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Cannabis, sex tech, and drug startups deserve more than stigma

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Cannabis, sex technology, and drugs are often grouped together under the category of “vice” – a characterization that prevents many venture capitalists from investing in these spaces. But does this make sense? Let’s explore.

It is (not) a sin

Isn’t hemp actually similar to coffee, wine, and spirits? That’s the argument Emily Paxhia made on the Twitter Space hosted by TechCrunch+ earlier this week to discuss the latest survey of US cannabis investors.

Products derived from marijuana have more to do with wellness than the “sin” category it often falls under, said managing director at hedge fund Poseidon Asset Management that focuses on cannabis.

“Sin clause” and “vice clause” are terms that venture capitalists use to refer to their inability to invest in certain business categories, from porn and gambling to alcohol and tobacco. when I explored Fundraising Strategies for Sex Technology Startups Earlier this year, I found out that this veto usually comes from the fund’s limited partners, or LPs.

It is understandable why investors do not want to invest their money in certain types of business, let alone be known for it. But there is a fine line between moral attitudes and stigma.

Andrea Barrica told me, “I don’t recognize the word ‘vice’ at all. Parika is the founder of O.School which she describes as a media platform for sexual health. The term ‘wellness’ is a common term in both the sex tech industry and the cannabis industry – because it makes them more Acceptance, sure, but also because it really reflects the impact that entrepreneurs hope to have.

It should be noted that cannabis is not only limited to providing high recreational pleasure. In Europe, we I heard from investorsMedical cannabis has the most momentum. It is the perspective of health benefits that drives many entrepreneurs, who deserve better than cheap laughs.

Likewise, a deep dive into cannabinoids taught me that this is about more than just drugs and fun. With investors sometimes entering this space after personal journeys with depression or exhaustion, and founders hoping to make a negative impact on the global mental health crisis, easy jokes quickly feel out of place.


The vice clause only applies to certain types of investors, which is also a problem. The fund that handles your pension may pass on cannabis investments, but many family offices are not. This means that the proceeds from these lucrative bets will be concentrated in the hands of the already wealthy.

Pakshya said some fund managers are also investing as individuals – and they are the ones who will make a splash. Meanwhile, agents lose out on potential returns and impact, for arbitrary reasons. After all, what is legal is not always ethical, and vice versa.

The most obvious irony is that the tobacco, nicotine and alcohol industries already exist Keep tabs close to cannabis And whether consumption may shift. Will the shift be net negative for society? Maybe not. For narcotics, there is ongoing research into the use of non-hallucinogenic derivatives To treat opioid addiction. With overdose deaths involving fentanyl and methamphetamine Rising in the United StatesIs this a vice? I do not think so. Are you?


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