This Booming California Cannabis Brand Is Growing Fast by Offering Gig Workers Good Jobs

Caliva goes way past minimum wage by giving delivery drivers health insurance and stock options. May 23, 2019 4 min read Lots of Californians get their cannabis by ordering online and having it delivered, but delivery got a lot more expensive for cannabis companies last January when regulators decreed delivery drivers must be employees who are paid at least minimum wage, with the usual minimum benefits, and not contractors. Some small dispensaries ceased deliveries rather than pay drivers more and give them benefits, but Caliva, one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis brands in California, went the other way entirely. “It’s a regulatory requirement but we’ve really leaned into it,” said Dennis O’Malley, CEO and president of Caliva. “We asked ourselves, given the regulation, how can we make this the best environment for drivers?’’ The company is making about 2,000 deliveries per day but has to recruit drivers in the […]

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New Jersey Lawmakers Admit Failure on Weed Legalization, Will Let Voters Decide in 2020

Legalization seemed a certainty a year ago but political infighting and unflinching legalization opponents doomed the effort. May 15, 2019 4 min read New Jersey lawmakers have given up hope of legalizing adult-use cannabis and will leave the issue to be decided by a referendum on the 2020 presidential ballot. In the meanwhile, the Legislature will push forward a bill to expunge marijuana related criminal records. In recent days Governor Phil Murphy, who won election in part on his vow to pass marijuana legalization, has used his executive authority to dramatically expand the state’s existing medical marijuana program. “We are not going to move forward with adult use marijuana at this time. It’s something I feel strongly in, but the votes aren’t there,” state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said at a press conference Wednesday. “There’s no sense dragging this out,. We can’t hold back progress.” Expansion of the medical marijuana […]

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Amateur Investors are Bullish About Cannabis. That Has the Pros a Little Worried.

May 6, 2019 4 min read Retail stock investors are bullish — perhaps to a fault — about the prospects of publicly traded cannabis companies, according to a recent survey of 250 people who currently own marijuana related stocks. The survey, conducted in March by KCSA Strategic Communications, found that 90 percent of the investors reported their portfolios had appreciated, which might explain why 50 percent said they had sold non-cannabis stocks to buy cannabis stocks. “This is a fundamental shift taking place in society, right before our eyes, it’s exciting, it’s once in a lifetime, it’s lucrative and they want in on it,” said Lewis Goldberg, managing partner at KCSA and host of The Green Rush podcast. Related: Pay Attention to These 6 Cannabis Industry Trends The enthusiasm for cannabis has investors wisely spreading their money around — 52 percent said they own six or more cannabis stocks while […]

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Pulling the Cork Out of the Processing Bottleneck Slowing the Hemp/CBD Boom

Mile High Labs is dramatically ramping up its CBD business by moving industrial-scale processing to where hemp is harvested. April 30, 2019 9 min read A good place to see the hemp/CBD supply chain being built is Mile High Labs in Loveland, Colorado. Terpenes which no human, and probably no drug-sniffing dog, can distinguish from its intoxicating sister plant containing THC waft from bins of hemp that seem to be everywhere as “super sacks” each containing hundreds of pounds of the newly-legal hemp are trucked in. Much like the characteristic smells that tell you a winery, brewery or bakery is thriving, the entirely legal reek of hemp is the smell of a processor riding the CBD wave. But for Stephen Mueller, founder and CTO of Mile High Labs, that happy odor is a byproduct of both the lab’s success and hemp’s improvised supply chain. The demand for CBD is huge […]

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With 4/20 Burger Carl’s Jr. Ventures Where Most Corporations Only Dream of Going

For all the talk of the CBD boom, very few corporations as big as Carl’s Jr. have marketed anything containing the hazily regulated cannabinoid. April 18, 2019 4 min read America’s favorite food, the cheeseburger, will soon (albeit fleetingly) be infused with America’s favorite cannabinoid, the seemingly ubiquitous CBD. Well, at least one part of that combination isn’t unhealthy. Carl’s Jr. announced Wednesday that it will unveil the “Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight” at a single location in Denver, Colorado on this Saturday, April 20, the unofficial yet universal marijuana holiday known as 4/20. The burger appears to have most of the usual artery-clogging attributes of fast food — two beef patties topped with pickled jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, fries — but is slathered with Santa Fe Sauce infused with five milligrams of CBD. Despite many restrictions not usual at a burger joint — customers must be at least 18 […]

