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Marijuana Legalized In New Hampshire By House Vote Without Restrictions, What"s In The Bill?

The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a new bill to legalize marijuana without any regulations or limitations on weed in the state, reported Marijuana Moment. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaMar 18th, 2023

Pot Stocks Get Smoked: What"s Behind the Move?

Marijuana-related stocks reversed gains from earlier in the week as revelations emerged that a recent marijuana bill is unlikely to pass. Marijuana laws in the United States differ from state to state. A growing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, while others have only legalized it for medical use. Additionally, various states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, which means that it is not a criminal offense. On the other hand, federally, marijuana remains an illegal, controlled substance.Following the Covid crash and the subsequent market recovery, marijuana stocks trended higher for months. In fact, during the meme-stock craze, Canadian-based cannabis company Tilray Brands TLRY doubled in under a week on two separate occasions.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPictured: 5 year TLRY chart. Outside of some brief stock pumps, pot stocks have suffered.Unfortunately, the story is a familiar one for marijuana investors. The story of the marijuana industry in the past few years is a brief “high”, followed by a nasty come down.  Since the meme era ended in early 2021, the industry group has sustained persistent selling. For example, the Advisor Shares U.S Cannabis ETF MSOS debuted in late 2020 in the $20s and was trading in the mid $50s in under six months time. Currently, shares of MSOS are trading at $10.05. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPictured: The marijuana group has drastically underformed in recent years. Hope Burns OutEarlier this month, publicly traded marijuana companies such as Canopy Growth Corp CGC and Cronos Group CRON spiked higher on news that President Joe Biden signed a bill to expand medical marijuana research. After the bi-partisan Medical Marijuana Research Act was passed, the next item on the agenda for cannabis advocates to look to is the SAFE Banking Act. If passed, the SAFE Banking Act would allow banks to provide marijuana companies with financial services such as bank loans. The bill is a key next step to fully transforming the United States into a haven for marijuana producers.Earlier in the week, cracks in support for the bill began to appear. While a handful of Republicans were on board the Medical Marijuana Research Act, and are even sponsoring it, key figures necessary to getting SAFE Banking Act passed voiced concerns. In response, marijuana stocks squandered earlier gains from the medical marijuana bill and fell even more in a brutal reversal. The marijuana ETF MSOS traded as high as $14.60 intra-week before plummeting to $10 on Thursday. While the SAFE Banking Act is technically still in play, investors are clearly discounting the rhetoric from key members of the vote.What does the future hold for marijuana stocks?While it is never easy to make predictions, the future looks clouded for marijuana stocks. Using the data we have today, we will take a look at 3 reasons why you should avoid weed stocks currently:1.   Lackluster Fundamentals: Investors can use Canopy Growth CGC, one of the most liquid public weed stocks, as a model. Not only has Canopy Growth failed to turn an annual profit as a public company, but growth estimates have stagnated as well:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPictured: EPS growth in the group is stagnnant, as can be illustrated by CGC's EPS growth expectations.2.   Uncertain Legal Framework: The SAFE Banking Act is possibly the last chance marijuana advocates have for some time to push their agenda forward. Following the midterm elections and the conservative win in the house of representatives, the government will once again be stuck in gridlock. Though some republicans support moving the pro-marijuana agenda forward, most do not.3.    Overhead Resistance: Most marijuana stocks got smacked down at their 200-day moving averages this week. The 200-day moving average is a key level used by investors to size up the long-term trend. When loads of investors are offside on a position, rally attempts can be feeble because investors use them as an opportunity to exit the losing stock. If you’ve purchased marijuana stocks within the past three years, chances are you are deep in the red on your position. ConclusionInvestors should avoid marijuana stocks until there are further regulatory changes and clarity. While the American public seems to be more open minded to a regulated marijuana industry recently, the necessary changes to turn around the marijuana group will likely take time to play out. To turn things around, stocks within the lowly rated industry should re-take their 200-day moving averages and move back into uptrends. Fundamentals in these stocks need to pull off a 360-degree reversal in terms of Zacks Consensus Estimates before they should be seriously considered. Just Released: Zacks Unveils the Top 5 EV Stocks for 2022 For several months now, electric vehicles have been disrupting the $82 billion automotive industry. And that disruption is only getting bigger thanks to sky-high gas prices. Even titans in the financial industry including George Soros, Jeff Bezos, and Ray Dalio have invested in this unstoppable wave. You don't want to be sitting on your hands while EV stocks break out and climb to new highs. In a new free report, Zacks is revealing the top 5 EV stocks for investors. Next year, don't look back on today wishing you had taken advantage of this opportunity.>>Send me my free report revealing the top 5 EV stocksWant the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Cronos Group Inc. (CRON): Free Stock Analysis Report Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC): Free Stock Analysis Report Tilray Brands, Inc. (TLRY): Free Stock Analysis Report AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS): ETF Research ReportsTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 9th, 2022

Jittery Futures Coiled Tightly Ahead Of Today"s Jobs Report Main Event

Jittery Futures Coiled Tightly Ahead Of Today's Jobs Report Main Event S&P futures rebounded from an overnight drop and swung between gains and losses as investors looked forward to the week's main event, the September payrolls report, for clues on what the Fed will do next after a raft of hawkish Fed doused expectations on Thursday for a quick halt to rate hikes. Nasdaq 100 futs fell 0.3%, trimming deeper losses, amid a sharp premarket drop for semiconductor stocks prompted by a plunge in AMD which slumped after it preannounced much weaker-than-expected 3Q revenue and margins . Meanwhile, S&P500 futures on the S&P 500 Index traded little changed, although the benchmark was poised for the best weekly advance since June. Treasuries drifted lower, the dollar was flat, and cryptos were unchanged. In premarket trading, Credit Suisse shares gained 7.9% after the lender offered to buy back debt securities for as much as CHF BN, in a show of financial strength after recent concerns about the bank’s solidity. Shares are up 14% this week, best weekly return since June 2020. They have recovered from a 12% intraday drop on Monday, when the stock slumped to a fresh low Shares are 49% down YTD. On the other end, chipmakers led the slide in early New York trading. Besides AMD’s 6% plunge, Nvidia Corp. and Intel Corp. fell more than 2% each amid concern that a slowing world economy will sharply dent semiconductor demand. Here are some other notable premarket movers Twitter shares fell as much as 1.9% to $48.45 in US premarket trading on Friday, trading almost 10% below Elon Musk’s offer price of $54.20 as the deal is said to be contingent on receiving $13 billion in debt financing, according to people familiar with the matter. They were flat by 6am in New York. Chip stocks were lower in US premarket trading after Samsung and AMD reported disappointing figures within hours of each other. The announcements signaled a deteriorating climate for global chip demand affecting the entire personal computers supply chain, including chipmakers, semiconductor equipment makers and PC manufacturers. AMD  -6.4%, Nvidia -3.3%, Intel -2.8%. Pot stocks rallied in US premarket trading on Friday, set to extend Thursday’s gains after President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of Americans for possession of marijuana and ordered a review of its legal status, sparking hopes that decriminalization of the drug was drawing nearer and a more favorable regulatory environment for cannabis-related firms. Tilray Brands +9%, Canopy Growth +9%, Cronos Group +2.4%. DraftKings shares jump as much as 9.2% in US premarket trading on Friday, boosted by a report that the sports-betting firm is said to be nearing a sizable new partnership with Disney’s ESPN, signaling that interest in legalized sports betting in increasing. DraftKings trades at a price-to-sales multiple of 4.2 times, according to Bloomberg data, down from a peak of around 37 times reached in March 2021. Levi Strauss shares fell as much as 4.6% in US premarket trading on Friday after the jeans maker cut its adjusted earnings per share and net revenue growth outlook for the full year, stoking worries that it could be tough for retailers in the near-term as the company grapples with the impact of a stronger dollar, weakness in its European markets and supply-chain disruption. Payoneer Global jumps as much as 8.4% in premarket trading following news that the company will join the S&P SmallCap 600 index before trading opens on Oct. 12. Lyft shares fall 3.7% in US premarket trading after RBC downgraded the ride- sharing firm and slashed its PT, saying its bull case for the stock looks increasingly less likely. Aehr Test Systems jumped 9% in extended trading after the semiconductor manufacturing company reported net sales growth and improved adjusted earnings in the fiscal first quarter. As previewed earlier, today's main event is the jobs report and as JPM noted, prior to Friday's NFP (and CPI next Wednesday), the market has been oscillating between the “hawkish Fed” and “Fed pivot” narrative. While the JOLTS Job Openings and the ISM Manufacturing employment index showed more evidence of a slowing labor market, the stronger than expected ADP/ISM Services once again proved the economy still remains strong and therefore weakens the hope of a near-term pivot from the Fed. In a nutshell, according to JPM's trading deks, with consensus expected tomorrow’s NFP to print +255k, Equity bulls would need a print ~100k to see the market alter its Fed expectations (full preview here). The data will follow hawkish comments from Fed officials. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the benchmark rate will probably be at 4.5% to 4.75% by next spring, and Minneapolis Fed’s Neel Kashkari said the central bank is “quite a ways away” from pausing its campaign of rate increases. “Barring an unexpectedly shocking number, I do not think today’s release will prompt the Fed to change tack,” said Stuart Cole, the head macro economist at Equiti Capital. “This has certainly been the message that various Fed officials have been promulgating.” Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, US Treasury yields are heading for a 10th week of increases, the longest streak since 1984, as the Fed stays resolute in its fight against inflation despite recent data suggesting a cooling of the economy. Investors are being swayed between hopes for an end to monetary tightening by March next year and concern over the possibility of a deep recession that such a pivot would underscore. At the same time, investor focus is increasingly trained on signs of a weaker earnings-reporting season. Besides Thursday’s dour trading update from European oil major Shell, underwhelming figures from AMD and South Korean Samsung Electronics Co. are reinforcing concerns for the global economy. “The issue of the Fed pivot remains the main factor restricting risk appetite,” Sebastien Barbe, the head of emerging-market research and strategy at Credit Agricole CIB, wrote in a note. “Cautiousness should remain in place ahead of the US jobs report. Given the repeated hawkish comments by Fed speakers, this may not be enough to sustainably support risk appetite.” In Europe, the Stoxx 50 fell 0.2%. FTSE MIB outperforms, adding 0.2%; IBEX lags, dropping 0.5%. Tech, consumer products and retailers are the worst-performing sectors. Here are the biggest European equity movers: Renault shares climb as much as 4.8%. The automaker is raised to outperform from neutral and PT hiked to EU55 from EU35 at Oddo on its successful operational recovery and accelerating “product offensive.” Credit Suisse shares gain 8.4% after the lender offered to buy back debt securities for as much as CHF3bn, in a show of financial strength after recent concerns about the bank’s solidity. Telenor shares jump as much as 5.1%, the most since July 2020, after the telecom operator agreed to sell a 30% stake in its Norwegian fiber network to a consortium led by KKR and Oslo Pensjonsforsikring. Storytel gains as much as 11%, the most since August, after the Swedish publishing house released preliminary streaming revenue for the third quarter that was slightly above guidance, according to DNB European chip stocks are under pressure on Friday after industry bellwethers AMD and Samsung posted results that widely missed analysts’ expectations. ASML drops as much as 2.9% Adidas shares decline as much as 3.2% with UBS saying the uncertainty about its partnership with Kanye West’s Yeezy brand is a “negative development” for the sportswear group. Ocado shares decline as much as 3.1% after PT cut to a Street-low 420p from 595p at Morgan Stanley, which maintains an underweight rating on the grocery delivery group and says the case for its automated model has “got harder.” Building materials group Marshalls slumps 28% after it warned on a slowdown in demand for its landscaping products, prompting Peel Hunt to cut earnings estimates. Asian stocks fell, on track to snap a three-day winning streak, as Federal Reserve officials reiterated their hawkish views and tech shares weighed. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 1.3%, with tech and consumer discretionary shares falling after five Fed officials on Thursday separately signaled inflation remained too high in the US. Some chip shares slid after Advanced Micro Devices’ preliminary third-quarter sales missed projections and Samsung reported disappointing preliminary quarterly results.  Meanwhile, China’s electric-vehicle firms led declines on the Hong Kong market as concerns grew over weaker-than-expected orders. Vietnam’s stocks tumbled to the lowest in almost two years as a wave of forced selling hit the market amid concerns about rising interest rates.  Liquidity remained relatively low with the onshore China market closed for the Golden Week holiday.  The Asian gauge remains on track for its best week since July after weak US economic data earlier fueled hopes that the Fed may be less aggressive in tightening. Traders will scrutinize the US payroll data out later Friday for signs of economic slowdown and the impact on monetary policy. “Clearly the equity market is still playing chicken with the Fed around,” Joshua Crabb, head of Asia Pacific equities at Robeco, told Bloomberg Television. The interest-rate environment “is here to stay and that will continue to put pressure on some of the more highly valued sort of companies.” Japanese stocks dropped as investors remained cautious over the outlook for Fed policy and awaited an upcoming monthly US payrolls report. The Topix fell 0.8% to 1,906.80 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.7% to 27,116.11. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 2.2%. Out of 2,168 stocks in the index, 569 rose and 1,495 fell, while 104 were unchanged. “There is uncertainty whether US interest rate hikes could be 75bps or 100bps during the FOMC meeting in November,” said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. “We are watching the unemployment rate and wage growth.”  Stocks in India ended flat on Friday but posted their first weekly advance in four, helped by a recovery in metal companies. The S&P BSE Sensex was little changed at 58,191.29 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.1%. For the week, the gauges rose 1.3% each. Tata Consultancy Services was the most prominent decliner among the Sensex 30 companies, dropping 1.3%. The country’s biggest software exporter will kickoff quarterly earnings season Monday. Titan was among the best performers after reporting strong sales growth for three-months through September. Eleven of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. retreated, led by oil & gas companies, while consumer durables makers were the top performers. A measure of metal companies was the top gainer for the week, posting its best advance since July. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.1% as the dollar fell against all Group of 10-peers apart from the kiwi. Demand for dollar topside exposure in the long-end remains strong ahead of the payrolls report. The euro rose above $0.98 and Bund yields climbed by up to 4bps as real yields continued to push higher alongside ECB tightening wagers. The cable led G-10 gains to trade above $1.12 after reversing early European session weakness. Yields on gilts rose by 3-6bps. The New Zealand dollar rose against the greenback as the nation’s bond yields closed up to 10bps higher. Australian dollar and Norwegian krone strengthened somewhat. Australian yields rose up to 7bps. The yen snapped a two-day decline as traders weigh the risk of an intervention by Japanese authorities to support the currency after it weakened past 145 per dollar. The currency is still set for an eighth straight week of declines In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve after most yields reached weekly highs while maintaining narrow ranges ahead of September jobs report. Gilts and bunds weigh, underperforming Treasuries. US yields cheaper by up to 3bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s fly by 3.5bp on the day to around 12bp, up from as low as -13.7bp on Tuesday; 10-year yields around 3.85%, richer vs bunds and gilts by 6bp and 2bp. UK 10-year yield rises 2.5bps to 4.19%, while German 10-year climbs 4.5bps to 2.13%. In commodities, US crude futures rose to approach $89 a barrel, on course for the biggest weekly surge since March. Spot gold is little changed at ~$1,713/oz. Bitcoin is contained within very narrow parameters, essentially pivoting the USD 20k mark as we head into the NFP release. To the day ahead now, and the highlight will likely be the aforementioned US jobs report for September. Otherwise, data releases include German industrial production and Italian retail sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from the Fed’s Williams, Kashkari and Bostic, as well as BoE Deputy Governor Ramsden. Finally, EU leaders will be meeting in Prague. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 3,748.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 395.56 MXAP down 1.1% to 143.02 MXAPJ down 1.3% to 463.87 Nikkei down 0.7% to 27,116.11 Topix down 0.8% to 1,906.80 Hang Seng Index down 1.5% to 17,740.05 Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,024.39 Sensex down 0.3% to 58,069.57 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.8% to 6,762.77 Kospi down 0.2% to 2,232.84 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.13% Euro up 0.2% to $0.9813 Brent Futures up 0.1% to $94.53/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,712.81 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.24% to 111.9 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Investors poured the most money into cash since April 2020 on fears of a looming recession, but stocks could see further declines as they don’t fully reflect that risk, say Bank of America Corp. strategists Underlying inflation in the euro area is increasingly driven by higher demand, according to the European Central Bank, which has listed the trend among reasons to lift borrowing costs Inflation expectations among euro-zone consumers held steady in August, according to the European Central Bank, which has been raising interest rates in the face of record price gains The European Central Bank is ratcheting up pressure on some banks to keep 2022 bonuses in check amid fears about the darkening economic outlook, according to people with knowledge of the matter A report by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation showed UK companies are starting to impose hiring freezes because of pessimism about the outlook, and employees are deciding “stay put” rather than apply for other jobs A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were lower as the region followed suit to the weak performance seen in global counterparts with risk appetite sapped amid the slew of hawkish Fed rhetoric and with participants awaiting the key US jobs data. ASX 200 was subdued by underperformance in the real estate sector and after the RBA Financial Stability Review noted financial stability risks have increased globally and that some households are already feeling the strain from higher rates which is likely to persist for some time. Nikkei 225 was pressured and briefly dipped below the 27,000 level after disappointing data in which Household Spending showed a surprise M/M contraction and with wage growth softer than previous. Hang Seng declined amid weakness in property and tech stocks with sentiment also not helped by reports that the US is to announce new measures that will effectively halt some exports of US equipment to Chinese firms making advanced NAND and DRAM memory chips. Top Asian News BoK said it will maintain its stance of raising interest rates going forward to combat inflation which is expected to remain in the 5-6% range for a considerable period of time, according to Yonhap. RBA Financial Stability Review stated that financial stability risks have increased globally and markets are stressed by synchronised policy tightening, geopolitical tension, higher USD and rising energy prices. RBA also stated that stability risks would be magnified by further substantial tightening in global markets and some households are already feeling the strain from higher rates which is likely to persist for some time. Japanese top currency diplomat Kanda says has never felt a limit to ammunition for currency intervention, making various steps so as not to face a limit to ammunition when it comes to FX intervention, via Reuters. Malaysia Cuts Personal Income Tax by 2 Percentage Points Tycoon Faces Key Vote for Plan to Tap Vedanta Cash Reserves Gold Set for Largest Weekly Gain Since March as Jobs Data Loom Taiwan Exports Shrink for First Time Since 2020 on Global Slump European bourses are modestly on the backfoot, though have trimmed this slightly as the session progresses, in limited newsflow pre-NFP. Nonetheless, are still on track to conclude the week with upside of just over 2% WTD for the Stoxx 600. Stateside, futures are similarly contained and lie either side of the unchanged mark with NQ -0.1% modestly lagging amid yield upside as officials pushback on an imminent pivot. ECB recently told some banks to exercise restraint on pay and dividends amid concerns about a potential wave of defaults, according to Bloomberg. Top European News UK PM Truss is watering down former UK PM Johnson's plans to cut 91k civil service jobs, according to FT. Irish Foreign Minister Coveney says the new air of positivity has created a flicker of optimism, lots of issues yet to be resolved (re. Brexit/N. Ireland). Greece Should Take Turkey’s Warnings Seriously, Erdogan Says Credit Suisse Short Bets Soar Weeks Ahead of Strategy Review Brexit Grudges Recede as Truss Makes Inroads With EU Allies New Jupiter Boss to Shake Up Dozens of Funds and Cut CIO Role Swedish Housing Market Slump Deepens on Rate, Energy Worries Geopolitics US President Biden said the nuclear 'Armageddon' threat is back for the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, according to AFP News Agency. Japanese government spokesperson Kihara said Japan is to impose additional sanctions against Russia and will freeze assets of more Russians after the annexation of parts of Ukraine, according to Reuters. US and South Korea are to conduct joint maritime drills involving the US aircraft carrier off the east coast on October 7th-8th, while the South Korean military said it will continue to strengthen its abilities to respond against North Korean provocation through joint drills, according to Yonhap. US forces conducted an airstrike in northern Syria on Thursday which killed Islamic State leader Abu-Hashum Al-Umawi and another IS official, according to Reuters. Turkish President Erdogan in a call with Russian President Putin discussed improving bilateral relations, according to the Turkish readout via Reuters. FX Typically tense pre-NFP trade has seen the DXY briefly dip below 112.00, to a 111.94 low, before regathering itself and holding marginally above the figure. Action that comes to the benefit of peers across the board with GBP the primary beneficiary, Cable to a 1.1218 peak, but closely followed by other activity FX. EUR/USD is more contained given a hefty amount of OpEx around today's NY Cut, with participants also cognisant of worrying German data. After yesterday's relative outperformance, the CHF and NZD are the relative laggards and are currently unchanged on the session. CNB Minutes (Sep): Mora and Holub voted for a 75bp hike, other members regarded rates as commensurate with the current situation. Consensus that inflation was probably close to peaking. HKMA purchases HKD 1.57bln from the market as the HKD hits the weak end of its trading range. Fixed Income Core benchmarks dipped to lows amid the morning's German data release, with Import Prices lifting again, though have gained some poise since in quiet trade. Currently, Bunds are towards the mid-point of a ~70tick range with similarly settled action in USTs and Gilts before US data & Fed speak. As such, yields are elevated but off highs of 3.85%, 2.16% & 4.22% for US, German and UK 10yrs respectively. Commodities WTI and Brent are off highs but still holding onto gains of around USD 0.50/bbl and are at the top-end of the week’s USD 86.35/bbl – 95.00/bbl parameter in Brent Dec’22. For today, the main potential catalyst is the EU’s informal meeting of heads of state. A gathering which is focused on “Russia's war in Ukraine, energy and the economic situation.” US Secretary of State Blinken said the US will not do anything that infringes upon its interests and is reviewing a number of response options when asked about ties with Saudi Arabia and OPEC+ cuts, according to Reuters. US Republican Senator Grassley will seek to add the NOPEC bill to the defence policy bill, according to Reuters. OPEC Sec Gen says oil production capacity freed up by the latest production reductions could allow nations to intervene in the event of any crises in the oil market, according to Al Arabiya. Spot gold is little changed overall having derived some very brief upside from the DXY’s move below 112.00; however, the metal remains capped by the 50-DMA. US Event Calendar 08:30: Sept. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 255,000, prior 315,000 Change in Private Payrolls, est. 275,000, prior 308,000 Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 20,000, prior 22,000 Unemployment Rate, est. 3.7%, prior 3.7% Underemployment Rate, prior 7.0% Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 62.4%, prior 62.4% Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 5.0%, prior 5.2%; Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.5, prior 34.5 10:00: Aug. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 0.5%, prior -1.4%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.3%, prior 1.3% 15:00: Aug. Consumer Credit, est. $25b, prior $23.8b Fed speakers 10:00: Fed’s Williams Speaks in Moderated Q&A 11:00: Fed’s Kashkari Discusses Agriculture, Food and Inflation 12:00: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Inequality DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap In these stressful markets I’ve kept my personal anecdotes to a minimum but I have a few butterflies this morning as I have a big 36 hole golf matchplay final on Sunday. After 2 major knee operations in the last 12 months, 4 back injections in the last 18, a long period with a trapped nerve in my shoulder, a numb hand and countless rounds of physio, I’ve eventually played the best golf of my life this year and have got down to a 2.6 handicap. I have to give my opponent 16 shots over 36 holes though so it’s going to be hard. A couple of weeks later I’m also in a scratch final with no shots given. However the problem is my opponent is off +1. My current mid-life crisis obsession (after piano, cycling, etc. previously) is to get down to scratch. I suspect I’ll fail as I don’t hit it far enough. However I’m doing weights and speed training which is why I keep getting injured. My wife despairs at my obsessiveness most of the time but it keeps me going!! We’re all going to be obsessing about payrolls today and then US CPI next week. Clearly the latter has more potential to shape trading over the next few weeks but the former is always a big event. In terms of what to expect from today's jobs report, our US economists are forecasting that nonfarm payrolls grew by +275k in September. That’s slightly above the +250k consensus print, but if realised that would still be the slowest pace of monthly job growth since April 2021. However versus long-term average that would still be a hefty print even if you adjust for population. Our economists think that’ll be enough to push the unemployment rate down a tenth to 3.6%, especially given the three-tenths rise in the participation rate in August. When it comes to the Fed, both futures and our US economists see a +75bps move as the likely outcome at the next meeting, and a strong report today would cement those expectations, not least given the recent chatter that the Fed might slow down their pace of hikes earlier than anticipated. Today's print comes as the mood has soured again over the last 48 hours even if the prior 48 hours were spectacular enough to leave us notably stronger for the week still for risk even if bonds have given up their gains. Yesterday saw a fresh selloff in stocks and bonds alongside further dollar strength after multiple Fed speakers pushed back on speculation that they’re about to ease up on hiking rates. That wasn’t helped by the news on the inflation side either, with oil prices reaching a one-month high, whilst commodities more broadly advanced for a 4th day running. Going through some of these themes we’ll start with the Fed, since yesterday saw an array of speakers who reiterated hawkish talking points from the get-go. In particular, Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari said that “Until I see some evidence that underlying inflation has solidly peaked and is hopefully headed back down, I’m not ready to declare a pause. I think we’re quite a ways away from a pause.” So that adds to the previous day’s FOMC members who similarly pushed back on an imminent reversal. Later in the session, we heard from Presidents Evans and Mester, Governors Cook and Waller. They all held the line, pushing back on any pivot pricing. Notably, President Evans, another reformed dove, said rates would be near 4.5-4.75% by the spring of next year, with the market pricing terminal rates at the lower end of that range at 4.55% as of March. Against that backdrop, investors continued to price out the chances of a Fed pivot next year, with Fed funds futures for December 2023 up +13.4bps on the day to 4.33%, their biggest one-day increase since the September FOMC itself. Now that’s still beneath the 4.6% that the FOMC had in their dot plot for end-2023 a couple of weeks back, and the 4.50% the market priced in 8 days ago, but the moves over the last couple of days do suggest they’re having some success in pushing back on the rate cut speculation. The impact of that worked its way through to Treasury yields, with the 10yr yield up +7.1bps to 3.82%, having been led by a +6.8bps rise in the real yield to 1.61%. That's still some room below the late September intraday peak of 4.02%, but quite a bounce from Tuesday’s intraday low of 3.56%. That range is all within seven days, such is the recent volatility in bond markets. This morning in Asia, yields on the 10yr are just a tad lower as we go to press. It’s worth keeping an eye on long-end Gilts as they continue to unwind some of the once in a lifetime sized rally from 5% last week after the BoE stepped in. 30yr yields closed at 4.29% having been as low as 3.62% on Monday. Anecdotal evidence points to the LDI saga still impacting that end of the curve. The hawkish Fed rhetoric impacted on equities as well, with the S&P 500 (-1.02%) and the STOXX 600 (-1.25%) each seeing a noticeable pullback. The NASDAQ proved more resilient falling only -0.68%. In addition, the VIX index of volatility picked up again following a run of 4 consecutive declines, moving up +1.97pts to finish above 30 again at 30.52. One factor that won’t be welcomed by policymakers is the latest rise in commodity prices, with Brent crude (+1.12%) and WTI (+0.79%) oil prices rising for a 4th day running, which follows the decision by the OPEC+ group to cut their production levels the previous day. In response, US President Biden said that his reaction was “Disappointment. And we’re looking at what alternatives we may have”. In the meantime, there was a modest downtick in European natural gas futures (-3.91%) to €167 per megawatt-hour. Speaking of which, our research colleagues in Frankfurt published their latest gas supply monitor yesterday (link here), in which they update their scenarios for this winter to reflect the latest developments. They also preview what to expect from the informal meeting of EU leaders taking place in Prague today. Staying on Europe, sovereign bonds lost ground across the continent in line with the US moves, with yields on 10yr bunds (+5.4bps), OATs (+4.4bps) and BTPs (+4.7bps) all moving higher. That follows a similar dose of scepticism from investors about whether the ECB might pivot alongside the Fed, and the deposit rate priced in by overnight index swaps for June 2023 moved up more than 15bps for the second straight day, increasing +15.5bps yesterday to 2.89%. Those moves also came as we got the accounts from the ECB’s September meeting when they hiked by 75bps, which indicated that “some members” had preferred to only hike by 50bps, although “all members joined a consensus to raise the three key ECB interest rates by 75 basis points”. There was also a view that policy rates were still “significantly below the neutral rate”, even with the latest rate hike”, and it said that chief economist Lane had “stressed that price pressures were extraordinarily high and likely to persist for an extended period.” Back in the UK, there were fresh signs that the recent market turmoil was impacting the mortgage market, after Moneyfacts reported that the average 5yr fixed mortgage rate was now above 6%. That puts it at its highest level since February 2010, and follows the previous day’s news that the 2yr fixed rate had also passed the 6% milestone. Furthermore, there were some warnings on the energy front, with National Grid saying that there was one scenario (although not its base case) that could see 3-hour power cuts if there wasn’t enough gas supply. The more negative newsflow occurred as sterling continued to lose ground against the US Dollar again, with a further -1.45% fall that brings its declines over the last two sessions to -2.76%. And gilts struggled as well, and not just at the long-end as discussed earlier, with 10yr yields up +13.3bps on the day to 4.15%. Asian equity markets are also declining this morning with the Hang Seng (-1.13%) leading losses, pulling back from a strong rebound earlier this week with the Nikkei (-0.59%) also trading in negative territory. Meanwhile, the Kospi (+0.06%) is swinging between gains and losses with the index heavyweight Samsung Electronics downbeat 3Q preliminary earnings forecast weighing on sentiment. Elsewhere, markets in China are closed for the National Day holiday. Looking forward, stock futures in the US are fluctuating with contracts tied to the S&P 500 (+0.03%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.04%) just above flat ahead of the big day. Early morning data showed that Japan’s real wages (-1.7% y/y) fell in August for the fifth consecutive month, following a revised -1.8% fall in July. At the same time, household spending (+5.1% y/y) increased in August (v/s +6.7% expected) following a +3.4% gain in July as the economy continued to recover from COVID-19 restrictions albeit with rising prices probably preventing further gains. Ahead of today’s US jobs report, the weekly initial jobless claims for the week ending October 1 came in at 219k (vs. 204k expected), although there was a -3k downward revision to the previous week, without any apparent impact from the recent hurricane, which our US econ team believes will show up in next week’s data. Elsewhere, German factory orders contracted by more than expected in August, falling -2.4% (vs. -0.7% expected), but there was a sharp upward revision to the previous month, as the data now showed a +1.9% expansion (vs. -1.1% previously). To the day ahead now, and the highlight will likely be the aforementioned US jobs report for September. Otherwise, data releases include German industrial production and Italian retail sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from the Fed’s Williams, Kashkari and Bostic, as well as BoE Deputy Governor Ramsden. Finally, EU leaders will be meeting in Prague. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/07/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 7th, 2022

Illinois is making fuzzy dice legal again

The revised Illinois windshield rule is one of hundreds of new laws taking effect with the new year in states across the US. A pair of fuzzy dice hang on a rear-view mirror.Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAROn Monday, hundreds of new laws are set to take effect. One of them includes an Illinois law that will make rearview mirror decor legal. The minimum wage will also increase in several states.Fuzzy dice will finally be free to dangle in Illinois.Starting Monday, police in the state will no longer be allowed to pull over motorists solely because they have something hanging from their windshield's rearview mirror. That means air fresheners, parking placards, and, yes, even those dice are fair game to hang.The revised Illinois windshield rule is one of hundreds of new laws taking effect with the new year in states across the US. While some may seem a bit pedestrian, others have practical impacts or touch on controversial issues, such as restrictions on weapons and medical treatments for transgender people.Though the original Illinois windshield law was meant to improve roadway safety, it came to be seen by some as an excuse for pulling over drivers. The new law still prohibits objects that obstruct a driver's view but forbids law enforcement officers from conducting stops or searches solely because of suspected violations."With this new law, we are sending a powerful message that the state does not tolerate racial profiling or other forms of discrimination," said Democratic state Sen. Christopher Belt, one of the bill's sponsors.Another new Illinois law seeks to stifle a more modern form of distracted driving by prohibiting people from participating in video conferences or scanning social media while behind the wheel.Guns will be regulated after a record year of shootingsSeveral states have new laws regulating guns and online activity.A Minnesota law will allow authorities to ask courts for "extreme risk protection orders" to temporarily take guns from people deemed to be an imminent threat to others or themselves.Minnesota will be at least the 20th state with such a red-flag law.Colorado will become one of a dozen states banning so-called ghost guns. The new law prohibits firearms assembled at home or 3D-printed without serial numbers, practices that have allowed owners to evade background checks.The US Supreme Court declined to block an Illinois law from taking effect Monday that bans high-powered semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines. But a federal judge recently blocked a California law that would have prohibited carrying concealed guns in many public places.Several state laws delve into acceptable online activities. A new Connecticut law requires online dating operators to adopt policies for handling harassment reports by or between users.A North Carolina law will require pornographic website operators to confirm viewers are at least 18 years old by using a commercially available database. The law lets parents sue companies if their children were allowed to access the pornography. Another new Illinois law will allow lawsuits from victims of deepfake pornography, in which videos or images are manipulated without their consent.Conservatives are clamping down on LGBTQ+ rightsOver the past few years, there has been a major push by conservatives to restrict access to gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors. Bans are on the books in 22 states, including some where judges have paused enforcement as they consider challenges to the policies.New bans on access for minors to puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery, which is rare, are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 in Idaho, Louisiana, and West Virginia. The West Virginia law contains an exception: Teens could still access treatment with parental consent and a diagnosis of severe gender dysphoria from two doctors.While many Republican-led legislatures have imposed restrictions, many Democrat-dominated states have responded with transgender protections. A law taking effect Monday in Hawaii requires new marriage certificates to be issued to people who request to change how their sex is listed. The state also is replacing gender-specific terms in state law; "mother" is being replaced with "birthing parent" and "father" with "non-birthing parent."In Colorado, new buildings wholly or partly owned by government entities will be required to have on every floor where there are public restrooms at least one that does not specify the gender of the users.The conservative push on LGBTQ+ policies also has come with efforts to keep certain books out of school or public libraries. An Indiana law taking effect makes it easier for parents and others to challenge books in school libraries. By contrast, a new Illinois law would block state funding for public libraries that ban or restrict books.Minimum wage is on the rise, againThe new year brings various laws on taxes and wages — perennial issues for state governments.More than 20 states will raise minimum wages for workers, further widening the gap between state requirements and the federal minimum, which has been static at $7.25 an hour since July 2009. In several states, the new minimum wage will more than double that rate.Maryland's minimum wage will be set at $15 an hour. Most employees will earn $15.13 an hour in New Jersey. In Connecticut, $15.69 per hour. In New York City, $16 an hour, though it will be $15 in most of the rest of the state. California's statewide minimum wage also will rise to $16 per hour. And in Washington, the minimum rate will be $16.28.Residents in some states will gain money by paying less taxes, continuing a three-year trend in which nearly every state has reduced, rebated, or suspended some broad-based tax.In Kansas, the sales tax on groceries will drop from 4% to 2% in its next step toward eventual elimination, producing a savings of $208 annually for a family spending an average of $200 weekly on groceries.About 1 million tax filers are expected to benefit from Connecticut's first income tax rate reduction since the mid-1990s. Lower-income workers and retirees also stand to benefit from expanded tax breaks.Missouri also will reduce its income tax rate while expanding tax exemptions for Social Security benefits and military training pay. Businesses will be able to claim tax credits for hiring interns or apprentices.Alabama will exempt overtime pay from the state's income tax, though that lasts only until June 2025 unless renewed by lawmakers.Past state law introductionsIn 2023, hundreds of laws took effect for the first time across states, many of which tackled important topics like minimum wage increases and the legalization of marijuana.Twenty-seven states increased their minimum wage floors last year. California and Washington increased the minimum wage above $15, making them the highest minimum wage states in the country in 2023.Maryland and Missouri legalized marijuana, while Colorado passed a law decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms.State laws are fairly standard, but obscure and strange ones can find their way into the books. For example, in Kentucky, public officials must make an oath that they've never fought a duel with deadly weapons, while fortune telling is illegal in Maryland. Read more about the weirdest laws in each state here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 31st, 2023

