Tim Selenski, 24, was licensed through Health Canada almost a year ago to grow marijuana for a Regina man who is allowed to possess the drug for medical reasons. Until last week, Selenski was growing his first medicinal marijuana crop out of his home, next to his cannabis specialty shop, Head to Head Novelties in the 2900 block of Dewdney Ave.
He is currently licensed to grow up to 15 plants for distribution to the patient. Because of the nature of the product, Selenski said he has taken numerous security measures to protect the operation, including cameras, alarms, guard dogs and a tall chain link fence.
“I’m a small jail here,” he said.
Even so, when he tried to have the equipment needed for the grow operation insured for about $3,000, he was told by his primary insurer to dismantle the operation within 30 days or risk losing his insurance on his shop and home as well, he said.
“And that’s on my house, store, everything,” said Selenski. “There’s $120,000 worth of equity in my life that I’ve built up. Just to throw away for 10 plants, it wasn’t worth it.”
That insurance company, Saskatchewan Mutual Insurance Co., did not provide an immediate response Wednesday, with media inquiries being forwarded to head office for reply.
After being refused by that company, Selenski said he took his request to 11 other companies, all of which similarly refused to insure the grow operation.
One of those companies was Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), he said.
SGI spokesperson Barbara Cross said in general they don’t cover marijuana grow operations at this time, even if it is a licensed operation, because it is considered too high-risk.
“It’s a controlled substance,” she said. “There can be implications for overloads on the electrical system of the building. There can be increased humidity and possibly mold considerations … We don’t tend to insure unusual or high-risk situations as an insurance company. Ours tend to be more ordinary types of coverage situations.”
Cross said there are some insurance companies that do take on unusual or higher-risk situations, though she did not know if licensed marijuana grow operations were among the situations those companies might insure.
Because of the insurance problems, Selenski dismantled his grow operation last week, cutting down and getting rid of the plants.
“I try to keep squeaky clean legally because I don’t want to lose my shop,” he said.
But he added it may mean his customer will be left without much marijuana until Selenski can get to B.C., where he plans to move and set up a new grow operation for the use of the Regina patient.
Currently, people suffering from illnesses such as cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis can apply to Health Canada to possess marijuana for medical purposes.
December 8, 2005
source for story http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/story.html?id=ca363274-21bd-4c01-84b5-f44ea52b5df6
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