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Vermont cannabusiness will have to hold off

(BUSINESS NEWS) Vermont cannabusinesses have to wait a little bit longer as the Gov just pushed back on recreational use.

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legal marijuana

Vermont said no

In a blow to marijuana entrepreneurs and legalization advocates, Vermont Governor Phil Scott vetoed a marijuana legalization bill Wednesday.

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Governor Scott provided local media with a thorough explanation of his reasoning to accompany his veto.

His reasons

Notably, he acknowledged the reality that his veto was likely a moot point, given the nationwide, cross-party shift in favor of marijuana legalization that has been clear in the last few election cycles.

The remainder is a detailed and well-reasoned objection, but more than that, a vital read for would-be marijuana entrepreneurs, responsible consumers and indeed pro-legalization commentators like your humble narrator.

Governor Scott’s veto reasoning is a veritable Cliffs Notes for the reasons smart people are still anti-legalization.

Which is awesome, because that means a very smart person who knows how the law works has just provided would-be entrepreneurs and legal consumers alike with a how-to for getting people on board with responsible, profitable cannabusiness.

1. Think of the children!

Governor Scott leads with a cheap shot here, and yeah, it irritates me too. Anybody who’s spent any time dealing with this issue knows that at least as often as that argument constitutes a reasonable objection, it’s deployed to short-circuit a debate by forcing focus onto a single worst-case scenario. Anybody who’s spent any time being younger than 18 – so, everybody, minus American Genius’s much appreciated readership of vat-grown clones – also knows that a case of beer or a handle of vodka is both easier to get and far more likely to kill you than anything you can do with marijuana. Governor Scott is a smart guy who cares about this issue, so I assume he knows that.

He’s making that pitch because it works.

That’s why people use it – because it makes other people genuinely believe the subject is a threat to their children, which is, quite rightly, the end of the argument for any caring parent. That’s a problem entrepreneurs need to address. Marijuana marketing needs to become less about tie-dye and more about “18 and over, please smoke responsibly” before some people will feel safe having it around.

2. Who makes the rules?

This is – dare I say it – fair. Controlled substance regulation in this country is utterly nuts. Your humble narrator was born and raised in a state that has not only dry and wet, but, I swear to Insert Deity Here, moist counties. Kentucky does many things well. Law is not one of them. Responsible lawmakers like Governor Scott have a duty to make sure that kind of nonsense doesn’t happen again, and the legalization and regulation of marijuana is how they intend to discharge that duty.

It’s also a huge opportunity for businesspeople.

Where regulatory bodies exist, third-party input will be vital. Where third-party input is vital, there’s a door to stick your foot in. Nonprofit organizations already represent a major force in marijuana regulation, on both pro- and anti-legalization sides. The latter at least is sure to be represented in regulatory bodies, since to date regulatory bodies have said “ban it. All of it.” If you want a point of view at that table other than that, get yourself a seat. Being part of the regulatory process is cannabusiness’s best chance to cut through the “Reefer Madness” in the name of socially responsible – and profitable – enterprise.

3. What are the numbers

A number of Gov. Scott’s objections come down to a plain fact: the details aren’t done yet. Everything from testable impairment thresholds for automotive offenses to long-term monitoring and reporting protocols for the community impact of legal marijuana is still up in the air. Gov. Scott thinks that’s irresponsible.

Know what? It is.

This is a space where non-government interests in the nonprofit and for-profit field can lead. Nonprofits in particular have decades of data on the impact – or lack thereof – of marijuana on public health. Entrepreneurs can set business standards for boring stuff like THC levels per item and daily sale limits in-house and present them to regulatory boards as a fait accompli.

Legal marijuana is happening

That’s a good thing. But it’s not the last thing. Legal marijuana doesn’t mean we all throw open our shutters on a clear spring morning and start doing profitable, socially responsible cannabusiness. If you’re expecting that, I suspect you’re breaking Biggie’s Rule Four. Never break Biggie’s Rule Four. It means we have to deal with a government that has, to date, had a very simple policy regarding the product in question, and now has to cobble together a very complicated one.

If you don’t do it, they’re gonna.

If you do, though – if non-government interests take responsibility for marijuana and its consequences from day one of legal sales – we may just manage this cannabusiness thing yet.

#marijuana

Matt Salter is a writer and former fundraising and communications officer for nonprofit organizations, including Volunteers of America and PICO National Network. He’s excited to put his knowledge of fundraising, marketing, and all things digital to work for your reading enjoyment. When not writing about himself in the third person, Matt enjoys horror movies and tabletop gaming, and can usually be found somewhere in the DFW Metroplex with WiFi and a good all-day breakfast.

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Business News

What small business owners can learn from Starbucks’ new D&I strategy

(BUSINESS) Diversity and inclusion have been at the forefront of Starbucks’ mission, but now they’re shifting strategy. What can we learn from it?

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Hands of all different skin colors on green background representing Starbucks' D&I.

Starbucks was one of many companies that promised to focus on diversity and inclusion efforts after the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020. What sets Starbucks apart from other companies were its specific goals.

How It Started

They began with hiring targets and have now added goals in corporate and manufacturing roles. Starbucks’ plans and goals revolve around transparency for accountability. They released the annual numbers for 2021 as a way to help hold themselves accountable. The data they’ve released so far show that they’ve met nearly a third of their 2025 goals according to Retail Brew. Because of this information, we can see why they are choosing to move in the direction of manufacturing and corporate jobs. In 2021, POC’s fell to 12.5% of director-level employees from 14.3% in 2020 in manufacturing.

