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This sober tech titan wants society to ‘engineer’ a better drug

Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz speaks during the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco in 2015. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After announcing earlier this week on Substack that he had pressed pause on drinking, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Netscape co-founder and self-described “AI accelerationist” Marc Andreessen has updated his sobriety news with a lengthy follow-up tweet posted this morning.

In the post, titled “Followup On Pausing Alcohol,” Andreessen proposes some major changes to drug and company culture in the U.S.—going so far as to say that society needs to “engineer” better alternatives to commonplace drugs like alcohol and cannabis.

In his mini-manifesto on drug use across the centuries, Andreessen expounded on the history of alcohol from the time before Christ to the Prohibition era, and even wondered, “Would 20th century America have turned out differently had cannabis been legal this whole time and alcohol banned?”

Andreessen thought so and observed that alcohol prohibition was good in theory but not in practice—and then moved on to pot.

Screenshot of Marc Andreessen's "On Pausing Alcohol" tweet taken on March 2, 2023 | The Standard Staff

Striking a philosophical tone, Andreessen mused that the regulation of cannabis was “a timely question” and observed that not drinking was part of a larger movement “brewing” in Silicon Valley, which has seen people putting down the bottle and picking up the bong—or, in some cases, a mushroom-infused chocolate bar. Indeed, interest in Dry January spiked this year, and San Francisco has seen more bars and restaurants offer mocktails alongside alcoholic fare.

Screenshot of Marc Andreessen's "Pausing on Alcohol" tweet | The Standard Staff

Although Andreessen said he was “not happy” to dry out—and still harbors plans to tie one on at some point in the future—the billionaire said he still supports the idea of companies banning alcohol from work functions altogether. Calling the proposition an “overwhelmingly good idea,” he argued that alcohol can easily ruin a good time and get companies in trouble.

“Drink on your own time, not company time, is not an unreasonable stance,” Andreessen wrote.

Screenshot of Marc Andreessen's "On Pausing Alcohol" tweet | The Standard Staff

But Andreessen isn’t going full-on teetotaler. Instead, he seems to be insisting that it’s time to build better drugs—or at least healthier alternatives to the ones humans tend to rely on today.

Screenshot of Marc Andreessen's "On Pausing Alcohol" tweet | The Standard Staff

“We should be able to engineer better and healthier alternatives to alcohol, cannabis, et al. The civilizational consequences of this could be profound,” he wrote, referencing a reply to his original “On Pausing Alcohol” tweet that came from none other than Elon Musk.

Screenshot of Elon Musk's response to Marc Andreessen's "On Pausing Alcohol" tweet | The Standard Staff

Andreessen previously took a famous break from Twitter in 2016, but obviously, that hiatus did not hold. No word on how long Andreessen plans to pause on alcohol, but in his original Substack announcement, he did say that he was planning “to get deeply, seriously, hammered” one day.

“But not today!”