People arrested or charged with driving under the influence of cannabis in Missouri can now apply for insurance coverage from a Salt Lake City, Utah-based company called Reepher.
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Reepher co-founder and CEO Justin Kahn told FOX Business that the idea for the company stemmed from his own experience with cannabis, which he has used to relieve symptoms of an epileptic condition for more than 20 years. Kahn previously served as a real estate agent, natural disaster adjuster, and founder and CEO of telehealth software platform TruClinic.
“I realized very early in my career that if I was going to use cannabis to treat my medical condition, I would do so at my own risk,” he explained. “The biggest risks were that I lived in a state where cannabis was illegal, I could lose my career, or I could get a cannabis DUI. Fortunately, cannabis reform has mitigated some of these risks. However, the risk who remains is a cannabis DUI.”
According to Kahn, a major flaw with current testing methods for cannabis DUIs is that they are based on blood or urine testing for THC.
“THC stays in the body long after any deficiency has passed because it’s fat-soluble,” says Kahn. “This means that a regular cannabis user (i.e. at least once a day) will have THC in their blood and urine for weeks, even after they stop using. In short, a consumer regular cannabis user breaks the law every time they drive, regardless of the last time they consumed.”
If THC shows up in lab results, an individual is usually charged 60-90 days later with a cannabis DUI. However, Kahn argues that individuals can suffer financial loss and mental trauma even before being charged with a crime.
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Reepher will cover up to $15,000 of eligible expenses, including legal representation, car towing or impoundment, alternative transportation, pre-trial expenses, personal hardship, incidental expenses, and time spent for court appearances.
In order to obtain coverage, consumers must register in advance to become a member of Reepher. Reepher membership price starts at $15 per month. If a member is arrested or charged with a cannabis DUI, they can file a claim which includes documentation of the event. When a claim is approved, Reepher offers members a $750 advance to help cover initial costs. Other expenses, such as legal fees, will be reimbursed throughout the claims process.
Kahn said Reepher will expand its cannabis DUI insurance coverage to every state that has a legal path to consumption and has been approved by each state’s Department of Insurance over the next two years.
“We plan to launch the product in Oregon and Georgia next, and we will continue to roll out the product in other states over the coming months,” he said. “We believe that if we are able to prove that there is a market for this product, we will be able to create other behavior-based insurance products outside of cannabis that are parametric in nature, low cost and niche-specific.”
The Reepher website emphasizes that it does not encourage cannabis users to drive under the influence.