Acreage Reports Third Quarter 2023 Financial Results

Reports Eleventh Consecutive Quarter of Positive Adjusted EBITDA The Botanist Danbury Dispensary in Connecticut Achieves Highest Company-wide Sales with 64% Year-Over-Year Growth Delivered record wholesale sales in New Jersey with the Company's large-scale infrastructure project at the Egg Harbor Township, NJ facility nearing completion   NEW YORK, Nov. 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Acreage Holdings, Inc. ("Acreage" or the "Company") (CSE:ACRG, ACRG.B.U)) (OTCQX:ACRHF, ACRDF)), a vertically integrated, multi-state operator of cannabis cultivation and retailing facilities in the U.S., today reported its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2023 ("Q3 2023"). Third Quarter 2023 Financial Highlights Consolidated revenue of $56.5 million, a decrease of 2.8% compared to the quarter ended June 30, 2023 ("Q2 2023"). Gross margin was 38%. Excluding the impact of non-cash inventory adjustments, gross margin for Q3 2023 was 41%. Net Loss for Q3 2023 was $7.9 million. Adjusted EBITDA* was $6.6 million and Adjusted EBITDA* as a percentage of consolidated revenue was 12%. Third Quarter and Recent Operational Highlights Recorded a 27% increase in Connecticut sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2023 ("YTD 2023") compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2022 ("YTD 2022"), with The Botanist Danbury achieving the highest individual store growth with a 64% increase year-over-year. Achieved strong results in New Jersey, including the highest statewide year-over-year sales growth with an increase of 34% for YTD 2023 compared to YTD 2022. Further, New Jersey wholesale revenue reached $1 million for the month of August 2023. Commenced construction on a new dispensary in Vernon, Connecticut, which will be the Company's third hybrid location in the state. The Botanist Vernon is anticipated to open in April 2024. Continued progression and nearing completion of the Company's large-scale infrastructure project at the Egg Harbor Township facility in New Jersey. The new upgrades will support premium biomass production to facilitate the expansion of Acreage's brand and product portfolio in the state. Grew in-house product retail sales in Illinois to 31% as of Q3 2023 as compared to 13% as Q3 2022. Established Superflux as the number one extracts brand in Massachusetts for September 2023, per BDSA Enhanced Data. Expanded Superflux and The Botanist brand market share in Massachusetts by 3% and 4%, respectively. Product Innovation and Recent Launches Debuted craft cannabis brand Superflux in New Jersey after the quarter, with the initial launch of four limited-edition, small-batch flower strains: Cherry Lemon Gusher, Chocolate Cherry OG, Red Carpet Runtz, and Silly Rabbit. With the addition of New Jersey, Superflux is now available across four states, including Ohio, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Broadened product offerings in New York with the NYCANNA launch of new form factors, including The Botanist Infused Pre-Rolls. Launched The Botanist Infused Pre-Rolls in Illinois with four new product SKUs with an average THC content of 40%. Introduced The Botanist Fall Seasonal Edibles with Apple Cider Gummies and Caramel Apple Fruit Chews in Ohio and Illinois and expanded The Botanist distillate vape offering in Ohio. Diversified the Superflux flower offering in Massachusetts with the introduction of Grapple Pie (THC 31.5%) and Kazuma (THC 28%), with additional strains to follow, including LA POP ROCKZ in December 2023. Featured winner of the High Times Cannabis Cup Illinois: People's Choice Edition 2023, with Superflux Live Resin Strawberry Bubbles Budder and Superflux Strawberry Bubbles Live Resin Vape Cart placing second in the Solvent Concentrates and Vape Pens & Carts categories, respectively. Management Commentary "I'm proud of the progress the team made in Q3 building a company focused on strong brands and implementing a cost structure that will allow for future growth," said Dennis Curran, Chief Executive Officer of Acreage. "In particular, New Jersey and Connecticut remain strong areas of performance for our business, once again delivering record results and robust year-over-year growth. To continue this momentum, we have been aggressively driving our strategy of broadening distribution of our most popular, top-selling offerings, having recently launched craft cannabis brand Superflux in New Jersey, which has already had a positive impression on consumers in its first two weeks of sales. In Connecticut, The Botanist Danbury hit an important milestone, having achieved a notable 64% increase in sales year-over-year, the highest for a single store across our entire, nationwide dispensary network. Fostering our position as a leading operator in these states has been incredibly rewarding and has primed our business to further execute in newer, developing markets." Mr. Curran added, "The playbook we have created from our experiences launching adult-use sales in Connecticut and New Jersey will benefit us greatly as our other core markets begin to adopt adult-use regulations. With the adult-use market finally beginning to open in New York, and the recent vote for adult-use legalization in Ohio, we are readying our operations for increased output and innovation to continue differentiating our offering in anticipation of the long-term growth potential these markets offer. As we prepare for these expected developments, we have maintained disciplined cost controls and continue to realize cost savings across our operations to expand our gross margin and maintain our near two-year record of positive Adjusted EBITDA." Q3 2023 Financial Summary(in thousands)   Three Months Ended September 30,   YoY% Change   Three Months Ended June 30, 2023   QoQ%Change     2023       2022         Consolidated Revenue $ 56,502     $ 61,419     (8.0)%   $ 58,115     (2.8)% Gross Profit   21,274       21,226     0.2%     21,122     0.7% % of revenue   38%       35%           36%                           Total operating expenses   23,775       37,661     (36.9)%     26,177     (9.2)% Net loss   (7,859 )     (24,998 )         (18,240 )     Net loss attributable to Acreage   (7,625 )     (22,214 )         (16,156 )     Adjusted EBITDA*   6,574       8,847     (25.7)%     6,836     (3.8)%                                     Total revenue for Q3 2023 was $56.5 million compared to $61.4 million in Q3 2022. The year-over-year decrease was primarily due to market price compression across various markets, which was somewhat offset by revenue growth in both New Jersey and Connecticut.          Total gross profit for Q3 2023 was $21.3 million compared to $21.2 million in Q3 2022. Total gross margin was 38% in Q3 2023 compared to 35% in Q3 2022. Margin was impacted by efficiencies gained from further economies of scale, which were offset by market price compression, cost increases from inflation, and volume declines relative to a portion of the expenditures that are fixed in nature. Additionally, there was a $2.1 million wholesale non-cash inventory adjustment as a result of excess inventory in select markets and reducing the carrying value of wholesale inventory to reflect the lower of cost and net realizable value. Excluding these non-cash inventory adjustments, margin increased to 41%.         Total operating expenses for Q3 2023 were $23.8 million compared to $37.7 million in Q3 2022, representing a 37% reduction. The reduction in operating expenses can be attributed to a decrease in general and administrative expenses related to lower professional fees and office expenses achieved by continued cost controls. This also included reductions in equity-based compensation expenses and depreciation and amortization expenses when compared to Q3 2022. Adjusted EBITDA* for Q3 2023 was $6.6 million compared to Adjusted EBITDA* of $8.8 million in Q3 2022 and Adjusted EBITDA* of $6.8 million in Q2 2023. Net loss attributable to Acreage for Q3 2023 was $7.6 million, compared to a loss of $22.2 million in Q3 2022. Balance Sheet and Liquidity         Acreage ended Q3 2023 with $15.1 million in cash and cash equivalents and $9.7 million of restricted cash, with such funds restricted for use to only eligible capital expenditures. About Acreage Holdings, Inc. Acreage is a multi-state operator of cannabis ‎cultivation and retailing facilities in the U.S., including the Company's national retail store ‎brand, The Botanist. With its principal address in New York City, Acreage's wide range of national and regionally available cannabis products include the award-winning brands The Botanist and Superflux, the Prime medical brand in Pennsylvania, and others. Since its founding in 2011, Acreage has focused on building and scaling operations to create a seamless, consumer-focused, branded experience. Learn more at www.acreageholdings.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. Forward Looking Statements This news release and each of the documents referred to herein contains "forward-looking information" and ‎‎"forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable Canadian and United States securities legislation, ‎respectively. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein are forward-looking ‎information. ‎Often, but not always, forward-looking statements and information can be identified by the use of words such as ‎‎"plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "estimates", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", ‎or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", ‎‎‎"would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved. ‎ Forward-looking statements or information involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other ‎factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Acreage or its ‎subsidiaries to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or ‎implied by the forward-looking statements or information contained in this news release. Risks, uncertainties and other factors involved with forward-looking information could cause actual events, results, performance, prospects and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including, but not limited to: the occurrence of changes in U.S. federal Laws regarding the cultivation, distribution or possession of marijuana; ‎the ability of the parties to receive, in a timely manner and on satisfactory terms, the necessary regulatory, court ‎and Floating Shareholder approvals; the ability of the parties to satisfy, in a timely manner, the other conditions to the completion of the Floating Share ‎Arrangement Agreement; the ability of Canopy Growth Corporation ("Canopy"), Canopy USA, LLC ("Canopy USA") and Acreage to satisfy, in a timely manner, the closing conditions to the floating share arrangement among Canopy, Canopy USA and Acreage (the "Floating Share Arrangement"); risks relating to the value and liquidity of the Floating Shares and the common shares of Canopy; Canopy maintaining compliance with the Nasdaq Global Stock Market (the "Nasdaq") and Toronto Stock Exchange listing requirements; the rights of the Floating ‎Shareholders may differ materially from those of shareholders in Canopy; expectations regarding future investment, growth and ‎expansion of Acreage's operations; the possibility of adverse U.S. or Canadian tax consequences upon completion of the Floating Share Arrangement; if Canopy USA acquires the Fixed Shares pursuant to the Existing Arrangement Agreement without structural amendments to Canopy's interest in Canopy ‎USA, the listing of the Canopy Shares on the Nasdaq may be jeopardized; the risk of a change of ‎control of either Canopy or Canopy USA; restrictions on Acreage's ability to pursue certain business ‎opportunities and other restrictions on Acreage's business; the impact of material non-recurring expenses in ‎connection with the Floating Share Arrangement on Acreage's future results of operations, cash flows and ‎financial condition; the possibility of securities class action or derivatives lawsuits; in the event that the Floating ‎Share Arrangement is not completed, but the acquisition by Canopy of the Fixed Shares (the "Acquisition") is completed pursuant to Existing Arrangement Agreement and Canopy becomes the majority ‎shareholder in Acreage, the likelihood that the Floating Shareholders will have little or no influence on the conduct ‎of Acreage's business and affairs; risk of situations in which the interests of Canopy USA and the interests of ‎Acreage or shareholders of Canopy may differ;‎ Acreage's compliance with Acreage's business plan for the fiscal years ending December 31, 2020 through December 31, 2029 pursuant to the Existing Arrangement Agreement; in the event that the Floating Share Arrangement is ‎completed, the likelihood of Canopy completing the Acquisition in accordance with the Existing Arrangement Agreement; ‎risks relating to certain directors and executive officers of Acreage having interests in the transactions ‎contemplated by the Floating Share Arrangement Agreement and the connected transactions that are different ‎from those of the Floating Shareholders; risks relating to the possibility that holders of more than 5% of the ‎Floating Shares may exercise dissent rights; other expectations and assumptions concerning the transactions ‎contemplated between Canopy, Canopy USA and Acreage; the available funds of Acreage and the anticipated ‎use of such funds; the availability of financing opportunities for Acreage and Canopy USA and the risks ‎associated with the completion thereof; regulatory and licensing risks; the ability of Canopy, Canopy USA and ‎Acreage to leverage each other's respective capabilities and resources; changes in general economic, business ‎and political conditions, including changes in the financial and stock markets; risks relating to infectious diseases, ‎including the impacts of the COVID-19; legal and regulatory risks inherent in the cannabis industry, including the ‎global regulatory landscape and enforcement related to cannabis, political risks and risks relating to regulatory ‎change; risks relating to anti-money laundering laws; compliance with extensive government regulation and the ‎interpretation of various laws regulations and policies; public opinion and perception of the cannabis industry‎; and such other risks disclosed in the Circular, the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, dated May 1, 2023 and the Company's other public filings, in each case filed with the SEC on the EDGAR website at www.sec.gov and with Canadian securities regulators and available under Acreage's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although Acreage has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Although Acreage believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking information or forward-looking statements in this news release are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. The forward-looking information and forward-looking statements included in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and Acreage does not undertake any obligation to publicly update such forward-looking information or forward-looking statements to reflect new information, subsequent events or otherwise unless required by applicable securities laws. Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange nor its Regulation Service Provider, nor any securities regulatory authority in Canada, the United States or any other jurisdiction, has reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this news release.‎ For more information, contact: Carl Nesbitt Chief Financial Officer investors@acreageholdings.com646 600 9181 Courtney Van Alstyne MATTIO Communications acreage@mattio.com US GAAP FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS (UNAUDITED)   US GAAP Statements of Financial Position US$ (thousands) September 30, 2023   December 31, 2022   (unaudited)   (audited) ASSETS       Cash and cash equivalents $ 15,142     $ 24,067   Restricted cash   9,651       —   Accounts receivable, net   8,242       10,512   Inventory   51,050       49,446   Notes receivable, net   —       29,191   Other current assets   5,594       4,977   Total current assets   89,679       118,193           Long-term investments   33,176       34,046   Capital assets, net   136,866       133,405   Operating lease right-of-use assets   18,699       22,443   Intangible assets, net   35,124       35,124   Goodwill   38,721       13,761   Other non-current assets   3,519       3,601   Total non-current assets   266,105       242,380   TOTAL ASSETS $ 355,784     $ 360,573           LIABILITIES AND MEMBERS' EQUITY       Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 14th, 2023

NewLake Capital Partners, Inc. (PNK:NLCP) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

NewLake Capital Partners, Inc. (PNK:NLCP) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript November 9, 2023 NewLake Capital Partners, Inc. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.28, expectations were $0.25. Operator: Good morning. I’ll be your conference operator today. At this time, I’d like to welcome everyone to NewLake Capital Partners Third Quarter 2023 Earnings Conference Call. Today’s […] NewLake Capital Partners, Inc. (PNK:NLCP) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript November 9, 2023 NewLake Capital Partners, Inc. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.28, expectations were $0.25. Operator: Good morning. I’ll be your conference operator today. At this time, I’d like to welcome everyone to NewLake Capital Partners Third Quarter 2023 Earnings Conference Call. Today’s call is being recorded. I will now turn the call over to Valter Pinto, Managing Director of KCSA Strategic Communications. Please go ahead. Valter Pinto: Thank you, operator. Good morning, and welcome, everyone, to NewLake Capital Partners third quarter 2023 earnings conference call. I’m joined today by Gordon DuGan, Chairman; Anthony Coniglio, President and Chief Executive Officer; Lisa Meyer, Chief Financial Officer; and Jarrett Annenberg, Senior Vice President and Head of Investments. Before we begin, I’d like to remind everyone that statements made during today’s conference call may be deemed forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and actual results may differ materially due to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors. For a detailed discussion of some of the ongoing risks and uncertainties in the company’s business, I refer you to the press release issued this morning and filed with the SEC on Form 8-K as well as the company’s 10-K, 10-Q and other reports filed periodically with the SEC. The company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. FFO and AFFO are supplemental non-GAAP financial measures using the real estate industry to measure and compare the operating performance of real estate companies. A complete reconciliation containing adjustments from GAAP net income attributable to common shareholders to FFO and AFFO and definitions of terms are included at the end of our press release. Please refer to that release for more information. The company’s guidance is based on current plans and assumptions and subject to risks and uncertainties, more fully described in the company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This outlook reflects management’s view of current and future market conditions, including assumptions such as the pace of future acquisitions and dispositions, rental rates, occupancy levels, leasing activity, uncollectible rents, operating, and general and administrative expenses, weighted average diluted shares outstanding and interest rates. With that, it’s my pleasure to turn the call over to Mr. Gordon DuGan. Gordon, please go ahead. Gordon DuGan: Thank you, Valter, and thank you, everyone, for joining our call today. During a period of volatility in the markets broadly in the cannabis industry specifically, we are pleased with our 2023 third quarter results, which were in line with the guidance we provided last quarter. For the quarter, we maintained our dividend of $0.39 per share, which was well covered with a payout ratio of 82% for the quarter. After a period of increasing our dividend since going public in 2021, we have maintained our dividend during 2023 as we navigate the challenging environment for the cannabis industry. Also during 2023, we have maintained our payout ratio within our previously stated range of 80% to 90%. Our balance sheet remains very strong. Today, we are operating effectively with no leverage and ample capacity to invest in the cannabis sector when we determine that the risk profile and the return dynamics will create value for our investors. Until then, we have taken the opportunity to create value for our shareholders by investing in our own stock at accretive prices during the quarter and authorizing a second $10 million tranche of capital to continue doing so at these levels. We continue to believe in the long-term investment opportunities around cannabis real estate, but we’ll continue to seek opportunities to create value through our repurchase program. It is important to note that we recently announced an amendment with one of our tenants, Revolutionary Clinics. I’m pleased the team was able to diligently work through the issues to get a good outcome for our shareholders. Jarrett will provide more details in a moment. But as we have commented many times, we know there will always be the potential for portfolio issues in the net lease business in general and in the cannabis net lease business specifically and coming up with solutions is important to maximizing value for our shareholders. That’s what we’ve done in the case of Revolutionary Clinics we believe, and we’re pleased to see this property once again generating income for our shareholders and brought to a successful conclusion at this point. More broadly, though, the cannabis industry continues to work through this period of retrenchment. And I applaud those tenants of ours that have worked hard to address not only their cost structure, but near-term debt maturities and in one case, issuing equity to pay off debt. I continue to believe this period of difficulty will serve to separate the wheat from the chaff and the survivors will be long-term winners in this sector. While headwinds remain, I continue to believe in the long-term growth prospects for the industry and see potential catalysts in the form of DEA rescheduling and the recently filed lawsuit, by the industry challenging the federal government’s ability to regulate interstate commerce for cannabis. While these initiatives take time, it is undeniable that the march towards a more constructive federal regulatory scheme continues. With that, I’ll turn it over to Anthony. Anthony Coniglio : Thank you, Gordon, and welcome, everyone. I’m very pleased with our Q3 results and in particular, our recent announcement regarding Revolutionary Clinics, where we had a choice to either evict and retenant the building or find a path forward with the tenant. Revolutionary Clinics is one of the wholesalers in Massachusetts and has some of the leading brands to distribute, particularly Kiva, a leading edibles brand, not to mention two new adult use dispensaries opened in the past 6 months. We believe a revitalized Revolutionary Clinics with a fresh third-party capital that they have raised is the path that will provide the best return for our investors. Notably, we have the opportunity to participate in equity upside in Revolutionary Clinics via the warrants we own as a result of the transaction. We also announced today that while Calypso did not make its weekly October rent payments, they have resumed their weekly payments in November. And Jarrett will discuss more on this in a moment. Turning to our quarterly results. During the third quarter, we generated AFFO of $10.1 million or $0.47 per diluted share. As Gordon mentioned, we bought approximately $9.3 million of our own stock and now have authorization for another $10 million to continue doing so. Our stock purchases thus far this year have resulted in more than 3% accretion to book value and AFFO per share. For our shareholders, myself and our insiders included, we would obviously prefer that our stock reflects the value of our portfolio. However, at these levels, we will continue to take advantage of the opportunity to create value by investing in our own stock. Turning to some developments on the federal front. United States Department of Health and Human Services responded to President Biden’s request by recommending to the DEA a rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3. If this does occur, the onerous taxation on cannabis industry in the form of IRS Code 280E would be removed. This would provide significant cash flow relief for the industry moving forward, which in turn would be a meaningful improvement in the credit profile of our tenant base. It’s hard to predict the outcome or the timing of this taking in place. Therefore, we’re not basing any decisions on this potential catalyst. But we do share the industry’s optimism that this could become a reality in 2024. On previous calls, we’ve discussed the SAFE Banking Bill. That bill has since been revised and is now known as the SAFER Banking Bill. During late September, the Senate Banking Committee passed the bill out of committee on a bipartisan basis. While SAFE had passed the house seven times, this is the first time the cannabis banking legislation passed out of a Senate Committee. This is a positive step for sure, but we still see a difficult path for the bill to become law before next year’s election cycle. I actually think one of the more interesting developments in the cannabis sector is the lawsuit recently filed on behalf of a group of industry participants against the federal government. The lawsuit challenges the ability of the federal government to use the Controlled Substances Act to regulate intrastate commerce regarding cannabis. I won’t go into detail here, but I do invite you to consider this lawsuit in the context of cannabis cases in some of the circuit courts, including a pending case in Florida. Given this activity and potential conflicting opinions amongst federal circuit courts, we actually believe that there’s a viable chance cannabis makes it to the Supreme Court. And in fact, Justice Thomas seems to invite the challenge in a statement he wrote in connection with the court’s decision not to hear a cannabis case in 2021 where Justice Thomas said that the federal ban on cultivation and use of marijuana within states may no longer, in his words, “May no longer be necessary or proper.” And he also noted that the inconsistent enforcement led to traps for marijuana businesses. So this legal strategy for sure will take time to play out, but it is another important opportunity for the industry to close that state and federal gap, without waiting for action from the legislative branch. Additionally, I’d like to comment about Ohio. Ohio held a ballot referendum yesterday on Tuesday to approve adult use cannabis sales in the state. The measure passed with nearly 57% of voters supporting the measure. Ohio will become the 24th state to legalize adult use and we expect the program to launch in late 2024 or early 2025. This outcome shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that Gallup announced yesterday that 70% of U.S. adults believe cannabis should be legal. Consider that in the past 12 months, you have had Missouri, Maryland and now Ohio approve adult use, adding a combined population of 24 million people to the adult use market. Today, more than half of our country resides in a state with adult use cannabis. The march towards a legalized market is firmly in place, which will only serve to strengthen the credit quality of our tenant base and expand our growth opportunities. And with that, I’ll turn the call over to Jarrett. Aerial view of a neighborhood with houses and a real estate brokerage office. Jarrett Annenberg: Thanks, Anthony. I’ll be covering our current portfolio, including further details on Rev Clinics and Calypso as well as activity in the third quarter and outlook for the rest of the year. In regard to our current portfolio, I’ll start with Revolutionary Clinics. As Anthony and Gordon noted, we finalized the lease amendment and forbearance agreement subsequent to quarter end on the 145,000 square foot property we own in Massachusetts. To provide more color, under the terms of the agreement, the lease was extended by 5 years. NewLake received $480,000 of previously unpaid rent and applied the remaining $315,000 of security deposit to rent, all of which will be recognized as income in the fourth quarter. Additionally, NewLake has received the reduced contractual rent payments for October and November. While we do not disclose individual lease terms, the reduced rental payments will represent approximately 6.1% of scheduled fourth quarter contractual income. The rent payments may escalate in the event Rev Clinics hits certain gross revenue metrics. Under the forbearance agreement, NewLake provided forbearance for approximately $2 million of back rental income. These amounts come due and payable in the event of a future default. Lastly, we received 9.95% of equity in Rev Clinics in the form of warrants. Anthony also mentioned that Calypso did not pay weekly rent in October, but is back to paying on a weekly cadence in November. As we’ve noted, each of the past few quarters, Calypso has been weathering a difficult Pennsylvania market for independent operators and has been paying rent on a weekly schedule since the first quarter to better match their cash flow. While we still believe that the Calypso sale will be finalized, we are also encouraged by the recent movement in the Pennsylvania legislature with a bill that would provide dispensaries to independent operators in the state. This verticality would be very helpful for Calypso and has already driven additional interest in the asset in the event the currently proposed transaction is not executed. One additional portfolio update is the sale of an industrial facility that was leased to The Mint in Massachusetts. This was a mutual decision made with The Mint in response to the difficult environment in Massachusetts and Mint’s desire to focus on its existing footprint, including growth in their home state of Arizona, where they have 6 operational stores. Our basis in the Massachusetts property was $1.95 million and we sold the property for $2 million. The remaining $3 million in TI allowance that was to be used for the build out of Massachusetts was moved to The Mint’s cultivation facility in Phoenix earlier this year. As a refresher, we purchased a property in Phoenix, Arizona with The Mint for the build out of 100,000 square foot cultivation and processing facility. As of quarter end, we’ve invested $15.3 million of the $21 million committed to the property, with construction scheduled to be completed during the first quarter of 2024. As of September 30th, we have committed a total of $425 million across 17 dispensaries, 14 cultivation facilities in 12 states with 13 tenants, inclusive of one tenant that has been provided with the loan along with the sale leaseback, representing approximately 1.6 million square feet covered. Our basis in the retail properties is $389 per square foot and cultivation properties is $252 per square foot. Both metrics are well below replacement cost. 64% of our fully committed capital is with publicly traded operators. 92.5% is committed to properties in which the tenant is vertically integrated in the state. EBITDA coverage for the latest available quarter at our properties was 4x for cultivation and 9.8x for dispensaries. While these are decreases from the previous quarter of 0.5x and 1x, respectively, they are within the standard deviation over the past 6 quarters. Please note that we use estimates where appropriate given each company reports slightly differently on a property level basis. Moving to capital deployment. In the third quarter, we disbursed $2.6 million of tenant improvement allowance. As of September 30th, we had approximately $20.2 million in unfunded commitments, which is almost entirely comprised of The Mint and C3 transactions. As I mentioned, we expect The Mint, which represents $5.7 million of TI outstanding, to be finished in Q1 and C3, which represents $13.7 million to be completed over the next 9 months. Taking a step back, the industry continues to work through growing pains as operators work on efficiencies and focused on balance sheet management. That said, we are encouraged to see stabilization in states that saw significant price compression and new markets showing signs of strength. The U.S. average wholesale price for indoor flower is now closer to $1,400 per pound, up from just over $1,300 per pound last quarter. As far as new markets, Maryland launched adult use sales in July and total sales in the state for the third quarter were over $270 million. Missouri, which commenced adult use sales in February and where we own 2 cultivation facilities, is on pace to eclipse $1.2 billion in total sales for 2023. Both markets were set up for success, with medical operators transitioning to adult use, providing proper supply and retail outlets for consumers. We also continue to see growth in states that were slower to start, like Connecticut, which crossed the $25 million a month in sales in September. We expect to see continued growth as more dispensaries come online, combined with Connecticut’s recent increase on sale limitations per customer. For potential new markets, as Anthony mentioned, voters in Ohio voted in favor of adult use sales, making it the 24th state to do so. On Tuesday, Virginia’s House and Senate both turned Democratic, which could revive the adult use market in the state. Additionally, in Kentucky, Andy Beshear won his reelection campaign for governor. Governor Beshear signed a law back in March for medical use in Kentucky with the program slated to start in 2025. All that said, our capital deployment continues to be at a slower pace, given that operators are focused on existing operations, states have been slower to launch and the interest rate environment has continued to put pressure on the cost of capital. With that, I’ll hand it over to our CFO, Lisa Meyer, to walk through our financial results in more detail. Lisa Meyer : Thank you, Jarrett. For the third quarter of 2023, our portfolio generated total revenue of $11.5 million, a decrease of 4.9% compared to the same period in 2022. The decrease was mainly driven by the nonpayment of rent from Revolutionary Clinics during the third quarter, which was approximately $1.3 million and we applied 25% or $315,000 from their security deposit to partially offset the decrease in rental revenue. As mentioned earlier on the call, the company entered into a lease amendment and a forbearance agreement after quarter end, and Revolutionary Clinics is current on its rental payments under the amended lease. The decrease in total revenue for the third quarter of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022 was partially offset by $600,000 of rental income generated from property acquisitions, tenant improvement allowances at existing properties, including the development and expansion of our Arizona and Missouri cultivation facilities, as well as annual rent escalation. Net income attributable to common shareholders for the third quarter of 2023 decreased to $6.1 million, a decrease of 8.4% when compared to net income attributable to common shareholders of $6.6 million for the same period in 2022. On a sequential basis, our financial results in the third quarter of 2023 were relatively flat from the second quarter of 2023. Our rent collection for the third quarter of 2023 was in line with our guidance of 92%, reflecting Revolutionaries Clinic’s delinquency. Our portfolio continues to perform well and in line with our expectations, which is a direct result of the quality of our investments. For the third quarter of 2023, our portfolio generated FFO of $9.6 million or $0.45 per diluted share, AFFO of $10.1 million or $0.47 per diluted share. We are maintaining our AFFO guidance for the full year of 2023 of $39.8 million to $40.8 million. We declared a cash dividend of $0.39 per common share, and our dividend was fully supported by the earnings power of our portfolio with Q3 payout ratio of 81.6%. The dividend was paid on October 13 of 2023 to stockholders of record at the close of business on September 30, 2023, equivalent to $1.56 per share of common stock. Also, in the third quarter, to improve shareholder value, pursuant to our stock repurchase program, we acquired 608,152 shares of common stock. We amended our existing program to repurchase an additional $10 million of our outstanding common stock and extended the program through December 31, 2024. As of September 30, 2023, we acquired 713,831 shares of our common stock at an average price of $12.96 per share. The remaining availability under the program at September 30, 2023 was approximately $10.7 million. On September 30, 2023, we continued to have a strong balance sheet with $403 million in gross real estate assets and a total debt of only $2 million. We have $89 million available on our revolving credit facility, and we believe the company is well positioned to execute on our business strategy to grow earnings for investors as we deploy that capital. And now I will turn the call over to the operator for Q&A. See also 10 Best Performing Small Cap ETFs in 2022 and 12 Defensive Healthcare Dividend Stocks. Q&A Session Follow Newlake Capital Partners Inc. Follow Newlake Capital Partners Inc. We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: [Operator Instructions] Our first question is from Pablo Zuanic with Zuanic & Associates. Pablo Zuanic : Anthony, obviously on the reform front, a lot of good news, right, tailwinds and you highlighted them all. Something that’s new to some extent. Is that some companies including some of your clients are speaking publicly about changing the way they think about their tax liabilities. So they are going to pay the corporate tax and other 280 tax and they will even ask for rebates for prior years. And people are thinking about that in different ways obviously. But I’m just thinking from your perspective, how do you think about that from a credit evaluation perspective or you’re just agnostic to that? Anthony Coniglio: No. We’re certainly not agnostic. When we underwrite, we look at those liabilities and we have to assume that those liabilities will come due. We haven’t seen anybody in their published results actually state that they have a lower tax liability. I think that might be going a step too far. But we consider the full federal 280E liability in the way we underwrite the sector. Pablo Zuanic : And now, in terms of a share repurchase program, yes, nice to see that going on, but it’s also a reflection of the opportunities out there, right? So to some extent, given all these tailwinds that you highlighted and more states going recreational, I would assume that there’s more better quality opportunities out there. So you have more opportunities to deploy capital in new loans as opposed to repurchasing shares. Can you just try to reconcile the two? Anthony Coniglio: Yes. Our guiding light and our guiding principle is creating value for shareholders. And when we look at the evolving cost of capital for us and everyone across the industry and relative to the risk profile of the opportunities we’re looking at, we’re going to consistently look to make sure we’re making the right decision to create that value for shareholders. And right now with such volatility in capital markets, although I think it is difficult to have a high degree of confidence that with some of the recent lowered expectations for pricing out of the industry because they think that hope is around the corner for federal reform, it’s hard in some cases to see the pricing on the opportunity to meet the pricing for us to create value relative to the share buyback program that you mentioned. Pablo Zuanic : One last one. I mean given all that and given the context where we are, right, which is still challenging, but let’s say light at the end of the tunnel, and a lot of positive tailwinds. I’m just trying to understand the competition that you face, say, in a place like Maryland that’s supposed — obviously sales more than double, right, potential for reforming in Pennsylvania and Ohio, how the operators there that supposedly some of them will want to expand and are looking for capital, when they talk to you in terms of your niche, in terms of lending, are you in a better position compared to other types of lenders out there that follow, let’s say, a different model or in a weaker position? Just trying to understand the competitive dynamics in terms of your model versus others in the current context when you’re pitching to someone saying in Maryland, which would be an attractive state with good economics, of course, and growth potential? Anthony Coniglio: Yes. There have been relatively no new entrants into what we do, or providing capital around real estate opportunities in the cannabis sector. No new entrants for at least 12 to 24 months that that I’m aware of any scale. And so from a competitive standpoint, there are only a couple of us that do what we do and can do it in scale. And when we look at the amount of available capital out there for whether it be sale leaseback or even loans, it’s a fairly limited set of providers. So when opportunities exist, I can’t say that we see every opportunity in the industry, but we see just about every opportunity in the industry. As far as funding some of these new growth markets, you’re absolutely right. We spent a lot of time quantifying what the needed cultivation square footage is on a state by state basis as well as the need for retail, capacity on a state by state basis......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyNov 11th, 2023