How It’s Going

Per Starbucks’ website stories and news, “[I]t will increase its annual spend with diverse suppliers to $1.5 billion by 2030.  As part of this commitment, Starbucks will partner with other organizations to develop and grow supplier diversity excellence globally.” To put that into perspective, they spent nearly $800 million with diverse suppliers in 2021. With these moves, by 2030, it will increase by almost double.

As part of their accountability and progress, they plan to partner up with Arizona State University to give out free toolkits to entrepreneurs on fundamentals for running successful diverse-owned businesses. Another goal they’ve listed is to boost paid media representation by allocating 15 percent of the advertising budget to minority-owned and targeted media companies to reach diverse audiences.

At the heart of all this information on their goals and future plans, data transparency and accountability are what’s forcing them to look at the numbers to make specific goals. They are doing more than just throwing money at the problem, they are analyzing how they can do better and where the money will make a difference. Something that, as entrepreneurs, we should all do.

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Business News

Peloton is back-pedaling: Reports of price increases, layoffs, and cost cuts

(BUSINESS) After a recording of layoffs leaks, ‘supply chain’ issues cause shipping increases, and they consult for cost-cutting, Peloton is doomed.

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Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Is Peloton in Trouble?

According to many reports, Peloton had success early in the pandemic when gyms shut down. Offering consumers a way to connect with a community for fitness along with varying financing options allowed the company to see growth when many other industries were being shuttered.

After two years, CNBC reports that the company is “being impacted by …supply chain challenges” and rising inflation costs. According to the report, customers will be paying an additional $250 for its bike and $350 for its tread for delivery and setup.

As demand has decreased, Peloton is also considering layoffs in their sales and marketing departments, overheard in a leaked audio call. The recording details executives discussing “Project Fuel” where they plan to cut 41% of the sales and marketing teams, as well as letting go of eCommerce employees and frontline workers at 15 retail stores.

Nasdaq reported that the stock fell 75% last year, after a year where it soared over 400%.

Peloton reviewing its overall structure

According to another report from CNBC, Peloton is working with McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, to lower costs as revenue has dropped and the growth of new subscriptions has slowed since the pandemic. Last November, according to NPR, Peloton had “its worst day as a publicly-traded company.” It also anticipates greater losses in 2022 than originally predicted. It makes sense that the company would reexamine their strategy as the economy changes. They aren’t the only one that is raising prices amid supply chain issues.

It will be interesting to watch how Peloton fares

Peloton has a large community that pays a monthly fee for connected fitness. While growth has slowed, the company still has a strong share of consumers. Although it is facing more competition in the home fitness market and more gyms are reopening, as Peloton adjusts to the new normal, it should remain a viable company.

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Business News

CEO is offering folks thousands to *quit* their jobs, with one catch

(BUSINESS) A CEO out of Arizona is challenging employment norms by offering a sort of “sign-off” bonus upfront, but this method has one fatal flaw.

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Man counting cash in his hand representing the CEO offering money to employees who quit.

Chris Ronzio, the CEO of Trainual, a software company in Arizona that aims to systemize and scale your small business, is offering cold hard cash to quit your job in an unconventional ploy to bypass the effects of the Great Resignation.

Before you rush to turn in your notice and make some extra cash, you should know that this offer is dependent on being selected as a hirable candidate and making it through the hiring process for Trainual. This option is also offered to new hires after 2 weeks of employment.

This model of employment gives the employee the ability to fire the company and walk away with a little sum of money. The thought process of the CEO was outlined in an article by the Insider, saying it is a strategic move to retain top talent and maintain a strong company culture. While this is a unique approach…it has a glaring flaw. The offer is only good for the initial two-week period. However, it can take some time to recognize the shortcomings of any company when you begin employment. We can all recognize the long-term financial potential of reoccurring income and while $5,000 is not anything to shake your finger at, it will eventually be gone. I think we can all agree that constructive criticism can be difficult to swallow at times, however, if Trainual was truly invested in this model they would extend the offer at other key times during employment. What if this offer was again available at the 1-year mark? If the offer reappeared at a one-year review, the turnover may increase.

Per the Insider article, Ronzio was quoted as saying, “With today’s market, hiring teams have to move quickly to assess candidates and get them through the process to a competitive offer, so it’s impossible to be right 100% of the time,” Ronzio said. The CEO added, “The offer to quit allows the dust to settle from a speedy process and let the new team member throw a red flag if they’re feeling anything but excited.”

These statements detail another dimension to consider which is the employment hiring process and timeline. If top candidates are in such high demand that the process has to be sped up to secure a workforce, this monetary compensation can help to ensure the hiring decision. Although, when the offer was implemented in May of 2020, the offer was $2500, half of what it is now. Ronzio reasoned that they could stay while they looked for another job so they increased the amount to compensate for those with a higher salary range.

Let me preface this by saying that yes, accountability should exist, but I would be interested to know the turnover rate for the hiring team. The cost to the company from this unique approach adds extra weight for those making the decisions on who to hire. The stress the hiring team faces has to be factored into the candidate decisions. How many times can the hiring team get it wrong before they’re let go? While the pressure to hire the right candidate should always factor in, one has to wonder about the effects of this model.

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