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When It Comes To Marijuana, Many VCs Still Won't Inhale
By Joe Garofoli

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs love to beat their chests about how disruptive they are. As the trope goes, they're fearless about betting on the next far-out idea, whether it's driverless cars, private space flight or the Airbnb of parking spots.

But that bravery hasn't extended to one booming industry that's experiencing a 68 percent growth rate: the legal cannabis market. When it comes to investing in marijuana - California's largest cash crop - many venture capitalists are still paranoid. "You guys are willing to invest all this money, you say you're all disruptive, but when the rubber meets the road and we're talking about real, legal disruption, you guys head for the hills," said Justin Hartfield, one of the nation's few venture capitalists focused on marijuana-related startups

Alongside his venture capital firm Ghost Group, Hartfield, of Newport Beach (Orange County), runs the dispensary-locating startup He brags about not accepting "one dime" of Silicon Valley money for any of his marijuana-related enterprises, which he says make "north of $25 million a year."

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