Top 15 Countries Where Sports Betting is Popular

In this article, we’ll look at the top 15 countries where sports betting is popular. If you want to skip our detailed analysis of the sports betting market and its recent trends, then head straight to the Top 5 Countries Where Sports Betting is Popular.  Sports betting has become increasingly popular in recent years, as […] In this article, we’ll look at the top 15 countries where sports betting is popular. If you want to skip our detailed analysis of the sports betting market and its recent trends, then head straight to the Top 5 Countries Where Sports Betting is Popular.  Sports betting has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more states have allowed it. About one out of every five adults in the United States (19%) has bet money on sports in some way in the past year. Altogether, Americans have legally bet more than $220 billion on sports since a law that used to stop most states from allowing sports betting was changed in 2018.  Sports Betting Regulations and Concerns In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the regulations surrounding sports betting and its impact. Governments and organizations are increasingly taking steps to limit or even ban certain types of gambling advertisements. Some states have introduced or proposed new rules to prevent misleading marketing that could target young bettors. This move aims to protect minors from potentially harmful influences. One concern is the normalization of gambling, which can make it seem like a routine part of life. There’s also a concern about the potential for addiction, as some people might become compulsive gamblers. For example, in April 2023, the Premier League made an announcement that garnered attention. They decided to ban betting companies from featuring on the front of team shirts starting from the 2026/27 season. This decision was voluntary and came after a lengthy consultation process that involved the league, its clubs, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sports. This move was part of the government’s ongoing review of gambling laws. Supporters of this decision hope it’s a step toward reducing the close association between gambling firms and sports. However, there’s a possibility that the Premier League might vote on banning gambling companies from shirt fronts while still allowing other forms of advertising. This ongoing debate reflects the complex issues surrounding sports betting and its relationship with various aspects of society. The Growing Popularity of Sports Betting  Sports betting has become incredibly popular among Americans, and its growth is quite remarkable. According to a survey conducted by the American Gaming Association, more than 73 million Americans are planning to bet on the NFL season. This marks a significant increase of almost 60% compared to the previous season. To put this into perspective, around 46 million people in the United States placed bets on the NFL last year, as reported by the AGA. The expansion of legal sports betting is also a noteworthy trend. Currently, there are 37 states and Washington, D.C. where people can legally wager on sports, a substantial increase from the 18 states that allowed it at the beginning of the 2020-2021 football season. Importantly, some of the largest markets in the U.S., including California and Florida, are moving closer to legalizing sports betting, with New York also in the pipeline to join them.  The Growth of the Sports Betting Industry  The world of sports betting has experienced substantial growth in recent times. In 2022, as Grand View Research puts it, the global sports betting market reached a whopping value of $83.65 billion. And it’s not slowing down. Experts anticipate it will keep growing, with a CAGR of 10.3% from 2023 to 2030. This expansion is largely fueled by the rise of digital technology and widespread wireless connectivity. More and more people are using smartphones for various activities, including sports betting. This shift in consumer behavior is playing a significant role in shaping the industry’s future. DraftKings Inc. (NASDAQ:DKNG), a well-known sports betting company, has experienced a mix of successes and challenges in recent times. In August 2023, the company faced a significant setback when The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s ESPN, a prominent media giant, announced a partnership with Penn Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ:PENN) to rebrand and relaunch Penn’s online sportsbook as ESPN Bet. In the deal, Penn Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ:PENN) will pay $1.5 billion in cash and provide approximately $500 million in warrants to ESPN. Penn Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ:PENN) plans to rename and revamp its sportsbook service in 16 U.S. states, where it holds licenses, under the new brand name ESPN Bet.  This news had an immediate impact on DraftKings Inc. (NASDAQ:DKNG)’s stock, causing it to drop substantially. In response to these developments, on Oct 4, 2023, Guggenheim, a financial analysis firm, adjusted its price target for DraftKings Inc. (NASDAQ:DKNG) from $38 to $37 but maintained a Buy rating on the company’s shares.  Despite this setback, Guggenheim’s analysis of third-party app data suggests that DraftKings Inc. (NASDAQ:DKNG) continued to perform well in the third quarter of the year. During their Q2, 2023 earnings call, Jason Robins, the CEO of DraftKings, emphasized the company’s commitment to product improvement, emphasizing a philosophy of delivering both speed and high quality. He said the following:  “We are improving our product to have very fast philosophy with very high quality. In iGaming, we’re executing our two brand strategy while focusing on differentiating through more in-house content, including live dealer and jackpot offerings. Our persistent focus on product differentiation is already apparent in share trends. In the states, where we are currently live, we achieved OSB handle share of 35% and OSB GGR share of 32% in the quarter, which were the highest they have been since the COVID impacted second quarter of 2020.” With your newfound knowledge of recent trends in the sports betting industry, let’s delve into the countries where sports betting is popular.  Pixabay/Public Domain Our Methodology  For the list of the most popular sports betting countries, we’ve taken market sizes of sports betting as a proxy for popularity. Therefore, we’ve ranked countries on their sports’ betting market sizes, as of 2022, in ascending order based on our estimations. 15 Most Popular Sports Betting Countries  Here is the list of the most popular sports betting countries.  15. Canada Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: $0.84 billion  In Canada, the popularity of sports betting is on the rise, driven by emerging trends such as online sports betting, regulated sports betting, and cryptocurrency betting. Furthermore, the industry anticipates growth in areas like virtual reality gambling, esports betting, and mobile gambling.  14. South Korea Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: $0.96 billion  In South Korea, legal betting options include horse racing, cycling, and boat racing at designated locations. The state-operated national lottery offers limited sports betting through Sports Toto and Sports Proto. While live sports betting choices are limited in South Korea, online sports betting websites offer better odds and a wider range of options. Football (soccer) and baseball are the most popular sports for betting, with football, especially events like the K-League and international tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup, attracting the most bets. 13. Russia Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: 0.97 billion The sports betting market in Russia is experiencing significant growth, with football being the most popular sport for betting, followed by ice hockey, basketball, and tennis.   12. Spain Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: $1.7 billion  In 2022, 38.7% of the Spanish population participated in sports betting activities. Of those who engaged in sports betting in Spain, 36.41% expressed their enjoyment of the experience. Additionally, in-play sports betting, known for enhancing engagement with the game, is a favored choice among Spanish sports bettors. 11. Germany Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: 2 billion In the last few years, the sports betting market in Germany has gone through some changes. It’s getting more competitive because many companies, both from Germany and other countries, are trying to get more customers. Most people bet on sports to win money, and some do it because they find it fun and exciting. 10. Italy Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: $2.2 billion Italy stands as one of the largest sports betting markets globally, with football, basketball, baseball, hockey, track cycling, car racing, mixed martial arts, and boxing being the prominent choices for betting enthusiasts in the country. 9. India Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: $2.47 billion Legalizing sports betting in India is complicated because of complex laws that vary from state to state. Currently, only Sikkim, Nagaland, and Meghalaya have regulations for sports betting in India. Indians are limited in what sports they can bet on, and the available sports vary by state. For example, in Sikkim, residents can only bet on golf, chess, cricket, football, lawn tennis, and horse racing. Despite these restrictions, the cricket betting industry attracts wagers from more than 140 million regular bettors in India. During major tournaments like the Indian T20 League, the number of bettors surges to over  an estimated 370 million. 8. Brazil Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: $2.7 billion Sports betting has gained significant popularity among Brazil’s middle-class population, with soccer being the favored sport for betting. Due to the absence of federal regulations, numerous offshore sports betting websites have attracted Brazilian bettors. While sports betting was legalized in Brazil back in 2018, it has only been recently regulated, with a provisional decree issued in late July 2023. 7. Nigeria Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: $2.9 billion  The whole of Africa has seen a significant rise in sports betting, and Nigeria is no different. Soccer is incredibly popular in Nigeria, and it’s the most commonly bet-on sport. Nigerians spend roughly $15 daily on sports betting, and an estimated 60 million individuals between 18 and 40 years old are actively involved in sports betting in Nigeria. 6. France Estimated Market Size of Sports Betting: $4.7 billion France has a rich gambling history, and sports betting is a widely favored form of entertainment in the nation. Specifically, in France, sports betting predominantly occurs online, with 68.56% of sports enthusiasts engaging in this activity primarily through the Internet and mobile apps. Approximately 14.69% of individuals in France place sports bets several times a week, while 5.99% participate in sports betting on a monthly basis. Click to continue reading and see the. Top 5 Countries Where Sports Betting is Popular. Suggested Articles: 20 Most Popular Extreme Sports in the US 15 Most Innovative Startups in Sports Top 15 Sports Tech Companies And Startups In The World Disclosure: None. Top 15 Countries Where Sports Betting is Popular is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyOct 10th, 2023

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE:IIPR) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE:IIPR) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript August 3, 2023 Operator: Good day, and welcome to the Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. Second Quarter 2023 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]. I would now like to turn the conference over to Brian Wolfe, General Counsel. Please go ahead, Mr. Wolfe. Brian Wolfe: Thank you […] Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE:IIPR) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript August 3, 2023 Operator: Good day, and welcome to the Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. Second Quarter 2023 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]. I would now like to turn the conference over to Brian Wolfe, General Counsel. Please go ahead, Mr. Wolfe. Brian Wolfe: Thank you for joining the call. Presenting today are Alan Gold, Executive Chairman; Paul Smithers, President and Chief Executive Officer; David Smith, Chief Financial Officer; Catherine Hastings, Chief Operating Officer; and Ben Regin, Chief Investment Officer. Before we begin, I’d like to remind everyone that statements made during today’s conference call may be deemed forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and actual results may differ materially due to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors. Please refer to the documents filed by the company with the SEC, specifically the most recent reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. We are not obligated to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. In addition, on today’s call, we’ll discuss certain non-GAAP financial information, such as FFO, normalized FFO and adjusted FFO. You can find this information, together with reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure in our earnings release issued yesterday as well as in our 8-K filed with the SEC. I’ll now hand the call over to Alan. Alan? Alan Gold: Thank you, Brian, and welcome, everyone. We are pleased to report another solid quarter of operations and financial results. We believe we have positioned ourselves well in this context with one of the strongest and most experienced teams of real estate professionals in the cannabis industry, a high-quality portfolio and arguably a conservative and flexible balance sheet with a 12% debt to total gross assets, no variable rate debt and no meaningful debt maturities until 2026. To recap the quarter, we generated total revenues of $76 million in Q2 and adjusted funds from operations of $64 million. Rent collection for IIPs operating portfolio was 97% for the quarter. That financial performance continue to drive dividend returns to our investors with $7.20 of dividends declared per share in the past 12 months alone, an increase of 11% over the prior 12-month period. This quarter was a quiet one for us in terms of additional acquisitions and investment activity. And as we’ve noted for several quarters, we expected a significantly lower pace of investment activity, given the significant adjustments to cost of capital since the Fed began aggressively raising rates last year. That said, we are pleased to announce the pre-leasing of a project under construction in Cathedral City, California, which was one of the projects that we took back from Kings Garden late last year. Ben will provide more detail on that project and the status of leasing for other projects in our portfolio. We continue to strive as we have from the very beginning, to be as transparent and detailed as we can about our business and prospects, especially in the context of ongoing challenges in the macro economy that we are all experiencing and in the regulated cannabis industry in particular, which we have noted in the past several calls. We also want to note the green shoots that we are seeing in the industry with the ongoing potential for passage of the SAFE Banking Act, state-level momentum for additional programs and tax relief and unit price stabilization trends we are seeing in certain markets, which Paul will spend more time discussing. While the vast majority of our tenant base continues to perform, as we have previously discussed, our tenants Parallel and Green Peak are experiencing difficulties and defaulted on their obligation to pay rent for certain properties. Paul will provide an update on the status of those situations. And as always, we are here to answer your questions to the extent we can. I will now turn the call over to Paul to discuss licensing and industry dynamics. Paul? Paul Smithers: Thanks, Alan. Before discussing overall market developments, I’d like to provide an update on the properties we previously disclosed, where tenants Parallel and Green Peak have not paid rent. As we noted then, and I think it’s worth repeating here, we are, of course, first and foremost focused on maximizing the value of each of our properties and having tenants with strong teams that can manage their businesses successfully through the inevitable ups and downs of this industry. We have engaged local counsel and other advisers in these situations, commenced legal proceedings for damages and possession and are in discussions with applicable regulatory agencies. With our veteran team internally, in combination with our advisers across a spectrum of specialties, I am confident in our ability to successfully navigate these situations. In March, as many of you may know, Green Peak was placed into receivership. And in mid-March, we regained possession of the Summit building. In addition, we regained possession of 2 small retail locations in Michigan, previously leased to Green Peak, for which our total investment is less than $3 million. The receiver is paying rent on all other remaining properties leased to Green Peak, including the Harvest Park cultivation and processing facility and 4 other retail locations, and we are closely monitoring the situation and receivership process. We are currently in the process of discussing and touring the Summit property with interested cannabis operators. As noted on our prior call, we also filed actions against Parallel for possession and damages at our Pennsylvania property and our Texas property, which is in the early stages of development. We regained possession of the Texas property in March, where Parallel failed to pay rent for the first time in February. We are actively exploring all options for these properties, including speaking to a number of interested parties. As we noted previously, Parallel continues to be current on their obligations for the 2 other properties we leased to them in Florida. Late last month, Parallel announced that it is ending its Pennsylvania operations on September 15, including at our facility and at its medical cannabis dispensaries in the towns of and Erie. We are closely monitoring the situation and continue to be in active discussions with a number of parties. Market developments. While it is clear that the regulated cannabis industry has experienced in the past several months and continues to experience a set of challenging circumstances, I would like to note that the growth of the overall cannabis industry in the United States is expected to continue to be strong, with industry research group, New Frontier Data projecting a doubling of annual sales from 2023 to 2030 to over $70 billion, representing a double-digit compound annual growth rate. The regulated cannabis industry remains an exceptional case of industry size and growth potential. As we have noted for some time now, unit pricing for regulated cannabis products have been challenged in certain states at the wholesale level, reflective of what we believe to be a number of factors, including basic supply, demand dynamics, lack of meaningful enforcement in certain states on illicit nonlicensed cannabis sales by state and local enforcement authorities, taxation and general macroeconomic conditions. Reflecting that continued price compression in combination with the continued inflation on input and labor costs, we note that consensus analyst expectations for 2023 and 2024 sales and EBITDA growth have fallen significantly for publicly traded U.S. operators nearly across the board. That said, this price compression dynamic is certainly not uniform across states, and we are cautiously optimistic that certain states, like California and Michigan, may be showing signs of price stability after months of declines. While new adult-use states, like Missouri and Maryland, are seeing very healthy wholesale price dynamics. According to cannabis benchmarks, there has been stabilization in average wholesale pricing nationwide after significant declines last year, with recent nationwide wholesale pricing even showing a modest uptick in July versus pricing in December of last year. Capital availability. Another continuing theme from our prior calls is the tightening of financial conditions and the impact it continues to have on capital availability for the cannabis industry. As with other industries, the cost of capital and capital availability have fundamentally changed for cannabis operators over the course of the past year plus. As we noted previously, capital raising across the cannabis industry continues to be very subdued, with Viridian Capital Advisors reporting that U.S. operator capital raises were down more than 3 quarters in the first half of 2023 versus the prior-year period. And of those raises, over 85% was in the form of debt. The continued focus on debt in combination with ongoing pressure on equity valuations, with cannabis equities seeing further significant drawdowns in pricing over the first half of 2023, have driven a handful of publicly traded MSOs to have a debt-to-market cap ratio in excess of 5x. As we noted from our prior call, we believe the present macroeconomic challenges of unit pricing compression and cost inflation, in combination with depressed valuations and capital availability, have translated into the larger MSOs focusing more on efficiency of existing operations and generating positive free cash flow versus growth through M&A. That certainly appeared to continue to be the case through the first half of this year, where we saw just over $1 billion in U.S. M&A transaction versus $2 billion in the first half of 2022 and $6 billion in the first half of 2021. State programs. Shifting to state-specific programs, as noted in prior calls, we continue to see momentum for both adult-use and medical-use adoption and rollout. Missouri officially launched its adult-use program in February, with regulated cannabis sales in March totaling over $126 million alone. Maryland’s adult-use cannabis program saw first legal sales on July 1, including over $10 million in sales in the first weekend alone. And in April, Delaware became the 22nd state to legalize adult-use cannabis with the licensing process they are expected to commence in 2024. In Minnesota, a bill legalizing adult-use cannabis was passed by both chambers, with the launch of the market projected in 2025. In March, Kentucky lawmakers overwhelmingly passed legislation to establish a medical cannabis program which is also expected to launch in 2025. In Florida, a legalization campaign has already collected in excess of 1 million signatures to put on a recreational use referendum on the ballot next year, with Florida having the largest medical cannabis program already in the country, including more than 830,000 enrolled patients. We’re also tracking other potential referendums or legislation regarding establishing regulated cannabis programs, including for adult use in Ohio, in South Dakota and medical cannabis programs in Nebraska, Idaho and Wyoming. Federal legislation. On the federal legislation front, as you know, versions of the SAFE Act have been introduced numerous times over the last several years in both the House and Senate. Believe it or not, we are at the tenth anniversary for when the first version of the SAFE Act bill was introduced in 4 years after it first passed the house with more than 100 Republican votes. While Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer’s recent comments placed a priority on cannabis banking legislation, it remains highly uncertain whether such a bill could make it into the National Defense Authorization Act, one of the few bills passed each year on a bipartisan basis and one which has been targeted repeatedly as a vehicle to pass SAFE. As in calls past, we also want to note some of the recent legislative movement and commentary by federal officials and commercial organizations, which we believe show the continued momentum forward for change. In June, the House Armed Services Committee approved a version of the NDAA with provisions to create a medical marijuana pilot program to examine the health impacts of Marijuana used by veterans and service members who are DoD veteran of fair beneficiaries that are diagnosed with PTSD, depression or anxiety or have been prescribed pain management. Also in June, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill that includes a provision allowing VA physicians to recommend medical cannabis as a potential treatment option for its veteran patients. Finally, also in June, the President of one of the largest labor unions in the country wrote to the Biden administration, urging comprehensive cannabis reform, including full descheduling of cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act and provisions to protect state-based industries from monopolization. I’d like to now turn the call over to Ben to discuss our investment and portfolio activity in the second quarter. Ben? Ben Regin: Thanks, Paul. It was a relatively quiet quarter in terms of acquisitions and additional investments in our portfolio. As we’ve noted for several quarters now, given the significant adjustments to cost of capital across industries, including our own cost of capital, and the macroeconomic uncertainties the regulated cannabis industry has been facing, we made the strategic decision to reduce our overall investment activity and continue to be extremely selective and patient in evaluating potential investment opportunities. As Alan noted, we executed a lease for the Perez Road property in Cathedral City, a property under development that we took back from Kings Garden some months ago. We look forward to completing that project as a cannabis facility and having the tenant occupy pursuant to a long-term lease. Regarding our San Bernardino property, a property we took back from Kings Garden late last year, we continue to explore a potential mixed-use development of the property, which may include a self-storage component pursuant to an LOI executed with a potential joint venture partner. As we’ve previously noted, this project is in its early stages, and we expect the process to take many months, but we’ll continue to report on progress as we can. For our properties in Texas and Pennsylvania, where Parallel defaulted, as Paul noted, we took back the Texas property in mid-March and exploring options for that site. In Pennsylvania, Parallel continues to occupy that property while we work through the process to regain possession in the context of Pennsylvania’s licensing dynamics, and we will provide updates as we can. With that, I will turn it over to Catherine. Catherine? Catherine Hastings: Thanks, Ben. For this call, I’ll describe our property portfolio and tenant roster, in addition to our rent collection statistics and updates on our development projects. As of June 30, we owned 108 properties across 19 states, comprising 8.9 million rentable square feet. Of these 108 properties, 103 properties are included in our operating portfolio. Our portfolio continues to be well diversified, with no one tenant representing more than 14% of our total invested capital and no state representing more than 17% of our total invested capital. We have relationships with some of the largest and most experienced operators in the industry, with our leased operating portfolio comprised of 89% multistate operators and 58% leased to public company tenants. In addition, for operators with multiple leases with us, we have cross-default provisions included for 42% of our operating portfolio, with another 14% of our operating portfolio leased to operators with just one lease with us. The total amount of capital invested and committed across our operating portfolio equates to $275 per square foot, which we believe remains significantly below replacement cost. For the second quarter, we collected approximately 97% of contractually due base rent and property management fees from our operating portfolio. The 3% we did not collect, is related to contractual rent in excess of security deposits applied for our previously disclosed defaulted tenant Parallel at one of our Pennsylvania properties. During the quarter for Green Peak, I’d like to note that we did collect an additional $305,000 in rent and operating expense reimbursements for the Summit building and the 2 small retail locations that the receivership turned back to us, plus collecting an additional $118,000 subsequent to quarter end in July by the court for payments during the receiverships occupancy. The receiver continues to pay rent in full for the remaining locations that continues to occupy, which are the Harvest Park cultivation and processing facility and the remaining 4 retail locations. Our revenue in rent collection for the quarter included the application of approximately $1.5 million in security deposits. As we previously disclosed, we amended our leases with Holistic in exchange for the inclusion of cross-default provisions and extension of terms for all the leases, and they agreed to apply security deposits for rent payments to the Michigan and California properties through September 30, with pro rata payback of these security deposits starting in January 2024. Similarly, as disclosed last quarter, we amended our lease with Temescal in Massachusetts, a property that experienced delays in completion of construction, pursuant to which we extended the term of the lease, temporarily reduced base rent for April through January and then increased the base rent for the remainder of the term with application of security deposits for certain rent payments. In July, similar to our second quarter stats, we collected approximately 97% of contractually due base rent and property management fees from our operating portfolio, with the 3% we did not collect relating to our previously disclosed defaulted tenant Parallel in Pennsylvania. We also continued to fund draws for improvement allowances or construction development to our operators under our leases. As we previously noted on prior calls, these improvements are critical for the efficient production of quality cannabis products at scale. In Q2 of 2023, we funded a net $45 million for building improvements and construction activity at our properties. As in prior quarters, we continue to see construction delays related to the delivery of electrical infrastructure, specifically switchgears, which is a common delay that we’ve seen across the entire construction industry. We continue to believe in the tremendous value of our mission-critical real estate portfolio as well as our operators and their ability to weather the current conditions, and we’ll continue to monitor their progress closely in the coming months. And with that, I’ll turn it over to David. David? David Smith: Thank you, Catherine. For the second quarter, we generated total revenues of $76 million, an 8% increase from Q2 of last year. The increase was driven primarily by prior period’s acquisition and leasing of new properties, additional funding of building improvements provided to tenants at certain properties that resulted in base rent increases, contractual rental escalations at certain properties and higher tenant reimbursements. As Catherine noted, the $76 million of revenue for the second quarter included $1.5 million of security deposits applied for payments of rents or $0.05 per share relating to the Holistic leases in Michigan and California and the Temescal lease in Massachusetts that we previously disclosed. For the 3 months ended June 30, 2023, we recorded net income attributable to common stockholders of $41 million or $1.44 per diluted share. Adjusted funds from operations for the second quarter was $64 million or $2.26 per diluted share, an increase of 5% compared to the $2.15 per share of AFFO generated in the second quarter of 2022. Our second quarter AFFO was up $0.01 compared to the first quarter AFFO of $2.25, which included an $0.11 nonrecurring benefit from the application of security deposits for Green Peak and Parallel, as I mentioned on the call in May. AFFO for the second quarter benefited from a full quarter’s impact of our first quarter investment activity, totaling $91 million, a full quarter of rent on our Calyx Peak property, which had a previously disclosed rent deferral end on March 31 and rent escalations. On July 14, we paid a quarterly dividend of $1.80 per share to common stockholders of record as of June 30, equivalent to an annualized dividend of $7.20 per common share. Our dividend remained covered by our AFFO during the quarter with a payout ratio of 80%, which is in line with the Board’s targeted payout ratio of 75% to 85% of AFFO. At quarter end, we had approximately $2.6 billion in total gross assets and roughly $304 million in debt, importantly, all of which is at a fixed rate. Our debt consists solely of unsecured debt, with a majority of this, or $300 million, not maturing for roughly 3 years until May 2026. At quarter end, our credit metrics remain strong and among the best in the entire publicly traded REIT industry, with a debt-to-gross assets ratio of less than 12% and a debt service coverage ratio in excess of 16x. In addition, the company continues to generate significant cash flow from operations, which totaled nearly $240 million over the last 12 months. With that, I’ll turn it back to Alan. Alan? Alan Gold: Thank you, David. I’d like to note the following in closing. Our conviction is as strong as ever in the long-term growth and promise of the regulated cannabis industry. Our team of highly experienced talented professionals will continue to work through the inevitable challenges that rapidly evolving high-growth industries face. With the quality of our team and the quality of our facilities, I believe we are well positioned to meet these challenges and continue to focus on value creation for you all, our valued long-term owners. With that, I’d like to open it up to questions. Operator, could you please open the call up for questions? Q&A Session Follow Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (NYSE:IIPR) Follow Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (NYSE:IIPR) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: [Operator Instructions]. And our first question comes from Tom Catherwood from BTIG. William Catherwood: Paul, I appreciate the detail in your prepared remarks talking about the broader macroeconomic picture and how it’s mixed both on the negative side and on the green shoot side. But when you take a step back, what is your expectation or the company’s expectation for the cannabis industry through the rest of ’23? And how are your tenants positioned? Paul Smithers: Yes. Thanks, Tom. So I think it’s no surprise that we’re not expecting any major turn, I think, for the next — for the rest of the year. I think with interest rates where they are, I think it’s going to remain a bit of a challenged market. But we are happy to report that our MSOs and our tenants are doing very well under the conditions they’re operating. And so I think overall for the industry it’s going to remain a bit of a challenged environment, but we’re very pleased with the way our tenants are performing. Alan Gold: Yes, this is Alan. And as a matter of fact that over probably — I think it’s 86% of our portfolio, our tenants are adjusted EBITDA positive. And as you know that 58% of our portfolio is public, and of those public companies, 96% of those are adjusted EBITDA positive or better, with the balance expected to get to that metric end of this year or middle of next year. So I think very strong health of our tenants. William Catherwood: Got it. Appreciate that. And then maybe, Paul, sticking with you again, you mentioned operators have retrenched and are prioritizing cash flow. Alan, that goes to what you mentioned as far as being adjusted EBITDA positive. But at the same time, new markets opening in Maryland and Missouri and obviously, other ones following close thereafter, what trends are you seeing, if any, in terms of new investments and expansion plans from cannabis companies? Paul Smithers: I think we are when we say we’re seeing some retrenching. I think as you look at what happened with the Cresco and Columbia deal, there were some retrenching there, and they ran in some difficulty about trying to divest some of the assets in Florida and Ohio. So we look at that as perhaps a positive in the sense that these things are shaking out. So I think as these operators become more efficient, they are going to look to grow. And there are great opportunities, as you mentioned, in Missouri and Maryland, we look at Delaware. We’re going to launch next year. We’re looking forward to Minnesota, launching the REC program in ’25, and of course, all eyes on Florida to get that vote by the end of the year in November on the ballot. So we think there’s tremendous opportunities in these large states that are getting ready or have converted from medical to adult use. So we think the operators that are increasing their efficiencies, we’ll look to expand in those states. William Catherwood: And then last one for me, Ben. Could you provide some more detail the backfill of the Perez Road asset? And then, if you can maybe talk about the process and when the lease commences and how the rent compares to the prior agreement. Ben Regin: Yes, sure, no problem. So that was a property, as you know, we took back from Kings Garden a number of months ago. We marketed it, and we’re very happy with how quickly we were able to put that under LOI. As you know, that property is still under development, so there will be a period of time where we wrap up construction, get the tenant in there before they’re starting to pay rent. That is a private California operator. And the returns we’re seeing on the deal are right at where we were with the previous tenant. So again, very excited to get the new — get the building done, get the new tenant in there and feel very, very good about where that’s going forward. Operator: And we have a question now from Eric Des Lauriers from Craig-Hallum Capital. Eric Des Lauriers: First one, I figured it was just — since you brought up the Columbia Care and Cresco deal, I’m just wondering, how you’re looking at both those tenants? And if there’s any — if you’re starting to work with them on any potential flexibility? Or just kind of wondering, just how you’re looking at these two tenants in light of this combination not going through? Alan Gold: I mean, I think we’re very happy with both the tenants. I think they’re very strong in their own behalf, and they continue to pay rent. And everything is good. Eric Des Lauriers: All right. And then just in terms of New York, just kind of like as a case study, obviously, it’s a market that hasn’t had as robust of a start as many had expected, and you have illicit market competition kind of seeping in there. I’m wondering, how you’re looking at the New York opportunity here? There are more licensees coming online. Are those potential opportunities for you? Are you kind of — are you focused on New York? Is that a state that you’re avoiding? If you could just help us understand sort of how you’re thinking about potentially deploying capital in New York in light of how the market has rolled out. Alan Gold: So I mean, first of all, New York is a very robust market just by the virtue of the number of nonlicensed sellers that are selling cannabis on a regular basis in that market and how the authorities are having to really focus on cracking down on that. So I think that’s a really strong thing. But Paul, what do you think about… Paul Smithers: Yes, 100% because the headline last week, of course, was the authorities shut down 7 unlicensed operators Upstate New York, with promises of more to come. So as far as we look at the black market as an impediment to sales growth in New York, I think Albany has gotten the message, and they’re out there enforcing the unlicensed operators. So I think that’s a positive for the market in New York. Eric Des Lauriers: And so New York remains a market that you are potentially looking to deploy capital into? Alan Gold: Well, as we — as Ben and Paul had indicated, we’re being very cautious about deploying capital, certainly in the next couple of quarters. New York continues to have things that it’s going to work out. And as it continues to work out, we will be constantly evaluating not only the market, but any new potential growers and their financial strength and ability to really operate within what we think is a robust and competitive market. Eric Des Lauriers: All right. That’s helpful. And then last question for me here. I’m just kind of wondering your comfort level with most of your tenants’ ability to raise capital. Obviously, you commented on something like the Viridian figures with obviously, capital raises are down pretty significantly this year and remains scarce in the industry. You highlighted the positive adjusted EBITDA with most of your tenants, obviously, with 280 , cash flow is kind of a whole another beast. And so I’m just wondering, how you’re sort of looking at that equation? I mean, it sounds like you’re very comfortable with some of the tenants that you have, even some of these with the Columbia and Cresco deal falling apart, for example. And so I’m just wondering, I guess if this is something that you’re kind of focused on and see the sort of light at the end of the tunnel or if it’s just that so far, so good, and we’re going to continue to try to support the highest quality ones we can? Alan Gold: I think so far, so good. We’re supporting the highest-quality tenants that we have in our portfolio. We’re very, very proud of the tenants that we have in our portfolio. The market continues to be dynamic, especially in this — the issues with the broader macro economy. We are cautiously optimistic as to the future of the industry while it continues to grow very rapidly and with expected significant increases in revenue. Operator: And we have a question from Alexander Goldfarb from Piper Sandler. Alexander Goldfarb: And I guess maybe from California, your optimism for Albany doing something is impressive. New York, we have maybe a jaded view. But — so two questions here. The first is, Alan, you spoke about — or Paul, I forget, you spoke about 85% of your tenants being adjusted EBITDA positive. And obviously, adjusted stands out. And then, there’s the cost of financing. So when you look at your tenants on a cash — like bottom line cash profitability after they’ve paid their financing costs and everything else, would you stand by that 85% number? Or where does that number really shake out? Alan Gold: I mean I think we’ve analyzed it, and we believe the 85% or 86% of our tenants are adjusted EBITDA positive. And moving towards, I think, full free cash flow is something that they’re all striving to do by reducing headcounts and focusing on expenses and driving revenues as best they can, knowing that cost of capital is significant and perhaps even increasing. So no, we’re very positive, and you shouldn’t be bringing up politics on a call like that. I mean, Alex, come on. No, I’m just kidding. Alexander Goldfarb: And — but when you look at the profitability, I mean, that’s ultimately what we’re going for here, right? So how many of your tenants — when you move beyond the adjusted EBITDA and you say that the tenants are working towards cash flow profitability, where do your tenants stand right now? Do you think half of them are cash flow positive, so it’s really just, “Hey, we need another 50%”? Is it less than that? I’m just trying to get a perspective because, obviously, we’re all concerned about what’s going on in the industry. Tenants are having to renegotiate or use security deposits. So just trying to get a sense of where the profitability level of your tenants currently stands on a cash basis. Alan Gold: Yes. I mean I think that we’re very comfortable with our tenants and their profitability status. We’re very comfortable with the program that we’ve used in the past for our tenants to bridge some of the supply chain issues in their completion of their — the developments that have allowed them to be successful and continue to pay rent after the deferrals have expired. We think that that’s been a very positive thing and something that we’ll continue to look at. No. I think in general, we are very, very positive with our tenants. And I think you can look at statistics in a lot of different ways. And keeping in mind that we have not only public companies, which you can have access to see what their financial strength is and where they’re financials are going because, as you know, and I mentioned 58% of our tenants are public. And then on our private, in general, our private tenants are doing very well. Alexander Goldfarb: Okay. The second question is, one of the themes in the industry has been overcapacity that people invested and built for a bigger market than has actually occurred, whether it’s because slower rollouts or competition from the illicit market. As you guys assess your portfolio in the states within you operate, do you have a sense of how far overcapacity the markets are or some metric that sort of helps frame out maybe how much of a shakeout or how much consolidation needs to occur? Alan Gold: Well, I mean, you could — I don’t know if I can answer it and answer your question on the way you’ve asked it. But look, the tenants are performing well. The markets are — they are — revenues are increasing. Sales are occurring. It’s really hard to say that there’s overcapacity and a bunch of new growers being funded, but — when we just talked about how there’s very little capital going into this market. So you can’t have it both ways, Alex. So it’s either — there’s very little capital and that’s a concern or there’s new growers and overcapacity. That just doesn’t make any sense. Alexander Goldfarb: Yes, I wasn’t talking about new. I was talking about what was already built in the system. Clearly, I’m not talking about new. Alan Gold: Yes. And then what’s already built in the system, as the market continues to grow as these — the states move to adult use, capacity will be used to deal with that increased usage of the product. As we indicated that by 2030, there is expected to be a doubling of the revenue sales of this product, not all of that’s going to be based on because of inflation, but actual additional use. Operator: Our next question comes from Andrew Rosivach from Wolfe Research. Andrew Rosivach: Andrew. So I apologize, I’m piling on with another tenant credit question. Here’s kind of maybe a way to frame it. I think the reason why my peers and I keep asking is these publicly traded names, we look at the credit math — something simple, just look at the market cap, some of these names are under $200 million. Some of them are under $100 million. And maybe to frame it, a lot of the guys that you’re hearing, we also cover retail REITs, and they’ll often talk about a credit loss reserve that the companies just kind of put in their guides. And have you guys ever thought of or would you potentially throw out when you look at your watchlist of tenants, what might be an appropriate credit watchlist — credit reserve to put in your model for the next 3 or 6 months? Alan Gold: I mean I think that we’re reporting record revenues, we’re reporting revenues that have increased significantly year-over-year. We’ve a deep dive in all of our tenants. We’re watching our tenants. We’re doing what it’s necessary to make sure that the tenants continue to operate well and pay their rent. We don’t have a defined credit — loss reserve because we don’t believe that, that’s an appropriate way to look at it. We’ll take whatever situation, disclose it transparently to everybody, and everybody can focus in on the actual loss, if there is going to be one, from any one of those specific situations, which we think we haven’t — luckily, we haven’t had to announce anything for a long period of time. And we, again, remind everybody of the strength of our tenants and the good — and the high-quality health of our tenants. So why would we look at a loss reserve? Now, our — the — anybody who underwrites the company — our company, can certainly use whatever metric they want and underwriting the information that we transparently and fully have disclosed. Andrew Rosivach: I know I’m kind of throwing out an idea out of the blue. One — just two other things. When you’re 97% collected, what kind of payable period would that be, like 60 days, 90 days, before they would be outside of the 97%? Alan Gold: That’s all current. That’s current pay. They’re currently — they paid the rent. Andrew Rosivach: They paid August… Alan Gold: On time. They paid the rent on time. Andrew Rosivach: August, on time. Okay. And then one other, your construction loan, is that — does that loan operate — that’s on the balance sheet, does that operate as a in kind? Ben Regin: There — Andrew, this is Ben. They’re making cash payments as well towards that loan as they’re wrapping up construction there. Andrew Rosivach: Got it. Okay. So that’s — what’s the cash payment, the rate they’re paying now? Ben Regin: That’s a private company and — details of which we have not disclosed. But we are very happy with the progress that we made on construction and the payments that we’ve received and feel very good about that, going forward. Operator: We have a question from Scott Fortune from ROTH MKM. Scott Fortune: Let me summarize it this way differently, maybe I can ask Ben because as Chief Investment Officer, you’re talking with a lot of these tenants. It seems to getting beyond the major concern of the tenants, as Alan and Paul have indicated, right? We still — it’ll be helpful to get federal legislation from that standpoint. But most of the tenants have extended debt, they’ve made meaningful cuts to their OpEx and CapEx. And we’re expecting to see significant cash flow generation here. And that should bode well for the industry as we’re seeing green shoots, kind of the fundamentals start to stabilize and improve. But I just want to get a sense, Ben, from your discussions with your strong — these large MSO operators have solid balance sheet and potential green shoots coming here, are you discussing like new states like Maryland and New Jersey, where there’s limited — or you have more opportunities there to grow with them? And part of this discussion, too, is that there’s still a very highly illicit market out there that needs to be converted to the regulated side, which there’s not enough supply for that. But just your sense been in talking to the operators and tenants, their health overall and kind of some new opportunities that you’re talking with them, obviously cautious and still a challenging year, but looking into 2024 potentially. Ben Regin: Yes. Scott, sure. So yes, we do talk to all of our tenants on a regular basis. We are seeing the green shoots that you mentioned, whether that’s pricing stabilization and even increasing in wholesale pricing in markets like Michigan, where they have started to crack down on the illicit market. The adult-use rollout in states like Missouri or Maryland, many of our tenants have exposure to those markets. As we mentioned before, we are being very selective and patient in terms new opportunities. We think that’s the right thing to do, given current market conditions. But all — I would say, all of our tenants are — they do feel the same way, and they see opportunities in a lot of these markets. And you have tremendous potential in a state like Pennsylvania, Florida, potentially converting to adult-use market. We usually see 2 to 3x revenue increase when something like that happens. So I think there’ll be some great opportunities in those states and elsewhere, going forward. And we will be there to support our tenants, if they’re looking to expand in those markets. Scott Fortune: I appreciate the color. And then one last question for me, bigger picture, can you provide a little color on kind of the broader real estate market overall? Obviously, we’ve seen an acceleration in the volatility of interest rates. You have a strong balance sheet and various options that remain cautious here towards potentially raising capital. But what are you looking for to kind of address and capitalizing on these kind of new accretive opportunities that you would see? And what do you need to see kind of more interest rate stabilization, more — further fundamentals of the industry or meaningful green shoots to come about? Kind of just your sense and thoughts of looking at the individual positive investment opportunities that present themselves and the ability to deploy cash into these opportunities from that standpoint overall? Alan Gold: All right, Scott. I wish I could answer that. I wish I had the clearest crystal ball. And if I did, I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here, I’d be on some island with — on a big yacht or something. I mean, no, we don’t have — we don’t — our crystal ball is as fuzzy as everybody else’s. We would like to see the broader macro economy continue to stabilize. They — we would like to see inflation to be brought under control, and we’d love to see interest rates perhaps start coming back down, which would drive the broader economy, which, as you know, if you — the broader economy is being increasing, then consumers would have greater confidence and spend more. And if consumers have greater confidence and spend more, one of the things that consumers may do is be clients of our tenants, and that’s what we would like to see. Operator: And this concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Alan Gold for any closing remarks. Please, Mr. Gold. Alan Gold: And certainly, thank you all for joining us on the call today. I really want to thank the entire IIPR team for their tremendous work and for a fantastic quarter. And with that, thank you all for joining, and we’ll sign off. Operator: The conference has concluded. Thanks for attending today’s presentation. You may now disconnect. Follow Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (NYSE:IIPR) Follow Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (NYSE:IIPR) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyAug 4th, 2023

