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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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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.

Business News

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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Business News

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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