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Washington State: weed goldmine not so lucrative with new product glut

(Business News) Now that several states are on board with cannabis legalization, there is a surprising surge of cannabis growers, driving prices down.

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Legalization of weed is a business goldmine. Right?

Remember the early days of legal cannabis in Washington, when it was selling for $20 or $25 a gram and stores were closing because they were literally sold out of weed? Those days are officially over. Prices in recreational stores have been falling with every passing month as more shops open. Now there is a glut of pot and it’s forcing prices way too low.

The Stranger reports, Ian Eisenberg, the owner of Uncle Ike’s, a recreational store in Washington, says prices at his store range from $10 to $23 a gram, which is competitive with most medical stores, but “wholesale prices are still literally half of what they were in September.” Good for those who need it, but not so great for those potpreneurs.

Currently Washington offers three tiers of growing licenses for cannabis: less less than 2,000 square feet; 2,000 to 10,000 square feet; and 10,000 to 30,000 square feet. So far, they have issued approximately 336 licenses statewide.

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Alison Holcomb, the Seattle attorney who drafted the legal pot law. “There are 10 times as many applications as we need.” Holcomb called the glut of pot-growing applications “a real problem for the people that want to go into production because if you apply for a 30,000-square-foot grow and incur all the expenses for the lease and buildout, you don’t want to suddenly learn that you can only grow 2,000 square feet,” she said.

“No one knows what’s going to happen.”

“Our biggest clients are sweating it,” said Seattle marijuana business attorney Hilary Bricken. “People are paranoid and they have every right to be paranoid, because no one knows what’s going to happen. As a business strategy, can you rely on everyone else’s failure so that you can have the size grow you want? I would say, no, not if you want to sleep at night.”

Some of this has to do with timing: “This fall was the first harvest of outdoor crops grown over the summer, which means the harvest rates mushroomed from almost 900,000 grams in September to more than 3 million in October and 6.5 million in November. Because of that, growth in production is outpacing growth in sales, which have climbed steadily from about 233,000 grams in September to 321,000 in October and 384,000 in November. Production will slow down now that we’ve reached the winter, but indoor growers are still ticking along, and the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB), continues to license growers all over the state.”

Should the surplus be surprising?

The surplus is no surprise to the WSLCB, according to board spokesperson Brian Smith. “The market is still maturing, not everyone is going to make it…we knew the supply system would be pretty robust.” It seems as though robust is an understatement.

What does this mean for other potpreneurs? I believe the question will indeed become: “can you rely on everyone else’s failures, so that you can seize the size growing license you need to flourish?” As with any business, this seems to be a calculated risk. In some areas, the risk is definitely worth it; in other overflowing areas, like Washington, your money and time may be better spent in other business ventures.

#WeedGlut

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Tech News

Google chrome: The anti-cookie monster in 2022

(TECH NEWS) If you are tired of third party cookies trying to grab every bit of data about you, google has heard and responded with their new updates.

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Google has announced the end of third-party tracking cookies on its Chrome browser within the next two years in an effort to grant users better means of security and privacy. With third-party cookies having been relied upon by advertising and social media networks, this move will undoubtedly have ramifications on the digital ad sector.

Google’s announcement was made in a blog post by Chrome engineering director, Justin Schuh. This follows Google’s Privacy Sandbox launch back in August, an initiative meant to brainstorm ideas concerning behavioral advertising online without using third-party cookies.

Chrome is currently the most popular browser, comprising of 64% of the global browser market. Additionally, Google has staked out its role as the world’s largest online ad company with countless partners and intermediaries. This change and any others made by Google will affect this army of partnerships.

This comes in the wake of rising popularity for anti-tracking features on web browsers across the board. Safari and Firefox have both launched updates (Intelligent Tracking Prevention for Safari and the Enhanced Tracking Prevention for Firefox) with Microsoft having recently released the new Edge browser which automatically utilizes tracking prevention. These changes have rocked share prices for ad tech companies since last year.

The two-year grace period before Chrome goes cookie-less has given the ad and media industries time to absorb the shock and develop plans of action. The transition has soften the blow, demonstrating Google’s willingness to keep positive working relations with ad partnerships. Although users can look forward to better privacy protection and choice over how their data is used, Google has made it clear it’s trying to keep balance in the web ecosystems which will likely mean compromises for everyone involved.