A showdown with one senator over hundreds of generals and admirals is set to ripple through the US military

"We need the Senate to do their job," Gen. David Berger said on the last day of his 42 years in the Marine Corps. Marines at the Corps' relinquishment of office ceremony in Washington DC on July 10.US Marine Corps/Cpl. Mark A. Morales Since February, Sen. Tommy Tuberville has put a hold on more than 250 military promotions. Tuberville vows to continue holding promotions to object to the Pentagon's abortion leave policy. Officials and experts say the effect will ripple across the force and through military families. Gen. David Berger retired from the US Marine Corps on Monday after four years as its top officer and 42 years in uniform. Waiting to replacing him is Gen. Eric Smith, and he will continue waiting until one senator lifts holds on the promotions of more than 250 generals and admirals.Sen. Tommy Tuberville began applying holds in February and vows to continue until the Pentagon rescinds a policy allowing troops to take leave and have their travel expenses covered for an abortion or other reproductive health services not offered by the department. Tuberville says the Biden administration is "flouting" legal restrictions on use of taxpayer money for abortions, though the Justice Department has deemed the policy lawful.The holds could affect as many as 650 officers by year's end. US officials and experts say the delay will ripple through the military, preventing leaders from taking new commands, keeping families from moving to new homes, and creating friction across the force.Tuberville's hold targets uniformed military officers over a policy set by the US military's civilian leadership, diverging from the longstanding manner in which members of Congress have expressed displeasure with such policies."It's perfectly appropriate for the for Congress to provide its oversight role in asking the civilian appointees — so service secretaries and other civilians in that chain of command — questions about policy, which are fundamentally part of the political system," Katherine Kuzminski, director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security, told Insider on Monday.Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black passes the colors to Gen. David Berger at the relinquishment of command ceremony on July 10.US Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Kelsey Dornfeld"Uniformed military officers do not set policy. They're only responsible for carrying out policy as it's currently written, and so the hold that Tuberville has placed is kind of a gross violation of civil-military norms," Kuzminski said.The hold on Smith's confirmation meant the Corps couldn't hold a change of command ceremony on Monday, instead performing a ceremony in which Berger relinquished his office."It's been more than a century since the US Marine Corps has operated without a Senate-confirmed commandant," Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III said during the ceremony."We have a sacred duty to do right by those who volunteer" to serve in the military, Austin added. "I remain confident that all Americans can come together to agree on that basic obligation to those who keep us safe. I am also confident that the United States Senate will meet its responsibilities."Speaking next, Berger said, "We need the Senate to do their job so that we can have a sitting commandant that's appointed and confirmed."Smith, speaking last, referred to himself as "the individual performing the duties of the commandant" and told the audience and Marines that "all orders, directives, and guidance which were in effect this morning remain in effect unless I direct otherwise. Further guidance to the force will follow."'We will lose talent'Maj. Gen. Eric Smith receives his three-star rank insignia during a ceremony in Okinawa in August 2018.US Marine Corps/Sgt. Olivia G. OrtizThe military has been bracing for the impact of the holds. Speaking to reporters during the Modern Day Marine conference in Washington DC on June 29, Smith outlined the limits of being an acting commandant."I'll have all the authorities of the commandant, except for a few: I can't live in the [commandant's] house, can't use the security detail, I cannot write a commandant's planning guidance," Smith said. "I can give guidance to the force as the acting commandant, but it does not carry the same weight quite as commandant's planning guidance."Smith said he will still hold the job of assistant commandant and will have to reassign those duties, which will make it harder to maintain "synergy" as those responsibilities are "parceled out to four, five, six, seven officers who also have full-time jobs, and they will then in turn have to parcel some of their things out to a colonel, who will have to parcel his stuff out or her stuff out to a lieutenant colonel.""The ripple effect is actually pretty significant," Smith added.Other officials warned of similar effects at Senate Armed Services Committee hearings this spring.Cavoli, then head of US Army Europe, receives the colors at a change of command ceremony in Germany in July 2019.US Army/Sgt. Benjamin Northcutt"If I have general officers who are scheduled to retire and do so but I don't have somebody to replace them, I will suffer a gap" in some "fairly critical positions," Gen. Christopher Cavoli, head of US European Command, said at a hearing in May, referring to the general serving as US representative to NATO's Military Committee, who is set to retire this summer and is "a vital connection" between Cavoli and the committee.At an April hearing, Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, said dozens of offices would be affected if the holds lasted through the year, including the chief of the Office of Naval Reactors and fleet commanders in the Western Pacific and the Middle East.Gilday's deputy, Adm. Lisa Franchetti, told the committee a few weeks later that the three-star officers overseeing the Navy's air, surface, and subsurface forces "all rotate this year, and they are the ones that do the man, train, equip missions. So again, this will have the biggest impact on readiness if they are delayed."Kuzminski told Insider that officers in acting roles right now have demonstrated good judgment over long careers and would take "decisive action" if needed but said "the real challenge is that it just adds a whole bunch of friction into the decision-making process on who needs to be cleared through and what authority individuals have."A US Navy change of command ceremony in California in March 2016.US Navy/MCS2 La’Cordrick WilsonA number of officials have said the most significant impact of the holds would be on lower-ranking officers, whose career paths could be affected, and their families, who will face uncertainty about their lives."It is the personal development, it is the family understanding and predictability" that will be affected, Adm. John Aquilino, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, told senators in April. "Will it hinder our ability to continue to maintain the right people in the right jobs to be able to then potentially advance and take the next right job? Absolutely."At a hearing in March, Gen. James McConville, the US Army chief of staff, said the delay "is probably most felt in some ways on the families and the kids.""Even though it looks like it is only 40 generals there are probably four or five other transitions that have to happen" as one officer advances, McConville said. "So what it really does is it affects the families and some of the kids. They are trying to figure out where they are going to go to school, when they are going to move, and all those things kind of come in to the readiness of the force."Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, the service's top civilian official, and his uniformed counterpart, chief of staff Gen. Charles Brown Jr. have both warned that holds will affect the desire of troops to remain in service.Gen. Charles Brown Jr., left, at a change of command ceremony in South Korea in August 2018.Senior Airman Savannah L. Waters"One of the things that motivates our people in terms of retention or not is how they feel that their families are being treated. Things like childcare and education and healthcare are all very important factors," Kendall said at a hearing in May. "When they are planning for that and it is disrupted, it has very negative impact, and it definitely impacts on retention as well."Brown, who is nominated to take over as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that troops will look elsewhere if they see military opportunities disrupted by political issues."We will lose talent because of those challenges," Brown said when asked about the holds. "The spouse network is alive and well, and the spouses will compare notes, and the member may want to serve but the spouses and the families get a huge vote."Not targeting officers over policies has become a norm of civil-military relations "because they don't set the policy. They only implement the policy," Kuzminski told Insider, adding that current situation could "put a really sour taste in the mouth of service members."'"Just vote" is not an answer'Sen. Tommy Tuberville speaks to reporters at the US Capitol on July 10.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesWhile Tuberville is not alone in objecting to the Pentagon's abortion-travel policy, his holds have been widely criticized by Democrats and others. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in May that he didn't support Tuberville's actions. Seven former secretaries of defense sent a letter that month to Senate leaders urging them to lift the blanket hold.Tuberville has argued that Pentagon policy regarding abortion-related travel expenses should be set by law. He told CNN on Monday that as the minority in the Senate, "the only power we have is to put a hold on something, and so we thought that this would get to the attention of the secretary of defense."In the CNN interview, Tuberville signaled that Brown's confirmation could move forward, saying "we will vote on him by himself." Tuberville has said the Senate could do the same for other held nominations."If the Democrats are so worried about Gen. Smith being an acting official, then let's vote," Tuberville said on the Senate floor on Monday, after moving to block Sen. Jack Reed's request to confirm Smith by unanimous consent — the 11th time Tuberville has done so.Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, right, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley before the Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2021.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe Senate typically uses unanimous consent to approve multiple nominations at once. Overcoming the holds would require voting on nominees individually. Speaking on the Senate floor on Monday, Reed said filing cloture on all the held nominations would take roughly five hours and that voting on them could take another 27 days if the Senate worked around the clock or 84 days if it worked eight-hour days."So 'just vote' is not an answer. This is not a feasible solution to this issue," Reed said.There are other ways Congress could settle the policy. Kuzminski noted that both houses of Congress are working on their versions of the annual defense authorization bill and that senators were pushing to block the reimbursements, which would "un-do" the Pentagon's current policy, while Democrats in the House were working on enshrining the current policy into law."So one way or the other, Congress has the ability to change the law, but holding military leaders' nominations hostage is not exactly the way to go about actually changing the policy," Kuzminski said, echoing a sentiment shared by more than a few lawmakers."If the senator from Alabama continues his reckless action, he will soon be holding 650 leaders who have served their country honorably hostage," Sen. Elizabeth Warren said at Brown's confirmation hearing on Tuesday. "That has effects on many more of the best and brightest who have volunteered to serve our nation."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 11th, 2023

Ron DeSantis joins GOP presidential primary with glitch-filled launch. Here are all the Republicans in the 2024 mix.

Seven Republicans, including Trump, have made a White House run official, others are considering jumping in, and some have dropped out. Former President Donald Trump arrives to speak during an event at Mar-a-Lago on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Trump, Haley, Ramaswamy, Hutchinson, Elder, Tim Scott, and DeSantis are running for president. Others have been floating the possibility of entering the GOP contest — and some are dropping out. From Pence to Cruz, here's how Republicans are laying the groundwork for presidential runs. Seven Republicans are now running for president in 2024 — at least officially. Embattled former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, conservative commentator Larry Elder, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are the candidates who have so far formally announced a 2024 presidential bid.But plenty of others appear to be toying with the same idea.They're doing all the things they're supposed to do to test their chances: Visiting early primary states, writing books, showing up on the Sunday shows, and weighing in publicly on President Joe Biden's policies — and even Trump's latest controversies. The next step will be hiring teams in Iowa and New Hampshire, Doug Heye, a longtime GOP aide and strategist, told Insider."You have got a stable of people who are essentially putting themselves all in the starting gates and all have their own timetable about when and if they decide to run," he said. Over the next few weeks and months, candidates would be floating what Kristin Davison, vice president and general consultant at Axiom Strategies, called "trial balloons" — in which they publicly raise the prospect of a run to see how donors and the press will react. Whoever seizes the nomination will likely face Biden, who made a run official on April 25. But, Heye said, "it's a real possibility" that the GOP lineup will large.The stakes for losing the nomination aren't all bad, even if Republicans might come out of it with an unforgettable Trump nickname. After all, one of the people running for president could get chosen as the running mate or get a seat on the new president's Cabinet.And there are other perks to formally seeking the White House, such as raising one's profile and having a better shot at the presidency during a future cycle. Candidates could also sell a lot more books or leave politics to get a prime TV or radio show. "It's a long, difficult process," Heye said, "and you're more likely to lose than not."Trump's legal, political, and personal liabilities have been piling up for several months, leading many in the GOP to say the party needs not just a fresh face but to be led by a candidate who can actually win. Insider identified 15 people who have or could seek the Republican nomination in 2024. Each will have to effectively answer the "why I'm running for president" question and find their lane in the party, which will inevitably include defining — or redefining — their relationship with Trump. "I don't think you can discount any of them at this point," Heye said. "It's too early to determine who outside of Trump is a frontrunner." And others, like newly minted GOP star Glenn Youngkin, 56, are already bowing out of consideration, with Youngkin telling attendees on May 1 at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California that he still had work to do in Virginia. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also officially declared he's not seeking the nomination, despite releasing a book and rumblings he was considering a run.Scroll through to see the politicians who have either already declared or are potentially gearing up for run — and who has officially decided not to move forward:Gov. Ron DeSantis of FloridaRepublican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis speaks during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022.Giorgio VIERA / AFP via Getty ImagesDeSantis, 44, made his long-anticipated run official on May 24. The two-term governor of Florida launched his bid to wrest control of the party from Trump in a glitchy interview with Twitter owner Elon Musk that was quickly dubbed a #DeSaster on the now right-leaning platform. DeSantis campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin tried to spin the online debacle — which purportedly attracted roughly half-a-million participants before technical difficulties thinned the audience to around 300,000 — as a groundbreaking achievement. "There was so much enthusiasm for Governor DeSantis' vision for our Great American Comeback that he literally busted up the internet," Griffin boasted on Twitter. Trump, who's been raring to rip his former ally apart, was having none of it. "Tim Scott's Presidential launch, even with the broken microphone (don't pay the contractor, Tim!), was by far the best Presidential launch of the week. Robs was a catastrophe!" the combative former president gloated on his own social media channel. DeSantis deliberately avoided mentioning Trump on Wednesday night, sticking with the talking points about the gubernatorial agenda that's gotten him this far. He famously and unapologetically reopened Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic, before federal health officials said he should. He banned certain teachings on race in workplaces and schools, and flew unsuspecting migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.DeSantis also signed a contentious parental involvement and sex ed bill into law that critics call "Don't Say Gay." Instead of backing down over the outcry, he worked to punish Disney for threatening to repeal it and then expanded the law. Then there were the historic tax cuts in Florida with promises of more as well as viral videos bashing what he calls the "corporate media." All of these actions have portrayed the governor as a fighter. That's not the only part of his public persona on display. Often in tow is his beautiful, young family. His former newscaster wife, Florida's first lady Casey DeSantis, has been instrumental in his rise. To the New York Post, pictures of the DeSantis family on Election Night was "DeFuture." Others see a conservative JFK. But the politician DeSantis most often gets compared to is Trump. Numerous news profiles have described DeSantis as "Trump without the baggage," or as a more disciplined Trump. Yet after leaning on Trump during his first gubernatorial victory in 2018, DeSantis showed he could win big on his own, scoring a historic, 20-point victory in Florida in November without Trump's endorsement.DeSantis also released his first memoir in February: "The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival." During the midterms, he extended goodwill to other Republicans by campaigning with them. Back at home, he raked in a record amount of cash for a gubernatorial race. If the GOP primary were decided today, numerous polls show, DeSantis is the only person that gets close to Trump. Trump has nicknamed DeSantis "Ron DeSanctimonious" and threatened to release damaging information about the governor. Sen. Tim Scott of South CarolinaSen. Tim Scott, a Republican of South Carolkina, speaks at a fundraiser in Anderson, South Carolina on August 22, 2022.Meg Kinnard/AP Photo, FileScott, 57, made his run official on May 22. "I am living proof that America is the land of opportunity, not a land of oppression," he said during his formal campaign launch in North Charleston, South Carolina. He'd hinted at a presidential bid during his midterms victory speech, even though he previously said he wouldn't run against Trump. "My grandfather voted for the first man of color to be elected as president of the United States," he said on November 8, referring to the vote his grandfather cast for Obama. "I wish he had lived long enough to see perhaps another man of color elected president of the United States. But this time, let it be a Republican and not just a Democrat. So just know: All things are possible in America."Scott, who previously served in the US House, is the only Black Republican in the Senate. He said his six-year term in the Senate beginning in January would be his last, but he didn't rule out a presidential run. He also released a memoir, "America, a Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity" and is one of the top fundraisers in the Senate — which includes support from small and online donors — even though he defended a safe seat this cycle.Major donors have contributed to Opportunity Matters Fun, a pro-Scott super PAC. In February, he launched a listening tour. Scott was among those leading the push for the successful passage of the bipartisan First Step Act and his measure to create Opportunity Zones that bring private investments into economically distressed communities was part of the 2017 tax reform law. He garnered national interest after delivering the GOP response to Biden's address to Congress in 2021. Afterward, McConnell said the senator represented "the future of the Republican Party." Scott has been open about the racism he has faced over the course of his life. "I get called Uncle Tom and the n-word by progressives, by liberals," he said in response to Biden's address. He has shared that police have pulled him over numerous times, despite him not violating any traffic laws. He sat down with Trump at the White House to discuss systemic racism and publicly called on Trump to call back certain statements he made on race. Haley, who was South Carolina governor at the time, appointed Scott to the Senate in 2013 after the seat opened up. Former UN Ambassador Nikki HaleyFormer UN Ambassador Nikki Haley during a news conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, October 26, 2022.Matt Rourke/AP PhotoHaley, 51, made a run official on February 15. During her campaign launch in Charleston, South Carolina, she portrayed herself as a young leader who could win elections. "If you're tired of losing, put your trust in a new generation," she said. Her experiences in public office give her the coveted pairing of having both executive and foreign policy chops, which are often viewed as crucial to the presidency. Aside from Trump and Pence, few other contenders would have such a profile. As a woman of Indian descent, she could also help bring in suburban women voters who graduated from college and expand the GOP coalition among people of color. She embraced her unique background during her campaign kickoff, wearing suffragette white and and calling herself "a brown girl growing up in a black-and-white world." Haley has had a turnaround from last year, when she said she wouldn't run for president if Trump were to seek the White House in 2024. She started our her career working in the private sector, joining her family's clothing business before leading the National Association of Women Business Owners.She served in the South Carolina House for three terms then was the state's governor for six years. In that time Haley delivered the GOP response to Obama's 2016 State of the Union Address.She pushed for the removal of the confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol after a gunman killed nine Black people at Emanuel Church in Charleston. Also as governor, Haley would not support a bill requiring transgender people to use the restroom that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate. But in 2021 she wrote a commentary in the National Review saying transgender inclusion in sports was an "attack on women's rights."Haley was UN Ambassador under Trump for two years, and successfully pushed for the US to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and defended Trump's decision to do so.In 2019 she published a memoir, "With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace." Haley campaigned and fundraised in high-profile races during the 2022 midterms, including in Pennsylvania and Georgia. Haley told the National Republican Committee the day after the January 6 riot that Trump was "badly wrong" in his speech to supporters and that his "actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history." Tech entrepreneur Vivek RamaswamyRamaswamy founded the biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences.Fox NewsRamaswamy, 37, made his run official on February 22. Ramaswamy is an Indian-American tech entrepreneur who co-founded Strive Asset Management and serves as its executive chairman. He also founded the biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences."We're in the midst of a national identity crisis. Faith, patriotism & family are disappearing. We embrace one secular religion after another — from wokeism to climatism — to satisfy our deeper need for meaning," he said in a video announcing his campaign. "Yet we cannot even answer what it means to be an American." —Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) February 22, 2023 Ramaswamy wrote "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam" and "Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence."The New Yorker nicknamed Ramaswamy the "CEO of Anti-Woke Inc." for his stance against environmental, social, and governance investing.In February, he delivered a speech about ESG at Trump National Doral, near Miami, before the exclusive and influential Council for National Policy at Trump Doral, where DeSantis was also a key speaker. Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of ArkansasArkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson attends the National Governors Association summer meeting, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Portland, Maine.Robert F. Bukaty/AP PhotoHutchinson, 72, threw his hat into the ring on April 2. He told ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl there would be a full-scale rollout later on in his hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, but that his mind was made up. "I've traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country," Hutchinson said Sunday. "I'm convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts."He also weighed in on Trump's indictment in New York, calling it a "great distraction" that voters need to get past. "We can't set aside what our Constitution requires — which is electing a new leader for our country — just because we have this side controversy and criminal charges that are pending," Hutchinson said, adding, "And so we've got to press on, and the American people are gonna have to separate what the ideas are for our future."Hutchinson hasn't been shy about criticizing Biden or Trump. After Trump's 2024 announcement, he said the former president's "self-indulging message promoting anger has not changed," and also disavowed the Fuentes and Ye meeting at Mar-a-Lago.Hutchinson has taken at least five trips to Iowa through America Strong & Free, the nonprofit of which he's the honorary chairman and spokesperson."I am seriously looking at a run in 2024 because America and the Republican Party are not in the best place," he said in a statement provided to Insider. "I know how to get us back on track both in terms of leadership and facing the challenging issues of border security, increased violent crime, and energy inflation." As governor of Arkansas for eight years, Hutchinson has pushed to make the state a leader in computer science, and signed several tax cuts into law, including lowering the state income tax rate from 7% to 4.9%. Hutchinson also signed bills into law blocking businesses from requiring customers and workers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and blocked state and local officials from obligating masks — a move he later said he regretted. He asked state lawmakers to create a carve-out for schools, but the Arkansas House rejected the proposal. While he signed an abortion ban into law in 2019 that took effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, he said on CNN that he personally believes in exceptions for rape and incest."Many out there appreciate a 'consistent conservative,' even one they don't agree with all the time," Hutchinson told Insider. "I am not interested in the 'outrage of the day,' and I am committed to using my consistent conservative principles to guide me and our nation on important policy decisions." Hutchinson began his government career as a US attorney for the Western District of Arkansas under President Ronald Reagan, then went on to serve in the US House for three terms. President George W. Bush tapped him to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration, after which he served as undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security. He has criticized Biden on illegal immigration, inflation, and student-loan forgiveness. He said on CNN that the president's September speech about "MAGA Republicans" and democracy "singled out a segment of Americans and said basically they're our enemy."Hutchinson also has the distinction of being especially press friendly at a time when numerous Republicans have copied Trump's style of lashing out against journalists. "The media plays an important role in our democracy," Hutchinson told Insider. "I've never shied away from tough questions, and I have always been willing to defend my positions and conservative principles with the hard questions coming from the press."Conservative commentator Larry ElderGOP presidential hopeful Larry Elder speaks to guests at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Spring Kick-Off on April 22, 2023 in Clive, Iowa.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesLarry Elder, 71, made his first presidential bid official on April 20. A conservative talk show personality who led the field of nearly four dozen candidates attempting to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a 2021 recall effort, Elder entered the fray with a "we've got a country to save!" pitch.—Larry Elder (@larryelder) April 21, 2023 "We can enter a new American Golden Age, but we must choose a leader who can bring us there. That's why I'm running for President," Elder said during the rollout of his long shot campaign. A lawyer turned Fox News fixture, Elder's platform mirrors many MAGA grievances: condemning critical race theory and the idea that systemic racism exists, bemoaning immigration at the southern border, demanding school choice to "break the monopoly" of public schools, and branding Democrats as "soft on crime." He also takes frequent swipes at President Joe Biden and routinely engages in "woke" culture war fights on social media. The budding politician, who wrote about his surprise gubernatorial run in "As Goes California: My Mission to Rescue the Golden State and Save the Nation," is no stranger to controversy. His ex-fiancee, Alexandra Datig, accused Elder of flashing a gun at her during an argument while he was under the influence of marijuana. Elder denied it ever happened in a Twitter thread. CNN reported that Elder was accused of sexual harassment twice — allegations Elder also waved off. Former Rep. Liz Cheney of WyomingRep. Liz Cheney, a Republican of Wyoming, campaigned with Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat of Michigan, at an Evening for Patriotism and Bipartisanship event on November 1, 2022 in East Lansing, Michigan.Bill Pugliano/Getty ImagesCheney, 56, is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and one of Trump's toughest Republican critics.She voted to impeach Trump after the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, and served as vice chair of the House select committee investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Cheney's actions have come at a cost under the heavy weight of Trump's ire. House Republicans punished her by stripping her of her leadership post, and she lost her US House seat to Trump-backed GOP challenger Harriet Hageman during the state's August primary.But she hasn't been deterred. Cheney said on NBC's "Today" that she would do "whatever it takes" to keep Trump out of the White House in 2024, including "thinking about" running for president herself. "I wouldn't be surprised to see her run for president," Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told Insider in August. Cheney voted with Trump on policy when he was in office, and remains a conservative, telling the Reagan Foundation and Institute in June 2022 that she believes "deeply in the policies of limited government, of low taxes, of a strong national defense." But Cheney said she sees a breaking point with the Republican Party, telling the Texas Tribune Festival in September that she would leave the GOP if Trump became the 2024 nominee.This could mean she'd run for president as an Independent. Already, she has shown she's willing to campaign against Republicans who falsely deny that Biden won the 2020 presidential election.In 2022, Cheney converted her House campaign finance committee into an anti-election denier leadership PAC called The Great Task. The PAC spent $500,000 on a TV ad in Arizona that urged voters to reject Republicans Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, who were running for governor and secretary of state, respectively. During the 2022 midterms, Cheney endorsed incumbent Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia. Both won their races. "We had to make sure that we prevented election deniers from taking power," she told The Washington Post's Global Women's Summit in November. Many outsiders see long odds for Cheney, though a poll conducted in Utah found she could be a top contender there. Sen. Ted Cruz of TexasSen. Ted Cruz, a Republican of Texas, speaks at a rally for Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker on November 10, 2022 in Canton, Georgia.Megan Varner/Getty ImagesCruz, 52, was the last Republican standing against Trump during the 2016 presidential nomination and had even announced that he'd pick former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate. But Cruz — whom Trump nicknamed "Lyin' Ted" — lost following a nasty primary in which Trump levied highly personal attacks against the senator, including disparaging his wife's looks and falsely suggesting that Cruz's father had something to do with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Once Trump was in office, however, Cruz was one of the president's  biggest defenders. He voted to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania and helped to secure Trump's acquittal in his second impeachment trial. In recent months, Cruz has been spending time in New Hampshire and during the midterms campaigned with retired football star Herschel Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff. While in the Senate, Cruz led the successful effort to zero out the unpopular fine on the uninsured created by the Affordable Care Act.More recently, Cruz used Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearing to score points for a potential 2024 run, questioning her about school curriculum on race. Before coming to Congress, Cruz was solicitor general in Texas, a role that involves arguing cases before the Supreme Court. When Insider asked whether Trump's latest missteps had provided an opening for him to jump into the 2024 presidential race, Cruz chuckled a bit before laying out what sounded like a near-term agenda. "I think the Senate is the battleground … and I'm going to do everything I can to lead the fight right here," Cruz told Insider before launching into a tirade about his mounting frustration with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision making. He made no specific mention of 2024, but also didn't work in the word "no" anywhere.Cruz told the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas that he'll seek reelection in Texas in 2024 when his term is up, though state law allows him to run for both offices at the same time.Former Gov. Chris Christie of New JerseyFormer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoChristie, 60, is famously said to have missed his moment for the White House because he didn't run for president when he was getting a lot of attention as New Jersey's governor in 2012, and instead fizzled out in 2016 when faced with Trump and numerous other contenders. But that hasn't stopped him from weighing another go at it. In October, during an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher," Christie confirmed that he was considering a 2024 run. Now, New Hampshire Today says an announcement is imminent.Christie wrote a book in 2021, titled "Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden." He served two terms as a Republican governor in a blue state where Democrats controlled the legislature. In that role, he expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and passed bail reform.But he got flak over a handshake with then-President Barack Obama during Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, and was hurt politically after members of his administration created traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge.Christie became a lobbyist in 2020, when he had several healthcare clients but cut ties a year later, according to the lobbying disclosure database, in what could be a sign that he's lining up for a run.   Today, Christie blames Trump for the GOP's losses the last three election cycles and spent months saying Republicans "have to be the party of tomorrow, not the party of yesterday" if they ever want to win another election. His tone on Trump is a stunning turnaround for a man who was one of Trump's closest outside advisors when he was in the White House and was even on the shortlist to be Trump's chief of staff. Christie turned on Trump after January 6, saying the president violated his oath of office. He told The New York Times that Trump's candidacy was "untenable" and that the former president had had "poor judgement" after he dined at Mar-a-Lago with white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes. He also told the Washington Examiner that Republicans "fail the leadership test" when they don't call out Trump. South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemSouth Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11, 2021.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesNoem, 51, has been on a Trump-related roller coaster ride as of late. In January 2021, the embattled former president tried to get her to primary fellow South Dakota Sen. John Thune, a lawmaker Trump took to calling a RINO (which stands for "Republican in name only") after Thune balked at his baseless claims of election fraud. Noem bowed out of joining Trump's revenge campaign, opting to focus on her own re-election plans. Once 2022 rolled around, she leaned hard into the GOP culture wars, promising voters that she'd bar transgender athletes from participating in women's sports, stamp out any "critical race theory" instruction in local schools, and decimate any "radical political ideologies" that annoyed her evangelical Christian base.Come July, Noem told CNN she'd be "shocked" if Trump tapped her to be his 2024 running mate. But she didn't rule out sliding into the VP slot — or mounting a challenge of her own. Since winning a second term in November, Noem has started taking on bigger foes, including the People's Republic of China. —Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) November 30, 2022 Her state government-wide ban against the use of social media app TikTok scored her fawning interviews on conservative outlets including Fox News and Newsmax, beaming her into the homes of potential admirers who don't happen to reside in the Mount Rushmore State. Noem seems far less enthusiastic about Trump these days, telling reporters that the twice-impeached, scandal-plagued former president isn't Republicans' "best chance" at retaking the White House in 2024. She issued this prediction just days after Trump announced he was running again.  Former Vice President Mike PenceFormer Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition on Friday, November 18, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoPence, 63, has been distancing himself from his former boss, while also promoting his new book, "So Help Me God." He told ABC's "World News Tonight" that Trump "decided to be part of the problem" by not immediately calling off the insurrectionists during the January 6 riot, after he declined to help invalidate Biden's lawful win. Pence also pushed back against Trump on WVOC in South Carolina after he called for terminating the Constitution, and came out forcefully after Trump had dinner with Fuentes."President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table," he said on November 28. An adviser to the former vice president told Insider that, should Pence decide to run, the team has discussed several policy areas to differentiate himself, including Trump's bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act, and that he'll continue to be "very outspoken on the issue of life."Pence wouldn't have to worry about name ID during a presidential run. Still, his new book and a campaign would allow him to reintroduce himself to voters by talking about his work in the US House and then as governor of Indiana. He already has made numerous trips to early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina. Further, he'll be able to amplify policies that carried his fingerprints during the Trump administration, including his oversight of the US's pandemic response.Pence was a sought-after midterm surrogate, traveling to dozens of states. In May, he went to Georgia to help incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp beat Trump-backed primary challenger David Perdue.Pence's vision for the future of the party is laid out in his Freedom Agenda and Advancing American Freedom, the nonprofit aligned with him that serves as a type of campaign in waiting. The policies include reducing mail-in voting and implementing universal school choice, which allows public education funds to pay for K-12 students to select alternatives to public schools. While Pence didn't testify before the January 6 select committee, his senior aides including former chief of staff Marc Short and legal advisor J. Michael Luttig walked investigators through some of the scenarios that led up to the attack. In November, Pence said on Fox's "Hannity" that he would make a 2024 decision after discussing it with his family during the holidays. Sen. Marco Rubio of FloridaWilfredo Lee/AP PhotoRubio, 51, has come out hot after cruising to a third term in November, castigating GOP leaders for totally blowing the midterms. "We have a historically unpopular Dem President, record inflation, a violent crime wave & total chaos at the border & not only did we fail to win a majority, we lost a seat. And the Senate GOP response is going to be to make no changes?" Rubio fumed in a December 7 Twitter post. His anger hadn't abated when Insider caught up with him at the US Capitol. "I don't know how you come back from what we have just encountered and conclude that the status quo and business as usual is how we want to proceed," Rubio said of the need for drastic changes within the GOP. While conceding that he doesn't have "all those answers," Rubio suggested that Senate Republicans take a hard look at "the mechanics of elections, policy, the legislative agenda, and all of that." "I think that's something we should all be involved in talking about," Rubio said of the sorely needed soul searching. Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, was speaker of the Florida House before heading to Washington. He has sponsored numerous bills that have become law, including doubling the child tax credit and co-authoring the Paycheck Protection Program that helped keep small businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.On top of that, he's got a powerful perch as the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee. Political operatives have credited him with helping the GOP grow its influence with Hispanic voters, NBC News reported. Asked by Insider whether he had it in him to take another run at the former president after getting clobbered by the insult-flinging Trump in 2016, Rubio said he just really needs to take a breath. "We'll have time over the holidays and into the new year to sort of focus on everything going on in my life and here in the Senate," Rubio told Insider, adding that he hasn't "really focused in on" returning to the presidential proving grounds at the moment. Perhaps voters will learn more about future plans in his forthcoming book, "Decades of Decadence." Miami Mayor Francis SuarezTaylor Hill / Contributor Getty ImagesSuarez, 45, confirmed in October that he's considering a presidential run. By March, he was still deciding, he told the Miami Herald. "It's something that I would consider given the right circumstances and given the right mood of the country," Suarez said at a Punchbowl News event in October. Miami has been getting a lot of attention given the surge of people moving to Florida — and tech companies and crypto startups in particular headed to Miami under Suarez's encouragement. He even told Twitter CEO Elon Musk that he should consider relocating the company's headquarters from San Francisco.Suarez's office sent over a list of accomplishments for the mayor, saying the city was No. 1 in job and wage growth, and had 1.4% unemployment. The Financial Times called Miami "the most important city in America." The mayor made historic increases to the city's police department, increased funding on climate-resistant infrastructure, and passed a rental tax credit for seniors. Suarez didn't vote for Trump during the 2020 election and in the 2018 gubernatorial race in Florida he voted for Democrat Andrew Gillum over DeSantis. He did flip in 2022, voting for DeSantis for reelection, he told Insider. Suarez said Trump has been kind to him. The two spoke at a wedding recently, he said, and Trump told him he was the "hottest politician in America after him.""I don't know if he meant physically hot or if he meant I was getting a lot of buzz," Suarez said. "But he was very nice." Suarez is of Cuban descent and leads the National Conference of Mayors. When asked about how he might stand out in a presidential race, Suarez said he might be able to speak to "a variety of minority communities that are going to be important if Republicans want to grow their base for a generation." Gov. Chris Sununu of New HampshireGov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire.Jon Cherry/Getty Images for ConcordiaSununu, 48, was just reelected to a fourth term in New Hampshire, where governors are reelected every two years and there are no term limits. There's a "61 percent chance" he runs for president, he told Puck last week. Sununu is a centrist Republican who has the distinction of being in favor of abortion rights, at a time when many states are banning abortion. He came close to running for the US Senate in 2022, but told the Washington Examiner that other senators told him their main job was to be a "roadblock" in office — and he wasn't interested in that.Sununu also called Trump "fucking crazy" at the Gridiron dinner, a journalism event. "Let's stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November," Sununu said in November at Republican Jewish Coalition meeting.He told the Washington Examiner after the midterms that there should be new GOP leadership — not just in the White House but inside the Republican National Committee."Did they achieve on the level of results that we all thought we were going to get?" he asked. "No. So, why would we stick with the same team assuming we're going to get a better result?"Sununu is part of a political dynasty. His father was governor of New Hampshire who then went on to work in the George H.W. Bush administration as chief of staff. His brother was in the US House and US Senate. Out of the Running: Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger of IllinoisRep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol holds a hearing in Washington, DC, on July 21, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteLike Cheney, Kinzinger, 45, spent much of 2022 focused on the January 6 committee and drawing Trump's ire. He was the only other Republican on the House committee investigating the riot, and retired from his seat at the end of the last Congress, after six terms. Kinzinger told HuffPost in April 2022 that he "would love" to run against Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, but more for the fun of it than to actually win."Even if he crushed me, like in a primary, to be able to stand up and call out the garbage is just a necessary thing, regardless of who it is," he said. "I think it'd be fun."But by January 2023, Kinzinger told CNN's "State of the Union" that he had no intention of running for president. Kinzinger in early 2021 launched his anti-election denier leadership PAC, called Country First. The group launched a nationwide campaign urging voters to reject "extreme" candidates in 2024. Kinzinger sponsored several bills that became law, including measures to prevent opioid addiction and a bill to help veterans with medic training transition to EMT work as civilians. Kinzinger served in the Air Force and remains a pilot in the Air National Guard. Out of the Running: Sen. Josh Hawley of MissouriSenator Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 22, 2022.JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Hawley, 43, won't be seeking the presidency in 2024, he told NBC News in November. But the senator has reached for the spotlight whenever possible while Congress is in session.From famously saluting the January 6 protestors on the day of the violent siege at the Capitol to holding Brown Jackson's feet to the fire as she raced to join the Supreme Court, the first-term lawmaker works to portray himself as the perennial outsider who's only here to shake things up. He's played up the part by voting to overturn the 2020 election results on behalf of MAGA vote-magnet Trump, butting heads with McConnell on the way the upper chamber is run, and blaming short-sighted leaders for running the party into the ground. "When your 'agenda' is cave to Big Pharma on insulin, cave to Schumer on gun control & Green New Deal ('infrastructure'), and tease changes to Social Security and Medicare, you lose," Hawley, bemoaned on Twitter following a demoralizing midterms performance by flawed GOP candidates, which he blamed on "Washington Republicanism." The potential 2024 contender followed up with some suggestions, floating an alternative vision he said would help "unrig the system."   "What are Republicans actually going to do for working people? How about, to start: tougher tariffs on China, reshore American jobs, open up American energy full throttle, 100k new cops on the street," Hawley, who was also Missouri's former attorney general, tossed out on his social media feed. Out of the Running: Former Gov. Larry Hogan of MarylandGov. Larry Hogan of Maryland.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesEven before the bruising 2022 midterms, Hogan, 66, was warning that Republicans couldn't continue down the path they are on. "I am not about to give up on the Republican party or America," he wrote on Twitter in early December. "None of us can. It's too important."The two-term governor who survived a 2015 cancer scare has been fired up about plotting his next act. But that next act won't be seeking the presidency. "The stakes are too high for me to risk being part of another multicar pileup that could potentially help Mr. Trump recapture the nomination," Hogan wrote in a guest essay for The New York Times. He elaborated about his thinking in a March 5 interview with CBS News, signaling he wouldn't support Trump or DeSantis — the only Republican who polls near Trump. "Right now, you have Trump and DeSantis at the top of the field, soaking up all the oxygen, getting all the attention, and then a whole lot of the rest of us in single digits," Hogan said on CBS. "And the more of them you have, the less chance you have for somebody rising up."Hogan, a centrist Republican, did explore the possibility of running for president, making the rounds in early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. Hogan also scored some face time with GOP mega donors at this year's Republican Jewish Coalition leadership meeting — mentioning to political reporters covering the event that he and other potential 2024 hopefuls were there because "maybe there's a little blood in the water." As governor, Hogan signed a gun control bill into law and has said that while he opposed abortion, he wouldn't move to gut the state's guarantee on reproductive rights. During the COVID-19 pandemic he instituted a statewide mask mandate, then lifted restrictions in May 2021. He billed himself as a "commonsense conservative" who GOP voters sick of losing may want to consider."I think there are 10 people who want to be the next Donald Trump, and I think there may be a different lane," Hogan said while stumping in Manchester, New Hampshire, adding, "I'm going to do everything I can to get the country back on track." He cast a write-in vote for Reagan in the 2020 election and called for Trump to be impeached or resign after January 6. Out of the Running: Former Secretary of State Mike PompeoFormer Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Friday, November 18, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoPompeo, 59, bowed out of contention on April 14, telling his social media followers that putting it all on the line now didn't seem prudent. "The time is not right for me and my family," Pompeo wrote in a formal statement. The former Trump administration official turned critic of the embattled former president did, however, leave the door open to giving public service another go in the future. "There remain many more opportunities for which the timing might be more fitting as presidential leadership becomes even more necessary," he teased. Despite his stature as a former Secretary of State and longtime GOP power player, Pompeo barely registered in 2024 polling while out promoting his book "Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love." In April, he polled at 1% in two separate Morning Consult tracking polls, at 1% in a Reuters/Ipsos poll, and at 2% in a Leger/Canadian Press Poll, according to polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight. He consistently polled in sixth-place or lower in the field.Pompeo represented Kansas in the US Congress and was also a former CIA director under Trump. After the end of the administration, he lost weight, which sparked speculation that he was interested in a White House run.He has openly criticized Biden, including after the president's September speech on protecting democracy. "He essentially said if you're pro-life or you're opposed to a certain set of policies, you're a threat," Pompeo told the New England Council's "Politics and Eggs" breakfast.  Biden, he said at the event, could be summed up as having "woke ideas, weak resolve, and waffling leadership."Trump should not have taken classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, he said, but added that the "raid on Mar-a-Lago was indecent and improper." Pompeo told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt in November that Trump's announcement wouldn't affect whether he decides to run for president, adding that he'd make a determination in the spring. "We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward," Pompeo said, "not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood." Out of the Running: Gov. Glenn Youngkin of VirginiaGov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.AP Photo/Steve Helber, FileYoungkin, 56, bowed out of the 2024 presidential race on May 1, telling attendees at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California that he still had work to do in the Old Dominion. When the Wall Street Journal's Gerard Baker asked Youngkin whether a White House run was in his immediate future, the newly-minted Republican said "No." He added that his near-term goals include preserving GOP control of Virginia's House of Delegates and flipping the state's Democratic-led Senate.  Sticking close to home in the battleground state will give Youngkin a chance to work on playing defense. He tried playing kingmaker in over a dozen 2022 gubernatorial contests and mostly came up short.Youngkin rocketed to stardom in late 2021 by keeping Virginia purplish with his electrifying win over Democratic fixture Terry McAuliffe tried to work that same Trump-light magic into contests all around the country. The result: only four of the 15 Republican gubernatorial candidates Youngkin got involved with won their races. It's unclear whether Youngkin had any effect on the reelection bids of blowout winners like Kemp or Noem.By the same token, it's debatable whether he could have dragged Lake, Michigan's Tudor Dixon, or any of the other 2020 election deniers across the finish line given their full-on embrace of Trumpism. While he remains reluctant to badmouth the embattled former president, Youngkin clinched his 2021 win by keeping Trump at bay while still reaching out to the MAGA base. Trump, on the other hand, has tried to take full credit for Youngkin's win and lashed out at the newcomer for not being more appreciative. Trump's already working on trying to clip a Youngkin presidential bid from ever taking wing, panning him and DeSantis as ingrates who have no chance of beating him. Trump also reverted to his old tricks after the politically damaging 2022 midterms flop, hitting Youngkin with a bizarre, racist rant on Truth Social. Given that Virginia only allows governors to serve non-consecutive terms, it makes sense for Youngkin to seek opportunities elsewhere.The Washington Post reported that Youngkin spent part of his summer huddling with Republican mega donors in New York. And while he remains mum on any official plans for 2024, Politico said Youngkin's putting in place the types of fundraising groups a presidential candidate would want to have at the ready.Youngkin is a former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group. As governor, his first official action was to sign an executive order prohibiting Virginia schools from teaching "critical race theory." More recently, he's been pushing to reimburse individuals and businesses who paid fines for violating state COVID-19 restrictions under his Democratic predecessor.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 25th, 2023

