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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Church of England Backs Medical Cannabis Use and Investment

Stacey Wellington

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Church of England Cannabis Investments

The Church of England (CofE) has recently given the green light on the use of medical marijuana and cannabis investment.

The investment arm of CofE, the Church Commissioners of England, said it would lift its self-imposed ban on investing in medical cannabis. This reversal takes place at a time when many significant investment funds remain steadfast on so-called “sin stocks” or companies operating in industries facing legal uncertainties.

The CofE investment arm, which manages the church’s £12.6 billion ($16 billion) portfolios, had previously enforced an investment exclusion policy on cannabis. So far, it has not yet invested in companies related to the sector, Church Commissioners head of responsible investment, Edward Mason, said.

Mason said the change in CofE’s stand comes after it has made a distinction between recreational and medical cannabis. After realizing the potency of the plant’s medicinal properties, the church is content with its proper use for therapeutic reasons.

The UK government legalized medicinal cannabis in October 2018. However, only a fraction of British patients received a medical cannabis prescription, citing difficulty in persuading specialists about marijuana as a right medical option as a primary reason. Other reasons include the problems dispensaries face in obtaining licenses for cannabis-based products as well as the trouble in transporting them once they arrive in the country.

The Duality of Marijuana as an Investment

Like the Church Commissioners of England, other ethical investors are also starting to recognise the dual nature of marijuana as an investment. KLP Fund, an Oslo-based firm with $80 billion in assets, has recently sold its stocks in recreational cannabis. But it retains its stakes in medicinal marijuana

The AP Funds in Sweden also recommended the exclusion of recreational marijuana from its $180-billion portfolio. Like KLP, it said, it will still invest in medical marijuana companies. The Swedish fund referred to the recent guidance of the UN on both ethical investment and narcotics.

The CofE said it will not invest in companies that get more than 10% of their revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana. This rate is the threshold the company uses for the majority of its other ethical exclusions, including tobacco, gambling, pornography, and lenders charging at high interests.

The UK’s church is known for publicly voicing its positions in ethical investment issues. It considers factors such as morality, environmental impact, corporate governance, and social good. It the past, the church has challenged ExxonMobil and Glencore by pressuring executives to improve their policies related to environment preservation.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Columbia Care Kicks Off First Cannabis Credit Card

Jordan Webber

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Columbia Care Cannabis Credit Card

Columbia Care announced the launch of its National Credit program with its CNC Card.

The medical marijuana company licensed to operate in the U.S. and 15 jurisdictions in the European Union said the launch of the card follows a successful test run in New York in the second half of 2018. The introduction of the card led to an 18% increase in the number of in-store purchases. Moreover, the card also helped boost repeat visits and home delivery orders.

With the card, people in the U.S. can now get a credit card for buying medical cannabis.

From New York, the Columbia Care will offer the program to its Delaware and Pennsylvania markets. Later, the company’s Illinois and Arizona customers can apply for the card. The firm aims to expand the reach of its program to all its locations by the end of 2019.

Cannabis Credit Card

Available initially only at Columbia Care dispensaries, the firm is looking into opportunities for expanding the availability of the card across the country through targeted partnerships.

Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care, said the firm aims on expanding the cannabis market in the country. Through the launching of the first cannabis credit card in the country, the company allows consumers and participants in the industry to purchase cannabis products.

He also said the card would act as a starting point of the company’s nationwide growth initiatives, including home delivery, the launching of an e-commerce site, and automatic fulfillment.

In addition to having a tool for an electronic form of payment, CNC cardholders can also be eligible for other benefits including discounts, cash back affinity programs, educational seminars, privileged access to new products and other exclusive offers.

Cannabis Banking Gaining Steam

Aside from having a cannabis credit card, medical marijuana customers may also enjoy the benefits of banking. Earlier this month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed legislation that kicks off a three-year pilot program wherein cannabis firms could use an online system in sending and receiving digital currency.

Last month, the California State Senate passed a bill allowing financial institutions to offer products and services dedicated to cannabis financial transactions.

If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the legislation, around 900 bank branches in the state would be allowed to handle cannabis cash, California Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg said.

The federal government is also working on protecting legitimate cannabis financial transactions. Earlier this month, a U.S. House committee approved a bill that includes a provision that would safeguard banks serving legal marijuana businesses from getting penalized by federal financial regulators.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

VA Restricts Veterans’ Access to Medical Marijuana

Jordan Webber

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VA's Restriction to Medical Marijuana

Veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system are having difficulty accessing medical marijuana for their medical conditions, says US News. The department has policies in place preventing doctors from prescribing medical cannabis to retired military personnel.

The VA has taken this move because of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance. The policy applies even in medical facilities in states with legal medical marijuana. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal cannabis, 10 of which allows recreational use of the plant.

Marijuana laws in these states allow medicinal application for chronic pain, spasms and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) just to name a few. However, Lt. Col. Doug Distaso of the Air Force has not been able to access the plant for therapeutic purposes due to VA’s restrictions. Instead, Distaso was prescribed a ‘drug cocktail’ which causes him to undergo a ‘medicated stupor.’

Aside from Distaso, there are thousands of veterans experiencing chronic pain and treated using opioids. Moreover, these military personnel also retire from service with PTSD. Reports show that there are at least 20 deaths through suicide recorded every day.

According to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), the Schedule I list is composed of drugs, substances, and chemicals that have nor currently accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse. Marijuana is listed along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

The US News reports that the VA has only created two opportunities to discuss cannabis for veteran patients when they request information.

Meanwhile, veteran groups such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are calling for reforms to VA’s systems. These groups also promote cannabis for pain management and mental health illnesses. They also recognize the plant’s potential to address the opioid epidemic.

 

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

TSA Approves Epilepsy Drug with Cannabis on Flights

Stacey Wellington

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Epilepsy Drug with Cannabis

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a pediatric epilepsy drug which contains cannabis. Following this, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a statement saying that it now allows FDA approved hemp-derived CBD products on its flights.

Anti-Seizure Medicine

According to The Hill, the anti-seizure medication is named Epidiolex. According to Marijuana Moment, Epidiolex is a prescription drug that targets epileptic seizures in children. This epilepsy drug contains CBD oil, which was reportedly approved by the Food and Drug Administration almost a year ago.

Change from Old to New

In previous years, the TSA did not make distinctions between hemp and marijuana-derived products. Marijuana Moment reports that previously, the agency did not allow cannabis products inside the airport nor in carry-on bags.

Updated Rules on Epilepsy Drug

The Transportation Security Administration also updated its regulations on the website. TSA first confirmed its new regulations to Marijuana Moment, an online cannabis advocacy group.

While it maintains that cannabidiol or CBD oil is illegal under the current federal law, the TSA will allow hemp-derived CBD to pass through its security screening procedures. Along with hemp-derived CBD, the Transportation Security Administration will also allow FDA products and medications to pass through provided that the manufacturing and production process complies with the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018.

In its updated list of regulations, the TSA stated that while it does not actively seek for marijuana and other illegal substances, security screenings that show illegal substances will be handled by a law enforcement officer.

In an interview with CNN, a TSA official reported that the agency has already reached out to its agency officers to brief staff regarding the new rule. Being a “new consideration, there may be some that do not recognize the FDA-approved version.”

CNN reports that the TSA updated its rules to prevent confusion in families intending to travel with this medication.

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