Archives April 2016

Cannabis Marketing Makes Professional Debut in San Fransisico

Craft farmers, small batch, sustainability: these are the taglines for the world’s first major ad campaign for a cannabis brand.

Flow Kana, a San Francisco based brand that only sources sustainability grown, small batch boutique marijuana strands from independent farmers is behind this campaign in pot-friendly California.

Flow Kana is launching their ambitious campaign with the hopes of appealing to many different types of consumers who favor sustainable food. And their ad campaign to reach those consumers is just as diverse as the customers themselves. Considering that an estimated 71% of people look at the messages on billboards, the company expects to generate more than 15 million impressions with ads on bus exteriors and interiors, as well as advertisements at bus stations and on billboards.

Founder and CEO Michael Steinmetz seeks to bring awareness to the tens of thousands of Californian people, families, and collectives who comprise the state’s cannabis industry, which has up until recently only been run by small farmers and individual entrepreneurs.

With the possibility of legalization looming on the horizon, Steinmetz worries the value of the industry is in danger of being crushed by large corporations that bring a cheaper method of production to the table.

These methods have the potential to pose a threat to our environment and health.

Called “The California Way,” the marketing approach is a progressive step in the evolution of cannabis advertising. 

“The media partners that we have been working with have been happy to share this message that goes beyond ‘Hey, come celebrate 4/20 and get high,'” Steinmetz reports to Campaign US.

Their first marketing step is to relate to the wine industry’s approach, where there is a lot of emphasis placed on the product’s origin and appellation. Each cannabis product Flow Kana offers comes packed in a mason jar with brown paper tags attached with twine; the tags list the names and locations of the farmers who grew the buds.

This campaign is set to last for four weeks, but if it proves successful, Flow Kana will plan for a long term branding endeavor. 

Clinton Attacks Sanders Over Gun Safety Policy At Democratic Debate

In last night’s Democratic debate, the candidates inevitably clashed over something. This time, it was over one particularly hot topic: gun control.

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, when prompted to speak about her previous insinuation that guns from Vermont are responsible for gun violence in New York, started attacking Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders over his past votes against some gun control measures.

When asked if she was suggesting that Vermont (and therefore Sanders) was directly responsible for gun violence in New York, she said, “No, of course not — of course not. This is a serious difference between us and I want to start by saying — it’s not a laughing matter.”

Clinton highlighted Sander’s vote against a federal assault weapons ban and in favor of immunity for gun manufacturers.

“We need a president who will fight for common-sense gun safety reforms and what we have here is a big difference. Sen. Sanders voted against the Brady Bill five time,” Clinton said. “He voted for the most important NRA priority, namely, giving immunity from liability to gun makers and dealer — something that is the root of a lot of the problems we are facing.”

In the light of the past several years of an unprecedented amount of violent school shootings, from Sandy Hook to Virginia Tech, casting Sanders in such a light is a serious implication, indeed. Since 32% of adults own a gun, the debate is much more nuanced than it at first appears, even for Democrats for whom liberal policy is the forefront of their campaigns.

Sanders quickly countered that, “Back in 1988, I ran for the United States Congress’ one seat in the state of Vermont, I probably lost that election, which I lost by three points, because I was the only candidate running who said you know what, we should ban assault weapons, not see them sold and distributed in the United States of America.”

Sanders continued to note that he had a D-minus voting record from the NRA, and to assert that his being from a state which has basically no gun control makes him the best candidate to hand a consensus about gun control.

Clinton said that although Sanders may once have been against assault weapons, he had been a reliable supporter of the NRA ever since. When moderator Wolf Blizter asked Sanders if he felt he owed an apology to the families of the Sandy Hook massacre, he said no, and tried to clarify why he had supported legislation granting immunity to gun manufacturers.

“Now, I voted against this gun liability law because I was concerned that in rural areas all over this country, if a gun shop owner sells a weapon legally to somebody, and that person then goes out and kills somebody, I don’t believe it is appropriate that that gun shop owner be held accountable and sued,” said Sanders.

3 Experts Wedding Tips From Lauren Conrad’s New Book, ‘Celebrate’

Planning your dream wedding isn’t easy. Ask any recent bride and they’ll tell you that the process is both stressful and overwhelming. But reality star turned author/lifestyle guru Lauren Conrad recently managed to stave off the marriage planning madness when she planned her own wedding. As it turns out, Conrad is so skilled at organizing soirees that she recently released her new book, Celebrate, that shares all of her party planning tricks — from weddings to dinner parties.

In a recent interview with Teen Vogue, Conrad revealed that this was her ninth book published. Over the years, she has published a number of different kinds of books, from novels to how-to guides. However, this book was especially fun for Conrad to write, as it was part of her daily life.

“This party-planning guide has felt so natural because there’s so much in my life to celebrate right now,” said Conrad.

She continues: “With this book, I was able to compile all of the basics, so that the process becomes less complicated and everyone can focus on what they’re there to celebrate — and on having fun.”

