retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Content Guy’s Note: Stories in this section are, in my estimation, important and relevant to business. However, they are relegated to this slot because some MNB readers have made clear that they prefer a politics-free MNB; I can't do that because sometimes the news calls out for coverage and commentary, but at least I can make it easy for folks to skip it if they so desire.

Bloomberg has a story about how tariffs imposed by the Trump administration are having an enormous impact on the lobster business.

“If you want to understand the modern global economy, the implications of climate change, and the unintended consequences of President Trump’s trade wars, then you ought to consider the lobster … As Trump has rewritten America’s economic relationships, some of the country’s most prized exports - Kentucky bourbon, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Midwestern soybeans - have become retaliatory targets for China and the European Union. For its part, Beijing began imposing a 25 percent tariff on a long list of imports from the U.S., including live lobsters, on July 6.”

“The blow,” Bloomberg writes, “is significant for Maine, the country’s top producer and exporter. The state’s lobstermen had found a lucrative market in China, where consumer demand has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2017, U.S. exports of live lobsters to China were worth $128.5 million, up from a third of that in 2015.”

Ironically, one of the approaches being considered by Main lobster companies is opening business divisions in Canada, which then would be able to sell lobster to places like China without being subject to tariffs.

You can read the entire story here.

Reuters has a story pointing out that this week’s midterm elections continued to move the cannabis business further along the acceptability continuum.

Tuesday, the story notes, saw “the passage of ballot initiatives in several states approving marijuana use. Michigan became the 10th state to approve recreational use of marijuana, while Missouri and Utah passed measures to legalize medical use of the drug. A measure to approve recreational marijuana use in North Dakota failed, however. The drug remains illegal under U.S. federal law.”

As a result, a number of companies invested in the cannabis business aw their shares rise significantly.

Reuters goes on to report that “two senators, Colorado Republican Cory Gardner and Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, have sponsored a bill that would leave determining the legal status of marijuana to states, thereby shielding cannabis companies from federal prosecution.

“Also, two narrower bills regarding marijuana could be viable, especially as the Democratic Party takes control of the House of Representatives, according to analysts at Cowen & Co. The Safe Act would permit banks to provide services to cannabis companies in compliance with state law. The Veterans Equal Access Act would allow doctors in the Department of Veterans Affairs to authorize medical cannabis for patients in states where such use is legal.”
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