Chuck Bentley: Should Christians Invest in Cannabis?

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Dear Chuck,

There is a lot of talk lately about the potential profits to be earned by investing in cannabis (marijuana) opportunities. Personally, I think it is wrong, though some of my Christian friends see it as an appropriate way to invest. As a parent of teenagers, I am very concerned about the likely legalization for recreational use. Where are you leaning on this issue?

Not Riding the High

Dear Not High,

This is a loaded question! Sorry for the bad joke. It is actually a serious topic that I have been asked to respond to by a number of my friends as well.

A friend reported to me that he attended a party in a state where medical marijuana is legal now. At the party he was offered “a drink or a joint” by his Christian hosts. Although he declined both, he said it was eerie how much of a non-issue his friends now consider smoking marijuana.

One of my acquaintances is a licensed, legal grower. He got into the business because medical marijuana helped reduce his young daughter’s seizures from many per day to only a few per week. He sees the good it can do for those that have found no other medical solution to their issues. On the other hand, I recently sat on a plane next to a man that was an early investor in a California-based growing operation. He said he lost money and would never make another investment in a cannabis operation. When I asked him why he lost money, he said the workers were stealing too much of the product all along the distribution chain.

Market Size

Some have predicted that the marijuana business could reach $22 billion by 2022 due to states legalizing recreational use and the promotion of medicinal marijuana. The US beer market is approximately $100 billion in annual sales and the market for painkiller medications is estimated to be $300 billion by comparison. Interestingly, many Christians invest in companies that own or produce these products (alcohol and painkillers) which are also addictive and in many cases harmful.

Whether legal or on the black market, the sale of marijuana is big business.

For Christians, we should never allow the lure of money and big returns to cause us to compromise our values. Greed and a get-rich-quick mentality are terrible reasons to justify any investment.

General Thoughts

Because research still remains to be conducted, I will refrain from specifically addressing the use of medical marijuana. I am only addressing here the question if Christians should generally invest in the cannabis market regardless of how the product will be used.

Canada legalized cannabis across their county, with recreational sales to begin this month. That is pretty close to home.

Many are interested in the future of marijuana stocks. Some believe these stocks are in a bubble like we saw with the hype over Bitcoin. In our rapidly changing country, many states face a difficult decision as they weigh the pros and cons of legalization. Marijuana ETFs (Exchange-traded funds) are struggling partly because many banks are not willing to hold the underlying securities due to regulatory uncertainties.

States desire the tax benefits of the products to prop up their public schools and pension funds.

Yes or No on Investing?

Since your main question is an investment one, I sought advice from Jerry Bowyer, a trusted friend who is a Christian, an economist and professional investment advisor. Jerry said, “It seems to be [Not High’s] view that other Christians who do invest in these stocks (for medical purposes) are wrong. I think that takes things too far. I think that liberty of conscience is the main thing here. Seems as though at arm’s length, investments in publicly traded companies are more like meat sacrificed to idols, or what Lutheran theologians call ‘adiaphora,’ things neither forbidden nor commanded…”

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Source: Christian Post