worked on both sides of this equation, our coverage attorneys know the insurer playbook inside and out, and are ready to assist with bringing your insurer into line.

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DMT Therapy: Coming to a Clinic Near You?




DMT, or N, N-dimethyltryptamine is a powerful psychedelic. DMT, like its sister psychedelics (LSD, MDMA, psilocybin … and even marijuana), is a Schedule I controlled substance. So according to the DEA, its abuse potential is high and it has no medical use. Also, according to the DEA, “the history of human experience probably goes back several hundred years since DMT usage is associated with a number of religious practices and rituals.” Indeed, DMT is the active ingredient in ayahuasca and has been used by indigenous communities in the Amazon for centuries; here, the past few decades have seen a resurgence in the use of DMT and/or ayahuasca ceremonies by non-indigenous persons.

Notwithstanding its dubious distinction as a Schedule I drug, DMT increasingly is the subject of study for its potential efficacy in treating a wide array of mental-health conditions including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This research—as with psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, ibogaine etc.—is expanding rapidly as numerous neuropharmaceutical companies look to be among the first-to-market potentially revolutionary therapies.

Just last month, Small Pharma, a neuropharmaceutical company, announced that that it has been granted an Innovation Passport Designation by the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for one of its DMT products for the treatment of major depressive disorder. This designation is similar to the FDA’s fast-track approval process in the United States. In fact, Small Pharma has been conducting trials as reported by the BBC and expanded its clinical trial this past summer.

In September, the Nikean Foundation announced a $5 million gift to create a psychedelic therapy research center at the University of Toronto. Several months ago, Canada-based Algernon Pharmaceuticals submitted a request to U.S. regulators to launch a clinical program to study the use of DMT for the treatment of stroke-related dysfunction. Last July, researchers published a study of the use of DMT to treat U.S. Special Forces Operations Veterans with promising results. And of course, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (“MAPS”) has been leading the charge since 1986. MAPS completed a study on DMT back in 2013 working with the renowned physician and author, Gabor Mate, whose work on recovering from trauma (see In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction) is essential reading.

But the pathways from research and clinical trials to the actual use of DMT and other psychedelics as treatment modalities is a winding one. As our own Mason Marks wrote in a recent co-authored article for Nature, Psychedelic therapy: a roadmap for wider acceptance and utilization, the Schedule I status of psychedelics means that federal funding for research is virtually non-existent. Other barriers to use include the rush to patent various compounds as this may limit access to these emerging therapies. And of course changing public perception toward accepting the use of psychedelics after five decades of a campaign to vilify any and all use.

Oregon is embarking on a grand experiment when it comes to psilocybin; one that may have seemed impossible even five years ago. So perhaps the use of DMT and other psychedelics for treating America’s mental health crisis is not far off. In the near term, however, it appears other countries will outpace the United States by leaps and bounds because of our federal government’s refusal to end the failed War on Drugs. So perhaps the skyrocketing “medical tourism” trade coming from the United States will soon include “mental health tourism”.

For additional reading on psychedelics, microdosing, and related topics, see:

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Despite Initial Setback, Florida Lawmakers Remain Intent on Psychedelics Reform




In April of this year, Florida’s first attempt at psychedelics reform failed, as a House subcommittee rejected HB 549. This bill, introduced by Rep. Michael Grieco (D-Miami Beach), would have legalized the use of psilocybin for mental treatment in the nation’s third most populous state.

Despite this setback, 2021 could yet be a pivotal year for psychedelics in Florida. In September, Grieco filed a new bill, HB 193, with companion SB 348 filed in the Senate by Minority Leader Lauren Book (D-Plantation). These bills call would require the Department of Health, together with the Board of Medicine, to study the therapeutic efficacy of MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, and migraines.

Republicans hold ample majorities in both chambers of the Florida legislature, meaning passage of any legislation will require significant from within their ranks. Given the fate of the earlier psilocybin bill, it is fair to ask what is different this time around. The answer, in a nutshell, is that the new bill is more Texas, less Oregon.

HB 549 was “modeled after” Oregon’s Measure 109, which established a legal regime for psilocybin in the state. However, anyone with even a passing knowledge of Florida knows that taking a cue from Oregon is unlikely to be a successful rallying cry in the Sunshine State. As discussed above, Republicans control both houses in the Florida legislature, as well as the governorship and the state’s two U.S. Senate seats. By contrast, Oregon’s governor and two U.S. senators are Democrats, and their party controls both legislative chambers.

According to Grieco, the current bills “plagiarized” legislation passed last summer in Texas, which mandates a study into psychedelic treatment for veterans grappling with PTSD. The stated goal is that Florida’s Republican legislature “will follow the lead of the GOP-led legislature in the Lone Star state.”

Florida’s proposed study would be broader in scope than the Texan one, but Grieco “plans to focus on veteran access.” In a state with a robust military presence and at least 1.5 million veterans, this concern is likely to resonate. This in turn could help garner support for the proposed law from within Republicans in the legislature.