15 Days Finally Ends After 1,141 Days

15 Days Finally Ends After 1,141 Days Via The Brownstone Institute, On Monday, the White House announced its Covid-19 vaccine requirements for federal employees, federal contractors, and international air travelers will expire on May 11, coinciding with the end of the Covid public health emergency. The 15 Days to Flatten the Curve that began on March 16, 2020, stretched to 1,141 days.  In some ways, the repeal is a victory against the irrational tyranny behind the vaccine mandates that have been part of the entire lockdown paradigm. Americans no longer have to choose between taking an experimental, ineffective medical product and keeping their job. We no longer have to endure the irrationality of enforcing vaccine mandates for air travelers but not for illegal immigrants at our southern border. We no longer have to listen to the tyrannical paternalism behind forcing people to receive a shot that they don’t want while insisting that it is saving their lives. At the same time, however, it is far from a victory; we have returned to what should be the normal state, and we already witnessed the suffering that the mandates incurred. Millions of people were forced to choose between the truth of their convictions and earning a living. Others lost years of visiting loved ones in foreign countries. The people who implemented this Hell remain in power, and they appear unremorseful.  The Biden Administration did not admit error in its policies; instead, it took great pride in its two years of forced jabs. “Our COVID-19 vaccine requirements bolstered vaccination across the nation, and our broader vaccination campaign has saved millions of lives,” the White House boasted. “While vaccination remains one of the most important tools in advancing the health and safety of employees and promoting the efficiency of workplaces, we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary.” There is no solid evidence for any of those claims. And substantial policy questions remain. Since March 2020, Covid served as the basis for political initiatives far beyond the realm of public health. It was used as the justification for eviction moratoriums, travel restrictions, domestic-capacity restrictions, closures, mask mandates, and student debt relief. Considering the future requires an understanding of the Biden White House’s mandate regime.  The History of the Mandates Beginning in July 2021, President Biden issued a series of Covid vaccine mandates. In September 2021, he announced, “Next, I will sign an executive order that will now require all executive branch federal employees to be vaccinated — all. And I’ve signed another executive order that will require federal contractors to do the same. If you want to work with the federal government and do business with us, get vaccinated.” He then announced that the Department of Labor would require all employers with 100 or more workers to get vaccinated.  “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” he scolded unvaccinated Americans. “Your refusal has cost all of us.”  The following month, Biden banned international air travelers from entering the United States without proof of receiving the Covid shots. Visitors remained able to enter the country testing positive for the virus so long as they had agreed to the President’s mandatory injection program.  But President Biden’s disappointment in his citizens did not convince the American public of the righteousness of his crusade. In the ensuing months, the shots’ lack of efficacy became readily apparent, and Americans were reluctant to get their “boosters.”  Biden did not relent, however. He publicly scolded Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for not getting the shots and insisted that there was a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” going into 2022. In August 2022, the White House faced backlash when tennis superstar Novak Djokovic was unable to participate in the U.S. Open because of the ban on unvaccinated international air travelers. The strict enforcement did not apply to illegal immigrants crossing the southern border. A reporter asked the White House to explain this enforcement discrepancy later that month. “How come migrants are allowed to come into this country unvaccinated but world-class tennis players are not?” asked Fox’s Peter Doocy.  White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled to articulate an explanation.  “So as far — you know, just to — just since you asked about me — about him — you asked me about him. So, visa records are confidential under U.S. law. Therefore, the U.S. government cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases. Due to privacy reasons, the U.S. government also does not comment on medical information of individual travelers,” she stammered as she avoided the question. She then told Doocy that the issue comparison between illegals crossing the border and international air travelers was unfounded because “they’re two different things.”  Djokovic reentered headlines in March 2023 when he was unable to participate in a Florida tournament because of the ongoing travel ban. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called on Biden to lift the restriction. When asked about the ban stemming from the President’s ban, Ms. Jean-Pierre deflected blame to the CDC, telling the press, “They’re the ones who deal with that. [The ban’s] still in place, and we expect everyone to abide by our country’s rule, whether as a participant or a spectator.” Djokovic was unable to play in the tournament, but momentum against the Biden regime’s edicts gained steam. Later that month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction blocking President Biden’s mandate for federal employees to receive the Covid jabs.  In April, President Biden signed a law that ended the Covid national emergency in a bill introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar. The bill passed the House in a 229-197 vote and the Senate in a 68-23 vote.   What happens now A number of other pandemic-era policies will also end on May 11, including Title 42, which allows Border Patrol to immediately send illegal immigrants at the southern border back to Mexico. Texas Governor Greg Abbott expects up to 13,000 illegal immigrants to cross the US-Mexico border every day after the expiration.  This may exacerbate the ongoing crisis at the border. In the last 10 days alone, over 73,000 migrants have crossed the southern border as Title 42 comes closer to expiration. Border Patrol announced that in that time it stopped 19 sex offenders, six gang members, and a convicted murderer from entering the United States. Additionally, Border Patrol seized 19 pounds of heroin, 54 pounds of fentanyl, 1,052 pounds of meth, 676 pounds of cocaine, and 823 pounds of marijuana.  There are more issues at stake than immigration. The Supreme Court is considering whether the White House’s order to cancel student debt was constitutional. The Biden White House has defended its actions by claiming that the Heroes Act of 2003 allows the US Education Secretary to change federal student loan programs during national emergencies such as the Covid pandemic. Going forward, the White House will have to adopt new rationales for future executive actions related to student debt.  On the legal front, employment law firm Jackson Lewis reports that there are over 2,000 existing challenges to Covid 19 vaccine mandates in the courts right now, and over 35 percent involve public employers. Challenges to the federal mandates may now be moot, meaning courts will dismiss the cases because the mandates are no longer in effect. Plaintiffs will be able to return to work without adhering to the White House’s vaccine requirements, but there will also be no accountability for those in charge.  These days and for many months and years following, all the people involved in the pandemic response – not only government officials but media mouthpieces and Big Tech accomplices – will be rewriting history and hoping that everyone will forget the real history. They are trying to avoid accountability and save whatever vestiges of despotism that they can, while hoping to institutionalize the powers that made all of this possible. They cannot be allowed to win this struggle for essential rights, liberties, and truth.  Tyler Durden Wed, 05/03/2023 - 20:50.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 3rd, 2023

South Carolina and Nebraska lawmakers voted down abortion bans, exposing a chasm on the issue for Republicans

Abortion bans in conservative Nebraska and South Carolina both fell short of advancing in close legislative votes amid debates among Republicans Pat Neal, left, and Ann Fintell, both of Lincoln, celebrate in the Nebraska Capitol rotunda after the failure of a bill that would have banned abortion around the sixth week of pregnancy(AP Photo/Margery Beck) In Nebraska an effort to ban abortion at six weeks fell one vote short of breaking a filibuster In South Carolina, lawmakers voted 22-21 to shelve a near-total abortion ban Since Roe v Wade was overturned, both states have become regional havens compared to neighbor states LINCOLN, Neb.  — Abortion bans in deeply conservative Nebraska and South Carolina both fell short of advancing in close legislative votes amid heated debates among Republicans, yet another sign that abortion is becoming a difficult issue for the GOP.In Nebraska, where abortion is banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy, an effort to ban abortion at about the sixth week of pregnancy fell one vote short of breaking a filibuster. Cheers erupted outside the legislative chamber as the last vote was cast, with opponents of the bill waving signs and chanting, "Whose house? Our house!"In South Carolina, lawmakers voted 22-21 to shelve a near-total abortion ban for the rest of the year. Republican Sen. Sandy Senn criticized Majority Leader Shane Massey for repeatedly "taking us off a cliff on abortion.""The only thing that we can do when you all, you men in the chamber, metaphorically keep slapping women by raising abortion again and again and again, is for us to slap you back with our words," she said.The Nebraska proposal, backed by Republican Gov. Jim Pillen, is unlikely to move forward this year. And in South Carolina, where abortion remains legal through 22 weeks of pregnancy, the vote marked the third time a near-total abortion ban has failed in the Republican-led Senate chamber since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last summer.Katie Glenn, the state policy director for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, characterized the failure of both proposed abortion bans as disappointing."It's a sign that legislating is hard, and there's a lot of pieces and parts that all have to come together," Glenn said.The failure to advance abortion restrictions has confounded conservatives who dominate both Nebraska and South Carolina and exposed a chasm on the issue of abortion within the GOP.Since the fall of Roe v Wade, both states have become regional havens of sorts as they've watched neighboring states enact stricter abortion bans. Conservative lawmakers have bitterly made that observation in Nebraska, which has a long history as a leader in abortion restrictions. In 2010, it was the first state in the nation to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.Most aggravating to some Republicans is that the pushback is coming from inside the house. The Nebraska bill on Thursday failed when Republican Sen. Merv Riepe, an 80-year-old former hospital administrator, refused to give it the crucial 33rd vote needed to advance. Riepe was an original co-signer of the bill but later expressed concern that a six-week ban might not give women enough time to know they were pregnant.When his fellow Republicans rejected an amendment he offered to extend the proposed ban to 12 weeks and add an exception for fatal fetal anomalies, Riepe pointed to his own election last year against a Democrat who made abortion rights central to her campaign. His margin of victory dropped from 27 percentage points in the May primary election, which occurred before the fall of Roe, to under 5 percentage points in the general election."Had my opponent had more time, more money, and more name recognition, she could have won. This made the message clear to me how critical abortion will be in 2024," he said. "We must embrace the future of reproductive rights."Riepe and some Republicans across the country have noted evidence pointing to abortion bans as unpopular with a majority of Americans. An AP VoteCast nationwide survey of the 2022 electorate showed only about 1 in 10 midterm voters — including Republicans — believe abortion should be "illegal in all cases." Overall, a majority of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. That includes nearly 9 in 10 Democrats and about 4 in 10 Republicans.An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll in July showed Republicans are largely opposed to abortion "for any reason" and at 15 weeks into a pregnancy. But only 16% of Republicans say abortion generally should be "illegal in all cases."Even so, Republican politicians who buck party leadership on abortion can find themselves targets of political retaliation. The backlash against Riepe was swift, with public reprimands from the governor and fellow Republican lawmakers. Anti-abortion groups demanded his immediate resignation. And the Nebraska Republican Party issued a statement warning that Riepe would be censured."The entities and individuals who aided in the defeat of a Core Republican Value have been duly noted by the leadership of this party. 'The Watchfulness in the Citizen' applies now more than ever," the statement reads.Riepe did not return a message Friday seeking comment on the backlash.Likewise, some of the South Carolina Republican holdouts shared last week that they received anatomical backbone figurines from an anti-abortion group urging them to "grow a spine" and pass a ban starting at conception.The South Carolina vote came with days left in a session that began shortly after the state's highest court struck down a 2021 law banning abortion when cardiac activity is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy. Since then, both chambers have advanced abortion bans at differing stages -- a disagreement that Massey, the Senate majority leader, hoped to resolve by considering the stricter House bill.Frustrated after his last-ditch effort to break the impasse, Massey issued a warning for the ban's fiercest Republican opponent."The response to Sen. Senn will be in 2024," Massey told reporters after the vote, referring to elections next year.Fourteen states have bans in place on abortion at all stages of pregnancy. Four other states have bans throughout pregnancy where enforcement is blocked by courts. The majority of those bans were adopted in anticipation of Roe being overturned, and most do not have exceptions for rape or incest.In Utah, a judge on Friday heard a request from Planned Parenthood to delay implementing a statewide ban on abortion clinics set to take effect next week. Planned Parenthood argues a state law passed this year will effectively end access to abortion throughout the state when clinics stop being able to apply for the licenses they've historically relied on to operate.In North Dakota, Gov. Doug Burgum signed a ban Monday that has narrow exceptions: Abortion is legal in pregnancies caused by rape or incest, but only in the first six weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is allowed later in pregnancy only in specific medical emergencies. The North Dakota law is intended to replace a previous ban that is not being enforced while a state court weighs its constitutionality.And on Friday, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee reversed course and signed off on softening the state's strict abortion ban. That change came after several high-profile Republican lawmakers warned early in the session that doctors and patients were facing steep risks under Tennessee's so-called trigger law, arguing that the statute did not include clear exemptions when a physician may provide abortion services.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 28th, 2023

Cannabis stocks light up after a group of lawmakers again seeks to protect banks that work with legal marijuana businesses

Forcing legal cannabis businesses to operate in cash is "dangerous," said Senator Jeff Merkley, who wants to pass the SAFE Banking Act. A bipartisan group of lawmakers refiled the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2023.David McNew/Getty Images Cannabis stocks jumped Thursday as lawmakers sought again to pass a bill to protect banks that work with legal pot firms.  Tilray, Aurora Cannabis and Green Thumb Industries were among the stocks running higher. The SAFE Banking Act of 2023 was refiled by Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.  Cannabis stocks climbed Thursday after a bipartisan group of lawmakers took another run at passing legislation to shield financial institutions that work marijuana businesses operating legally. The Secure and Fair Enforcement, or SAFE, Banking Act was refiled late Wednesday by House and Senate lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties. They say the proposal is aimed at dealing with safety concerns stemming from legal cannabis businesses being locked out of banking services. "Forcing legal businesses to operate in all-cash is dangerous for our communities; it's an open invitation to robbery, money laundering, and organized crime — and it's way past time to fix it," Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat representing Oregon, said in a statement accompanying the bill.Republican Senators Steve Daines of Montana and Rand Paul of Kentucky, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, are among other cosponsors. The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis Exchange-Traded Fund jumped about 10% to a nearly two-week high, and the Roundhill Cannabis ETF soared 12% to a nearly one-month peak. For individual stocks, cannabis cultivator and distributor Tilray surged 9%, Aurora Cannabis picked up 4%, Chicago-based retail operator Cresco Labs soared about 15%, and Green Thumb Industries, a retailer and edibles maker, rose 7%. While more states have legalized medical and recreational use of cannabis, it remains illegal at the federal level, leaving banks vulnerable to federal laws and unwilling to provide services.The SAFE ACT, if passed by Congress, would prevent federal banking regulators from prohibiting or penalizing a bank from providing financial services to a state-sanctioned cannabis business.Regulators would also be unable to punish associated entities such as lawyers or landlords who provide services to a legal marijuana businesses.  A regulator, for example, could not terminate or limit a bank's federal deposit insurance because the bank is providing services to legalized cannabis operators.  The bill does require banks to comply with guidance set by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network while allowing FinCEN guidance to be streamlined as states and the federal government adapt to policies for legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis. The House on seven occasions has passed provisions clearing the way for cannabis businesses to use banks, but they haven't been able to land Senate approval.  Merkley said there's now a path for the first time for the SAFE Banking Act to move through the Senate Banking Committee and to a Senate floor vote. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 27th, 2023

