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Amidst layoffs, Pepsi throws literally everyone else under the bus #SodaTax

(BUSINESS NEWS) Philadelphia based soda manufacturer lays of mass amounts of people and then let everyone know its not their fault.

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Soda tax is back in the spotlight

Philadelphia: the hometown of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire, the city of brotherly love, and it’s where your soda is taxed more than a beer. The sugary drink tax (also known as the soda tax), which was enacted in January, is in the spotlight once again as Pepsi announces 80-100 layoffs in its Philadelphia based distribution plants.

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Pepsi Co spokesman Deva DeCecco wasn’t shy about putting the blame on the new tax.

“Unfortunately, after careful consideration of the economic realities created by the recently enacted beverage tax, we have been forced to give notice that we intend to eliminate 80 to 100 positions, including frontline and supervisory roles,” DeCecco said.

We warned you

The shade thrown at the soda tax is no surprise.

A coalition composed of store owners, beverage companies and labor unions previously warned the city of potential job loss due to the tax.

Danny Grace, Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters local 830 sent a letter to city officials soon after the tax passed. “This unfair tax that targets only one industry would be ruinous to the Teamsters, leading to the loss of thousands of family-sustaining jobs,” Grace warned.

Just the tip of the iceberg

While thousands of layoffs seems far fetched, we must consider that the layoffs at Pepsi could be the beginning of something huge.

In a statement to the Inquirer, Bob Brockway, COO of Canada Dry Delaware Valley announced plans to lay off 20% of its employees come March.

As for rival Coca-Cola, they haven’t detailed any layoff plans.

Blame it on the tax

Frank McGorry, president and general manager of Coca-Cola Refreshments Tri-State Metro Unit also put blame on the tax. “Everything we’ve said would happen by enacting this tax is proving to be true. We are evaluating how we will address the impact of this tax on our business. People are leaving the city to shop, small businesses are getting hurt, consumers are unhappy and people are losing their jobs,” McGorry tells the Philly Voice .

The potential rippling effect on Philadelphia’s distributors is due to the fact that the new tax is levied directly on distributors.

Distributors can absorb the tax themselves, or pass it on to consumers. In either case, distributors or their employees are threatened.

Soda tax supporters

Soda tax proponents are pumping the breaks on the blame.

Mayor Kenney argues that the soda industry is acting out of greed, passing the tax along to consumers and threatening layoffs, rather than lowering their own pay.

Bless his soul, did Kenney actually believe taxes wouldn’t be passed on to consumers? Mayor Kenney also believes that the soda industry may be leveraging the layoffs to scare other cities away from enacting their own version of the tax.

Old trend, new tactics

It may be too late. The soda tax trend has already taken root. Last November, three California cities- Albany, Oakland and San Francisco along with the town of Boulder, Colorado adopted their own soda tax.

Unlike California’s soda taxes, which aren’t earmarked for a specific purpose, Philadelphia’s tax funds are reserved for Pre-K services, community schools and parks renovations. Click To Tweet

Also important to note, Mayor Kenney framed the sugar tax debate as a matter of revenue, not a public health crusade.

Bold move, cotton. Let’s see how this plays out

This was a bold move and a play that other cities may adopt as budgets tighten. Sin taxes are nothing new, according to this map, they’re levied across our whole “sinful” country.

However, framing the debate so strongly around revenue rather than health benefits is a new move and a move businesses should keep an eye one, even if they aren’t selling soda. When budgets are limited, are all vices may be up for grabs.

#SodaSoDone

Staff Writer, Arra Dacquel is a San Francisco based writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Davis and is currently studying web development. She’s obsessed with tech news and corgis, but not in that order.

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Beware: The biohacking obsession is attracting scammers

(NEWS) Biohacking is finding ways to gain a competitive advantage, while excluding the medical world. It’s great to increase your output, but be cautious when picking your poison…

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Wanna live better or longer? [Insert biohack here] will solve all those pesky problems. In all fairness, it’s human nature to seek improvement, especially in our jobs or academics — you know, the things that demand a constant, high performance.

Of course our ears will prick up at the slightest mention of attaining that elusive edge. Remember Aderall in college?

Biohacking isn’t a new topic. The term refers to a wide range of activities to affect the body’s biological systems.

The objective is to optimize health, well-being, and focus. If we are able to effectively manage what we put into our body, our output can increase. It’s not inherently evil.

But social media influencers are key in promoting the latest products/diets/supplements/oils, often doing so for money, not to improve others’ lives. And, there’s a darker side of drug use, both prescription and illegal, leading to potentially dangerous and abusive situations.

The misleading aspect of biohacking is that every body is different.

Regardless of social media promises, people should be wary of ingesting additional products.

Despite the fancy names one can give it, biohacking has the same objective of medicine, but product development typically excludes medical practitioners.

Legitimate medical practices take huge amounts of funding and research to figure out and insure safety, and they’re heavily regulated by the federal government.

A random word of mouth promise about some obscure herbal supplement is not the same thing.

There are no shortcuts to improving one’s health.

And biohacking doesn’t necessarily mean making life more complex. It’s important to start with the basics before jumping to elaborate diet regimens, powders, pills, etc. Simple steps like routine exercise, 7-8 hours of sleep, and healthier meal choices may help get you on track.

