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Amazon Supports Marijuana Legalization and Drops Weed Testing

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A federal bill to legalize marijuana use got a powerful ally in Amazon. The Jeff Bezos-owned company announced its support for marijuana legalization. Alongside this, they are no longer screening potential employees for weed usage.

Amazon’s Weed Testing

marijuana legalization amazon statement
Screenshot from Reuters

The e-commerce giant’s CEO of Worldwide Consumer, Dave Clark, confirmed this news in their blog post. He said that the company’s public policy team now actively supports the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act). In the proposed bill, cannabis will be legalized at the federal level and expunge criminal records.

Clark said that Amazon would drop their weed testing requirements for some jobs, specifically those that the Department of Transportation doesn’t regulate. In the blog post, Clark announced this as one of the two substantial changes in company policy. The other is their scaling down on their monitoring of their employees’ “Time off Task,” the company’s measure of ensuring worker productivity. 

Speculations

Amazon’s consumer boss also said that this endeavor aligns with the company’s vision to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. With a monthly average of 214.8 million website visitors from around the globe, the speculations are rife. It is, after all, listed on Forbes as the #2 workplace in the world in 2020.

Because of this, the update is seen as something of a big deal. Some see this as the company being hard up for employees. Although currently not selling marijuana, others think that this may be the company’s efforts at dominating the cannabis market. 

MORE In A Nutshell

Briefly, the MORE Act seeks marijuana legalization at the federal level by deleting the plant from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Doing so will allow businesses to get a wide variety of national services previously unavailable to them.

Marijuana Legalization

Many US states have already legalized marijuana use, including Amazon’s home state, Washington. Weed is legal in 16 states, while medical marijuana is legal in 36 states. Despite this, many employers predominantly refuse to work with the cannabis industry as it is still a classified substance. 

However, in nearly all 50 states, Amazon has a fulfillment center and is now building a headquarters in Virginia which is set to legalize weed on July 1. This is a leap that, according to Clark, is bigger than Amazon itself.

Changing Course

In the past, the e-commerce behemoth disqualified people from working for them if they tested positive for marijuana use. Clark added that they had changed their course due to state laws that are moving across the nation. However, the company will still do impairment checks and tests for drugs and alcohol after an incident.

Class Action Suit

All these may have something to do with a proposed class-action suit that Amazon was hit with in March of this year. It claimed that the company was violating a New York City law by testing job applicants for marijuana use at their local facilities. 

According to the Westlaw report, this is after receiving an accusation from the New York Attorney General’s office. It charged Amazon for its failure to take steps in protecting its workers at its warehouse in Staten Island in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amazon has since denied the allegations. The company has filed its own lawsuit. They claimed that the state laws mentioned in the AG’s complaints were preempted by federal labor and workplace safety laws.

Moving On

Amazon is now hoping that the policymakers act swiftly and pass the legislation soon and that other employers follow their suit. The blog post written by Clark ended on a positive note. This positivity extends to a few weed companies that are publicly traded.

Pharmaceutical and cannabis companies such as Tilray have seen a rise of up to 5% on shares. The Chronos Group, likewise, had its stocks boosted up by as much as 3%. Sundial, a healthcare company, has seen an above 10% rise in its stock prices.

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company’s proposed Fort Lauderdale transit loop receives mixed reactions

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Elon Musk is the one guy you can turn to for the craziest ideas. But is his proposed transit loop in Fort Lauderdale really happening? 

Boring Company, the brainchild of Elon Musk, provides low-cost transportation, fast-to-dig, freight, and utility tunnels. To date, the company has only dug three tunnels, one of which is the Los Angeles test tunnel. The other two are the underground 0.8-mile Las Vegas Convention Center tunnels. 

Now, Boring Company is looking into building another transit loop connecting Fort Lauderdale’s downtown to its beach. Passengers will be brought from point A to B in standard Teslas. Although Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said it’s an “innovative and unprecedented” way of alleviating street-level traffic, many people are still skeptical about Musk’s proposed transit loop.

It appears that this transit loop project called the “Las Ollas Loop” is just one out of the many proposed tunnels by Musk. The Boring Company had announced projects such as the Chicago loop system and the DC-to-Baltimore tunnel. However, both have seemingly been cancelled, with the latter eliminated from the company’s website. 

This makes everyone wonder: Is the proposed transit loop hot air?