Futures Rally Fizzles As Banking Fears Resurface

Futures Rally Fizzles As Banking Fears Resurface US index futures are fractionally higher, led by tech, however continued turmoil surrounding First Republic Bank which tumbled as much as 30% this morning after losing half its value yesterday, has sapped much of the earlier optimism and gains. Yesterday was the SPX’s worst day in a month and was April’s second move that exceeded 1%, in either direction. As of 8:00am ET, S&P futures were up 0.1%, while Nasdaq futures gained 0.8%, but both were well of their highs. Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft Corp. both beat first-quarter earnings expectations in results published after the market close. Microsoft gained in the premarket Wednesday, while Alphabet reversed an advance to move into the red. Meta Platforms is due to report after the bell today. Pre-mkt MSFT +7.4%, AMZN +3.7%, NVDA +2.1%, META +2.0%, GOOGL, +0.5%, AAPL +0.4%. PACW seemingly gives more evidence that FRC is idiosyncratic. V is +0.9% pre-mkt after posting earnings; the more impactful news may be that the company states that the consumer remains in good shape amid decreasing inflation. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Boeing shares jump 4.1% in premarket trading, after the planemaker’s first-quarter revenue and cash flow both beat expectations.  Shares off some Boeing suppliers also rose premarket. Spirit AeroSystems up 2.5%, Arconic up 1%, Howmet up 1.9%. Microsoft jumps as much as 7.7% after the software company’s third-quarter results beat expectations. Analysts highlighted strength in the company’s Azure cloud business and were optimistic about the overall resiliency of the business, leading at least 16 of them to raise their price target on the stock. Alphabet rises as much as 1.9% after the Google parent reported first-quarter results that beat expectations. Analysts noted strength in the company’s search business, as well as positive momentum in cloud. This coupled with strong results from fellow tech juggernaut Microsoft eased concerns that tech shares’ year-to-date rally is overdone. Midsize US banks, including First Republic (FRC US), rally following an update from peer PacWest which showed that deposits stabilized toward the end of March and rose in April, calming worries over the lender’s health. Enphase Energy shares plummet as much as 16%, on track for their worst day since June 2020, with analysts cutting their price targets on the solar equipment maker after its second-quarter revenue guidance missed expectations due to weakness in its US market and higher interest rates. Brokers say that Enphase’s first quarter performance was overall strong, and are positive regarding its prospects for the longer-term. Getty falls as much as 6.7% after the media firm rebuffed a takeover bid of almost $4 billion from Trillium, saying the activist investor hasn’t provided any evidence that its proposal, valuing the shares at nearly double the pre-offer price, is “sufficiently credible.” IonQ gains 3.6% after Morgan Stanley initiates coverage with an equal-weight recommendation, saying the quantum computing company is an early leader in the space, though the technology risk is high as quantum advantage is still unproven. While layoffs dominate headlines, the US is still net adding jobs this year, from a strong starting point, 3.5% unemployment. The yield curve is steeper with USD lower; cmdtys staging a relief rally. Today, the macro data focus is on durable/cap goods, inventories, and mtge applications. There may be a vote on McCarthy’s debt ceiling bill in the House, though this bill will fail in the Senate but is seeing a stronger negotiating move. Debt ceiling fears will continue to permeate markets near-term “The question is to what extent central banks and regulators can contain market sentiment and make clear to investors they need to keep a cool head, to give depositors confidence that there is no need to run to other banks,” said Tatjana Puhan, deputy chief investment officer at Tobam SAS. “So far the Fed has been very clear that they will continue to hike rates as long as needed to contain inflation.” European stocks fall to their lowest level in two weeks as investors continue to fret over the health of the global banking system. Software producer Dassault Systemes sank more than 8% after missing revenue estimates. The Stoxx 600 is down 0.8% with industrials, healthcare and tech the worst performing sectors. Bank stocks were leading declines at one stage but recovered after a positive premarket open for First Republic. Dutch chip-tool maker ASM International slumped more than 10% after offering a tepid outlook for the rest of the year. Roche Holding AG retreated even as its first-quarter sales exceeded expectations. Beats from Standard Chartered Plc and Sweden’s SEB AB failed to bolster sentiment. Here are the most notable European movers: Kindred shares jump 15% after the online gambling firm said it initiated a review of strategic alternatives, including a sale. Goodbody analyst says the firm is an “attractive asset” Temenos shares jump as much as 11%, the most in a year, after the Swiss financial software firm delivered a strong beat in the first quarter, even if its outlook remains clouded Persimmon shares gain as much as 5.3% after showing an improving outlook in its 1Q report, with other UK homebuilders also gaining. Peel Hunt says the report offers “comfort” SSAB rallies as much as 5.2% after reporting adjusted Ebitda for the first quarter that beat estimates, with analysts expecting the Swedish steelmaker’s estimates to rise SEB shares rise by as much as 6.2%, the most in a year, after the Swedish lender reported net interest income for the first quarter that beat the average analyst estimate Vonovia rises 5.9% after it sells minority common equity participation in “Suedewo” portfolio to Apollo on behalf of its affiliated and third party insurance clients and other investor ASM International shares fall as much as 13% in Amsterdam, their biggest intraday decline since 2020, after the Dutch chip-tool maker offered a tepid outlook for rest of the year Dassault Systemes shares fall as much as 7.8%, their biggest intraday decline since May 2022, after the French firm reported weaker-than-expected software license sales for 1Q CRH shares drop as much as 5% after the Irish building materials company reported 1Q like-for-like sales growth below that of peers, impacted by weather effects Axfood falls as much as 6.5% after the Swedish grocer reported 1Q adjusted Ebitda and net sales slightly below expectations, a miss Kepler Cheuvreux attributes to logistics arm Dagab Handelsbanken falls as much as 4.4% after its CET1 ratio missed the consensus, while Citi noted that a small beat in net interest income was driven by a reclassification of funding costs “The markets are very much focused on some of the earnings story, but possibly overlooking the weight of economic deceleration that is playing through right now, particularly in the United States,” John Woods, Asia Pacific chief investment officer at Credit Suisse Group AG, said on Bloomberg Television. “I’m looking at a whole range of technical signals, which seem to be suggesting a risk-off environment.” Earlier in the session, Asia stocks fell for a fourth straight day as weak US consumer confidence data sapped risk appetite, although the selloff in Chinese equities paused. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped as much as 0.5%, trading near a one-month low, led by benchmarks in Japan and the Philippines. The moves come after declines in US markets overnight amid a drop in consumer confidence and a re-emergence of banking concerns.  Hong Kong shares outperformed with gains, while mainland China equities trimmed earlier losses as traders sought catalysts after the rout this month. China’s high frequency indicators show the economy continued to expand in April, though geopolitical concerns are keeping optimism in check. “The macro overlay is probably dominating the performance of equities, particularly in China,” said John Woods, Asia Pacific chief investment officer at Credit Suisse, told Bloomberg Television. “I’m looking at a whole range of technical signals which seem to be suggesting a risk-off environment” globally, he added. Despite strong results from Microsoft and Alphabet, a gauge of major tech stocks in the region was among the biggest sectoral decliners Wednesday. Earnings are front and center this week, with more than 800 members of the MSCI Asia gauge scheduled to report, as the market attempts to find direction amid low volatility.  Japanese stocks fell amid renewed concern over the health of the global banking system after First Republic Bank shares plunged on a proposed asset sale and decline in deposits. The Topix fell 0.9% to close at 2,023.90, while the Nikkei declined 0.7% to 28,416.47. Keyence contributed the most to the Topix decline, decreasing 2%. Out of 2,158 stocks in Topix, 329 rose and 1,767 fell, while 62 were unchanged. “I think it is unlikely that the problem of US banks will develop into a financial crisis,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “However, there is a possibility that lending will tighten mainly for small and medium-sized companies, and attention must be paid to the risk of economic deterioration.” Australian stocks were flat, as cooler inflation boosted the case for holding rates; the S&P/ASX 200 index was little changed to close at 7,316.30, as losses in mining shares offset gains in industrials and energy stocks. Australia’s core inflation decelerated in the first three months of 2023, lending weight to the Reserve Bank’s view that prices will steadily come down and supporting the case for it to extend an interest-rate pause. Read: Australia’s Cooler Inflation Boosts Case to Keep Rates on Hold In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 11,934.98. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3%, unwinding most of Tuesday’s gain, as US futures rose. Euro and pound outperform among G10 currencies, with both climbing more than 0.5% against the greenback. Australia’s dollar dropped against all its major peers as the country’s slower-than-estimated inflation supported the case for the central bank to extend its rate-hike pause. The trimmed-mean inflation gauge rose 1.2% in 1Q from the previous quarter, falling short of the 1.4% gain estimated by economists; it comes after the Reserve Bank of Australia paused its almost year-long tightening cycle earlier this month. The Swedish krona also dropped after the Riksbank signaled smaller rate increases going forward. In rates, treasuries held on to Tuesday’s sharp gains following minimal price action during Asia session and London morning. US yields are 1bp lower on the day with 10-year around 3.39%, trailing bunds by 4bp in the sector. European bonds also gained, with German and UK 10-year yields falling by 5bps and 2bps respectively.  The treasury auction cycle continues with $43b 5-year note sale at 1pm, following small tail in Tuesday’s 2-year sale. WI 5-year yield at ~3.43% is ~23bp richer than March auction, which stopped 1bp through the WI level. Crude futures advance with WTI rising 0.5% to trade near $77.50. Spot gold is little changed around $2,000. Bitcoin is firmer and has lifted back towards the USD 29k mark, but is yet to mount a convincing test of the figure with the high thus far circa. USD 100 shy; action which keeps BTC comfortably above last-week's parameters but shy of the USD 30k+ seen earlier in April. Looking to the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include preliminary durable goods orders and core capital goods orders for March. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Herodotou. Lastly, earnings releases include Meta and Boeing. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,098.00 MXAP down 0.1% to 159.64 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 510.57 Nikkei down 0.7% to 28,416.47 Topix down 0.9% to 2,023.90 Hang Seng Index up 0.7% to 19,757.27 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,264.10 Sensex up 0.1% to 60,210.93 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,316.30 Kospi down 0.2% to 2,484.83 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 463.89 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.35% Euro up 0.6% to $1.1037 Brent Futures up 0.5% to $81.17/bbl Gold spot up to $1,997.49 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.43% to 101.43 Top Overnight News BOJ widely expected to leave policy unchanged this week, but COVID could be dropped in the statement as a risk factor, a move that might be interpreted as the first step toward tightening measures later in the year. RTRS Australian inflation eased from 33-year highs in the first quarter as the cost of living saw the smallest rise in more than a year, while core inflation dipped below forecasts suggesting less pressure for another hike in interest rates. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday showed the consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.4% in the March quarter, just above market forecasts of 1.3% but the smallest increase since late 2021. RTRS South Korea will have a say in planning a potential U.S. nuclear response to a North Korean attack in return for not developing its own nuclear weapons. WSJ Sweden’s Riksbank raises rates by 50bp, as expected (although two members at the bank voted for 25bp), and guided for one additional increase at its June or Sept meeting, suggesting the tightening process is nearly over. BBG The White House chief of staff, Jeff Zients, said that while he can’t comment on specific banks, “you can be reassured that that the regulators are deeply involved in monitoring the situation and will take the necessary actions”. WSJ Almost one in five cars sold worldwide this year will be an electric vehicle, the International Energy Agency has forecast, after sales already passed the 10mn mark for the first time globally. The remarkable surge in demand for battery-powered models means electric vehicles will account for 18 per cent of global car sales compared with just 4 per cent of global car sales in 2020, according to the agency’s annual outlook. FT Opposition mounts in the House among Republicans to McCarthy’s debt ceiling bill, meaning it prob. can’t pass without revisions (the goal had been for a vote to take place today). The Hill   US crude stockpiles slumped more than 6 million barrels last week, the API is said to have reported. That would be the biggest drop in four weeks if confirmed by the EIA today. Inventories at Cushing edged higher. Gasoline supplies resumed their decline, while distillate inventory climbed. BBG Stanley Druckenmiller is betting against the US dollar as his only high-conviction trade in what he believes is the most uncertain environment for markets and the global economy in his 45-year career. FT The SPAC boom took hundreds of risky companies to the stock market. The next stop for many is bankruptcy court. Dozens of companies that merged with SPACs are running out of cash, joining at least 12 that have already gone bankrupt after combining with special-purpose acquisition companies. WSJ A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were mostly lower after the losses on Wall St where banking sector fears resurfaced as First Republic Bank shares fell by 50% due to an exodus of deposits and with the lender considering up to USD 100bln in asset sales, although US equity futures found some reprieve overnight from the big tech earnings. ASX 200 was lacklustre but with downside stemmed as participants digested somewhat mixed inflation data in which the headline CPI readings for Q1 topped forecasts, but all other components were softer than expected and supported the view that the economy has passed peak inflation. Nikkei 225 declined amid pressure in the banking sector and disappointment in Japan after the failed lunar module landing which resulted in a glut of sell orders for ispace shares. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were mixed with early weakness in tech after US Republican senators urged for US government measures to address Chinese cloud companies including placing sanctions on Huawei Cloud and adding Alibaba Cloud to the export control list, although it was also reported that China's State Council pledged to expand the export and import scale of key products and will properly respond to unreasonable foreign trade restrictions. Top Asian News RBNZ proposed to ease LVR restriction from June 1st and it assessed that risks to financial stability from high-LVR lending have reduced to a level where current restriction may be unnecessarily reducing efficiency, according to Reuters. Japanese panel is reportedly reviewing utility prices to look for a lower hike, according to NTV. European bourses are lower across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.6%, with pressure emanating from the softer APAC handover which itself was impacted by FRC-induced banking concern with European names impacted. More recently, earnings from heavyweights Safran and ASM International are weighing on the Industrial Goods and Tech sectors respectively. For reference, after the European cash open broader sentiment slipped to fresh lows with bourses posting downside in excess of 1.0%; though, this magnitude was somewhat shortlived and occurred without a fresh catalyst at the time. Stateside, US futures are somewhat mixed with ES marginally firmer but relatively contained while the NQ +1.3% is the standout outperformer after well-received Big Tech after-market updates ahead of the likes of Meta and Boeing on Wednesday. Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) - Top- and bottom-line beats, Q1 EPS 1.17 (exp. 1.07), Q1 Revenue 69.8bln (exp. 68.9bln), a USD 70bln share buyback, and decent ad revenue saw GOOG rise over 1.5% in afterhours trading. +1.1% in pre-market trade Microsoft Corp (MSFT) - Rose over 8% in afterhours trading following top and bottom-line beats on cloud growth. Q3 EPS 2.45 (exp. 2.23), Q3 revenue USD 52.9bln (exp. 51.02bln), Q3 Cloud revenue 28.5bln (exp. 28.19bln). +7.9% in pre-market trade Top European News Riksbank hikes its Rate by 50bps to 3.50% as expected; Dissent from Bremen and Floden (3-2 vote split); forecast indicates a 25bps hike in June or September; peak rate seen at 3.65% (prev. 3.33%), Q2-2026 average 3.35%; reiterates language on SEK.. Click here for details, reaction and newsquawk analysis. ECB's Vujcic commented that there is no choice but to raise rates further, according to Delo. German Economy Ministry says industrial electricity pricing concept is to be introduced next week. EU Commission proposes that countries with a budget gap larger than 3% of GDP will have to cut the deficit by at least 0.5% of GDP annually, until they are below the 3% ceiling. In-fitting with earlier FT reports. FX Swedish Krona crushed after 'dovish' 50bp Riksbank hike as 2 doves dissent, guidance suggests 1/4 point rise next time and repo path shows cut by Q2 2026, EUR/SEK eyes April high near 11.4500. DXY recoils within 101.890-320 range to the benefit of Euro and Pound especially, EUR/USD tops 1.1050 and pulls away from multiple option expiries, Cable reclaims 21 DMA on the way to towards 1.2500. Aussie continues to underperform as mostly softer than consensus inflation data underscores the probability of another RBA pause, AUD/USD probes 0.6600. Yen extends recovery rally vs Buck on spot month end amidst broad risk aversion and pre-BoJ positioning, USD/JPY towards the base of a 133.40-86 range. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 6.9237 vs exp. 6.9250 (prev. 6.8847) Fixed Income Core benchmarks are mixed and in relative proximity to the unchanged mark, though retain an upward bias, as Bunds/Gilts faded from their initial 135.75 and 102.12 respective peaks. The morning's dual-issuance via Germany sparked little reaction given the pullback from above best by around 40 ticks to near neutral had already occurred. Stateside, USTs are similarly contained though the benchmark contrasts slightly in being softer on the session in limited 115.18-25 parameters ahead of supply and data, with yields big as such and action as has been the case recently more evident at the short-end of the curve. Commodities WTI and Brent June futures eked mild gains overnight but trimmed those gains in early European hours in what has been a choppy morning for the complex. Spot gold continues to trade indecisively as the yellow metal balances a softer Dollar with the deteriorating risk profile across the market. Base metals meanwhile are mostly firmer, benefiting from the pullback in the Dollar, but with upside capped as the risk tone remains cautious. Russian Deputy PM Novak says total balance of oil supply and demand has not changed; says OPEC+ is effective, there are risks to energy security without OPEC+; says OPEC+ are not regulating prices. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -6.1mln (exp. -1.5mln), Gasoline -1.9mln (exp. -0.9mln), Distillate 1.7mln (exp. -0.8mln), Cushing 0.5mln. European Commission VP Sefcovic said 80 companies signed up to the EU's platform for joint natgas purchases that launched on Tuesday, according to FT. Geopolitics Russia said two of its strategic missile carrier bombers flew over the Barents and Norwegian seas, according to Reuters. Drone reportedly fell on the grounds of Moscow City court, according to Izvestia newspaper; drone did not carry any objects. China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on maritime law enforcement cooperation, according to Chinese state media. China's Defence Ministry says they are willing to work with the Pakistani military to further deepen and expand practical cooperation. China Maritime Administration said China will conduct live firing drills in the East China Sea today, according to Reuters. China Taiwan Affairs Office commented on a recent media report that an EU diplomat called for EU navy patrols in the Taiwan Strait in which it stated that authorities will be prepared and they will be on high alert for possible harm to China's national sovereignty and territory, according to Reuters. Turkish President Erdogan cancelled election campaign rallies on Wednesday on his Doctors suggestion amid an unexpected health issue. US Event Calendar 07:00: April MBA Mortgage Applications +3.7%, prior -8.8% 08:30: March Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.7%, prior -1.0%; Durables Less Transportation, est. -0.2%, prior -0.1% March Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.1%, prior -0.1% March Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. -0.1%, prior -0.1% 08:30: March Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.8% 08:30: March Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.1% 08:30: March Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. -$90b, prior -$91.6b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap If I'm not thinking straight this morning forgive me as my brain was disturbed by an awful noise last night that I can't get out of my head. Yes my 5-yr old twins came home from school yesterday after their first ever violin lesson and insisted on giving me a rendition. I'd imagine torture is easier to endure. The noises from the market over the last 24 hours haven’t been pleasant either with the S&P 500 (-1.58%) experiencing its worst day in over a month. The slump had several drivers, including weak earnings reports, poor data releases, continued fears around the debt ceiling, and even a renewed bout of concern about the banking sector. Taken together, that’s cast increasing doubt on the sustainability of the rally over recent weeks, with investors once again pricing in a growing chance of rate cuts later this year. More positive tech earnings after the US bell were the one bright spot and are boosting US futures in Asia. We’ll start with the banking concerns, as one of the biggest stories yesterday was the latest slump in First Republic Bank (-49.37%), which was the worst performer in the entire S&P 500. That follows their earnings release after the close on Monday, which was always going to be a focal point of the week. It showed a bigger-than-expected decline in deposits and saw them announce a workforce reduction of around 20-25% in Q2. Additionally, yesterday it was reported that the lender was looking to divest $50-100bn of long-dated mortgages and securities that are underwater in order to clean up their balance sheet. According to reports, First Republic could offer incentives such as warrants or preferred equity to buyers in order to move the assets. This highlights how vital it appears to them to shed those assets and how little others might want them. The news brought on a further bout of selling, with shares down -29% before the asset sale news and then dropping a further -25% in the hour or so after the news broke. The latest fall in the share price takes it down to an all-time low ($8.10), and well below the 12-16 share price range of the last month where things had stabilised. It was at around $147 in early February. The losses were evident among banks more broadly, with all but one of the 22 members of the KBW Banks Index (-3.45%) losing ground. Those declines among bank stocks were at the forefront of a broader equity sell-off as earnings season continues apace. After the close yesterday, we heard from Microsoft (+8.64% after-market, -2.25% yesterday) and Alphabet (+1.68% after-market, -2.03% yesterday). They both reported above consensus revenues and EPS, with the latter also announcing an additional $70bn share buyback program. Alphabet’s ad-sales grew enough to quell some concerns there, while Microsoft’s strong cloud services demand bolstered sentiment after the close. Earlier in the day, UPS (-9.99%) struggled after they warned that their revenue for the year would be at the lower end of their forecast range from January. In the meantime, McDonald’s (-0.58%) outperformed the broader market as it beat estimates and is generally a defensive stock, whilst General Motors (-4.02%) was another that struggled after reporting. Today we get Meta and Boeing leading the way. An additional factor not helping matters yesterday was weak US data. It’s true that some housing measures surprised on the upside, but they were more backward looking for February and March. By contrast, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for April fell back to 101.3 (vs. 104.0 expected), and the expectations component hit a 9-month low at 68.1. In turn, the weak data plus the latest banking woes led investors to price in further rate cuts for this year, with the futures-implied rate for December down by -13.0bps on the day to 4.355%. That is the biggest move lower on the December rate projection in over three weeks. Markets are pricing in a 79% chance of a 25bp hike next week, with just a 9% chance of a hike in the following meeting. This negative mood music meant that sovereign bonds rallied across the board, and 10yr US Treasuries (-9.1bps) saw their biggest daily decline in over a month, taking them down to 3.3996%. Early in the US session the 1m3m yield curve steepened to near its highs from last week, trading at around 165bps as fears about a potential debt ceiling crisis mount. However, by the end of the session, investors had flipped positioning and the curve flattened -37.4bps to close at 111.9bps. That is the flattest the curve has been since last Monday. See my CoTD here from yesterday for more on that topic. Back in Europe, there was also a serious decline in sovereign bond yields, with those on 10yr bunds (-12.4bps), OATs (-12.0bps) and BTPs (-10.4bps) all moving lower. The shifts were in line with the broader risk-off move, as we didn’t much new info on the way of ECB policy. We did hear from Chief Economist Lane who gave an interview to Le Monde, but he only said that “we should raise rates again”, rather than offering any clue on the size of a potential hike. For equities there was a similarly downbeat tone, and the STOXX 600 fell back -0.40%. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trying to shake off the banking system worries following upbeat results from US big tech so far. Chief among the decliners is the Nikkei (-0.72%) amid a more defensive price action away from financials. The Shanghai Composite (-0.31%) and the Kospi (-0.14%) are also in the red. The picture is brighter for Hong Kong indices, with the Hang Seng (+0.53%) rebounding amid robust gains in tech (Hang Seng TECH is up by +1.22% so far). Tailwinds to the sector are coming from the aforementioned US big tech results, with Nasdaq 100 (+1.27%) and the S&P 500 (+0.42%) futures both gaining this morning. Otherwise, both US Treasuries and the dollar are steady. On the political side, US President Biden formally announced yesterday that he would be standing for re-election in 2024, calling on voters to back him so he could “finish this job”. The announcement ends any speculation about whether Biden would in fact run for re-election, and will also enable him to raise funds for the campaign. There was also confirmation that Vice President Kamala Harris will remain as his running mate, and the pair do not face any serious opposition from inside their party for the nomination. On the Republican side, former President Trump remains the polling front-runner, and recent polls this month have shown him expanding his lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who hasn’t yet announced a candidacy. Incidentally, if Biden and Trump were the respective nominees for 2024, it would be the first time that the same two nominees have faced each other in a direct re-match since 1956. Looking at yesterday’s other data, US new home sales rose by more than expected in March, up to an annualised rate of 683k (vs. 632k expected), marking their highest level in a year. We also had the FHFA house price index for February, which showed growth at a 9-month high of +0.5% (vs. -0.1% expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include preliminary durable goods orders and core capital goods orders for March. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Herodotou. Lastly, earnings releases include Meta and Boeing. Tyler Durden Wed, 04/26/2023 - 08:07.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 26th, 2023

Anyone hoping to make an easy buck off vacation properties must contend with an "Airbnbust" and a growing number of places looking to regulate short-term rentals

These 26 cities and towns have or are considering regulations or restrictions on short-term rentals, which may be a boon for existing owners. Memphis, Tennessee, is the latest city to enact new regulations on short-term rentals.Bruce Yuanyue Bi/Getty Images The pandemic sparked a boom in short-term rentals, leading some cities to worry about oversight. Among "Airbnbust" fears, some experts say regulation may be key to stopping boom-and-bust cycles. These 26 locations across North America are looking to rein in Airbnbs and short-term rentals. Following the end of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the short-term rental industry experienced a period of record strength. In 2021, Airbnb reported an 85% increase in average earnings for hosts. By 2022, there was an industry-record 1.4 million listings available nationwide, according to the analytics site AirDNA. Airbnb had its first ever profitable year that year, taking in $1.9 billion. Now, however, the industry sits at a crossroads. Some short-term rentals are doing better than ever, while other owners complain of dried-up bookings and an encroaching "Airbnbust". Some experts note that localities with robust regulations of short-term rentals provide a solid environment for hosts by capping the number of permits and preserving the profits of existing Airbnb owners.At the same time, some locals in popular travel spots have rallied against short-term rentals, saying their mounting presence in their neighborhoods can lead to a variety of issues, from mundane annoyances (noisy parties) to substantial challenges (they make it more difficult for regular people to buy homes).Cities and towns are caught in the middle, trying to balance these concerns with the revenue that vacationers bring in and the rights of property owners. From the beaches of California to the mountains of Vermont, communities are grappling with regulations that could determine the future of short-term rentals in their area. Some local governments, like in Honolulu, have passed regulations like banning rental stays under 90 days, while others, like in Aspen, Colorado, have proposed new taxes on owners. Some cities have simply called timeout: Chattanooga, Tennessee, paused new applications for non-owner-occupied units as it considered short-term rentals' future there. An Airbnb spokesperson said in an emailed statement in 2022 that "short-term rentals have been part of the fabric of popular vacation destinations such as these for decades, and our goal is to work with communities on balanced rules that support local tourism economies, provide certainty and clarity for Hosts, and address community concerns." Airbnb also maintains a page on its site dubbed City Portal, which has resources for local governments.  Here are 26 locations in the US and Canada where residents and local politicians are fighting back against short-term rentals. They are presented in alphabetical order.This story, originally published in May 2022, was updated in April 2023.Are you trying to pass regulations to limit short-term rentals? Are you a short-term rental owner who wants to talk about your experience with regulations? Email reporter Dan Latu at dlatu@insider.com. Alamosa, ColoradoThe Great Sand Dune National Park and the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains draw visitors to southern Colorado every year.Dan Ballard/Getty ImagesA four-hour drive south of Denver, Alamosa (population 10,000) is known for its proximity to Great Sand Dunes National Park, where visitors flock to see the tallest dunes in North America. As of November 2021, Alamosa had 24 short-term rentals registered with the city — and many more unregistered ones, the Alamosa Citizen reported.In April 2022, the Alamosa City Council unanimously passed an ordinance and two resolutions that were seen as a compromise between the interests of short-term-rental owners and frustrated residents. Under the new regulations, short-term rentals that are available for less than 30 days can only be in certain types of dwellings, including single-family homes or one unit in a multifamily property. Renting units in multifamily buildings with more than four units is no longer allowed.Short-term-rental owners will also have to obtain a license for an initial cost of $750 and a yearly renewal fee of $300. There is now a 5% cap on the number of short-term-rental licenses that will be issued per zone, or city neighborhood.When a new short-term-rental license is issued, neighbors must be notified.The Alamosa Citizen reported that area employers were struggling to recruit workers given "a tight and increasingly expensive housing market.""It is important to bring resolution to this item so business owners can predict what will be expected of them, neighborhoods will have some protections from nuisances, there is reasonable preservation of housing units for residents," Heather Brooks, the Alamosa city manager, told the Valley Courier. Aspen, ColoradoAspen, ColoradoVisionsofAmerica/Joe SohmAspen voters approved a ballot measure in November 2022 that imposes a pair of new taxes on short-term and vacation rental properties. Ballot Issue 2A imposes a 5% tax on nightly room rates for short-term rentals with lodge-exempt permits and a 10% tax on investment properties. The measures were approved by the local city council just days after Steamboat Springs, another popular Colorado resort town about three hours north of Aspen, passed a similar ordinance imposing new taxes on vacation rentals. Aspen City Council member Rachel Richards told the Post Independent in November 2022 that the vote is a "re-affirmation that Aspen is a community, wants to be a community, and supports the community."There are 979 STRs in Aspen and they charge an average daily rate of $749, according to AirDNA. Aspen is also the most expensive city in Colorado to live in with an average home price of more than $2.9 million, according to Zillow. Opponents of the measure have argued that it will depress tourism in one of Colorado's best-known resort locations. In the summer of 2020, Aspen hospitality businesses saw their average daily rates increase by 29% year-over-year while their revenue per available room increased by nearly 99%, according to data from the Aspen Chamber of Commerce.Atlanta, GeorgiaHomes in Atlanta's popular Midtown neighborhood.novikat/Getty ImagesIn March 2021, Atlanta passed an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals.It requires hosts to pay a $150 annual fee for a permit — and provide a copy of the property's deed and a utility bill — to operate a rental property. The rentals are taxed at 8%, the same as hotels in Atlanta. A violation of the ordinance carries a $300 fine."I'm trying to stop the city from becoming a de facto hotel city," a city councilman, Antonio Lewis, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.The bill was approved by a 13-2 council vote to crack down on party houses by making the owner of the unit responsible for violations.The law was scheduled to go into effect in March 2022.However, according to an analysis of city-permitting data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, roughly 10% of the city's 7,100 listings applied for permits two months after the application process opened. Less than 3% received permits.The city is still collecting input from stakeholders and has delayed enforcement of the measures. It held a meeting in March 2023 to discuss the future of short-term rentals in the city.Burlington, VermontChurch Street in Burlington, Vermont, is the downtown hub of the state's most populous city.DenisTangneyJr/Getty ImagesVermont's most populous city attracts more than just autumnal leaf-peepers, welcoming visitors year-round for its breweries, nature excursions, and cultural attractions. For a year, the city government was locked in a debate over the growth of short-term rentals. There are now between 200 to 250 short-term rentals in the 40,000-person city, according to the VTDigger, and the major concern for officials is whether short-term rentals take away housing stock from Burlington residents. In February 2022, the city council passed an ordinance requiring short-term-rental owners to also live in the house as their primary residence. But the mayor vetoed the measure in March, saying it was too restrictive.In April 2022, the city council, with new members sworn in, voted to consider a new set of rules and passed a brand-new ordinance in June, according to the local outlet Seven Days. Short-term-rental owners must now live on the property, though there are some exceptions. Hosts will also pay an annual fee of up to $110 and a 9% tax on revenue from the rental, according to Seven Days.Chattanooga, TennesseeRiverboat cruises draw visitors to the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, where the city has paused all short-term-rental applications.SeanPavonePhoto/Getty ImagesIn 2022, the Chattanooga City Council paused all applications for short-term rental that are not owner-occupied until the end of the year.When the deadline arrived, the city council extended the pause another 6 months until July 2023, partially to hire more personnel to focus on the issue, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.The city, with a riverfront and historic battlegrounds that attract tourists, has been debating the merits of its profitable rental industry. A local station, Channel 9 News, reported that Airbnb rentals brought in tax revenue of $3.5 million for the county in 2021. But some residents are concerned about the ability of outside investors to reap rewards at the expense of Chattanooga locals. "I'm not in favor of having investors that come in out of state, out of country even, and buy 10 to 15 pieces of property. They're not invested in the community. They're not invested in Chattanooga," Donna Morgan, a local resident, told Channel 9.There are 1,120 active short-term rentals, according to analytics site AirDNA.Coeur d'Alene, IdahoCoeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a resort town that is a 40-minute drive east of Spokane, Washington.Alan NickThe Idaho resort town Coeur d'Alene has halted all short-term rental applications for 2023 and is now requiring a permit for rentals under 14 days, a reversal of previous rules, according to CBS affiliate KREM.The city first passed laws concerning short term rentals in 2017, but is considering adding a slew of restrictions as the number of vacation rentals continues to grow. Coeur d'Alene's General Services/Public Works Committee could amend the law to require off-street parking, increase fees for violating the ordinance, and limit the number of permits issued annually. "We can't have a thousand people rushing to get a permit when we might not allow that many," Councilwoman Christie Wood told KREM 2 in September. According to AirDNA, there are about 790 active vacation rentals in Coeur d'Alene that charge an average daily rate of around $260. However, a large chunk of the rentals may be illegal as city officials told local news station KREM in November that only 453 vacation rental properties have been authorized. The debate over vacation rentals in Coeur d'Alene comes at a time when the local housing market is shifting in favor of buyers. The median home value is down more than 9% to just under $550,000 as of February 2023 while the number of homes sold has dropped by nearly 29% year-over-year, according to Redfin.Dallas, TexasDallas is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.Danny Lehman/ Getty ImagesLocal leaders on the Dallas City Plan Commission voted 9-4 in December 2022 to recommend defining short-term rental properties as "lodging" under the city's zoning code. The move could effectively prevent the properties from existing in Dallas' single-family residential neighborhoods. The Dallas City Council still needs to approve the recommendation before any enforcement actions can take place. In April 2023, the body postponed a scheduled vote to recieve more informational briefings on the matter, according to the Dallas NBC affiliate. Commissioner Claire Stanard, one of the commission members who voted in favor of the proposal, told the Dallas Morning News that the proposal could help improve public safety. The commission heard several complaints from local residents about "party houses" with loud music and lots of cars during their debate. "If my granddaughter is living next to a short-term rental or between them, is that really what my son-in-law bought a house to have as his next-door neighbor," Standard said. According to data from AirDNA, there are more than 5,400 short-term rentals in Dallas. The properties charge an average daily rate of $165 and they have a 60% occupancy rate. Other commissioners weren't as convinced that adding new regulations would help solve the problems that city residents are complaining about. "I don't have any faith that regulation is the sole solution to this problem," Commissioner Melissa Kingston told the Dallas Morning News. Other cities in Texas like Fort Worth and Arlington have already restricted vacation rental properties from their residential neighborhoods.Dauphin Island, AlabamaDauphin Island, Alabama, sits on the Gulf Coast near the Louisiana border.Barry WinikerAnother vacation destination that has imposed limitations on short term rental properties is Dauphin Island, Alabama, a small island off of the gulf coast in Pelican Bay. In August 2022, Dauphin Island's Planning Commission finalized several STR restrictions in a rewrite of the town's zoning code. The restrictions include limiting where short term rental properties can be located on the island, restricting the number of vehicles that can be parked at a rental property, and imposing a $75 annual fee for rental property owners. The new limitations have put residents at odds with one another, according to a report by AL.com. Some claim the properties are improving the island by attracting tourists. Those who want to limit the number of short term rentals say the regulations are striking a balance between business interests and the local community. "One group will say they are renting out (their house) and the next thing you know is you have eight cars parked all over the yards," Dauphin Island City Councilman Earle Connell, who is also the local liaison for the planning commission, told AL.com in August 2022. "To them, it's a vacation. I understand that. But these people who do that don't understand we have a community and neighborhood that is protected."There are 574 vacation rental homes in Dauphin Island, and they have a 68% occupancy rate, according to AirDNA.Dillon, ColoradoDillon, Colorado, is a ski town near Breckenridge.Brad McGinleyDillon, Colorado's city council is considering how to move forward with the town's new short-term rental regulations after voters approved a slate of measures aimed at curtailing the properties in November. Currently, city council members are considering raising the annual fee to operate a short-term rental from $250 to $700, while removing previous requirements for parking, according to a report by Summit Daily.  The ordinance comes after voters approved a pair of ballot questions that levy a 5% excise tax on short-term rentals and increased the city's lodging tax from 2% to 6%. The city – which has just over 1,000 full-time residents – is located in Summit County, home to some of Colorado's favorite ski attractions such as the Breckenridge ski resort, Copper Mountain, and Grays Peak. Overall, the city estimates that the new taxes could return approximately $3 million in annual tax revenue. Dillon can collect up to $4.5 million of this specific tax before triggering a tax refund under state law, town finance director Carri McDonnell told Steamboat Pilot & Today.Voters approved the new taxes at a time when Dillon's housing market was soaring. Dillon's median home price had increased nearly 25% year-over-year to $917,500, according to Redfin. Things have cooled down as of February 2023, when the media home price was $685,000.Frisco, ColoradoFrisco, Colorado, is another ski town near Breckenridge.Bloomberg CreativeFrisco, Colorado – a small town in central Colorado – capped the number of short-term-rental properties within its jurisdiction at 900, or 25% of the local housing stock, back in October 2022. The new regulations also require short term rental landlords to live at their property for at least 10 months out of the year but passed on the opportunity to create a new license for short-term rentals versus traditional rental properties, according to the Summit Daily. The ordinance could also have a significant impact on tourism in Frisco, which is seen by locals as a cheap midway point between popular resort destinations like Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. Frisco currently levies a 5% excise tax on short-term rentals and a 2% lodging tax."There are a lot of people very unhappy — as one person had mentioned — with having the short-term rentals next to them because some people might be very careful to who they rent to and how they monitor it, but others are not," city council member Lisa Holenko told Summit Daily. There are currently more than 1,700 STRs in Frisco, according to AirDNA. These properties charge an average daily rate of $299 and have an average occupancy rate of about 50%.Lexington, KentuckyLexington, Kentucky, is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby horse race.iStock/Getty Images PlusPopular tourist towns like Lexington, Kentucky — which is home to the annual Kentucky Derby — are starting to crack down on vacation rentals at a time when their housing markets are growing more competitive by the day. Lexington's Special Planning and Public Safety Committee is considering requiring Airbnb and Vrbo landlords in the area to acquire a special business license and imposing an additional transient tax on the properties, according to a report by WKYT. Business owners like Heath Green, co-owner of the Kentucky Life Property Management Group, told the committee that the additional measures could decrease tourism, which is Kentucky's economic bread and butter. But the measure also comes at a time when real estate values in Lexington are outpacing the national average in terms of home price appreciation. Data from Redfin shows that Lexington's median home price has increased 14.8% over the last year up to $310,000 as of February 2023. That's compared to the national average increase of just 1.1%, according to Redfin. There are more than 1,200 active vacation rentals in Lexington that charge an average daily rate of $171 and have an occupancy rate of more than 50%, according to data from AirDNA.Marco Island, FloridaMarco Island is a barrier island near Naples, Florida.Marc FreiVoters in Marco Island, Florida, approved an ordinance in August 2022 that created a registration program for short-term-rental properties and imposed several new restrictions. After months of debate, it was narrowly approved by the local city council in December. To register a property, short-term-rental owners must hold a liability insurance policy of at least $1 million, provide city officials with a phone number that is answered 24-hours per day, and pay a $50 registration fee. The ordinance was submitted by a group called Take Back Marco, a nonpartisan political action committee. Ed Issler, who leads Take Back Marco, told WINK that additional regulations are necessary because short-term-rental properties have "gotten out of control" on Marco Island. According to data from AirDNA, there are more than 2,400 short term rental properties, which charge an average daily rate of $329. Vacation-rental-property owners have filed a lawsuit to prevent the ordinance from going into effect. David Di Pietro, an attorney representing the property owners, told Gulfshore Business in August 2022 that the ordinance is overly restrictive. "Once this ordinance passes, until you receive the certificate from the city, which means you have to have an inspection from the fire department and the city, you can't rent until that's done," Di Pietro said. "There are over 2,000 rentals and there's nobody doing that job right now. So, we think that it's going to be a ban for an indefinite amount of time."In April 2023, the Florida Association of Realtors filed a lawsuit claiming the restrictions are illegal, according to local newspaper The Marco Eagle.Memphis, TennesseeMemphis, Tennessee.Bruce Yuanyue Bi/Getty ImagesStarting in July 2023, new short-term rental owners in Memphis will need to be licensed, according to Tennessee newspaper The Commercial Appeal.Owners operating prior to July 1st are exempt from the new ordinance, though if the property is sold, a new owner would have to apply. Currently, there are 1,600 short-term rentals in Memphis bringing in an average daily rate of $158, according to analytics site AirDNA. As part of the license, owners will have to identify an on-call adult living within 50 miles of the house who can respond to any alleged noise violations or disorderly conduct. They will also need proof of at least $1 million of insurance coverage."Obviously there's a proper use and improper use of residential properties," Robert Knecht, director of public works for Memphis, told the Commercial Appeal. "What we're trying to do is manage improper uses." Tennessee proponents of short-term rentals notched a win last year, when a bill passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives that would broaden the definition of an "owner-occupied" home, potentially overruling some local city and town regulations, according to WREG, Memphis's CBS affiliate. Memphis' regulations define a short-term rental as any home that is "three sleeping rooms'' or smaller that is advertised for "transient occupancy." Applications in Memphis will cost $300 and annual renewals will be $150. MontréalThe nighttime skyline of downtown Montréal.Nicolas McComber/Getty ImagesIt's not just Americans who oppose the barrage of short-term rentals. In April 2023, the Montreal borough Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, located 30 minutes north of downtown Montreal, banned any new short-term rentals, joining three other boroughs, according to the CBC.Activists in Montréal, the largest city in Canada's Quebec province, are trying to curb the wave of listings in order to preserve housing for residents."In recent years, we have lost thousands of apartments in Montréal to short-term rentals," Cédric Dussault, the spokesperson for the Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenants Associations of Quebec, told the CBC in a May 2022 interview.Some restrictions are already in place. Currently, in order to rent out a unit, the owner must obtain an establishment number and, in some cases, a classification certificate from Quebec's tourism body. Since May 2020, it is required that operators put the establishment number on any advertisement or posting to rent space. The maximum stay is also capped at 31 days.Montréal, however, has had a tough time enforcing these regulations. CBC cited data from independent watchdog group Inside Airbnb stating that 11,639 Montréal Airbnbs are unlicensed. That's about 95% of them, it estimated."The simple story is that the province put a very good set of rules in place, but has not put in any effort to make sure that anybody follows those rules," David Wachsmuth, the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, told CBC.New York City, New YorkThere may be upwards of 10,000 short-term rentals operating illegally in New York City.Alexander Spatari/Getty ImagesMayor Eric Adams has moved to require Airbnb and Vrbo hosts to register their properties with the city, provide proof that the hosts live in the units with their guests, and show that the property meets local zoning and safety guidelines. The proposal went into effect January 2023  and hosts who fail to comply could face between $1,000 and $5,000 in penalties. A report by NPR suggests the policy could remove as many as 10,000 short-term rentals that are operating in the city illegally. "Currently as is, this is an entirely unregulated market and the consequences have been disastrous for New Yorkers," New York State Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani said during a hearing about the proposal in early December 2022.Data from AirDNA shows that there are more than 24,500 active short-term rentals in New York City that charge an average daily rate of $234 and are about 75% occupied.Oahu, HawaiiThe famous Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu, which brings in nearly half of Hawaii's annual visitors.M Swiet Productions/Getty ImagesIn 2023, state representative Sean Quinlan introduced a bill into the Hawaii House of Representatives that would change zoning laws and allow any county to phase out legal short-term rentals, according to ABC affiliate KITV. It's the most dramatic action against short-term rentals since April 2022, when Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed a law requiring a 90-day minimum stay for rentals in residential areas on the island of Oahu. Hawaii News Now reported that the city estimates there are between 10,000 to 14,000 short-term rentals in Oahu."This is a historic moment," Blangiardi said at a press conference for the bill, which passed the City Council by a vote of 8-1. The law that passed in April 2022 applies to the non-resort neighborhoods of Hawaii's most popular island, Oahu, which is home to iconic attractions like Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor. Before the pandemic, the Hawaii Tourism Authority recorded over 6 million visitors to Oahu in 2019, which represented nearly half of all tourism spending for the state. But local residents complain of tourists overrunning residential neighborhoods, taking away housing opportunities, and causing disturbances."Any economic benefits of opening up our residential areas to tourism are far outweighed by the negative impacts on our neighborhoods and local residents," Oahu resident Thomas Cestare said at a city council hearing, according to Hawaii News Now.In June 2022, however, a group of short-term-rental owners sued the city, seeking an exemption for 30- to 90-day rentals that existed pre-ordinance, according to Courthouse News Service. In the suit, the Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance said thousands of owners previously operating legally would be "irreparably harmed" by the new 90-day minimum. In October 2022, a judge stopped enforcement of the 90-day minimum ban by granting an injunction, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. That same month, Hawaii News Now reported that Honolulu officials deployed a team of seven full-time employees to fine short-term rental operators up to $10,000 day for offering stays under 30 days, which was previously banned. Palm Springs, CaliforniaPalm Springs is known for its many golf courses and beautiful weather during the winter months.Robin Smith/Getty ImagesPalm Springs, California, a small town that borders Mt. San Jacinto State Park in the southern part of the state, recently adopted an ordinance to limit the number of short-term rentals in its jurisdiction to 20% of homes in residential neighborhoods, KESQ reported in November 2022. The new ordinance also reduced the number of days that a landlord can rent out their vacation rental property from 36 to 26. All existing permits plus the 300 applications the city received before October 17, 2022, will be grandfathered in, according to the report. There are more than 4,100 active vacation rentals in the city, according to data from AirDNA. The properties charge an average daily rate of $500 and are about 63% occupied, the data shows. For comparison, there are just 541 homes listed for sale in Palm Springs, according to Redfin, and the market commands a median home price of $715,000, an 8.4% increase when compared to February 2022. Zillow shows there are just 109 homes for rent in the city as well.Palo Alto, CaliforniaPalo Alto is the home of major tech companies HP, VMware, SAP Labs, and others.ShutterstockOne of California's wealthiest cities is planning to limit the number of short-term rental properties in its jurisdiction as it struggles to add new housing units. Palo Alto's city council voted 5-2 in December 2022 to explore creating new regulations on vacation rentals. The council is exploring regulations that range from requiring the properties to be owner-occupied to banning rentals of fewer than 30 days, Palo Alto Online reported.Data from AirDNA shows that there are 610 short-term rentals in Palo Alto, which attract an average daily rate of $277 and have a 77% occupancy rate. For comparison, Zillow's website shows there are just 222 available rental listings in Palo Alto. "We have more units available through Airbnb through short-term rentals than we do as far as just available rental units in the city," Palo Alto council member Greer Stone told Palo Alto Online. "That's a concern. Presumably, every short-term rental unit on the market is potentially a housing unit that someone can be in long-term or permanently."Other council members noted that limiting short-term rentals in the area could greatly restrict the ability of families visiting relatives who are being treated at nearby Stanford Hospital to find a place to stay in town. "If we remove this option, we're really going to be limiting the people who live here and the people who have a pretty legitimate need to come here," said councilwoman Alison Cormack. Park Township, MichiganThe shoreline of Lake Michigan.iStock/Getty Images PlusStarting October 1, 2023, local officials in Park Township, Michigan — which is located about 30 miles due west of Grand Rapids — will start enforcing a town rule that prohibits short-term rental properties in residential neighborhoods. The ordinance has been on the books since 1974, the town's board of trustees noted as they voted unanimously on the plan during their November 2022 meeting. The ordinance still allows short-term rentals in commercial zones just like hotels and motels. During the meeting, the trustees offered a range of reasons why they support the ordinance, from keeping the peace to preserving the character of the resort town's residential neighborhoods. Data from AirDNA shows that there are 141 active vacation rental properties in Park Township compared to the 83 homes listed for sale and the five homes for rent that are listed on Zillow.Portland, MaineSunset over Portland, Maine.Mark BibikowIn late March 2023, Maine state lawmakers referred a bill to the Joint Select Committee on Housing with sweeping recommendations to tackle the state's housing crisis, including a database of short-term rentals and a redirection of revenue from short-term rental taxes, according to the Portland Press Herald. Last year, voters defeated a restrictive initiative on short-term rentals by a 55% to 45% margin. The proposal was submitted by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, a political organization, and approved by the local city council in the summer of 2022. It would have banned corporate owners of rental properties from owning short-term rentals, prohibited evictions for the purpose of converting a property to a short-term rental, and increased penalties for properties that don't comply with the law. According to data from AirDNA, there are 766 short term rental properties in Portland and they have an occupancy rate of 74%. These properties are also charging an average daily rate of nearly $280, which is less than other popular destinations in Maine such as Bar Harbor.Red Hook, New YorkThe Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge in New York's Hudson Valley.OlegAlbinsky/Getty ImagesRed Hook, a small town about two hours north of New York City in the bucolic Hudson Valley region, unanimously passed short-term-rental regulations at the end of 2021.The local laws limit the number of days a property can be rented out, establish rules for what type of renting is allowed, and require permits for hosting.In districts that are heavily residential, only one-bedroom rentals are permitted and are limited to 120 days per year. In less densely residential areas, units with multiple bedrooms are allowed to be rented. They are not capped by a day limit. No matter its size, the rule says, the home must be the primary residence of the host.To give a sense of the number of short-term rentals in the broader area, a search for available Airbnbs for a weekend in June in and around Red Hook, New York, led to more than 626 listings.Some Red Hook residents have voiced concerns about their town becoming overrun by weekenders and as a site for party houses. "With nearly four years of committee and community discussion, input and changes, we hope we've been able to strike a balance between encouraging short-term rentals and protecting residential neighborhoods from conversion," Robert McKeon, the Red Hook town supervisor, told the Poughkeepsie Journal. Santa Rosa, CaliforniaSanta Rosa, California is a town 55 miles north of San Francisco.Matt DutcherThe Santa Rosa City Council voted in August 2022 to limit the number of STRs in its jurisdiction to 198. There are currently 581 short-term-rental properties in Santa Rosa, according to AirDNA, which means that nearly two-thirds of property owners won't be able to continue renting their homes. The new limitations have also pitted neighbor against neighbor in the town that sits 55 miles north of San Francisco. "My problem is I moved into a residential neighborhood and now I live next to a hotel," resident Bernadette Burrell told the city council in August when they voted on the new cap.The new cap on short-term rentals comes as cities across California move to place restrictions on these properties. Other cities include Lake Tahoe, Temecula, and Riverside. Property owners say the new cap is just another example of city officials "harassing" them and trying to "solve a problem that doesn't exist," according to a report by CBS News. Rental owners like Gary Lentz told CBS that they try to work collaboratively with neighbors who complain about noise and other issues with their properties. Still, Lentz feels the scrutiny against his business is unjustifiable. "It's almost unenforceable what these people are trying to do," Lentz said.Sarasota, FloridaSarasota, Florida, is on the Gulf of Mexico.krblokhin/Getty ImagesThe beachy city of Sarasota has become a hotbed for short-term-rental stays — especially in the early spring months.With 4,923 active listings, AirDNA listed Sarasota as the No. 3 destination in the country for spring travel in 2022, based nights booked for March and April, behind Orlando and Phoenix. That's notable, considering Sarasota's population of 54,842 is a fraction of Orlando's 307,573 residents and Phoenix's 1.6 million residents.The city passed vacation-rental regulations in May 2021. Sarasota now requires a seven-day minimum for stays, and a 10-person maximum for single-family-home stays.  Some residents — like Caitlyn Marriott, who lives in nearby Venice — believe that isn't enough and are advocating for further regulations."The county and some small towns tried to initiate some local ordinances to try to put a curb on the effects that it would have on neighbors, but not so much the community as a whole," Marriott said.Starting June 1, 2022, hosts are required to have a certificate of registration, which costs $250, from the city in order to rent out property for less than 30 days. Registration is not required for owner-occupied vacation rentals, condos, and rentals that exceed 30 days, according to the city.Steamboat Springs, ColoradoMountains rise behind a street in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.Shutterstock/Rachele A. MorlanSteamboat Springs, an idyllic ski town in northwest Colorado, passed an ordinance in June 2022 that created a 9% tax on short-term rental properties to fund affordable housing developments. The law was passed as wealthy out-of-towners continue to make up a majority of buyers in Colorado's resort towns. In 2020, nearly two-thirds of homebuyers in Routt County — where Steamboat Springs is located — hailed from other counties and took home an average salary of approximately $150,000, according to a survey by the Colorado Association of Ski Towns. For comparison, more than 60% of Routt County's workforce earns less than $150,000 per year, the survey found. Meanwhile, the average home sales price in the county was $2.1 million in February 2023, a 58.9% increase from February 2022, according to data from the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR). "There is not a day goes by that I don't hear from someone ... that they have to move" because they can't afford rent, Heather Sloop, Steamboat Springs' city council president, told KUNC, an NPR affiliate station in northern Colorado. "It's crushing our community."An economic impact study commissioned by Airbnb in May 2022 shows that there are more than 6,800 short-term rentals listed in Routt County compared to the county's total housing inventory of 16,800 units. Short-term rental and second-property owners pushed back against the ordinance, saying it could effectively tax them out of the town.  "New people became involved with the politics and the ski resorts and everything, and their goal was to make it a winter and summer destination," Sara Gambino, a local real-estate broker, told Steamboat Pilot & Today. "So, they're kind of going back on all the work that went into making the county the destination that it is."Tybee Island, GeorgiaTybee Island is barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean about a 30-minute drive from downtown Savannah, Georgia.Jeff Foster/500px/Getty ImagesTybee Island, Georgia, which sits about 20 miles southeast of Savannah along the South Carolina border, passed an ordinance in October that prohibits vacation and short-term rental properties from its residential neighborhoods. The move comes about 16 months after the local city council initially instituted a moratorium on short term rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo in August 2021, citing numerous complaints from local residents. "I've seen my neighborhood change from all permanent residents to over half vacation rentals now," Anna Butler, a Tybee resident since 1994, told Savannah Now in August. "I support the extension of the moratorium so that the new ordinance can be worked out in a fair and equitable manner."However, not everyone agrees with the ordinance. Tybee Alliance, a local coalition of business leaders, is suing Tybee Island to overturn the ordinance. "We believe that the city disregarded their own city charter and state law in passing the ordinance by ignoring the basic rules by which a city government is required to provide written notice and written text of a law before they pass it so that the public can review, comment and provide feedback to their elected leaders," Dusty Church, a member of Tybee Alliance, told local news station WTOC in December. According to data from AirDNA, there are about 1,500 active short-term rentals on the island today. That's compared to the island's total population of about 3,000 full-time residents, according to census data.Weehawken, New JerseyAcross the river from New York City, short-term stays have been banned altogether in Weekhawken, NJ.TC Franco/Getty ImagesWeehawken, New Jersey, sitting on the Hudson River waterfront directly across from Manhattan, banned all short-term rentals in the 15,000-person town at the very end of 2022.The new law went into effect immediately, impacting stays that ranged from $80 to $400 per night on the Airbnb site. Mayor Richard Turner told the Hudson Reporter that town officials will "examine all the ordinances" other New Jersey communities passed and could one day bring back short-term rentals with stricter regulations. But for now, he believes a ban was necessary. "Right now we're going to ban them because it really is starting to get out of control," Turner told the Reporter. Affordable housing was a top motivation, the mayor explained. "We are losing affordable apartments to Airbnb and we decided to take some action because we have several buildings that are getting carried away with it," he told the Hudson Reporter. Penalties for owners breaking the ban start with $1,000 for the first infraction and jump to $2,000 and the possibility of jail time for a third infraction.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 5th, 2023

