These days it seems like everyone is investing in pot stocks—including the Church of England.
Traditionally, the Church Commissioners for England (CCE), which oversees and allocates GBP £12.6 billion (CAD $21.2 billion) of church assets, has functioned on a self-imposed ban of any financial touch point with the unregulated cannabis industry.
Now that the laws are shifting in the U.K., however, the Church is changing its tone. It says it will consider investing in licensed companies with a focus on medical cannabis.
“We make a distinction between recreational cannabis and medicinal cannabis. We are content with it being used for proper medicinal purposes,” Edward Mason, head of investment for the Church Commissioners, told a reporter for the Financial Times.
Medical cannabis was legalized in the U.K. in November of 2018 and the decision is reflective of a rising swell of support for decriminalization. A poll published by the London-based Centre for Medicinal Cannabis in October showed 58 percent of those living in the U.K. support legalization, in contrast to 31 percent who oppose.
As cannabis is traditionally classed as a “sin stock”, alongside alcohol corporations, pornography, gambling, and tobacco, the Church’s ethical advisory board will be consulted to ensure “Christian, theologically informed” investments. The organization says any foray into pot stocks will now fall more in line with its approach to investing in pharmaceutical companies.