The Church of England now supports medical marijuana

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If you're looking for proof that cannabis is becoming more and more mainstream, take a look at the investment portfolio of the Church of England, which recently allowed its number crunches to start investing in medical marijuana, writes Calvin Hughes.

Previously, the religious organization had upheld a self-imposed ban on cannabis investments. But that ban has since been overturned by the Church Commissioners for England - the body that manages the Church of England's investment portfolio, which is valued at £12.6 billion (US$16 billion).

However, the CofE hasn't lifted its ban on cannabis investing entirely. Under their new policy, the church can only invest in medical cannabis. Any company that derives more than ten percent of revenues from recreational cannabis will continue to be off limits, explained Edward Mason—head of responsible investment at the Church Commissioners.

"We make a distinction between recreational cannabis and medicinal cannabis," Mason told Financial Times. "We are content with it being used for proper medicinal purposes."

The CofE is known for their 'ethical' investment strategies. Their focus on investing only in groups that are "consistent with Christian values" has led them to avoid putting money in industries like pornography, tobacco and gambling. But cannabis is different because the church sees it as a medicine and not a vice.

"We are happy to invest in medicines," said Mason.

That distinction is a huge win for patients and advocates who are trying to break down the stigmas surrounding cannabis use.

"It shows a huge shift in understanding and perspective on what medical cannabis really is and its different applications," said Hari Guliani of the UK medical cannabis research and advisory firm Grow Biotech.

Hopefully other denominations follow the Church of England's lead and help cannabis get the recognition it deserves as medicine.

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