Source: Wall Street Journal
Aug. 18, 2017

Pot shops are sprouting across California after voters last year legalized marijuana for recreational use. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sowed fears on the left that the feds will try to nip California’s pot industry in the bud. The bigger threat may be parasitic lawyers.

Plaintiff firms have filed some 800 complaints against marijuana businesses alleging violations of the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). The 1986 law requires businesses to post warnings if their products contain one of the more than 900 chemicals that state regulators have deemed hazardous or carcinogenic.

. . . Plaintiff attorneys eye a business opportunity in pot legalization, which is expected to grow California’s cannabis market by $5 billion. They are now raiding mom-and-pop pot shops, vaping cartridge manufacturers, edible producers and co-ops. One plaintiff has filed more than 600 Prop. 65 violation notices.

Aug. 15, 2017

. . . a Wall Street Journal analysis of tax data in 40 counties in California—by far the biggest market for PACE loans—shows that defaults have jumped over the last year. Roughly 1,100 borrowers missed two consecutive payments in the tax year that ended June 30, compared with 245 over the previous year. That means they are in default, and could potentially have their homes auctioned off by local governments within five years.

Aug. 14, 2017

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to reshape a wide range of occupations held by roughly one in nine American workers, according to a new U.S. government report.

About 3.8 million people drive taxis, trucks, ambulances and other vehicles for a living. An additional 11.7 million workers drive as part of their work, including personal care aides, police officers, real-estate agents and plumbers. In all, that’s roughly 11.3% of total U.S. employment based on 2015 occupational data, according to the analysis by three Commerce Department economists.

Aug. 11, 2017

“The traditional view has been that the license is just a barrier to entry,” said Clemson University economist Peter Blair, who co-authored the paper with Clemson graduate student Bobby Chung. But, he said in an interview, licenses also provide potential employers with information about the workers who have them: Many require special training or bar people with criminal records.

The study suggests women are rewarded because a license signals training and job skills, while black men benefit when a license signals they don’t have a felony conviction.

“Licensing may not be the most efficient way to convey this information, but we need to acknowledge that licensing is providing this information,” Mr. Blair said.

July 20, 2017

Now almost all of Wal-Mart’s 4,700 U.S. stores have a Cash360 machine, making thousands of positions obsolete. Most of the employees in those positions moved into store jobs to improve service, said a Wal-Mart spokesman. More than 500 have left the company. The store accountant displaced last August is now a greeter at the front door, where she still earns $13 an hour. “The role of service and customer-facing associates will always be there,” said Judith McKenna, Wal-Mart’s U.S. chief operating officer. But, she added, “there are interesting developments in technology that mean those roles shift and change over time.” Shopping is moving online, hourly wages are rising and retail profits are shrinking—a formula that pressures retailers, ranging from Wal-Mart to Tiffany & Co., to find technology that can do the rote labor of retail workers or replace them altogether.

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