[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]T[/dropcap]he aggressive battle against legalizing medical cannabis in Utah has been one the Mormon leadership have called a moral decision. However, legalizing medical cannabis in Utah could mean a hit to the church’s finances.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been discovered to allegedly own billions of dollars’ worth in stocks for pharmaceutical companies, according to KUTV CBS 2.
The website MormonLeaks uncovered 13 LLCs that appear to have ties to the Mormon church. It has not publicly released its finances since 1959. MormonLeaks released information that infers the church is connected to 13 LLC companies that collectively owned the stocks at the end of 2017 and provides the collective value at $32,769,914,000. The site wrote of the financial reports was from 2015.
They include having their domain names registered to Intellectual Reserve, Inc., the name of the organization that oversees and legally protects the intellectual property of the Mormon Church.
MormonLeaks wrote the information is taken from forms required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for investment managers to deal with sums over $100 million.
The ownership of the pharmaceutical stocks is ironic given the fact that one of the companies actually makes an FDA-approved cannabis-based drug called Marinol, prescribed to increase appetite and reduce nausea in cancer and AIDS patients. The Mormon church allegedly owns 67,870 shares of AbbVie Inc, and as of opening on June 6, ABBV were worth $98.90, for a combined total of $6,712,343.
The Mormon church also owns an estimated 73 million in shares of Pfizer, 490 million in Johnson & Johnson, and 719 million in other pharmaceutical companies.
The Mormon church released a statement in May describing the finances of the church and sharing general information about how they collect money (traditional tithes are ten percent of a household’s income) and how they use it, including funding for education, missionary work and humanitarian causes. The church invests in stocks as part of its reserve.
When local TV station KUTV CBS 2 reached out to the Mormon church for comment, it was referred back to the statement published earlier this month addressing the church’s finances. “While the vast majority of its financial resources comes from the tithes and offerings of Church members, the Church also holds business interests that help in accomplishing its mission,” said the statement. “These funds are added to Church reserves, which include stocks and bonds, taxable businesses, agricultural interests and commercial and residential property.”
In 2016, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said that the church gives $40 million a year to welfare and humanitarian causes as well as other church sponsored projects. The church also supports 70,000 missionaries a year as well as educational institutions and other priorities to support church members and its mission to spread the word of God around the world.