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Understand the Impact Marijuana Has on Getting Life Insurance

As the cannabis market grows, life insurance carriers have found themselves adjusting their underwriting guidelines to update their standards for the usage of marijuana, CBD, cigar smoking, and cigarettes to fit within this client market.

To put things in perspective, the U.S. cannabis market size was valued at $13.2 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.2% from 2023 to 2030 according to Grand View Research. Here’s a few more statistics from FlowHub.

  • As of January 2023, 21 states, Washington D.C., and Guam have legalized the recreational cannabis use (in addition to medical marijuana) for individuals over age 21: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
  • Only four states have made marijuana illegal – Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, and South Carolina.
  • According to Gallup, the percentage of young adults who smoke cannabis has increased by 5% since 2018. At the same time, the percentage of the same age group who smoke cigarettes has declined to a historical low over the past 3 years.
  • According to a recent YouGov poll, the percentage of U.S. adults who say they have tried marijuana is sitting at 52%, the highest measurement to date. Just 8 years ago, only 40% of Americans said they tried cannabis at some point in life.
  • A recent survey from CivicScience found that 21% of people doing Dry January — a popular trend where you abstain from alcohol for the month — are replacing alcohol with cannabis and CBD. The same survey uncovered that the largest demographic of people replacing alcohol with cannabis are aged 21-24 (34%), followed by 25-34-year-olds (24%).
  • Whitney Economics calculated the total amount of cannabis (both legal and illegal) will exceed 48.8 million pounds in 2022. Their report also projects there will be more legal cannabis than illicit cannabis in the U.S. by 2026.

How will the growth in marijuana use affect the life insurance industry? Well, AIPMA can’t speak for the insurance carriers, but our team can pass along updated Marijuana Usage and Cigar Smokers & Chewing Tobacco charts right on time for 4/20. These charts will help agents who are looking to place life insurance for their marijuana smoking clients.

In terms of cigar smoking, cigars were the second most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students in 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigar use is higher among youth who use other tobacco products or other drugs (e.g., alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants) than among youth who do not use these products.

The CDC states cigar smoking percentages break down at 3.5% for all adults, 6.3% of adult males, and .8% of all females from last survey in 2020. An estimated 8.6 million adults aged 18 and older (3.5%) currently smoked cigars during this timeframe.

AIPMA is not blowing smoke about the impact marijuana and cigar smoking (as well as tobacco chewing) have had on life insurance products. Marijuana continues to become more commonplace in today’s world where it’s not a Cheech & Chong movie, but more of a medical or recreational drug utilized more often by consumers.

If you would like AIPMA’s updated marijuana and cigar smoking/chewing tobacco charts, please contact AIPMA’s Business Development team at (800) 783-5206 Press #2 or email

Disclaimer: This article is for educational use only. It does not condone or approve marijuana usage. The information in the Marijuana Usage and Cigar Smoking/Chewing Tobacco charts reflect only as a quick reference guide and does not include everything that could affect the final underwriting decision. AIPMA is not associated with DISA or other resources mentioned within this blog article.

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