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Cannabusiness stats prove legalization, innovation are rebranding the industry

(BUSINESS NEWS) We’ve got the details on the 2016 State of Cannabis report – the industry is growing rapidly, and the cannabusiness stats are impressive.

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The state of the industry

Continued cannabusiness success stories are helping combat stigma surrounding legal marijuana use. Eaze, a Californian medical marijuana delivery service, just released some new stats on the state of the cannabusiness industry.

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As we’ve mentioned, the cannabusiness industry is maturing. It’s not just a phase, and people are finally starting to take the medical benefits seriously. Medical marijuana services are on the rise and growing in popularity. According to Eaze’s 2016 State of Cannabis report, someone places an order with them every 30 seconds. That’s up 100 percent from 2015, when Californians were placing orders every minute.

Erasing the stigma

This isn’t some college dorm drug ring. It’s a legitimate business, and investors are paying attention. Launched in 2014, Eaze became the most-funded start-up to date, raising $25 million overall.

Legal marijuana sales are expected to be in the tens of billions over the next four years.Click To Tweet

Destigmatizing is half of the battle when it comes to expanding access to medical marijuana. Services like Eaze and spreading knowledge about the benefits of medical marijuana. As a result, Californians in the study are now more comfortable with cannabis use for medical purposes.

Their Favor-like service takes away the danger factor associated with acquiring marijuana. Those with a valid Physician’s Recommendation are able to order weed just like any other product and feel like a normal person instead of a shady criminal.  Whoever is delivering isn’t a necessarily skeevy frat boy or sketchy dude in an alley. There is an accountability factor beyond the legal terms and conditions of Eaze’s service.

Generational growth

Astoundingly, baby boomers are the fastest growing segment using Eaze. Even more surprising, Eaze saw a 25 percent increase in orders from baby boomers over the past year while millennials actually dropped three percent.

In fact, baby boomers spent more money per month than any of the app’s younger generations.

Boomers spent 36 percent more on cannabis than millennials per month.

If this doesn’t scream destigmatized, I don’t know what does.

New scientific studies have played a huge role in changing public perception about medical marijuana. According to Eaze’s data, marijuana is “quickly becoming a preferred alternative to alcohol and opioids.”

Fully 82 percent of respondents reduced their alcohol consumption because of access to medical marijuana while 11.6 percent even reported they have completely stopped drinking alcohol since they are able to legally access cannabis. Additionally, 95 percent of respondents who have used opioids to manage pain report they now take less painkillers.

Weed over wine?

Eaze’s study also shows orders spike around 7pm, suggesting marijuana is replacing a nightly glass of wine. Another cultural shift is seen in the increasing popularity of vaporizer cartridges. In the last year, vaporizer cartridge sales increased by 400 percent. Eaze explains that vaporizers provide “a new form of immediate relief.” One out of every three customers ordered a vaporizer cartridge in 2016 compared to a mere seven percent in 2015.

People are also likelier to order during holidays or three-day weekends. This means cannabis is potentially being used in a more mainstream celebratory manner like alcohol.

Consuming legal marijuana is now seen as a legitimate form of celebration or relaxation by many Californians.Click To Tweet

Although California has a reputation as the hippie cousin, some conservative states are changing their minds about marijuana laws and use. Even in notoriously straight-laced Texas, citizens plan to gather at the state capitol during Constituent Advocacy Day to lobby for marijuana policy reform and it’s conservative politicians leading the legalization charge. Seriously Reform supporters are organizing in support of bills that could remove some criminal possession penalties and expand the Compassionate Care Act to include more patients.

Be a pioneer

The landscape of marijuana consumption is changing, and companies in states where cannabis is legal are finding marketing strongholds. Platforms like Eaze show how profitable the cannabusiness industry can be for those who are willing to put aside stigmas and pioneer new methods of customer satisfaction.

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Business News

Ageism: How to properly combat this discrimination in the workplace

(BUSINESS) Ageism is still being fought by many companies, how can this new issue be resolved before it becomes more of a problem?

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Ageism void

Workers over the age of 55 represent the fasting growing sector in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 25% of the labor force will be over age 55 by 2024. A 2018 AARP survey found that over 60% of the respondents reported age discrimination in their workplace. The figure is even higher among older women, minorities, and unemployed seniors. Age discrimination is a problem for many.

Unfortunately, age discrimination lawsuits aren’t uncommon. We have covered cases for Jewel Food Stores, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Inc., AT&T, and iTutorGroup, all alleging age or disability discrimination in some form or fashion. This could be from using vocabulary such as “tenured,” hiring a younger employee instead of promoting a well-season veteran, or pressuring older employees with extra responsibilities in order to get them to resign or retire early.

How can your organization create an age-inclusive workforce?

It is difficult to prove age discrimination but fighting a lawsuit against it could be expensive. Rather than worrying about getting sued for age discrimination, consider your own business and whether your culture creates a workplace that welcomes older workers.

