The Church of England may become the cannabis industry’s newest big money investor.
On Saturday, Financial Times reported that church commissioners said they would loosen a self-imposed ban on investing in licensed cannabis companies. The restriction remains in place for investments in recreational cannabis, but medical cannabis will be fair game.
“We make a distinction between recreational cannabis and medicinal cannabis,” Edward Mason, the head of responsible investments at the Church of England, told Financial Times. “We are content with it being used for proper medicinal purposes.”
The Church of England currently wields a $16 billion (£12.6 billion) investment portfolio, which became one of the “world’s best-performing endowment funds” in 2016, wrote Financial Times.
Although religious institutions have traditionally opposed cannabis use for recreational purposes, acceptance of medical use is growing. Last year, the UK legalized medical cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions.
“When [cannabis is] used within an appropriate medical context, in certain prescribed conditions, it can be very useful, and I think the purified medicinal cannabis should be seen in this light,” Dr. Mark Pickering, the chief executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship, told Premier Christian Radio.
In 2018, Grand View Research, Inc., an international financial analytics firm, estimated the global market for medical cannabis would reach $55.8 billion by 2025.
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