Viewpoint: Cannabis Just Made Socially Responsible Investing More Confusing

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

By Jay Gershman

Like early internet stocks, biotech, and bitcoin, the latest investment hot topic, cannabis, is causing quite the stir among investors. But what makes it even more interesting than its hot and hip predecessors is its categorization as a socially responsible investment.

Let’s start at the beginning. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) was started to actually avoid controversial investments such as alcohol, gambling, weapons, fossil fuel, and military-related products. Not long after this introduction, some funds took the idea further by avoiding companies that produced products related to contraception or abortion because they were not in line with certain religious beliefs. As time passed, SRI has grown to include “green” investing, focusing on companies that reduce the world’s dependence on carbon-based energy.

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ESG, impact investing