Clearwater lady to be heard after refused home insurance renewal for medical marijuana – Barriere Star Journal – Barriere Star Journal
A Clearwater woman who denied home insurance on claims she had a medical marijuana "grow op" filed a BC human rights complaint against the Canadian Northern Shield and Interior Savings, claiming they had it in the process of providing one Service based on mental health problems discriminates against disability.
Lorelei Rogers was licensed to purchase medical marijuana in 2017 to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder as well as other disabilities due to a workplace injury. However, she found it too expensive and the supply unreliable, so she decided to grow her own and received a license to grow up to 49 marijuana plants in 2018.
She bought additional equipment like plant lights and security cameras and started growing her own plants in a shed in her yard. She's also rented part of her home as Airbnb.
However, Canada's Northern Shield Insurance Company, which had insured their home since 2013, declined to renew their home insurance in 2019, considering the risk ineligible due to the presence of the Medical Marijuana Grow Op and Airbnb.
Rogers claimed she was being discriminated against because of her disability. The situation has led her to stop growing the plants and close Airbnb because she could lose her home due to a lack of home insurance to other companies.
Rogers claims she was rejected by insurers because Interior Savings misrepresented her to other vendors by stating that her home was a "grow op" even though she no longer ran Airbnb or grew medicinal marijuana plants.
She has since found insurance through Intact that allows her to grow up to four medicinal marijuana plants, although she said that was nowhere near enough to meet her drug needs. As a result, the "effects of her disability are more pronounced, her quality of life is severely reduced, and the stress of wondering how to care for herself without being able to grow her medication is catastrophic," she said.
Both the Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company and Interior Savings deny any discrimination and stated that the decision did not apply to a disability.
Interior Savings said it was working hard to find alternative insurance for Ms. Rogers, including contacting insurance companies that specialize in covering "unusual and difficult-to-place risks." "However, none of them would discuss the possibility of covering a risk with exposure to medicinal marijuana cultivation."
Insurance companies tried to dismiss the lawsuit, but Tribunal member Jessica Derynck dismissed the pre-trial motion on July 29.
"I find that Ms. Rogers did more in her complaint and in response to the motion than provide evidence to support her claim that she had a disability and could not renew her insurance," Derynck said. "If her evidence is proven at the hearing, Ms. Rogers could demonstrate that Canadian Northern Shield's neutral policy against insuring medical marijuana properties has had a disproportionately adverse effect on her in her particular circumstances due to her disability.
"Your evidence that growing your own medical marijuana has improved your condition and the barrier to continuing to do so has significantly impacted your disability is beyond belief."
Derynck noted that Interior Savings did not file an application for dismissal under the Human Rights Code, but rather requested that the application be denied because they are an insurance broker and neither approve nor deny the policies issued by these vendors. In her decision, she added that she could not dismiss the complaint because, under the Code, she failed to provide a reason "which includes preventing discrimination and providing legal remedies to those experiencing discrimination," which Rogers claims, to deny this do.
A date for a hearing has not yet been set.
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