National / International News
Russia's economy remains in crisis, with wild swings in the price of the ruble and high interest rates. Russian central bank intervention seems to have pumped some juice back into their currency this morning, with ruble up 5.7 percent to the dollar. More on that. Plus, there's word that a movie theater in New York City has decided to cancel screenings of the Seth Rogan-James Franco comedy about an assassination plot against North Korea's leader. A group calling itself Guardians of Peace said in a message posted online that it will target theaters showing the movie. The group mentioned the attacks of September 11th, and SONY said it would leave it up to theater owners whether to show the movie or pull it. Also on today's show, recreational marijuana stores now allow anyone over the age of 21 to go in and legally buy a drug that is still illegal under federal law. States like Colorado and Washington have more than a hundred stores already. Oregon and Alaska are next, and a dozen other states could legalize soon.
The latest offering in the Lord of the Rings franchise, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” opens Wednesday.
Hollywood hopes it will be a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster December that has seen receipts decline 40 percent from the same month last year.
But are dipping ticket sales a sign of a flailing industry, or is it just hard to measure up to record numbers in 2013?
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As goes the Russian Ruble, so go economies around the globe?
Russia’s currency crisis has got investors spooked, and that may not be good for emerging markets in Turkey, Brazil or India.
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Retailers are always trying to offer new shopping experiences to the American consumer.
One novel retail experience (that skirts the edge of legality under federal law) is about to become available to millions of consumers around the country, in addition to those in Colorado and Washington State. It is the recreational-marijuana store.
The sale of cannabis to adults 21-and-over with valid ID is now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska by voter initiative. Colorado and Washington rolled out state-licensed stores in 2014 (after voting to legalize in 2012). Oregon and Alaska will develop their new commercial marijuana markets in the coming year after legalizing recreational pot in November 2014.
Marijuana-legalization advocates, meanwhile, predict that as many as 11 more states could pass similar initiatives by 2017: California, Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Hawaii. Medical marijuana is already legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and is available to people as young as 18 years old, with a medical prescription. Marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance and its production, distribution, sale and possession remains illegal under federal law.
Marketplace reporter Mitchell Hartman recently visited Live Green Cannabis, a recreational marijuana store in suburban Denver. Manager Brian Zordan showed off the security—extensive video cameras and old-fashioned safes for storing cash and inventory. He also displayed the three main types of consumable marijuana for sale: leaves and buds, edibles, and concentrates.
Marijuana leaf-and-bud is sold in resealable packages, at $40 to $50 for 1/8 ounce. That price is more than double what one black-market Colorado dealer offered; approximately 30 percent of the sale price at legal marijuana stores goes to state and local taxes. A few dozen varieties are available at the store; all must be produced in Colorado by law. Varieties available include Lamb’s Breath, Hippy Chick, White Fire/Cinderella 99, and Daywalker/Tang Tang. The THC content is displayed on the package. The store also sells a wide range of edibles, including hard-candies, drinks, cookies and chocolates—all made with varying potencies of marijuana.
Anyone with a valid (21-and-over) ID from any state may purchase and possess up to one ounce of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Store employees carefully check ID before admitting a patron to the store, but they do not make or keep any record of the individual’s name or other personal information. Nor do they keep a record of the type or amount of marijuana purchased.