It’s amazing to realize what you can change about yourself before joining some random Thought Cult you found on Instagram. And in the case that your health needs a modern, helping hand, do the proper research before falling into the dark internet hole.

Or better yet, consult your doctor.

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Business News

Did Ohio *really* just accidentally legalize marijuana?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Should cannabusiness investors rush to Ohio, or are the headlines about legalized marijuana in the state misleading? The situation is pretty complex.

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Hemp growers and pot smokers alike may benefit from a recently passed Ohio law intended to legalize hemp, but which has also made prosecuting marijuana charges significantly more difficult, if not impossible.

Although many news sources are blasting the headline that Ohio has “accidentally legalized weed,” the truth is slightly more complicated.

On July 30, Ohio legislators signed into law a bill that legalizes the growth and sale of hemp, but not marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species of plant, but while hemp is mostly used for its super strong fibers, marijuana is cultivated to contain high levels of the psychoactive compound THC.

It’s not easy to detect the difference between hemp and marijuana with the naked eye. Connoisseurs might argue that if the bud looks dry, green, and hairless, it’s probably hemp.

But there’s no way to prove it definitively during a police stop or search. Sure, an officer could take a toke and see if it makes him feel funny, but that would hardly be appropriate; the typical protocol is to test the plant material in a lab to determine the percentage of THC.

Green with less than 0.3 percent THC is considered hemp; more than that is considered marijuana.

The problem is that none of Ohio’s city or state level crime labs have the technology to make this determination. The current lab equipment available can detect the presence of THC but can’t tell the amount.

Louis Tobin, the executive director for Ohio’s Prosecuting Attorney Association, calls this recent law “the de facto legalization of marijuana,” not because the bill explicitly make marijuana legal, but because “there’s no way for law enforcement to tell what’s legal and what’s not legal.”

Apparently Tobin and other prosecutors had raised this concern while the bill was being debated, to no avail.

Now police officers and prosecutors are getting mixed signals about how to proceed.

Says Tobin, “There are statues on the books that say you should enforce marijuana possession but another law takes away your tools to do it.”

Ohio’s Attorney General, Dave Yost, sent a letter to prosecutors encouraging them to postpone marijuana indictments. The Office of the Attorney General in Ohio’s capitol city of Columbus announced that they will temporarily cease prosecuting marijuana misdemeanors and will drop all pending cases.

Meanwhile, in Hamilton County, prosecutor Joe Deter is encouraging police officers to go ahead and investigate marijuana-related crimes, and to confiscate anything that looks like it could be either hemp or marijuana. The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation has already been allotted funds to purchase and set up the testing equipment needed to measure percentages of THC. Prosecutors who wish to follow up on marijuana crime cases will just have to cross their fingers and hope that the equipment becomes available before the statute of limitations kicks in.

Even when the right testing equipment gets set up, some suspect that the recent legal change could have a long-lasting effect on how the city prosecutes marijuana misdemeanors. It may prove to be inefficient and costly to prosecute small-time dealers and individuals possessing small amounts of the drug.

Nonetheless, it’s probably too soon for cannabusiness to start investing heavily in Ohio – but it’s a state worth keeping an eye on.

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The easiest ways to keep remote workers engaged & connected

(BUSINESS NEWS) Do you manage remote employees or an entirely mixed team? These tips will keep you on the right track to avoid communication breakdown.

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Not every workplace has all its employees in the same place. Different office locations, business trips, and freelancers mean your workforce may be geographically scattered. So how do you effectively communicate from home base if your team is remote and widespread?

First things first – invest in the best virtual meeting platform technology you can work into your budget. If you can’t all be in one place, the next best thing is regularly scheduled virtual meetings. Everyone should have a camera so employees get a chance to know who they’re talking to and put names to faces.

Sure, you may not want to see yourself on camera, but your coworkers will appreciate seeing who they’ve been collaborating with and emailing.

If video conferences aren’t relevant to your business, make sure employees at least have some way to get in touch with each other, like Slack, Skype, or even a private Facebook group. Have at least one platform where employees can engage, communicate, and share information with each other.

Foster connection among employees, allowing them to engage and build work relationships. Provide opportunities for non-work related connections to show your employees you know they’re people, not just workers.

If possible, organize small group outings for those in the same city. Even if that’s not feasible, you can still be the connector that brings people together remotely.

Create “water cooler” moments by calling out important events, like birthdays, marriages, or someone completing an important goal. Get to know your employees, and engage in small talk whenever possible to get to know them. This shows your employees you value them and care about their lives.

Sending care packages can go a long way to show your employees you want them to feel included. Is your next meeting being catered at the main office? Order something for your remote employees too. Everyone deserves bagels.

Make sure you also set clear communication expectations about when you can and can’t be reached. Virtual employees need to know when they can expect a response from you and their colleagues since informal interactions are hard to come by remotely.

When managing remote employees, strive for inclusiveness. Be a connector who promotes engagement by knowing your employees, giving them an avenue to communicate with you and each other.

Take time to get to know your employees on at least a semi- personal level, and ensure everyone feels welcomed even if they’re working remotely. This will lead to better coworker relationships, employee retention, and performance.

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