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Why This Cannabis-Infused Beverage Is Being Marketed Like a Health Drink

Mood33 is about feeling good more than feeling high — and the design of its packaging has to make that clear to consumers. April 10, 2019 3 min read Cannabis-infused beverages are making a stir in big business. In 2018, Constellation Brands — purveyors of Corona beer and Svedka vodka — invested $4 billion in a Canadian marijuana company. And in December, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced a $100 million project to develop cannabis beverages. That might feel like fierce competition for cannabis-bev entrepreneurs, but Michael Christopher simply sees it as proof that his timing is right. Last year, he launched Mood33, a California-based startup that sells cannabis-infused sparkling tonics. To stand out, he’s positioning his drink as a wellness product, focusing on health benefits and natural ingredients rather than pushing the buzz the beverage delivers. Here’s how he created packaging for an elixir that’s more about getting healthy than getting high. […]

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Legalization Stalls In New Jersey Legislature

The vote on a bill to legalize marijuana for adults was cancelled when it became apparent it would be defeated. March 25, 2019 3 min read A bill to legalize marijuana use for adults and create what would have been among the nation’s largest markets for the booming cannabis industry has stalled in the New Jersey state Senate, a stinging defeat for Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat who was working with Democrat majorities in both houses of the state Legislature. Propents of legalization avoided outright defeat by withdrawing the bill when it became apparent it did not have the 21 votes needed to pass the state Senate. Despite the vigorous backing of the leaders of both houses of the Legislature and the governor, the bill never gained support either from Republican legislators representing suburban and rural areas of the state or from several prominent, and notably older, African American legislators representing […]

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Here’s the Ad for Pre-Rolled Joints ABC Wouldn’t Air During the Oscars

Cannabis companies keep producing the best ads and television networks keep refusing to show them. February 27, 2019 4 min read If three is a trend, there is a definite trend in the cannabis industry of successful companies making exquisitely produced television commercials that TV stations and networks won’t run. Lowell Herb Co., the dominant pre-roll brand in California’s immense legal marijuana market, has joined Acreage and MadMen in the select group of cannabis companies with classy commercials barred from over-the-air television. The 90-second ad, titled “Finally,” was directed by the award-winning director Cutter Hodierne and features actress Bella Thorne with voice over by actress Sasha Lane. Lowell wanted to air it during the Oscars, at least locally in Los Angeles where their headquarters are located, but ABC refused. “It’s a new day and the whole world is opening its eye to the truth about this miraculous plant,” Lane says […]

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Obama Recommends Black History Month Reading List

The nonfiction list includes classic books and some of important works you could finish reading during lunch. February 19, 2019 2 min read Former President Barack Obama has shared an eclectic Black History Month nonfiction reading list to help Americans “better understand our country’s past and our evolving, persistent struggles with race.” “I wanted to share a nonfiction reading list that can help to provide some essential context about the challenges that many people of color face every day,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post. “From modern memoirs to cornerstones of the American narrative, these works can help us better understand our country’s past and our evolving, persistent struggles with race — and they can be fuel on our journey toward a more fair and just future for all of our sons and daughters.” Related: 10 of the Most Influential African-American Inventors The reading list includes: Read_more Related posts: Top 5 Summer […]

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Federal Cannabis Prohibition Got a Lot Weaker in 2018

Prohibition has inertia but no momentum. December 31, 2018 8 min read Any listing of cannabis legalization highlights for 2018 has to begin with the triumph of marijuana at the ballot box in the midterm elections — voter approval for adult use in Michigan and medical marijuana in states as culturally conservative as Utah and Missouri, the defeat of virulently anti-cannabis Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas and the election of pro-legalization governors and state legislators. The big shifts in cannabis in 2018 were at the state level. Progress toward the ultimate goal — federal legalization — was subtle but significant nonetheless. The dizzying pace of the news makes it easy to forget 2018 began with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversing the hands-off Obama era policy toward state-legal cannabis businesses. The decades old ban on hemp was lifted, giving America’s farmers a lucrative new crop and creating a large and legal (though regulated) source of […]

