‘High Church’ Chronicles: Will Anglican Blessing of Medical Marijuana Open the Door to a Royal Strain?

Now that the UK has the distinction of being the largest global exporter of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes, the Church of England appears to be blessing this bounty. As reported by The Times, “The Church Commissioners for England, who handle £8.2 billion of church assets, ban investment in companies that profit from recreational drugs but said for the first time that they would consider investing in companies that work with medicinal marijuana now that it is legal in the UK.”  

With the news that the Church of England has changed its investment policy in regard to medical cannabis, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) speculates on its blog whether “the Queen, if not the Royal Family in general, [can] become one of the best ‘cannabis brands’ in the world,” as well as what implication this could have for the Church of England given the Queen (or King) of England is the titular head of the church.

Crossing over the pond, the U.S. Episcopal Church passed a resolution at its 67th Convention back in 1982 that “urges the adoption by Congress and all states of statutes providing that the therapeutic use of marijuana be permitted when deemed medically appropriate by duly licensed medical practitioners.” Since adopting this resolution, the Episcopal Church has remained largely silent. San Leandro’s All Saints Episcopal Church did offer an educational presentation on medical cannabis on June 10, 2018, a few weeks before cannabis became legalized for recreational use in California. (A full list of religious denominations supportive of medical marijuana can be found here.) 

So do these moves point to the advent of a new form of high Anglican church? Here the ICBC blog points to a not-so-surprising source, Meghan and Harry, a.k.a. the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. (Harry had to go to a rehab clinic after being caught by his dad for smoking cannabis, while Meghan handed out cannabis gift bags at her first wedding in 2016, and has a cannabis strain named after her called Markle’s Sparkle.) As this royal couple continues to break with tradition, will they be groundbreakers in normalizing cannabis on a global scale?

For now, those wishing to partake of cannabis in a spiritual setting will need to turn to ministries such as the International Church of Cannabis, which was founded by Elevation Ministries in 2017. These private clubs provide their members opportunities to partake of cannabis via communal rituals, continuing the tradition of cannabis‘s spiritual dimension, which dates from ancient Chinese shamans to modern-day Rastafarians.