The Church of England to Invest in Medical Cannabis
England has rarely been invaded by anyone or anything. In fact the last invasion of note happened in 1066 (see William the Conqueror). However when it comes to cannabis, no place is immune to the growing awareness that the great Prohibition of the last 100 years is finally coming to an end.
Cannabis has gone from a stigmatized plant whose use or possession could land even dying patients in jail (just about everywhere), to one whose properties are now challenging just about every corner of medical treatment – particularly in neurology (disorders of the brain and nervous system including movement disorders) and oncology (the treatment of cancer). In the UK, this transition is now picking up pace (finally) after five years of watching what the U.S., the Netherlands, Canada and even Germany are now doing.
However in the British case, the conversation is also taking off in an interesting direction unseen in any other place so far. Notably, now that cannabis is legal medically, equity is flowing into the market – and further doing so via legitimate vehicles and even “conservative” entities (such as family offices across the continent).
While this is not necessarily the “institutional” capital the industry has been so hungry for, this development alone is a sign that the cannabis industry is becoming very accepted.
But with the news that the Church of England’s investment fund is now changing course to allow investments in cannabis, this trend is going to start to go into hyperdrive. The Church manages a ₤12.6 billion fund with a decidedly “institutional” if not “Christian” focus. In practice, what this means is that investments made by the fund had to fall within the range of what is normally called “socially responsible” investing. In the past, this excluded cannabis in general. These days, particularly in Europe, what it means is that conservative funds, including both family offices and institutional capital, will begin to evaluate options on the table. And that is a major win unseen in any other country, including Israel.
Cannabis, at least when used for medicine, is now no longer a sin, but a potential investment opportunity for one of the largest institutionalized churches (and its major investment reserves) in the world. The times, they are indeed a-changin’.
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