As the legalization of cannabis is gaining momentum around the world, religious institutions are starting to support medical cannabis ventures – at least the Church of England is.
This reversal of the Church of England’s stand on cannabis investment came as a surprise to cannabis advocacy firms in the UK, and probably to the religious community as well.
Edward Mason, head of Responsible Investment at Church Commissioners for England told Financial Times that they are happy to invest in medicines.
“We make a distinction between recreational cannabis and medical cannabis,” Mr. Mason said.
There is no official statement on the Church of England’s website regarding their decision to support medical cannabis ventures, but Mr. Mason said that they will soon announce their stand on this matter.
A group called The Church Commissioners manages an £8.3bn investment fund for the Church of England, investing in ventures in an ethical way. Their investment mission is defined on their website as follows:
“We are committed to responsible investment. We think that taking account of environmental, social and governance issues in our investment decisions is an intrinsic part of being a good long-term investor.”
The Church of England had a ban on investing in cannabis-related projects until recently, but the widespread legalization of medical cannabis and the recent research on the multiple health benefits of cannabis obviously prompted the Church to change its decision.
They do, however, offer funds only to those firms whose profit from sales does not exceed 10%.
Though many cannabis research centers and businesses will certainly benefit from this boost in investment from a place as high as England’s primary religious institution, a common man (as seen commenting on Financial Times article on CofE and cannabis) may wonder about the Church’s true interest.
The cannabis industry is expected to be worth $130 billion by 2029, so is investing in such a profitable market really an act of charity, and just a happy coincidence?
An even more skeptical common man may wonder why the Church of England, devoted to ethical investing, would fund companies that profit from weaponry, pornography, gambling, tobacco, alcohol, etc., even if they do make a point of investing only in those companies that make a small percentage of profit from these endeavors.