It took a progressive Virginia suburb 8 years to let developers build apartments instead of single-family houses. It shows how hard it is to build middle-class housing in the US.

After fierce debate, Arlington County will finally vote to approve the construction of so-called "missing middle" housing. A demonstrator holds up a sign that says "Won't you be my neighbor?", a quote from the children's show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, during the Arlington County board meeting in Arlington, Virginia, on July 16, 2022.Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images A growing number of communities are upzoning single-family neighborhoods to allow more housing options. Arlington, Virginia, is finally set to pass a "missing middle" housing policy after years of debate.  The policy change is just the first step in creating much needed new housing.  As Marjorie Green plans for the future, she knows she and her husband, both retired, won't be able to stay in the single-family detached home in North Arlington, Virginia, they've called home for almost 20 years. The house doesn't have a bedroom or bathroom on the first floor, which they'll eventually need as they age. The only realistic option for them in Arlington, a wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C., is to move into a condo that will also accommodate their two dogs. In Arlington, there aren't many options between a single-family home — the median price of which has climbed to $1.13 million — and large apartment complexes. But on Wednesday, the Arlington County board is poised to finally approve a highly fraught, years-long effort to "upzone" all single-family neighborhoods — eight years after the idea was first considered. The policy would legalize the construction of so-called "missing middle" housing — townhouses, duplexes, and other multi-family buildings up to six units — helping build "gentle density." Green, not to be confused with GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, has spent years advocating for denser and more affordable housing as the Arlington leader of Virginians for Organized Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), a community organizing group that supports social justice initiatives. She and her husband would like to take advantage of the upzoning by replacing their house with a multi-unit building with accessible units, one of which they could live in."We could live in a ground floor unit and still have some backyard space for our dogs," Green, who's 65, told Insider. "We could have some other people in the building, and our daughters might have an investment that then they could use to help them buy a home someday." Across the country, middle-income housing is disappearing. Modest single-family homes are being torn down and replaced with larger, more expensive houses. A housing shortage, rising land prices and construction costs, and strict zoning regulations have made it near-impossible in many places for young families to find starter homes and seniors to find accessible housing. Arlington is just the latest community to address missing middle housing as a part of a broader national reckoning. Over the last few years, states and localities across the country have begun passing laws to increase density. A diverse set of cities and states, including Minneapolis and Maine, have ended single-family zoning. Oregon passed a law in 2018 allowing multi-family home construction across single-family neighborhoods in most cities. In 2021, California legalized the construction of up to four new houses on most single-family lots. But the process of upzoning is slow and highly-charged, even in progressive communities with a dire need for housing. In Arlington, county board hearings have turned into hours-long public debates and divided the community. On Saturday, almost 250 residents signed up to debate the proposal at a public hearing, forcing the board to bump the final vote to Wednesday. "It has become this huge community issue – neighbors against neighbors. I mean, it has gotten quite ugly," Alice Hogan, a longtime Arlington resident and housing policy consultant for the pro-missing middle housing Alliance for Housing Solutions, told Insider. "And it's quite sad because the scope and size of this program is minuscule compared to the problem we really need to be facing." Getty ImagesA heated debate over housing densityArlington has long been a wealthy, desirable suburb with good public schools and low rates of crime. But the county, about 80% of which is currently zoned for single-family housing, is in the midst of a major boom. Amazon selected the county as the home of its HQ2 in 2018, while Nestle, Boeing, and other major companies and government contractors have attracted a steady stream of high-income residents. In 2015, the county adopted its Affordable Housing Master Plan, identifying middle-income housing as a key area for growth. Three years ago, the county began studying missing middle housing in earnest. Advocates have long pushed a simple message: density is necessary and key to affordability. "Multifamily buildings and the people who live in them are not a burden and they're not a danger, they are a good thing to have," said Jane Fiegen Green, president of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, a non-profit that advocates for more and denser housing. "There is no affordable housing on any level of the income spectrum without density. "YIMBY" stands for "Yes In My Backyard" and was created in response to the anti-development "NIMBY," which stands for "Not In My Backyard."They also point to the county's history of exclusionary zoning laws designed to keep Black families out of white, single-family neighborhoods. Across the country, critics of increasing housing density in single family neighborhoods are disproportionately older, wealthier, white homeowners. A survey released by the county last year found nearly 80% of homeowners opposed the missing middle policy and about 70% of renters supported it. Advocates of missing middle housing say there's a deep generational gap when it comes to housing density. Older residents, many of whom have owned single-family homes in the community for decades, are fearful of their neighborhoods changing. "I'm disappointed that much of the major pushback is coming from my generation," Green said. "We were the 'we're going to change the world' generation and in fact, now that we have a foothold in leafy suburban neighborhoods, many of us are saying, no, wait a minute, don't let that change impact us too much."But seniors are among those who could benefit the most from having new, smaller accessible housing in their neighborhoods. Critics of upzoning argue the increased density will lead to school crowding, reduced green space, and increased traffic, among other concerns.David Gerk, a longtime resident of Arlington, speaks during a public meeting opposing a zoning deregulation proposal known as missing middle that would make it easier to build duplexes, townhouses and other structures in more suburban areas of the county at Innovation Elementary in Arlington, VA on January 08, 2023.Craig Hudson/Getty ImagesIn an overwhelmingly Democratic county, the politics don't code neatly as red or blue. Fiegen Green said many Democratic officials have avoided the issue and not taken a side. Some Democrats, like Arlington County Board candidate Natalie Roy, are deeply opposed to the missing middle effort. Roy, who's also a realtor, argued that the policy change won't lead to desperately needed affordable housing for low-income residents. Her alternative housing plan involves offering more financial assistance to lower-income residents and more housing opportunities for seniors, but wouldn't create much new supply. Roy pointed to the fact that the county is already among the most densely populated in the country."My goal is not density, it is affordability and diversity," she said. "We do have high density exactly where it should be in Arlington — around transit corridors. We are a national model for it."She insisted that the missing middle housing initiative "is about getting rid of single-family homes." Roy pointed to a proposal to build three new townhomes on a single family lot in the expensive Lyon Park neighborhood. The new homes, each with 2,200 square feet of living space and a garage, would be on the market in late 2024 for $1.2 million. The pricey new housing, she argued, shows how upzoning won't serve middle class families. But upzoning supporters and experts say the additional supply of even high-end homes helps alleviate demand on existing housing.  "I don't know how you can argue against the fact that if a little brick house goes down and a mansion comes up, you've not added anything to the market," Pat Findikoglu, a retired Arlington public school teacher and volunteer for VOICE, told Insider. "If a little brick house goes down and a quad goes up, you've added three extra units." The initiative's proponents concede that upzoning won't come close to solving the county's shortage of affordable housing. But they argue that upzoning will allow more housing options across the spectrum of incomes and, over time, offer more abundant and affordable options. And they point to the county's separate efforts to build housing for low-income renters and homeowners. "What I've come to understand is, it's not enough to have housing for the poorest of the poor," Findikoglu said. "We need abundant housing at every single level."A sign opposing a zoning deregulation proposal known as missing middle that would make it easier to build duplexes, townhouses and other structures in more suburban areas of the county is seen in the Lyon Village neighborhood in Arlington, VA on January 08, 2023.Craig Hudson/Getty ImagesA long road to increasing housing densityAdvocates say that zoning reform is just a first, incremental step toward denser, and ultimately more affordable, neighborhoods. Cities and states that have ended single-family zoning haven't necessarily seen much new building. Additional regulatory changes are often necessary to incentivize new construction. David Garcia, policy director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, and his team of researchers found that California's 2021 upzoning law could enable 700,000 new homes. But the actual amount of new construction will be far lower because of other land-use constraints, including height restrictions and parking requirements.In Minneapolis, which was the first US city to legalize multi-unit buildings on single-family lots, few new triplexes have been built because the land use reforms haven't been made. But Portland, Oregon — which now allows up to four-unit buildings on previously single-family lots — also changed their codes to allow the new structures to be larger than single-family homes. "That takes some time and some thought and it's not as easy as taking one vote," Garcia told Insider. "You have to think comprehensively about the suite of land use policies that impact the single family zones, not just the base zoning allowances."Despite the massive effort it took to come to the verge of passing missing middle housing, Arlington officials predict change will be slow and limited. "This will probably bring between 20 and 50 new developments a year," Hogan said. "I mean, a tiny drop in the bucket."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 21st, 2023

Marijuana legalization has stalled in Mexico, but farmers and cartels are still making big plans to profit off a new market

"People want a more powerful, better quality weed, and we are putting a lot of money into this industry," a Sinaloa Cartel operative told Insider. Mexican marines destroy marijuana crops in Badiraguato in 2009.Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images An effort to legalize marijuana in Mexico has stalled after several years of debate by lawmakers. But Mexican cartels and independent growers are still preparing to cater to a new domestic market. The Sinaloa Cartel in particular is drawing business lessons from marijuana dispensaries in the US. Badiraguato, Sinaloa — Every day at 5 a.m. Margarita, a 51-year-old farmer, jumps out of bed and lights a candle to St. Judas, a saint believed to listen to lost or almost impossible causes.Only after that, Margarita steps out to her front yard and looks over her marijuana plants, which are covered with a camouflage-shaded cloth."Every morning I pray to San Judas that the government don't destroy my plantation. It's been such an effort to put it back up after it got destroyed the last time," she told Insider. Mexican military personnel destroyed Margarita's weed crops during an operation in 2019.Margarita doesn't work for any of Mexico's cartels or criminal organizations. She is doing what she has learned from generations of ancestors: Marijuana harvesting has been her family's legacy for more than 100 years."I really don't involve myself too much in the rest of the process from the plant. I harvest, pick and trim my plants, and then if someone wants it, fine. If not," she says, "I store it until it sells."A man outside the "Chapo" roast chicken restaurant near Badiraguato's main plaza in July 2015.REUTERS/Roberto ArmentaMargarita's product caters to the Mexican market, reaching buyers through independent distributors but also through criminal organizations like the Sinaloa Cartel — the cartel's jailed kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, was born in Badiraguato and the region is still the group's home turf.But all Margarita cares about is that her product is not selling as much as it did five years ago. "The full sacks of weed sometimes stay there in the warehouse for a month or two, and what do I do? How do I sustain myself if I'm not selling?" she said in an interview.Margarita helps herself with a government assistance program called "Sembrando Vida," which hands out roughly $220 a month to small farmers in states like Sinaloa and neighboring Chihuahua and Durango — a region known as the golden triangle for the intensive cultivation of marijuana and opium poppy there — to encourage local development and discourage drug production."I tried to harvest tomato, but it sells even worse than marijuana. The big companies take all the sales, and there is very little what I can offer" in quantity, she said.At the current price for weed, Margarita gets roughly $25 a kilo. She was expecting to get at least $500 this season for her harvest, but more than half of it hasn't sold."It's not a good time for weed. People are asking for a different weed, the one that comes from the gabacho, but we don't have those seeds," Margarita said, using a term referring to the US.Mexican lawmakers debate the decriminalization and regulation of marijuana in March 2021.Luis Barron / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty ImagesLike other independent growers, Margarita remains barred from formal sales in Mexico, where efforts to legalize marijuana have stalled. Negotiations over such a measure began in 2019, when the Congress approved a law to legalize the use, possession, and planting of marijuana. Four years later, it is still stuck in Mexico's Senate.In 2021, the Senate passed a bill legalizing recreational use of marijuana, but lawmakers in the lower house held up the measure while they tried to raise the amount that consumers could carry in public higher than the proposed limit of 28 grams.While weed remains generally illegal in Mexico, farmers and criminal groups are not waiting to position themselves in what could soon be a legal market."We are not waiting for a law. The Mexican government took too long already and meanwhile other countries keep making profits and our sowers keep struggling," said Andrés Saavedra, a lawyer and the founder of an NGO called Plan de Tetecala, which supports independent weed growers and the decriminalization of cannabis."We are now focused on becoming independent and keep growing marihuana for a Mexican market that wants to use the plant in different ways," he said.Old product, new marketMarijuana cigarettes are assembled in a manufacturing house in Culiacán in late 2021.Luis ChaparroMexico's move toward marijuana legalization comes after several US states legalized the drug, which appears to have put a dent in cartels' profits.Prior to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state in 2012, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness calculated that such measures could cost Mexican cartels nearly $2.8 billion.More states legalized the drug in the years that followed, and the amount of weed smuggled into the US from Mexico appears to have declined over that period. In 2013, US authorities seized roughly 1.3 million kilograms of weed at the border, according to the DEA. By 2019, that had fallen to nearly 249,000 kilograms.Over the past five years, marijuana prices in Mexico have decreased by more than half, prompting criminal groups to produce more dangerous drugs, like fentanyl, to maintain profits and pushing independent farmers to harvest plants like opium to sustain themselves.The prospect of a legal domestic market has drawn the interest of criminal groups that used to focus on smuggling marijuana north, especially the Sinaloa Cartel, members of which are studying the success of dispensaries in the US."What we did was to change the seed. People want a more powerful, better quality weed, and we are putting a lot of money into this industry," a Sinaloa Cartel operative told Insider in a phone interview.A marijuana legalization activist smokes marijuana in front of the San Lazaro Legislative Palace in Mexico City in October 2022.Luis Barron / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images"This is a business that belongs here, to Sinaloa," another Sinaloa Cartel operative who works as a regional manager for marijuana operations in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa state, told Insider in a previous interview. "We lost a share of the business, but in no time we will take it back by producing the best weed in the world."After the arrest of "El Chapo" Guzmán's youngest son, Ovidio Guzmán, in January, the Sinaloa Cartel's weed operations are overseen by two of his brothers: Iván Archivaldo and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán, members of a group known as "Los Chapitos."The operative and others in the business say the cartel is "very interested" in marijuana legalization. Some believe it is because of Los Chapitos' love for the plant and its supposed benefits. Others think it is purely a business decision.Margarita, on the other hand, can't afford to grow "premium quality weed," since the seeds are at least 10 times more expensive and equipment like that used in cartel-run grow houses to maintain the plants is also a steep investment."I know that if I had that other weed from los gringos, I could be selling twice my price, but it is also very expensive. And I don't know how the señores are going to take it if I go into that business," Margarita said, referring to Americans and to Mexican drug lords, respectively. "I might get in trouble, don't you think?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytFeb 22nd, 2023

25 cities and towns where it will become harder to own or manage a short-term vacation rental in 2023