Want to emulate Conrad’s stress-free wedding planning process? Here are three of her best tips:

  1. Inspiration is all around you.
    While 93% of brides use the internet to plan their weddings, Conrad recommends going beyond that. She writes:

    “The thing about a wedding is that it should really represent the couple that are getting married. I think it’s really fun to go to a wedding that’s a little different, so when you’re trying to come up with ideas it should be a combination of things that you’ve seen and that you’ve liked. Even when you’re attending other parties and weddings and you say ‘oh I really like how they did this’ — take notes as you go along.”

  2. Start planning with a timeline.
    Planning a wedding is stressful. But when broken down into checklist-sized chunks, it is way more manageable:

    “I was fortunate enough to have a wedding planner so she was really the one to keep me on schedule, but I would recommend for anyone planning a wedding to put together a calendar. I included one in my book, but it’s basically a check list of things you want to have done each month before the wedding, so that you can stay on track and you’re not running around at the last minute trying to get things done.”

  3. Try on as many dresses as possible.
    There’s no better time to look for a dress than right now!

    “One of the best parts of wedding planning is going to try on the wedding dresses, and you’ve got to be sure to give yourself enough time. So don’t be afraid to start looking right away. I think it’s important to try lots of different styles — for me personally, I always imagined my wedding dress being a ball of tulle, but then I went and tried on some similar styles and it looked ridiculous. So have fun with it, don’t put too much pressure on it, and even if it is different from what you imagined, that’s okay, it’s just whatever you feel comfortable in.”

The Population in South Florida Exceeds Six Million

The population in South Florida exceeded six million for the first time in history, according to a recent report.

The region is now the eighth most populous area in the United States, and it seems like it is increasing at an alarming rate. In Florida alone, about 1,000 people move there every single day, and over the last five years, about 500,000 people moved to the lower part of the Sunshine State.

Broward County has the highest growth with an 8.5% rise over the past few years, and now their population is at 1.9 million. Miami-Dade County, which is the most populous county in the entire state, saw a 7.8% increase and now has a population of 2.7 million.

Carlos Gimenez, Mayor of Miami-Dade County, told the Miami Herald that the diverse population leads more diverse people to the area.

“People are drawn here because it’s international,” Gimenez said. “We speak their language. We speak lots of languages.”

Most of Florida’s new immigrants are Cubans and Canadians, according to Ying Wang, a researcher for the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. Wang said that 25% of all new Florida immigrants move to Miami-Dade County.

“We have a good environment for them. Their friends and family are here. We have good food, policies and a good work environment,” Wang said.

Orlando is one of the largest-growing metropolitan regions in the country as well. According to WFTV, the Orlando area added 60,000 new residents in 2015, which was the most in the country.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the vast majority — about 65% or over 335,000 people — of the new residents moving to these Florida regions have come from other countries. Only 2,659 people have relocated from the U.S. to move to these popular regions of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade.

OSHA Report of the 10,000 Severe Workplace Injuries Shows Disturbing Trends

In a recent OSHA document, the first to come out after a federal law required employers to report severe work-related injuries, has found a disturbing trend of “numerous reports of fingertip amputations among workers using food slicers.”

The first year of federally-required reporting brought news of the 10,388 severe work-related injuries reported in 2015. The report included 2,644 amputations and 7,636 hospitalizations.

Employers are required to report injuries involving eye loss, amputations, or hospitalization within 24 hours; fatalities must be reported within eight hours. In the past, the top cause for worker-related fatalities was transportation accidents, accounting for 42% of the total injuries in 2012.

Until this requirement, OSHA did not have all the facts or a good grasp on the situation at large. “Too often, we would investigate a fatal injury only to find a history of serious injuries at the same workplace. Each of those injuries was a wake-up call for safety that went unheeded,” said the OSHA report.

The new rule might not even be entirely accurate. “We think the actual number might be twice as high,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels.

Some of the other results included reports of a sanitation worker in a Missouri meat processing plant who lost both lower arms when cleaning a blender, a worker whose arm was amputated while he cleared a conveyor jam, and a woman whose arm was mangled by machinery in Chicago.

Those examples come from the private sector, but public agencies like the U.S. Postal Service also rank high on the list of groups reporting severe injuries.

The reports are largely done by the employers onsite; there are too few OSHA inspectors for the number of workplaces in the country. Micheals said that the agency has 2,500 inspectors, and yet there are seven to eight million workplaces.

Some employers use this to their advantage and try to cheat the system, which can be hazardous to employee health.

Peg Seminario, the AFL-CIO safety and health director, said, “The OSHA report shows that teh OSHA Severe Injury Reporting rule issued last year is a common sense regulation that is helping to target dangerous workplaces and to spot emerging safety and health problems that pose a wider threat.”

New Silica Rule to Protect Workers’ Health

The Obama administration will be implementing a new rule surrounding silica in order to potentially prevent 600 deaths in the United States each year.

Crystalline silica is a dust, 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, that comes from granite and sand, and it can affect workers’ lungs. Under the silica rule, the feds will be lowering the amount of silica dust that companies can legally expose to its workers.

The Huffington Post reports that workers, labor unions, and health experts have been lobbying for standards like these for decades — 45 years, to be exact.

