Largest legal pot farm may mark end of cannabis industry’s “Wild West” phase – ThinkProgress
The first phase of construction on the Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center, set to begin in March, is a 130,000-square-foot building, a quarter of which is warehouse space. If Americann’s complicated play for a new, large-scale pot business model is successful, Barton and his investors will get many millions of dollars richer. Just like mall owners don’t make Hot Topic belts themselves, Barton’s firm is a landlord that won’t grow an ounce of pot itself. Barton and Keogh have been trying to get the MMCC off the ground for years, working with a marijuana business veteran from early 2014 to refine its approach to building a pot real estate empire. Colorado pot entrepreneur Jay Czarkowski had only been Americann’s CEO for about two months when the firm shifted into pot real estate work in 2014.
The MMCC will give Americann’s partners huge influence in the state’s medicinal cannabis market, concentrating control in ways that come with pluses and minuses for consumers. When the first greenhouse opens, Coastal Compassion will rapidly become the largest supplier in the state, potentially controlling an outright majority of the current demand for medical pot. As the market grows and matures over time, Keogh expects the MMCC facilities will provide roughly 20 percent of all the medical cannabis that Bay Staters buy - smaller than its initial market share, but still plenty large enough to be a dominant player. Such huge scale and concentrated market share implies a very different pot economy from what legalization and medicinal advocates might have had in mind just a few years ago. With cannabis still illegal federally, and pot businesses thus unable to access the basic financial services all businesses need to maximize growth, the emerging pot industry has often been compared to the Wild West.
The big money is coming in, eager to wipe out boutique operations and hippie ideals with venture capital leverage and factory-style pot farms. As the big-box-store model of pot capitalism puts down roots, the financial proceeds of legalization will become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.
How to do good and well – Eraldo Cavalli
Salesforce story embodies well the new paradigm of compassionate capitalism. Many of Salesforce executives joined the company from Oracle Corporation where they had experimented how starting a philanthropic program requires more than just putting a fuck load of cash behind it. In 2000, just one year after founding Salesforce, Benioff started Salesforce.com Foundation to coordinate the company efforts around grants, donations and employee activities to serve the communities. Salesforce foundation received 1% of Saleforce.com equity, quite an unusual move which generated a vast pool of resources when the company IPO’ed in 2004 at a valuation of around $1.1B, and even more today that Salesforce.com is valued above $10bn. This 1% equity gives a strong moral message about what the company cares about and how philanthropy is deeply rooted in Salesforce identity.
The executives Saleforce.com hires know they will be asked about community involvement during their interviews as Salesforce screens the candidates based on their philanthropic values, but at the same time new hires actively reach out to Salesforce because of its social impact mission. Salesforce offers employees to use 1% of their time to volunteer on whatever they want to. First week orientation includes half a day of service work at one of the many nonprofits that Salesforce has provided free products to. Through a dedicated program called Power of Us Salesforce offers 10 free accounts to any nonprofit organization and sells additional accounts at 80% discount. Salesforce allows employees flexibility in the organizations they want to support but at the same time there are some areas where they feel they can make a bigger impact: one of these areas is local schools STEM education.
Salesforce provides start-up capital and free services to build technology centers in schools. 1% of the working time definitely doesn’t impact the corporate performance negatively, if looking at Salesforce numbers one could say that it actually improves performance.
In our opinion: Meaningful work for inmates points to lower recidivism
While prison labor has a long, exploitative history, Utah legislators and employers should ensure both inmates on work release programs and former prisoners have access to jobs, competitive wages and compassionate mentoring to help address the overwhelming problem of recidivism. The reports highlight a model of work release programs for inmates used in a handful of states such as Indiana and Nevada, and it’s an initiative legislators should consider as they work toward the long-term project of criminal justice reform. The Bureau of Prisons runs a program called Federal Prison Industries that pays inmates less than a dollar an hour for hard labor, often on an assembly line. This model regards prisoners as a source of cheap labor, forcing inmates to work difficult jobs without benefits or protection. In Utah, prisoners are not allowed to work at local businesses.
Across the country, prisoners can also be contracted – for less than a dollar an hour – to work for the profit of major companies such as Whole Foods, McDonald’s and Walmart. Some states have adopted more empowering methods of employment, and compassionate work release programs illuminate the ethical path forward for the prison industry. Prisons should see to it that all inmates receive job training to prepare them to enter the workforce upon release. Replacing Federal Prison Industries labor with work release programs allows inmates to leave prison for the day to work for minimum wage, at the very least. This includes offering inmates greater access to job training, opportunities to work with competitive wages and compassionate mentoring to help citizens gain the skills they need to succeed.
Public policy analysis suggests work release programs for inmates correlate with reduced recidivism and increased likelihood of employment after incarceration. Replacing exploitative labor practices with compassionate models of employment will better help inmates escape the revolving door of incarceration and get on their feet with the skills they need.