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Major U.S. Study Says Unchecked Climate Change Will Shrink the Economy Significantly

President Trump insists climate change isn’t happening, but the U.S. government says it is and it’s very bad. November 26, 2018 5 min read Unless there is a herculean effort starting immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate change by the end of the century will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year and reduce the size of the economy by 10 percent, according to a major climate study both released and ignored by the Trump Administration. If this is the first you’ve heard of the report, that appears to be by design: It was released without fanfare the afternoon of Black Friday. The report estimates that by 2100 climate change will cost the U.S. economy $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise and $32 billion from infrastructure damage, among some of the costs. The U.S. report comes just a month after a blunt report […]

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Pro-Marijuana Candidates Were Big Midterm Winners but Now They Need to be Prodded

Many new office holders support legal marijuana but few made it their highest priority. November 16, 2018 6 min read After more than a week of sifting through the results it is increasingly clear that what initially appeared to be a good election for expanding legal marijuana access in the US was actually a very, very good election. Voters in Utah and Missouri approved medical marijuana programs in midterm voting, while voters in Michigan (which already has a large and growing medical marijuana program) gave landslide approval to full legalization. But if there is one lesson cannabis advocates ought to have learned by now, electing pro-marijuana candidates is just a step in the right direction. While it’s likely many more states will be legalizing marijuana, don’t be surprised if it takes until the 2020 elections. Why will it take so long? Consider New Jersey. The Garden State has long had a […]

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New York Is Giving Amazon a Helipad and New Yorkers Are Furious

The governor and mayor are thrilled with Amazon. Ordinary New Yorkers just see higher rents and even more crowded subways. November 14, 2018 4 min read New Yorkers are infuriated the only infrastructure improvement they will see from the city’s deal with Amazon is apparently a helipad for Jeff Bezos and his lieutenants at HQ2 (and-a-half). It’s not the biggest item in the memorandum of understanding outlining the $1.5 billion incentive package, but it is laid out in detail in its own clause (see item B under section 5, Public Party Commitments). The helipad is particularly galling to New Yorkers crammed in overcrowded subways. Recently reelected Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is celebrating the Amazon deal as a big win, faced a determined primary challenge by actor and activist Cynthia Nixon, of Sex and the City fame, who campaigned on public anger over unreliable subway service. Related: Amazon Has Triggered a $5 Billion […]

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The Trump Administration Is Fighting California’s Tough Net Neutrality Law

California, home to Silicon Valley, has enacted the nation’s toughest net neutrality protections and will have to defend them in court. October 1, 2018 3 min read You think government doesn’t work on weekends? Think again. On Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation’s toughest net neutrality law, which includes protections tougher than the Obama-era federal rules that were repealed by the Trump Administration’s FCC. Also on Sunday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of the FCC claiming the law is both unconsitutional and barred by the FCC’s rule forbidding state and local governments from imposing net neutrality protections. However it turns out, the litigation is an opportunity for the tech world to learn about the Constitution’s commerce clause and the Tenth Amendment. But first, some background. In 2015, during the Obama Administration, the FCC approved a sweeping net neutrality rule that imposed regulation on internet […]

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Elon Musk Takes Tesla One Toke Over the Line

Tesla stock dropped precipitously after Musk inhaled once on a livestreamed podcast. September 7, 2018 3 min read The cost of marijuana has plummeted in recent years, except if you’re Elon Musk. The famous and famously troubled entrepreneur took one hit from a joint and paid for it with a big drop in the value of Tesla stock. It didn’t help that Musk’s broadcasted toke coincided with news that Tesla’s chief of human resources and the chief accounting officer, hired just a month ago, quit on the same day. Musk spent two hours and 30 minutes on Joe Rogan’s podcast talking with obvious sincerity about the difficulties running Tesla, speculating on a hard-to-imagine future of humans interfacing with artificial intelligence, discoursing on the increasing dangers of climate change and the urgency of transitioning rapidly to renewable energy, but all anyone has heard about the show is that Musk smoked pot. […]

