Former associate attorney general Webb Hubbell -- known for his highly publicized fall from grace during the Clinton Administration -- claims "responsible" marijuana smokers can finally exhale.
Working with NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and the McLaughlin Insurance Company, Hubbell appears on a five-minute audio message
touting the program.
"Hello, this is Webb Hubbell," the recording begins, with a crisp McCoy Tyner soundtrack. "Life insurance is now available for responsible marijuana smokers. For years, [they] have not been able to access affordable life insurance ... No longer."
He then relays the story of a NORML member (and "responsible" marijuana smoker) whose trucking business loan required additional insurance he could not qualify for. He reached out to NORML for help, who contacted their insurance agent, Mr. Hubbell -- now a VP at the McLaughlin Company. Mr. Hubbell was able to convince a carrier to insure this individual, and the rest is history.
But what about the fact that marijuana is still, you know, illegal? Michael Vick was recently detained in an airport
because his bottle of water simply smelled like
weed. The Washington Post
asked NORML's executive director Allen St. Pierre such a question, to which he replied that while marijuana is technically illegal even in the Netherlands (where it can be found on aisle six next to the Pillsbury Toaster Strudel), 11 U.S. states have decriminalized the drug.
Now, you may be wondering, what exactly is "responsible marijuana use?" I spoke with Keith Stroup, NORML's legal counsel, who referred to their Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use
, which details "the appropriate and inappropriate ways to use the drug," making sure I also understood, "We don't think people should just go out and get stoned."
"Forty-six percent of the people in this country have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives," he continued. "Why should we treat half of the population like criminals?"
So, is this new policy a small victory against cannabis laws that prohibit the use of marijuana? Or has the insurance industry simply figured out that smoking on the couch while listening to 'Dark Side of the Moon' is a relatively benign activity?B. Brandon Barker is the author of Operation EMU.