Transit loop drew flak

Although the Boring Company and Fort Lauderdale are in the works of materializing the said plan, engineers, experts, and people concerned are still dubious of the tunnel due to Florida rising sea levels. In addition, many people fear that due to the city’s location, the “Loop” might cause flood risks. 

Climate change might have a huge impact on the fulfillment of the transit loop. Some say if it indeed pushes through, then engineers would have to find a way to use technology and features that fight the impact of climate change. This would have to involve extensive investigation from an engineering and structural perspective. 

Another concern is Florida’s limestones, which make it hard to optimize tunnelling machines due to the natural holes. Moreover, the city dons many underground aquifers, which experts claim need to be protected as well. However, the Boring Company is open to studying the geological aspect on which path to dig that leads to the beach. It can avoid risks and drastic environmental impact.

But one of the valid concerns from transportation planners is why Fort Lauderdale would settle for standard Teslas? With that, they’ll need to drive hundreds of passengers from downtown to the beach when a bus or train can accommodate more. 

Mayor Dean Transalis stays positive

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Transalis is nothing but excited about Musk’s proposed transit loop. Aside from solving traffic in the most congested streets in the city, this project will also relieve parking stress at Fort Lauderdale’s beaches. 

The city of Fort Lauderdale is now seeing an expected $30-million budget for this transit loop. This is despite the Boring Company’s promise of faster construction times and lower costs. However, this promise received criticism from tunnel industry experts and engineers. They say the company doesn’t have new technology for building tunnels. 

Talks from Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor and Governor are now looking into opening the transit loop by the end of 2022. 

Regardless of the skepticism from transportation and tunnel experts, the Boring Company remains optimistic about the project. They said a ride in standard Teslas that brings people from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the beach would cost each person $5 to $8. This is in comparison to a similar route with Uber, which will cost $10 per person. 

But Mayor Dean Transalis hasn’t yet closed the deal on the Boring Company’s proposal. Instead, he offered other tunnel-digging companies to submit better and more innovative tunnelling methods within 45 days.

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Top 10 Best Meal Delivery Services to Try

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Many people have been trying to stay at home amid the coronavirus disease pandemic and grocery delivery services have come to save the day. But if you want to take it up a notch and also save chopping and meal prep time, meal delivery services will be more your jam.

Here are the best meal delivery services to check out the next time you want a convenient home-cooked meal.

1. Freshly 

First on our list of best meal delivery services is Freshly. This platform offers single-serve fully-prepared meals. That means you won’t have to saute, boil, or anything else that would require more than three minutes to do. The plan costs $11.49 per meal for four meals per week but if you order 12 meals per week, the price goes down to $8.49 per meal.

2. Dinnerly 

If you want to feel like a cooking whiz, Dinnerly is one of the best meal delivery services to try. Instead of delivering cooked meals, the platform offers meal kits with all the ingredients you need. The best part is, they offer it for as low as $4.69 per person. Their products cost a lot less than other providers because they use digital recipe cards and spend less on marketing.

3. Sunbasket

If you can’t decide between fully-cooked meals or meal kits, Sunbasket can give you both. They have fresh and ready meals that you can buy and heat up. Or if you want to flex your muscles in the kitchen, you can also try their meal kits. Their dinners start at $8.99 per serving.

4. EveryPlate 

EveryPlate is a good choice for those who want to practice their cooking skills without tiring themselves out too much. The meals only take six steps to make and are ready within 30 minutes.

5. Gobble

If you can only handle 15 minutes of cooking, then check out Gobble. Their chefs do all the tedious work, from peeling and chopping to marinating. So you’ll spend less time preparing and more time enjoying your meal.

6. Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh says it’s “America’s Most Popular Meal Kit” and it’s surely worth checking out. Each of their boxes contains pre-portioned farm-fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes with nutritional info. The kit also fits perfectly in the fridge so you can order it in advance.

7. Blue Apron

If you’re the type of foodie who likes to keep things exciting, this service is for you. Blue Apron keeps dinner interesting by offering a wide variety of meals – from healthy options to premium plates. The service costs $9.99 per serving for two recipes per week (each one serving two people).  

8. Purple Carrot

Who says meat-eaters have all the fun? Purple Carrot offers plant-based meals that are good for you and good for the planet. Best of all, their menu options are anything but boring – you’ll get all the flavors and nutrition you need sans the guilt.

9. Green Chef

Green Chef is another favorite for foodies trying to eat clean and stay lean. They offer three menu categories – balanced meal, plat-powered, and keto + paleo. That means you won’t have to go astray from your diet to enjoy delicious meals.