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Elon Musk Is Sounding Very Unhappy and Assumes His Life Will Get Worse

The entrepreneurial icon has gone on the record about his personal problems and his unwillingness, or perhaps helplessness, to solve them. August 17, 2018 5 min read In the pantheon of entrepreneurial tales of success, Elon Musk is ranked with Edison and Ford, but the billionaire is unhappy with the price he’s paid for his pedestal. In an interview with The New York Times that is candid to the point of vulnerability, Musk was repeatedly at the verge of tears describing a self-enslavement he admits is unhealthy but which he has no intention of altering. The interview comes in the wake of Musk’s bombshell tweet on Aug. 7, in which he offhandedly said he had “funding secured” to buy back shares of Tesla for $420 and take the publicly-traded company private. The unvetted tweet, issued when markets were open, sent Tesla shares soaring but also triggered an investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission […]

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Supreme Court Gives States OK to Collect Sales Taxes on Online Sales

Internet retailers who have been largely exempt from out-of-state sales taxes will now owe billions annually. June 21, 2018 3 min read The Supreme Court has handed state governments a multibillion dollar windfall by overturning two previous rulings from decades ago that made internet sales largely exempt from sales taxes. The ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc upheld a state law that made online sales subject the South Dakota sales tax “as if the seller had a physical presence in the State.” The law applies to any seller that delivered more than $100,000 of goods or services into the South Dakota or made more than 200 separate transactions in the state in a year. The phrasing of the South Dakota statute was intended to set in motion its challenge to ruling by the Supreme Court ruled in 1992 — two years before the first documented online sale — that mail order sales were not […]

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New Research Shows Bitcoin’s Meteoric Rise Was a Scam

Crypotocurrencies are the latest in a centuries-long line of speculative bubbles driven by shrewd insiders taking advantage of gullible investors. June 13, 2018 3 min read Academic researchers at the University of Texas have concluded at least half of Bitcoin’s rise to a peak price of nearly $20,000 last year was due to manipulation by traders on Bitfinex, the primary Bitcoin exchange, using another cryptocurrency called Tether to boost prices when they dipped on other exchanges. The paper by John Griffin, a finance professor at the University of Texas, and graduate student Amin Shams, examined trading between March 2017 and March 2018 with particular focus on 87 periods each lasting one hour when Tether, which is issued exclusively by Bitfinex, flowed onto other exchanges when the price of Bitcoin was dropping. “These 87 events account for less than 1 percent of our time series (over the period from the beginning […]

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Just Order a Pizza If America’s Crumbling Infrastructure Worries You — Domino’s Is on It

Where the government is lacking, a pizza company is delivering. June 11, 2018 2 min read If you’re worried America’s notoriously pothole-ridden streets will crumble unchecked after the recent $1.5 trillion tax cut, just order a pizza and hope for the best. Domino’s, it what is apparently much more of a publicity stunt than an infrastructure initiative (yet is still more innovative than the typical state highway department) has revealed a “paving for pizza” partnership to repair potholes in towns where it sells pizzas. “Potholes, cracks and bumps in the road can cause irreversible damage to your pizza during the drive home from Domino’s,’’ the eatery warns. “We can’t stand by and let your cheese slide to one side, your toppings get un-topped, or your boxes flippled. So we’re helping to pave in towns across the country save your good pizza from these bad roads.” Image credit: Domino’s Related: Domino’s and Ford […]

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You Can Block Critics on Twitter, but the President Can’t

A federal judge has ruled people have a First Amendment right to comment on President Trump’s Twitter feed even if he doesn’t like what they say. May 24, 2018 3 min read A federal judge has ruled that when private citizen Donald Trump was elected President Donald Trump, he lost his power to block critics from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. The ruling by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found that the President’s Twitter feed is the digital equivalent of public forum under government control — no different than an auditorium used for public hearings. Blocking individuals from Trump’s Twitter feed simply because he doesn’t like their opinions is the unconstitutional equivalent of barring entrance to a public meeting, the judge found. She noted in her ruling that the White House “[does] not contest Plaintiffs’ allegation that the Individual Plaintiffs were blocked from […]

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