  1. Check your job descriptions and hiring practices to eliminate graduation dates and birthdates. Focus on worker’s skills, not youthful attributes, such as “fresh graduate” or “digital native.” Feature workers of all ages in your branding and marketing.
  2. Include age diversity training for your managers and employees, especially those that hire or work in recruiting.
  3. Support legislative reforms that protect older workers. Use your experience to create content for your website.

Changing the culture of your workplace to include older workers will benefit you in many ways. Older workers bring experience and ideas to the table that younger employees don’t have. Having mixed-age teams encourages creativity. There are many ways to support older workers and to be inclusive in your workplace.

What steps are you taking in your organization to reduce ageism in your workplace?

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Business News

AI-generated content is against Google’s guidelines, so what now?

(BUSINESS) Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, says that AI-generated content is against webmaster guidelines. What does mean for content strategy?

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Google homepage on computer representing AI-generated content.

John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate, stated that AI-generated content is against Google’s webmaster guidelines in a weekly online question and answer session.

Let’s review what that means for you and your content strategy going forward.

First of all, what is AI Generated Content?

Simply put, Medium defines it as

“[a]utomatically generated or Auto-Generated content is content that’s been created with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools.”

Tools like writesonic or jasper are examples of AI content creation tools made to create content for a blog, social media, etc. If you check these websites, you will find that Google is listed as one of the many companies that use their services.

So, Google can use it but others will be penalized for using it. Can Google recognize when a user takes advantage of AI-generated content services for use on the web?

In the video Q&A, Mueller doesn’t confirm or deny whether or not Google is capable of recognizing AI-generated content. He is quoted as stating,

“I can’t claim that. But for us, if we see that something is automatically generated, then the webspam team can take action on that.”

After countless searches about the Google webspam team and what actions they can take, it’s not immediately clear, but what seems to be the consensus is that it could negatively impact Google rankings and SEO.

What can you do?

If you are already using AI-generated content, the first thing to consider is do you need to do most of the heavy lifting or are you using it to generate ideas or a starting point? If you’re using it to fully write your next blog post, you need to reconsider this position and be sure to have a human add personal touches to your online content.

According to Mueller, using AI-generated content in ANY capacity is considered unacceptable. He states,

“[c]urrently it’s all against the webmaster guidelines. So, from our point of view, if we were to run across something like that, if the webspam team were to see it, they would see it as spam.”

Your best bet is to keep doing it yourself because right now Google has all the power over search and rankings. At least, until something changes.

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Social media and depression go hand-in-hand, studies show

(BUSINESS) Maybe this won’t come as a surprise, but the statistics sure are telling- having depression and social media usage are linked.

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Upside down photo of man holding iphone case saying "social media seriously harms your mental health" representing dopamine.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe they have found evidence of a link between depression and social media use. Many studies have attempted to show that social media use can be detrimental to your mental health, but the parameters of these studies are often limited in scope or were unrealistic situations. The UPenn study collected usage data tracked by the phone rather than relying on self-reporting.

Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt, the author of the published study, says the bottom line is: “Using less social media than you normally would lead to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”

It should be noted that the study participants were college students who were randomly assigned to either use social media as they normally would or be in the experimental group that limited time on the three most popular platforms, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Hunt doesn’t believe that it’s realistic not to use social networks at all, but it is important to find a way to manage your use to avoid negative effects.

Depression is a serious problem for Americans, but is social media responsible?

The CDC reported that between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of Americans over the age of 20 experienced depression in a 2-week period. About 80% of these people had difficulty with daily activities due to depression. However, “over a 10-year period, from 2007–2008 to 2015–2016, the percentage of adults with depression did not change significantly.” On the other hand, social network use increased exponentially during this time.

There have been other studies that link social media use and depression. It might be that the more platforms accessed increase the risk for depression. Another study found that it was the way people used social media that increased depression. Using it to compare yourself to others or feeling addicted to social media increased the feelings of depression.

But it’s unknown whether depression or social media use came first. Studies haven’t quite agreed on whether it exacerbates existing problems, or creates them.

How should we approach social media use?

Another report suggests that Facebook knew from the start that they were creating addictions. The people closest to tech believe that there are inherent risks for their children to be on social media. Scary? It should make you think about how and why you use tech.

If you find yourself having negative feelings after using social networks, consider limiting the amount of time you spend on those platforms. Get out and connect with others. Relationships can often reduce the risk of depression. Get involved in your community. It’s important to find balance in using social media and having connections with others. Spend time on what makes you feel better about your life.

There are still a lot of questions about how social networks and technologies affect society. In the meantime, pay attention to how you use these sites and be conscious of not getting sucked into the comparison trap.

If you are depressed and lonely, there is help available, and we ask you to make that difficult step and reach out – call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741. You can also visit their website to find your local NAMI.

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