10. Home Chef

Last but not least on our best meal delivery services list is Home Chef. This platform offers weekly meal kits starting at $6.99 per serving. Whether you’re cutting down on carbs, calories, or animal byproducts, they have the plan for you. You can also upgrade, double up, or swap items according to your preferences.

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Coinme: Financial Services Crypto-Enabling Legacy Raises $10M Funding

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Coinme, a cryptocurrency startup based in Seattle, raked in $10 million worth of funding from investors. Although fluctuating, cryptocurrency is still a powerhouse this 2021. It’s no wonder why Coinme managed to raise a $10 million grant from its existing investors.

What is Coinme?

Coinme is a cryptocurrency startup founded in 2014. Since day one, the company has made it its mission to be one of the world’s trusted cryptocurrency gateway. The legacy started with the most well-known digital currency— Bitcoin. Using the most relevant digital currency back then, Coin me started a few Bitcoin ATMs. It offers an enterprise “application programming interface” or API to provide Bitcoin’s secure sale. 

Between 2017 to 2020, Coinme experienced an overwhelming 2,200% revenue growth. Due to the consumer’s demand for bitcoin and the pandemic’s uncertainty, their revenue skyrocketed. 

Fast Forward to 2021, Coinme managed to build up and grow thousands of kiosks. The company believes that cryptocurrency provides an equal opportunity for everyone. Therefore it needs to be more accessible.  

Coinme is supported by the following: 

  • Pantera
  • Blockchain
  • Digital Currency Group
  • Xpring
  • Coinstar
  • Hard Yaka
  • Nima
  • Percival Capital

How to Use Coinme

For those who are not aware of how to use Coinme, you can buy Bitcoin with four simple steps. First, you’re required to create a Coinme account. Next, you must be able to locate the nearest kiosk to your place. After that, you can insert cash into the kiosk. 

However, it would be fantastic if you kept in mind that coins are not accepted for Bitcoin transactions. Finally, you can redeem and receive your Bitcoin in an instant. Another thing you need to remember is Coinme’s daily purchase limit.

‘Crypto-enabling’ Feature

Coinme allows the buy and sell of bitcoins with cash for its customers. Currently, the startup has more than 15,000 locations through partnerships such as Coinstar and Moneygram. Coinme had its bitcoin ATM. However, it’s focusing on its cryptocurrency cash network. 

Using the digital currency cash network allows financial services such as Moneygram to be “crypto-enabled” via an enterprise API. 

Although the market is volatile, most of Coinme’s consumers are not speculating about its price. Instead, they take advantage of Coinme to acquire cryptocurrencies at store value. There are a lot of ways to take advantage of Coinme’s services. It includes using cryptocurrencies as payment for services and goods or sending it to your friends and family.

$10 Million Worth Funding

As the largest licensed cash network for cryptocurrencies in the US, Coinme raised $10 million for strategic funding. The funds were raised by Coinme’s existing investors, including Digital Currency Group, a capital market company.  

Coinme Expansion

The startup plans to expand internationally in the upcoming months. Currently, the company has 58 people in total and managed $30 million to date. Neil Berquist, Coinme’s CEO and co-founder shared expansion plans later this year. He announced that the company would dive into various markets, starting with Latin American.  

El Salvador recently became the first country to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender formally. Yes, that means history was marked during cryptocurrencies’ most crucial time. Meanwhile, politicians of Latin American countries share support for bitcoin’s adoption as legal tender. The politician’s active support drives a more favorable opinion of locals. 

Specifically, politicians from various nations such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, and Panama have expressed their interest and support for cryptocurrency. 

Other than penetrating the international markets, Coinme plans to add multi-coin support to its system. It means we get more digital currency offering aside from Bitcoin. It also plans to add a type of payment to buy and sell digital currencies on Coinme’s products. 

According to Bergquist, people want different types of payment. Consumers want to buy using their bank account. He especially pointed out how consumers expressed their demands to access different cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. Well, now, all your demands are being fulfilled by Coinme, one step at a time.  

Final Thoughts

According to PR News Wire, by 2023, the blockchain market, as expected, will rise to $23.3 billion. With the continued growth, investors are sure to spread investment to promising cryptocurrency startups. Since 2017, cryptocurrency startups like Coinme have raised funding. Overall, startups reached a whopping number of $20 billion to date.

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