Obtaining Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature might present a different challenge. While the governor is being coy about any presidential ambitions, he is clearly playing to a nationwide Republican audience, which might demand more conservatism than Florida’s electorate. In this context, DeSantis might decide that vetoing a “magic mushrooms” bill is a savvy political move, regardless of what is best for Floridians. This all said, the Texas law would give DeSantis some cover, if he wanted it. With some deft messaging, Navy man DeSantis could even use support for the bill as a way of highlighting his military credentials.

Between the legislative process and the actual study, there is a long road ahead for Florida when it comes to psychedelics legalization. However, the ripple effects of a favorable vote in Florida, itself a ripple from the Texas law, could manifest themselves much earlier, in the form of new bills and studies on psychedelics in conservative and centrist states.

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You Took a Tolerance Break from Cannabis But Still Can’t Get High, Now What?




marijuana tolerance break

The use of marijuana as many cannabis enthusiasts will say is an art, and the way to perfect art is through skill and technique. You might wonder how that comes to play with the use of cannabis but to get the best out of the herb, you must know when to go hard and when to drawback. This is what brought about the idea of a T-break to help the users get the best from the herb at all times. Read on as we look into what a T-break is, its importance, and why it seems to not be working for some cannabis enthusiasts.

Cannabis T-break

T-break is short for tolerance break which is a special time a cannabis user sets aside to deliberately cease from consuming cannabis or cannabis products. The aim of this cessation is to help such users to condition their body and prevent it from developing tolerance and insensitivity to the cannabinoid. THC is a strong and effective cannabinoid that gives a euphoric effect to its users. However, chronic use of cannabinoid and cannabis products helps users to develop increased tolerance. When this tolerance racks up, the natural drug ultimately becomes ineffective and unable to achieve its desired result.

Cannabis T-break is aimed at reducing tolerance which develops when the body grows resistant to chronic use of cannabis. When tolerance is developed, a larger amount of the cannabis product is needed to promote effects common to low doses. Usage of such high doses during tolerance can inadvertently promote adverse reactions in the body of the users.

Cannabis Tolerance

The science to explain cannabis tolerance is not fully elucidated yet and this is understandable because the concept of body adaptations towards general tolerance remains a complex phenomenon. Studies of chronic cannabis users have shown a correlation between chronic use and reduction in the number of available THC receptors in the brain. The dynamic and sensitive nature of the endocannabinoid system in the body also helps to promote the state of cannabis tolerance. When the ECS is overwhelmed by the amount of THC, it complements by being less sensitive to available THC molecules. This makes the cannabis user believe that an increased dose of THC will be the answer.

While many cannabis users might believe tolerance to cannabis is a completely bad experience, the reality is not so clear-cut. Some cannabis users especially those for medical purposes are saved from some unwanted side effects of THC when they develop tolerance. Some anecdotal reports from patients have attested to the capturing medicinal benefits of THC with limited impairment after prolonged use.

Why should I take a T-break?

There are myriad reasons you can come up with as to why a T-break is important for a cannabis user but they are all culminated into the protection from unwanted risks ascribed to high doses of THC. The endocannabinoid system of the body through its receptors after overstimulation leads to two special conditions called cannabis use disorder (CUD) and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). The occurrence of these two conditions is mitigated when a user properly takes a T-break.

Following proper use of the T-break, resumption of cannabis consumption will help the user have increased effectiveness of the natural product. This is particularly beneficial for medical marijuana users who use the herb for conditions like insomnia and anxiety. With increased effectiveness, the user gets a potent dose for less amount money which is ultimately a win-win situation for the user.

For chronic users, taking q T-break might not be as simple as it is put in this article. This is because such users are prone to withdrawal symptoms that readily challenge such persons after cessation from prolonged use. Highly dependent cannabis users can have symptoms such as restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia. Some medical marijuana patients also have issues with taking a T-break as it will require the use of other medications which might not have the needed therapeutic effect to the same degree.

Why is your T-break not working?

Some cannabis users after taking a T-break complain of its ineffectiveness as they still need a similar amount of the product to get their desired effect. Available evidence has shown that this is because many of such users go about taking the T-break the wrong way. The first point of discourse is the duration of the T-break. The amount of time accorded to allow the body to recover from the effect of overdependence on THC is very important and cannot be addressed lightly by anyone who wishes to take a T-break.

While it is true that the effects of cannabis easily wear off after one day, it is not the same for the interaction box THC with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Research has shown that it can take as long as four weeks before CB1 receptors regain normal activity after being acted upon by THC. This means that an adequate amount of time will be needed to take a T-break and minor halts of a few days cannot count and will lead to ineffectiveness.

Another factor that leads to failed T-breaks is the lifestyle of the user during the T-break. Many cannabis users spend the T-break counting the time and waiting on for the next hit instead of looking for ways to condition the body for what is to come. One simple option that can be taken during the T-break is CBD because of its lack of psychoactive effect and calming and wellness effect. Cannabis strains with an equal ratio of CBD and THC have less incidence of unwanted side effects and less pressure is placed on the ECS.


T-breaks are very useful for cannabis users especially those that are highly dependent. The success of the exercise however is heavily reliant on the amount of time given and how the user utilizes the break to condition the body. Once these two factors are properly modulated, you will easily see the numerous benefits of taking a cannabis tolerance break.








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