Tom Ward, a Detroit bricklayer, lost his father to this disease. “When I became an apprentice, I didn’t think I would be exposed to the same hazard that killed my father.”

“All of you who have been suffering,” Ward added, “your voice has been heard.”

According to HomeAdvisor, cleaning up construction sites can cost anywhere from $150 to $950, but the deadly disease hidden in the dust of those sites causes many more problems.

The diseases and ailments caused by exposure to silica dust — lung cancer, kidney disease, silicosis, and emphysema — are expensive to treat as well, so the Occupational Safety and Health Administration believes that these new regulations will save between $3.8 and $7.7 billion.

According to OSHA, approximately 2.3 million U.S. construction workers are exposed to silica dust.

The new rule will reduce the allowed exposure to silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air. However, Business Insurance reports that some workers are skeptical about the new rule.

“There’s definitely concern that there’s not going to be a way to get to this limit,” Matthew Linton, of Holland and Hart L.L.P. in Denver, said. “Obviously, OSHA disagreed and moved the rule forward anyway.”

Patrick Devine, a construction worker in Ohio, is worried about achieving these goals of the silica plan. “It’s hard to argue with the science,” Devine said, “but it’s the feasibility, the economic impact it will have, that is the argument.”

The National Association of Manufacturers also criticized the new rule, saying it’s “fundamentally flawed” and relies on “appallingly out-of-date economic data.”

David Michaels, the head of the OSHA, was asked about these criticisms. “Industries typically overestimate the true cost of new regulations,” Michaels said, but he won’t underestimate the importance the rule will have on workers’ health.

“This is the most important health standard OSHA has issued in decades,” Michaels stated.

Obama Grants 61 Convicted Felons a Second Chance

President Barack Obama officially shortened the sentences of 61 imprisoned drug offenders on Wednesday, March 30.

The President of the United States has the power to grant pardons and commutations to convicted felons that he believes “deserve a second chance.” The 61 inmates, many of whom were nonviolent offenders, and more than one-third of whom were serving life sentences, will be released as early as July 28.

As the first active president to visit a federal prison, Obama has now commuted 248 inmates, which is more than the past six presidents combined.

“Throughout the remainder of his time in office, the president is committed to continuing to issue more grants of clemency as well as to strengthening the rehabilitation programs,” reported White House counsel Neil Eggleston.

On a mission to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system, the president sat down with former inmates who had been granted clemency and asked them about the challenges of re-entering society. He found that several of them have pursued careers in law, and many of them got married and had families.

“Their stories are extraordinary,” Obama said. “We’re all imperfect. We all make mistakes.”

Obama has made criminal justice issues a major priority at the end of his final term in office, though he has always called for getting rid of strict sentences for drug offenses. He argues that punishments have been excessive and incarceration rates are far too high.

Opponents of the president’s clemency initiative are critical of Obama’s stance, worried that violent criminals will be released “en masse onto the streets.”

The president’s view on drug-related crime and sentencing does have supporters in both the Democrat and Republican parties across the nation. Last fall, California voters passed Prop 47, a bill that reduced drug possession and non-violent thefts from felonies to misdemeanors.

Alabama Governor’s Sex Scandal Shocks the Bible Belt

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is facing a scandal after a law enforcement officer exposed evidence of the governor’s affair with one of his top advisors.

The police officer was fired on the same day he made the allegations, and the alleged connection between the two incidents has increased the media’s interest in the governor’s affair.

After 50 years of marriage, Mrs. Bentley filed for divorce from her husband on August 28, 2015. She gave no reason other than to say that the marriage had “suffered an irretrievable breakdown.” The divorce came as a great shock to the people of Alabama.

Shortly after his wife filed for divorce, allegations began to surface suggesting that Bentley was having an affair with his administration’s Communications Director Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Mason served as Bentley’s campaign press secretary before he was elected and is also known for being a former Miss Alabama contender.

Bentley initially denied any allegations that he and Mason had a relationship beyond their professional affiliation. He said, “I have never had a physical affair with Mrs. Mason. I have never done anything illegal.” He did later admit, however, to making “inappropriate comments” to Mason two years ago.

Officer Collier says that in 2014 he investigated text messages and audio recordings “of a sexual nature” between Bentley and Mason. When he confronted the governor about his findings, Bentley confirmed the affair and promised that it would end.

“Less than a month ago,” Collier reported at a recent press conference, “the governor told me he was still madly in love with Rebekah Mason.”

When it comes to divorce across the U.S. as a whole, 20 to 25% of mediation groups say that an affair was the reason for the divorce. In Alabama, adultery is illegal, and as a part of America’s conservative religious “Bible Belt” region, residents of the state take this issue very seriously. State Representative Allen Farley spoke for himself and the people of Alabama when he said that Bentley’s affair and dishonesty would make him unfit for office.

“As a man of faith, this to me is very serious… We’re always failing — we’re human — but this is the Bible Belt,” Farley commented. “A lot of the popularity that got Dr. Robert Bentley elected was talking about his faith and being a Sunday school teacher and a deacon of the church. Those things resonated with the Republicans in Alabama, so you can see how this resonates with the same people.”