Chrome’s SameSite cookie update will launch in February, requiring publishers and ad tech vendors to label third-party cookies that can be used elsewhere on the web.

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Tech News

Computer vision helps AI create a recipe from just a photo

(TECH NEWS) It’s so hard to find the right recipe for that beautiful meal you saw on tv or online. Well computer vision helps AI recreate it from a picture!

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Ever seen at a photo of a delicious looking meal on Instagram and wondered how the heck to make that? Now there’s an AI for that, kind of.

Facebook’s AI research lab has been developing a system that can analyze a photo of food and then create a recipe. So, is Facebook trying to take on all the food bloggers of the world now too?

Well, not exactly, the AI is part of an ongoing effort to teach AI how to see and then understand the visual world. Food is just a fun and challenging training exercise. They have been referring to it as “inverse cooking.”

According to Facebook, “The “inverse cooking” system uses computer vision, technology that extracts information from digital images and videos to give computers a high level of understanding of the visual world,”

The concept of computer vision isn’t new. Computer vision is the guiding force behind mobile apps that can identify something just by snapping a picture. If you’ve ever taken a photo of your credit card on an app instead of typing out all the numbers, then you’ve seen computer vision in action.

Facebook researchers insist that this is no ordinary computer vision because their system uses two networks to arrive at the solution, therefore increasing accuracy. According to Facebook research scientist Michal Drozdzal, the system works by dividing the problem into two parts. A neutral network works to identify ingredients that are visible in the image, while the second network pulls a recipe from a kind of database.

These two networks have been the key to researcher’s success with more complicated dishes where you can’t necessarily see every ingredient. Of course, the tech team hasn’t stepped foot in the kitchen yet, so the jury is still out.

This sounds neat and all, but why should you care if the computer is learning how to cook?

Research projects like this one carry AI technology a long way. As the AI gets smarter and expands its limits, researchers are able to conceptualize new ways to put the technology to use in our everyday lives. For now, AI like this is saving you the trouble of typing out your entire credit card number, but someday it could analyze images on a much grander scale.

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Tech News

Xiaomi accidentally sent security video from one home to another

(TECH NEWS) Xiaomi finds out that while modern smart and security devices have helped us all, but there are still plenty of flaws and openings for security breeches.

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The reason for setting up security cameras around your home is so the photos can get streamed to your neighbor’s device, right?

Okay, that’s obviously not why most (if any) of us get security cameras, but unfortunately, that scenario of the leaked images isn’t a hypothetical. Xiaomi cameras have been streaming photos to the wrong Google Home devices. This was first reported on Reddit, with user Dio-V posting a video of it happening on their device.

Xiaomi is a Chinese electronics company that has only recently started to gain traction in the U.S. markets. While their smartphones still remain abroad, two of Xiaomi’s security cameras are sold through mainstream companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon for as low as $40. Their affordable prices have made the products even more popular and Xiaomi’s presence has grown, both nationally and abroad.

To be fair, when the leaked photos surfaced, both Google and Xiaomi responded quickly. Google cut off access to Xiaomi devices until the problem was resolved to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. Meanwhile, Xiaomi worked to identify and fix the issue, which was caused by a cache update, and has since been fixed.

But the incident still raises questions about smart security devices in the first place.

Any smart device is going to be inherently vulnerable due to the internet connection. Whether it’s hackers, governments, or the tech companies themselves, there are plenty of people who can fairly easily gain access to the very things that are supposed to keep your home secure.

Of course, unlike these risks, which involve people actively trying to access your data, this most recent incident with Xiaomi and Google shows that your intimate details might even be shared to strangers who aren’t even trying to break into your system. Unfortunately, bugs are inevitable when it comes to keeping technology up to date, so it’s fairly likely something like this could happen again in the future.

That’s right, your child’s room might be streamed to a total stranger by complete accident.

Granted, Xiaomi’s integration mistake only affected a fraction of their users and many risks are likely to decrease as time goes on. Still, as it stands now, your smart security devices might provide a facade of safety, but there are plenty of risks involved.

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