Local governments across the country are floating new regulations to curb short-term rentals, citing reasons from noise disruptions to affordability. Atlanta is one of the many cities that has gotten serious about cracking down on short-term rentals.Steve Kelley / Getty Images The pandemic sparked a boom in short-term rentals, and AirDNA found listings hit a record high in 2022. Some residents and officials in hot cities say these rentals deplete housing stock or cause noise disturbances. These 25 locations across North America are looking to rein in Airbnbs and short-term rentals. Airbnbs and other short-term rental platforms became a go-to for investors during the pandemic as high home prices and rising interest rates made it unaffordable for regular homebuyers to enter the market. Investors sought to maximize their returns by renting homes to growing numbers of vacationers, travel nurses, and remote workers. But as the calendar turns to 2023, there is more competition than ever for short-term rentals which will make it more difficult for investors who are looking to capitalize on the travel boom created by the pandemic. But that hasn't stopped a number of vacation rental owners and property managers from cashing in — in both the US and Canada — which has left some of their neighbors frustrated.For many, it's paying off. Airbnb reported the average US host's income grew to over $13,800 in 2021 — an increase of 85% since 2019. By early 2022, there were a towering, industry-record 1.5 million listings available, according to the analytics site AirDNA.Locals say the mounting presence of short-term rentals in their neighborhoods can lead to a variety of issues, from mundane annoyances (noisy parties) to substantial challenges (they make it more difficult for regular people to buy homes).Cities and towns are caught in the middle, trying to balance these concerns with the revenue that vacationers bring in and the rights of property owners. From the beaches of California to the mountains of Vermont, communities are grappling with what the future of short-term rentals looks like. Some local governments, like in Honolulu, have passed regulations like banning rental stays under 90 days, while others, like in Aspen, Colorado, have proposed new taxes on owners. Some cities have simply called timeout: Chattanooga, Tennessee, paused new applications for non-owner-occupied units as it considered short-term rentals' future there. An Airbnb spokesperson said in an emailed statement that "short-term rentals have been part of the fabric of popular vacation destinations such as these for decades, and our goal is to work with communities on balanced rules that support local tourism economies, provide certainty and clarity for Hosts, and address community concerns." Airbnb also maintains a page on its site dubbed City Portal, which has resources for local governments.  Here are 25 locations in the US and Canada where residents and local politicians are fighting back against short-term rentals. They are presented in alphabetical order.Are you trying to pass regulations to limit short-term rentals? Are you a short-term rental owner who wants to talk about your experience with regulations? Email reporter Dan Latu at dlatu@insider.com. Alamosa, ColoradoThe Great Sand Dune National Park and the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains draw visitors to southern Colorado every year.Dan Ballard/Getty ImagesA four-hour drive south of Denver, Alamosa (population 10,000) is known for its proximity to Great Sand Dunes National Park, where visitors flock to see the tallest dunes in North America. As of November, Alamosa had 24 short-term rentals registered with the city — and many more unregistered ones, the Alamosa Citizen reported.In April, the Alamosa City Council unanimously passed an ordinance and two resolutions that were seen as a compromise between the interests of short-term-rental owners and frustrated residents. Under the new regulations, short-term rentals that are available for less than 30 days can only be in certain types of dwellings, including single-family homes or one unit in a multifamily property. Renting units in multifamily buildings with more than four units is no longer allowed.Short-term-rental owners will also have to obtain a license for an initial cost of $750 and a yearly renewal fee of $300. There is now a 5% cap on the number of short-term-rental licenses that will be issued per zone, or city neighborhood.When a new short-term-rental license is issued, neighbors must be notified.The Alamosa Citizen reported that area employers were struggling to recruit workers given "a tight and increasingly expensive housing market.""It is important to bring resolution to this item so business owners can predict what will be expected of them, neighborhoods will have some protections from nuisances, there is reasonable preservation of housing units for residents," Heather Brooks, the Alamosa city manager, told the Valley Courier. Aspen, ColoradoAspen, ColoradoVisionsofAmerica/Joe SohmAspen voters approved a ballot measure in November that imposes a pair of new taxes on short-term and vacation rental properties. Ballot Issue 2A imposes a 5% tax on nightly room rates for short-term rentals with lodge-exempt permits and a 10% tax on investment properties. The measures were approved by the local city council just days after Steamboat Springs, another popular Colorado resort town about three hours north of Aspen, passed a similar ordinance imposing new taxes on vacation rentals. Aspen City Council member Rachel Richards told the Post Independent in November that the vote is a "re-affirmation that Aspen is a community, wants to be a community, and supports the community."There are 979 STRs in Aspen and they charge an average daily rate of $749, according to AirDNA. Aspen is also the most expensive city in Colorado to live in with an average home price of more than $3 million, according to Zillow. Opponents of the measure have argued that it will depress tourism in one of Colorado's best-known resort locations. In the summer of 2020, Aspen hospitality businesses saw their average daily rates increase by 29% year-over-year while their revenue per available room increased by nearly 99%, according to data from the Aspen Chamber of Commerce.Atlanta, GeorgiaHomes in Atlanta's popular Midtown neighborhood.novikat/Getty ImagesIn March 2021, Atlanta passed an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals.It requires hosts to pay a $150 annual fee for a permit — and provide a copy of the property's deed and a utility bill — to operate a rental property. The rentals are taxed at 8%, the same as hotels in Atlanta. A violation of the ordinance carries a $300 fine."I'm trying to stop the city from becoming a de facto hotel city," a city councilman, Antonio Lewis, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.The bill was approved by a 13-2 council vote to crack down on party houses by making the owner of the unit responsible for violations.The law was scheduled to go into effect in April, allowing hosts to apply for permits the month prior. However, according to an analysis of city-permitting data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, roughly 10% of the city's 7,100 listings applied for permits two months after the application process opened. Less than 3% received permits.The enforcement date has since been extended to September 6, according to the local NBC affiliate 11 Alive.For now, all enforcement of the new rules will be complaint-driven and fall under the jurisdiction of the Atlanta police.Burlington, VermontChurch Street in Burlington, Vermont, is the downtown hub of the state's most populous city.DenisTangneyJr/Getty ImagesVermont's most populous city attracts more than just autumnal leaf-peepers, welcoming visitors year-round for its breweries, nature excursions, and cultural attractions. For the past year, the city government was locked in a debate over the growth of short-term rentals. There are now between 200 to 250 short-term rentals in the 40,000-person city, according to the VTDigger, and the major concern for officials is whether short-term rentals take away housing stock from Burlington residents. In February, the City Council passed an ordinance requiring short-term-rental owners to also live in the house as their primary residence. But the mayor vetoed the measure in March, saying it was too restrictive.In April, the City Council, with new members sworn in, voted to consider a new set of rules and passed a brand-new ordinance in June, according to the local outlet Seven Days. Short-term-rental owners must now live on the property, though there are some exceptions. Hosts will also pay an annual fee of up to $110 and a 9% tax on revenue from the rental, according to Seven Days.Chattanooga, TennesseeRiverboat cruises draw visitors to the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, where the city has paused all short-term-rental applications.SeanPavonePhoto/Getty ImagesThe Chattanooga City Council has paused all applications for short-term rental that are not owner-occupied. The freeze will last the rest of 2022.The city, with a riverfront and historic battlegrounds that attract tourists, has been debating the merits of its profitable rental industry. A local station, Channel 9 News, reported that Airbnb rentals brought in tax revenue of $3.5 million for the county in 2021. But some residents are concerned about the ability of outside investors to reap rewards at the expense of Chattanooga locals. "I'm not in favor of having investors that come in out of state, out of country even, and buy 10 to 15 pieces of property. They're not invested in the community. They're not invested in Chattanooga," Donna Morgan, a local resident, told Channel 9.There are 1,120 active short-term rentals, according to analytics site AirDNA.Coeur d'Alene, IdahoCoeur d'Alene, Idaho is a resort town that is a 40-minute drive east of Spokane, Washington.Alan NickCity leaders in Coeur d'Alene, a resort town along the north edge of Idaho's Harrison Slough, are working to limit the number of short term rentals in their town.The city first passed laws concerning short term rentals in 2017, but is considering adding a slew of restrictions as the number of vacation rentals continues to grow. Coeur d'Alene's General Services/Public Works Committee could amend the law to require off-street parking, increase fees for violating the ordinance, and limit the number of permits issued annually. "We can't have a thousand people rushing to get a permit when we might not allow that many," Councilwoman Christie Wood told KREM 2 in September. According to AirDNA, there are about 790 active vacation rentals in Coeur d'Alene that charge an average daily rate of around $260. However, a large chunk of the rentals may be illegal as city officials told local news station KREM in November that only 453 vacation rental properties have been authorized. The debate over vacation rentals in Coeur d'Alene comes at a time when the local housing market is shifting in favor of buyers. The average home value is down more than 6% to just under $500,000 as of November while the number of homes sold has dropped by more than 35% year-over-year, according to Redfin.Dallas, TexasDallas is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.Danny Lehman/ Getty ImagesLocal leaders on the Dallas City Plan Commission voted 9-4 on December 8 to recommend defining short-term rental properties as "lodging" under the city's zoning code. The move could effectively prevent the properties from existing in Dallas' single-family residential neighborhoods. The Dallas City Council still needs to approve the recommendation before any enforcement actions can take place. The body could vote on the recommendation as early as January 11, 2023. Commissioner Claire Stanard, one of the commission members who voted in favor of the proposal, told the Dallas Morning News that the proposal could help improve public safety. The commission heard several complaints from local residents about "party houses" with loud music and lots of cars during their debate. "If my granddaughter is living next to a short-term rental or between them, is that really what my son-in-law bought a house to have as his next-door neighbor," Standard said. According to data from AirDNA, there are more than 5,400 short-term rentals in Dallas. The properties charge an average daily rate of $165 and they have a 60% occupancy rate. Other commissioners weren't as convinced that adding new regulations would help solve the problems that city residents are complaining about. "I don't have any faith that regulation is the sole solution to this problem," Commissioner Melissa Kingston told the Dallas Morning News. Other cities in Texas like Fort Worth and Arlington have already restricted vacation rental properties from their residential neighborhoods.Dauphin Island, AlabamaDauphin Island, Alabama sits on the Gulf Coast near the Louisiana border.Barry WinikerAnother vacation destination that has imposed limitations on short term rental properties is Dauphin Island, Alabama, a small island off of the gulf coast in Pelican Bay. In August, Dauphin Island's Planning Commission finalized several STR restrictions in a rewrite of the town's zoning code. The restrictions include limiting where short term rental properties can be located on the island, restricting the number of vehicles that can be parked at a rental property, and imposing a $75 annual fee for rental property owners. The new limitations have put residents at odds with one another, according to a report by AL.com. Some claim the properties are improving the island by attracting tourists. Those who want to limit the number of short term rentals say the regulations are striking a balance between business interests and the local community. "One group will say they are renting out (their house) and the next thing you know is you have eight cars parked all over the yards," Dauphin Island City Councilman Earle Connell, who is also the local liaison for the planning commission, told AL.com in August. "To them, it's a vacation. I understand that. But these people who do that don't understand we have a community and neighborhood that is protected."There are 574 vacation rental homes in Dauphin Island, and they have a 68% occupancy rate, according to AirDNA.Dillon, ColoradoDillon, Colorado is a ski town near Breckenridge.Brad McGinleyDillon, Colorado's city council is considering how to move forward with the town's new short-term rental regulations after voters approved a slate of measures aimed at curtailing the properties in November. Currently, city council members are debating a new ordinance to increase the annual fee charged to short-term rentals from $50 to $250 and include new application questions about how the rental unit will be used, according to a report by Summit Daily.  The ordinance comes after voters approved a pair of ballot questions that levy a 5% excise tax on short-term rentals and increased the city's lodging tax from 2% to 6%. The city – which has just over 1,000 full-time residents – is located in Summit County, home to some of Colorado's favorite ski attractions such as the Breckenridge ski resort, Copper Mountain, and Grays Peak. Overall, the city estimates that the new taxes could return approximately $3 million in annual tax revenue. Dillon can collect up to $4.5 million of this specific tax before triggering a tax refund under state law, town finance director Carri McDonnell told Steamboat Pilot & Today.Voters approved the new taxes at a time when Dillon's housing market is soaring. Dillon's median home price has increased more than 30% over the last 12 months to $915,000, according to Redfin.Frisco, ColoradoFrisco, Colorado is another ski town near Breckenridge.Bloomberg CreativeFrisco, Colorado – a small town in central Colorado – capped the number of short term rental properties within its jurisdiction at 900, or 25% of the local housing stock, back in October. The new regulations also require short term rental landlords to live at their property for at least 10 months out of the year but passed on the opportunity to create a new license for short-term rentals versus traditional rental properties, according to the Summit Daily. The ordinance could also have a significant impact on tourism in Fisco, which is seen by locals as a cheap midway point between popular resort destinations like Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. Frisco currently levies a 5% excise tax on short term rentals and a 2% lodging tax."There are a lot of people very unhappy — as one person had mentioned — with having the short-term rentals next to them because some people might be very careful to who they rent to and how they monitor it, but others are not," city councilmember Lisa Holenko told Summit Daily. There are currently more than 1,700 STRs in Frisco, according to AirDNA. These properties charge an average daily rate of $299 and have an average occupancy rate of about 50%.Lexington, KentuckyLexington, Kentucky is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby horse race.iStock/Getty Images PlusPopular tourist towns like Lexington, Kentucky — which is home to the annual Kentucky Derby — are starting to crack down on vacation rentals at a time when their housing markets are growing more competitive by the day. Lexington's Special Planning and Public Safety Committee is considering requiring Airbnb and Vrbo landlords in the area to acquire a special business license and imposing an additional transient tax on the properties, according to a report by WKYT. Business owners like Heath Green, co-owner of the Kentucky Life Property Management Group, told the committee that the additional measures could decrease tourism, which is Kentucky's economic bread and butter. But the measure also comes at a time when real estate values in Lexington are outpacing the national average in terms of home price appreciation. Data from Redfin shows that Lexington's median home price has increased 14.4% over the last year up to nearly $298,000 as of November 2022. That's compared to the national average increase of just 2.6%, according to Redfin. There are more than 1,200 active vacation rentals in Lexington that charge an average daily rate of $171 and have an occupancy rate of more than 50%, according to data from AirDNA.Marco Island, FloridaMarco Island is a barrier island near Naples, Florida.Marc FreiVoters in Marco Island, Florida approved an ordinance on August 23 that created a registration program for short term rental properties and imposed several new restrictions. After months of debate, it was narrowly approved by the local city council in December. To register a property, short term rental owners must hold a liability insurance policy of at least $1 million, provide city officials with a phone number that is answered 24-hours per day, and pay a $50 registration fee. The ordinance was submitted by a group called Take Back Marco, a nonpartisan political action committee. Ed Issler, who leads Take Back Marco, told WINK that additional regulations are necessary because short term rental properties have "gotten out of control" on Marco Island. According to data from AirDNA, there are more than 2,400 short term rental properties, which charge an average daily rate of $329. Vacation rental property owners have filed a lawsuit to prevent the ordinance from going into effect. David Di Pietro, an attorney representing the property owners, told Gulfshore Business in August that the ordinance is overly restrictive. "Once this ordinance passes, until you receive the certificate from the city, which means you have to have an inspection from the fire department and the city, you can't rent until that's done," Di Pietro said. "There are over 2,000 rentals and there's nobody doing that job right now. So, we think that it's going to be a ban for an indefinite amount of time."MontréalThe nighttime skyline of downtown Montréal.Nicolas McComber/Getty ImagesIt's not just Americans who oppose the barrage of short-term rentals.Activists in Montréal, the largest city in Canada's Quebec province, are trying to curb the wave of listings in order to preserve housing for residents."In recent years, we have lost thousands of apartments in Montréal to short-term rentals," Cédric Dussault, the spokesperson for the Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenants Associations of Quebec, told CBC in a May interview.Some restrictions are in place. Currently, in order to rent out a unit, the owner must obtain an establishment number and, in some cases, a classification certificate from Quebec's tourism body. Since May 2020, it is required that operators put the establishment number on any advertisement or posting to rent space. The maximum stay is also capped at 31 days.Montréal, however, has had a tough time enforcing these regulations. CBC cited data from independent watchdog group Inside Airbnb stating that 11,639 Montréal Airbnbs are unlicensed. That's about 95% of them, it estimated."The simple story is that the province put a very good set of rules in place, but has not put in any effort to make sure that anybody follows those rules," David Wachsmuth, the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, told CBC.New York City, New YorkThere may be upwards of 10,000 short-term rentals operating illegally in New York City.Alexander Spatari/Getty ImagesMayor Eric Adams has moved to require Airbnb and Vrbo hosts to register their properties with the city, provide proof that the hosts live in the units with their guests, and show that the property meets local zoning and safety guidelines. The proposal will go into effect in January and hosts who fail to comply could face between $1,000 and $5,000 in penalties. A report by NPR suggests the policy could remove as many as 10,000 short-term rentals that are operating in the city illegally. "Currently as is, this is an entirely unregulated market and the consequences have been disastrous for New Yorkers," New York State Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani said during a hearing about the proposal in early December.Data from AirDNA shows that there are more than 24,500 active short-term rentals in New York that charge an average daily rate of $234 and are about 75% occupied.Oahu, HawaiiThe famous Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu, which brings in nearly half of Hawaii's annual visitors.M Swiet Productions/Getty ImagesIn April, Honolulu's mayor, Rick Blangiardi, signed a new law requiring a minimum stay of 90 days for short-term rentals in residential areas on the island of Oahu, in an attempt to curb the sprawl of vacation rentals in the city. Hawaii News Now reported that the city estimates there are between 10,000 to 14,000 short-term rentals in Oahu."This is a historic moment," Blangiardi said at a press conference for the bill, which passed the City Council by a vote of 8-1. The new law applies to the non-resort neighborhoods of Hawaii's most popular island, Oahu, which is home to iconic attractions like Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor. Before the pandemic, the Hawaii Tourism Authority recorded over 6 million visitors to Oahu in 2019, which represented nearly half of all tourism spending for the state. But local residents complain of tourists overrunning residential neighborhoods, taking away housing opportunities, and causing disturbances."Any economic benefits of opening up our residential areas to tourism are far outweighed by the negative impacts on our neighborhoods and local residents," Oahu resident Thomas Cestare said at a City Council hearing, according to Hawaii News Now.A group of short-term-rental owners sued the city in June, seeking an exemption for 30- to 90-day rentals that existed pre-ordinance, according to Courthouse News Service. In the suit, the Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance said thousands of owners previously operating legally would be "irreparably harmed" by the new 90-day minimum. In September, the alliance asked for an injunction ahead of the ordinance's planned effective date, October 23, according to Courthouse News Service. The presiding judge deferred the decision, but Courthouse reported the parties asked to meet with the judge before the deadline.Palm Springs, CaliforniaPalm Springs is known for its many golf courses and beautiful weather during the winter months.Robin Smith/Getty ImagesPalm Springs, California, a small town that borders Mt. San Jacinto State Park in the southern part of the state, recently adopted an ordinance to limit the number of short term rentals in its jurisdiction to 20% of homes in residential neighborhoods, KESQ reported in November. The new ordinance also reduced the number of days that a landlord can rent out their vacation rental property from 36 to 26. All existing permits plus the 300 applications the city received before October 17 will be grandfathered in, according to the report. There are more than 4,100 active vacation rentals in the city, according to data from AirDNA. The properties charge an average daily rate of $500 and are about 63% occupied, the data shows. For comparison, there are just 489 homes listed for sale in Palm Springs, according to Redfin, and the market commands a median home price of $605,000, a 14.4% increase when compared to November 2021. Zillow shows there are just 109 homes for rent in the city as well.Palo Alto, CaliforniaPalo Alto is the home of major tech companies HP, VMware, SAP Labs, and others.ShutterstockOne of California's wealthiest cities is planning to limit the number of short-term rental properties in its jurisdiction as it struggles to add new housing units. Palo Alto's city council voted 5-2 on December 12 to explore creating new regulations on vacation rentals. The council is exploring regulations that range from requiring the properties to be owner-occupied to banning rentals of fewer than 30 days, Palo Alto Online reported.  Data from AirDNA shows that there are 610 short-term rentals in Palo Alto, which attract an average daily rate of $277 and have a 77% occupancy rate. For comparison, Zillow's website shows there are just 179 available rental listings in Palo Alto. "We have more units available through Airbnb through short-term rentals than we do as far as just available rental units in the city," Palo Alto councilmember Greer Stone told Palo Alto Online. "That's a concern. Presumably, every short-term rental unit on the market is potentially a housing unit that someone can be in long-term or permanently."Other council members noted that limiting short-term rentals in the area could greatly restrict the ability of families who come to town to visit relatives who are being treated at nearby Stanford Hospital. "If we remove this option, we're really going to be limiting the people who live here and the people who have a pretty legitimate need to come here," said councilwoman Alison Cormack. Park Township, MichiganThe shoreline of Lake Michigan.iStock/Getty Images PlusStarting October 1, 2023, local officials in Park Township, Michigan — which is located about 30 miles due west of Grand Rapids — will start enforcing a town rule that prohibits short-term rental properties in residential neighborhoods. The ordinance has been on the books since 1974, the town's board of trustees noted as they voted unanimously on the plan during their November meeting. The ordinance still allows short-term rentals in commercial zones just like hotels and motels. During the meeting, the trustees offered a range of reasons why they support the ordinance, from keeping the peace to preserving the character of the resort town's residential neighborhoods. Data from AirDNA shows that there are 141 active vacation rental properties in Park Township compared to the 119 homes listed for sale and the 22 homes for rent that are listed on Zillow.Portland, MaineSunset over Portland, Maine.Mark BibikowState legislators in Portland, Maine are considering adding new restrictions on short-term rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo after voters defeated a ballot initiative that sought to restrict how the properties can operate. The initiative was submitted by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, a political organization, and approved by the local city council over the summer. It seeks to prohibit corporate owners of rental properties from owning short term rentals, prohibits evictions for the purpose of converting a property to a short term rental, and increases penalties for properties that don't comply with the law. Voters defeated the initiative by a 55% to 45% margin. Business owners and some employees formed a political action group called "Enough is Enough" to oppose the initiative, claiming that the Democratic Socialists are manipulating the city's citizen initiated referendum process. "My biggest issue is, trying to govern the city through referendum I think is a bad idea," said Nick Mavodone, a former city council member and the chairman of the Enough is Enough campaign. "One thing I know is there are a lot of unintended consequences with everything that comes before an elected body, no matter how simple it seems." Now, lawmakers on the Joint Select Committee on Housing are poised to consider new regulations for short-term rentals when the legislature reconvenes in January 2023, according to the Portland Press Herald. According to data from AirDNA, there are 766 short term rental properties in Portland and they have an occupancy rate of 74%. These properties are also charging an average daily rate of nearly $280, which is less than other popular destinations in Maine such as Bar Harbor.Red Hook, New YorkThe Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge in New York's Hudson Valley.OlegAlbinsky/Getty ImagesRed Hook, a small town about two hours north of New York City in the bucolic Hudson Valley region, unanimously passed short-term-rental regulations at the end of 2021.The new local laws limit the number of days a property can be rented out, establish rules for what type of renting is allowed, and require permits for hosting.In districts that are heavily residential, only one-bedroom rentals are permitted and are limited to 120 days per year. In less densely residential areas, units with multiple bedrooms are allowed to be rented. They are not capped by a day limit. No matter its size, the rule says, the home must be the primary residence of the host.To give a sense of the number of short-term rentals in the broader area, a search for available Airbnbs for a weekend in June in and around Red Hook, NY, led to more than 300 listings.Some Red Hook residents have voiced concerns about their town becoming overrun by weekenders and as a site for party houses. "With nearly four years of committee and community discussion, input and changes, we hope we've been able to strike a balance between encouraging short-term rentals and protecting residential neighborhoods from conversion," Robert McKeon, the Red Hook town supervisor, told the Poughkeepsie Journal. Santa Rosa, CaliforniaSanta Rosa, California is a town 55 miles north of San Francisco.Matt DutcherThe Santa Rosa City Council voted on August 10 to limit the number of STRs in its jurisdiction to 198. There are currently 581 short term rental properties in Santa Rosa, according to AirDNA, which means that nearly two-thirds of property owners won't be able to continue renting their homes. The new limitations have also pitted neighbor against neighbor in the town that sits 55 miles north of San  Francisco. "My problem is I moved into a residential neighborhood and now I live next to a hotel," resident Bernadette Burrell told the city council in August when they voted on the new cap.The new cap on short term rentals comes as cities across California move to place restrictions on these properties. Other cities include Lake Tahoe in California's popular wine country, Temecula, and Riverside. Property owners say the new cap is just another example of city officials "harassing" them and trying to "solve a problem that doesn't exist," according to a report by CBS News. Rental owners like Gary Lentz told CBS that they try to work collaboratively with neighbors who complain about noise and other issues with their properties. Still, Lentz feels the scrutiny against his business is unjustifiable. "It's almost unenforceable what these people are trying to do," Lentz said.Sarasota, FloridaSarasota, Florida is on the Gulf of Mexico.krblokhin/Getty ImagesThe beachy city of Sarasota has become a hotbed for short-term-rental stays — especially in the early spring months.With 4,923 active listings, AirDNA listed Sarasota as the No. 3 destination in the country for spring travel in 2022, based nights booked for March and April, behind Orlando and Phoenix. That's notable, considering Sarasota's population of 54,842 is a fraction of Orlando's 307,573 residents and Phoenix's 1,608,139 residents.The city passed vacation-rental regulations in May 2021. Sarasota now requires a seven-day minimum for stays, and a 10-person maximum for single-family-home stays.  Some residents — like Caitlyn Marriott, who lives in nearby Venice — believe that isn't enough and are advocating for further regulations."The county and some small towns tried to initiate some local ordinances to try to put a curb on the effects that it would have on neighbors, but not so much the community as a whole," Marriott said.Starting June 1, 2022, hosts are required to have a certificate of registration, which costs $250, from the city in order to rent out property for less than 30 days. Registration is not required for owner-occupied vacation rentals, condos, and rentals that exceed 30 days, according to the city.Steamboat Springs, ColoradoMountains rise behind a street in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.Shutterstock/Rachele A. MorlanSteamboat Springs, an idyllic ski town in northwest Colorado, passed an ordinance in June that created a 9% tax on short-term rental properties to fund affordable housing developments. The law was passed as wealthy out-of-towners continue to make up a majority of buyers in Colorado's resort towns. In 2020, nearly two-thirds of homebuyers in Routt County — where Steamboat Springs is located — hailed from other counties and took home an average salary of approximately $150,000, according to a survey by the Colorado Association of Ski Towns. For comparison, more than 60% of Routt County's workforce earns less than $150,000 per year, the survey found. Meanwhile, the average home sales price in the county has jumped to nearly $2 million, a 33.7% increase since June 2021, according to data from the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR). "There is not a day goes by that I don't hear from someone ... that they have to move" because they can't afford rent, Heather Sloop, Steamboat Springs' city council president, told KUNC, an NPR affiliate station in northern Colorado. "It's crushing our community."An economic impact study commissioned by Airbnb in May shows that there are more than 6,800 short-term rentals listed in Routt County compared to the county's total housing inventory of 16,800 units. Short-term rental and second-property owners pushed back against the ordinance, saying it could effectively tax them out of the town.  "New people became involved with the politics and the ski resorts and everything, and their goal was to make it a winter and summer destination," Sara Gambino, a local real estate broker, told Steamboat Pilot & Today. "So, they're kind of going back on all the work that went into making the county the destination that it is."Tybee Island, GeorgiaTybee Island is barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean about a 30-minute drive from downtown Savannah, Georgia.Jeff Foster/500px/Getty ImagesTybee Island, Georgia, which sits about 20 miles southeast of Savannah along the South Carolina border, passed an ordinance in October that prohibits vacation and short-term rental properties from its residential neighborhoods. The move comes about 16 months after the local city council initially instituted a moratorium on short term rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo in August 2021, citing numerous complaints from local residents. "I've seen my neighborhood change from all permanent residents to over half vacation rentals now," Anna Butler, a Tybee resident since 1994, told Savannah Now in August. "I support the extension of the moratorium so that the new ordinance can be worked out in a fair and equitable manner."However, not everyone agrees with the ordinance. Tybee Alliance, a local coalition of business leaders, is suing Tybee Island to overturn the ordinance. "We believe that the city disregarded their own city charter and state law in passing the ordinance by ignoring the basic rules by which a city government is required to provide written notice and written text of a law before they pass it so that the public can review, comment and provide feedback to their elected leaders," Dusty Church, a member of Tybee Alliance, told local news station WTOC in December. According to data from AirDNA, there are about 1,500 active short-term rentals on the island today. That's compared to the island's total population of about 3,000 full-time residents, according to census data.Weehawken, New JerseyAcross the river from New York City, short-term stays have been banned altogether in Weekhawken, NJ.TC Franco/Getty ImagesWeehawken, New Jersey, sitting on the Hudson River waterfront directly across from Manhattan, banned all short-term rentals in the 15,000-person town at the very end of 2022.The new law went into effect immediately, impacting stays that ranged from $80 to $400 per night on the Airbnb site. Mayor Richard Turner told the Hudson Reporter that town officials will "examine all the ordinances" other New Jersey communities passed and could one day bring back short-term rentals with stricter regulations. But for now, he believes a ban was necessary. "Right now we're going to ban them because it really is starting to get out of control," Turner told the Reporter. Affordable housing was a top motivation, the mayor explained. "We are losing affordable apartments to Airbnb and we decided to take some action because we have several buildings that are getting carried away with it," he told the Hudson Reporter. Penalties for owners breaking the ban start with $1,000 for the first infraction and jump to $2,000 and the possibility of jail time for a third infraction.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 18th, 2023

The 24 cities where it will become harder to own or manage a short-term vacation rental in 2023

Local governments across the country are floating new regulations to curb short-term rentals, citing reasons from noise disruptions to affordability. Atlanta is one of the many cities that has gotten serious about cracking down on short-term rentals.Steve Kelley / Getty Images The pandemic sparked a boom in short-term rentals, and AirDNA found listings hit a record high in 2022. Some residents and officials in hot cities say these rentals deplete housing stock or cause noise disturbances. The following 24 cities across North America are looking to rein in Airbnbs and short-term rentals. Airbnbs and other short-term rental platforms became a go-to for investors during the pandemic as high home prices and rising interest rates made it unaffordable for regular homebuyers to enter the market. Investors sought to maximize their returns by renting homes to growing numbers of vacationers, travel nurses, and remote workers. But as the calendar turns to 2023, there is more competition than ever for short-term rentals which will make it more difficult for investors who are looking to capitalize on the travel boom created by the pandemic. But that hasn't stopped a number of vacation rental owners and property managers from cashing in — in both the US and Canada — which has left some of their neighbors frustrated.For many, it's paying off. Airbnb reported the average US host's income grew to over $13,800 in 2021 — an increase of 85% since 2019. By early 2022, there were a towering, industry-record 1.5 million listings available, according to the analytics site AirDNA.Locals say the mounting presence of short-term rentals in their neighborhoods can lead to a variety of issues, from mundane annoyances (noisy parties) to substantial challenges (they make it more difficult for regular people to buy homes).Cities and towns are caught in the middle, trying to balance these concerns with the revenue that vacationers bring in and the rights of property owners. From the beaches of California to the mountains of Vermont, communities are grappling with what the future of short-term rentals looks like. Some local governments, like in Honolulu, have passed regulations like banning rental stays under 90 days, while others, like in Aspen, Colorado, have proposed new taxes on owners. Some cities have simply called timeout: Chattanooga, Tennessee, paused new applications for non-owner-occupied units as it considered short-term rentals' future there. An Airbnb spokesperson said in an emailed statement that "short-term rentals have been part of the fabric of popular vacation destinations such as these for decades, and our goal is to work with communities on balanced rules that support local tourism economies, provide certainty and clarity for Hosts, and address community concerns." Airbnb also maintains a page on its site dubbed City Portal, which has resources for local governments.  Here are 23 cities in the US and Canada where residents and local politicians are fighting back against short-term rentals. They are presented in alphabetical order.Are you trying to pass regulations to limit short-term rentals? Are you a short-term rental owner who wants to talk about your experience with regulations? Email reporter Dan Latu at dlatu@insider.com. Alamosa, ColoradoThe Great Sand Dune National Park and the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains draw visitors to southern Colorado every year.Dan Ballard/Getty ImagesA four-hour drive south of Denver, Alamosa (population 10,000) is known for its proximity to Great Sand Dunes National Park, where visitors flock to see the tallest dunes in North America. As of November, Alamosa had 24 short-term rentals registered with the city — and many more unregistered ones, the Alamosa Citizen reported.In April, the Alamosa City Council unanimously passed an ordinance and two resolutions that were seen as a compromise between the interests of short-term-rental owners and frustrated residents. Under the new regulations, short-term rentals that are available for less than 30 days can only be in certain types of dwellings, including single-family homes or one unit in a multifamily property. Renting units in multifamily buildings with more than four units is no longer allowed.Short-term-rental owners will also have to obtain a license for an initial cost of $750 and a yearly renewal fee of $300. There is now a 5% cap on the number of short-term-rental licenses that will be issued per zone, or city neighborhood.When a new short-term-rental license is issued, neighbors must be notified.The Alamosa Citizen reported that area employers were struggling to recruit workers given "a tight and increasingly expensive housing market.""It is important to bring resolution to this item so business owners can predict what will be expected of them, neighborhoods will have some protections from nuisances, there is reasonable preservation of housing units for residents," Heather Brooks, the Alamosa city manager, told the Valley Courier. Aspen, ColoradoAspen, ColoradoVisionsofAmerica/Joe SohmAspen voters approved a ballot measure in November that imposes a pair of new taxes on short-term and vacation rental properties. Ballot Issue 2A imposes a 5% tax on nightly room rates for short-term rentals with lodge-exempt permits and a 10% tax on investment properties. The measures were approved by the local city council just days after Steamboat Springs, another popular Colorado resort town about three hours north of Aspen, passed a similar ordinance imposing new taxes on vacation rentals. Aspen City Council member Rachel Richards told the Post Independent in November that the vote is a "re-affirmation that Aspen is a community, wants to be a community, and supports the community."There are 979 STRs in Aspen and they charge an average daily rate of $749, according to AirDNA. Aspen is also the most expensive city in Colorado to live in with an average home price of more than $3 million, according to Zillow. Opponents of the measure have argued that it will depress tourism in one of Colorado's best-known resort locations. In the summer of 2020, Aspen hospitality businesses saw their average daily rates increase by 29% year-over-year while their revenue per available room increased by nearly 99%, according to data from the Aspen Chamber of Commerce.Atlanta, GeorgiaHomes in Atlanta's popular Midtown neighborhood.novikat/Getty ImagesIn March 2021, Atlanta passed an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals.It requires hosts to pay a $150 annual fee for a permit — and provide a copy of the property's deed and a utility bill — to operate a rental property. The rentals are taxed at 8%, the same as hotels in Atlanta. A violation of the ordinance carries a $300 fine."I'm trying to stop the city from becoming a de facto hotel city," a city councilman, Antonio Lewis, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.The bill was approved by a 13-2 council vote to crack down on party houses by making the owner of the unit responsible for violations.The law was scheduled to go into effect in April, allowing hosts to apply for permits the month prior. However, according to an analysis of city-permitting data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, roughly 10% of the city's 7,100 listings applied for permits two months after the application process opened. Less than 3% received permits.The enforcement date has since been extended to September 6, according to the local NBC affiliate 11 Alive.For now, all enforcement of the new rules will be complaint-driven and fall under the jurisdiction of the Atlanta police.Burlington, VermontChurch Street in Burlington, Vermont, is the downtown hub of the state's most populous city.DenisTangneyJr/Getty ImagesVermont's most populous city attracts more than just autumnal leaf-peepers, welcoming visitors year-round for its breweries, nature excursions, and cultural attractions. For the past year, the city government was locked in a debate over the growth of short-term rentals. There are now between 200 to 250 short-term rentals in the 40,000-person city, according to the VTDigger, and the major concern for officials is whether short-term rentals take away housing stock from Burlington residents. In February, the City Council passed an ordinance requiring short-term-rental owners to also live in the house as their primary residence. But the mayor vetoed the measure in March, saying it was too restrictive.In April, the City Council, with new members sworn in, voted to consider a new set of rules and passed a brand-new ordinance in June, according to the local outlet Seven Days. Short-term-rental owners must now live on the property, though there are some exceptions. Hosts will also pay an annual fee of up to $110 and a 9% tax on revenue from the rental, according to Seven Days.Chattanooga, TennesseeRiverboat cruises draw visitors to the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, where the city has paused all short-term-rental applications.SeanPavonePhoto/Getty ImagesThe Chattanooga City Council has paused all applications for short-term rental that are not owner-occupied. The freeze will last the rest of 2022.The city, with a riverfront and historic battlegrounds that attract tourists, has been debating the merits of its profitable rental industry. A local station, Channel 9 News, reported that Airbnb rentals brought in tax revenue of $3.5 million for the county in 2021. But some residents are concerned about the ability of outside investors to reap rewards at the expense of Chattanooga locals. "I'm not in favor of having investors that come in out of state, out of country even, and buy 10 to 15 pieces of property. They're not invested in the community. They're not invested in Chattanooga," Donna Morgan, a local resident, told Channel 9.There are 1,120 active short-term rentals, according to analytics site AirDNA.Coeur d'Alene, IdahoCoeur d'Alene, Idaho is a resort town that is a 40-minute drive east of Spokane, Washington.Alan NickCity leaders in Coeur d'Alene, a resort town along the north edge of Idaho's Harrison Slough, are working to limit the number of short term rentals in their town.The city first passed laws concerning short term rentals in 2017, but is considering adding a slew of restrictions as the number of vacation rentals continues to grow. Coeur d'Alene's General Services/Public Works Committee could amend the law to require off-street parking, increase fees for violating the ordinance, and limit the number of permits issued annually. "We can't have a thousand people rushing to get a permit when we might not allow that many," Councilwoman Christie Wood told KREM 2 in September. According to Airdna, there are about 790 active vacation rentals in Coeur d'Alene that charge an average daily rate of around $260. However, a large chunk of the rentals may be illegal as city officials told local news station KREM in November that only 453 vacation rental properties have been authorized. The debate over vacation rentals in Coeur d'Alene comes at a time when the local housing market is shifting in favor of buyers. The average home value is down more than 6% to just under $500,000 as of November while the number of homes sold has dropped by more than 35% year-over-year, according to Redfin.Dallas, TexasDallas is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.Danny Lehman/ Getty ImagesLocal leaders on the Dallas City Plan Commission voted 9-4 on December 8 to recommend defining short-term rental properties as "lodging" under the city's zoning code. The move could effectively prevent the properties from existing in Dallas' single-family residential neighborhoods. The Dallas City Council still needs to approve the recommendation before any enforcement actions can take place. The body could vote on the recommendation as early as January 11, 2023. Commissioner Claire Stanard, one of the commission members who voted in favor of the proposal, told the Dallas Morning News that the proposal could help improve public safety. The commission heard several complaints from local residents about "party houses" with loud music and lots of cars during their debate. "If my granddaughter is living next to a short-term rental or between them, is that really what my son-in-law bought a house to have as his next-door neighbor," Standard said. According to data from AirDNA, there are more than 5,400 short-term rentals in Dallas. The properties charge an average daily rate of $165 and they have a 60% occupancy rate. Other commissioners weren't as convinced that adding new regulations would help solve the problems that city residents are complaining about. "I don't have any faith that regulation is the sole solution to this problem," Commissioner Melissa Kingston told the Dallas Morning News. Other cities in Texas like Fort Worth and Arlington have already restricted vacation rental properties from their residential neighborhoods.Dauphin Island, AlabamaDauphin Island, Alabama sits on the Gulf Coast near the Louisiana border.Barry WinikerAnother vacation destination that has imposed limitations on short term rental properties is Dauphin Island, Alabama, a small island off of the gulf coast in Pelican Bay. In August, Dauphin Island's Planning Commission finalized several STR restrictions in a rewrite of the town's zoning code. The restrictions include limiting where short term rental properties can be located on the island, restricting the number of vehicles that can be parked at a rental property, and imposing a $75 annual fee for rental property owners. The new limitations have put residents at odds with one another, according to a report by AL.com. Some claim the properties are improving the island by attracting tourists. Those who want to limit the number of short term rentals say the regulations are striking a balance between business interests and the local community. "One group will say they are renting out (their house) and the next thing you know is you have eight cars parked all over the yards," Dauphin Island City Councilman Earle Connell, who is also the local liaison for the planning commission, told AL.com in August. "To them, it's a vacation. I understand that. But these people who do that don't understand we have a community and neighborhood that is protected."There are 574 vacation rental homes in Dauphin Island, and they have a 68% occupancy rate, according to AirDNA.Dillon, ColoradoDillon, Colorado is a ski town near Breckenridge.Brad McGinleyDillon, Colorado's city council is considering how to move forward with the town's new short-term rental regulations after voters approved a slate of measures aimed at curtailing the properties in November. Currently, city council members are debating a new ordinance to increase the annual fee charged to short-term rentals from $50 to $250 and include new application questions about how the rental unit will be used, according to a report by Summit Daily.  The ordinance comes after voters approved a pair of ballot questions that levy a 5% excise tax on short-term rentals and increased the city's lodging tax from 2% to 6%. The city – which has just over 1,000 full-time residents – is located in Summit County, home to some of Colorado's favorite ski attractions such as the Breckenridge ski resort, Copper Mountain, and Grays Peak. Overall, the city estimates that the new taxes could return approximately $3 million in annual tax revenue. Dillon can collect up to $4.5 million of this specific tax before triggering a tax refund under state law, town finance director Carri McDonnell told Steamboat Pilot & Today.Voters approved the new taxes at a time when Dillon's housing market is soaring. Dillon's median home price has increased more than 30% over the last 12 months to $915,000, according to Redfin.Frisco, ColoradoFrisco, Colorado is another ski town near Breckenridge.Bloomberg CreativeFrisco, Colorado – a small town in central Colorado – capped the number of short term rental properties within its jurisdiction at 900, or 25% of the local housing stock, back in October. The new regulations also require short term rental landlords to live at their property for at least 10 months out of the year but passed on the opportunity to create a new license for short-term rentals versus traditional rental properties, according to the Summit Daily. The ordinance could also have a significant impact on tourism in Fisco, which is seen by locals as a cheap midway point between popular resort destinations like Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. Frisco currently levies a 5% excise tax on short term rentals and a 2% lodging tax."There are a lot of people very unhappy — as one person had mentioned — with having the short-term rentals next to them because some people might be very careful to who they rent to and how they monitor it, but others are not," city councilmember Lisa Holenko told Summit Daily. There are currently more than 1,700 STRs in Frisco, according to AirDNA. These properties charge an average daily rate of $299 and have an average occupancy rate of about 50%.Lexington, KentuckyLexington, Kentucky is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby horse race.iStock/Getty Images PlusPopular tourist towns like Lexington, Kentucky — which is home to the annual Kentucky Derby — are starting to crack down on vacation rentals at a time when their housing markets are growing more competitive by the day. Lexington's Special Planning and Public Safety Committee is considering requiring Airbnb and Vrbo landlords in the area to acquire a special business license and imposing an additional transient tax on the properties, according to a report by WKYT. Business owners like Heath Green, co-owner of the Kentucky Life Property Management Group, told the committee that the additional measures could decrease tourism, which is Kentucky's economic bread and butter. But the measure also comes at a time when real estate values in Lexington are outpacing the national average in terms of home price appreciation. Data from Redfin shows that Lexington's median home price has increased 14.4% over the last year up to nearly $298,000 as of November 2022. That's compared to the national average increase of just 2.6%, according to Redfin. There are more than 1,200 active vacation rentals in Lexington that charge an average daily rate of $171 and have an occupancy rate of more than 50%, according to data from AirDNA.Marco Island, FloridaMarco Island is a barrier island near Naples, Florida.Marc FreiVoters in Marco Island, Florida approved an ordinance on August 23 that created a registration program for short term rental properties and imposed several new restrictions. After months of debate, it was narrowly approved by the local city council in December. To register a property, short term rental owners must hold a liability insurance policy of at least $1 million, provide city officials with a phone number that is answered 24-hours per day, and pay a $50 registration fee. The ordinance was submitted by a group called Take Back Marco, a nonpartisan political action committee. Ed Issler, who leads Take Back Marco, told WINK that additional regulations are necessary because short term rental properties have "gotten out of control" on Marco Island. According to data from AirDNA, there are more than 2,400 short term rental properties, which charge an average daily rate of $329. Vacation rental property owners have filed a lawsuit to prevent the ordinance from going into effect. David Di Pietro, an attorney representing the property owners, told Gulfshore Business in August that the ordinance is overly restrictive. "Once this ordinance passes, until you receive the certificate from the city, which means you have to have an inspection from the fire department and the city, you can't rent until that's done," Di Pietro said. "There are over 2,000 rentals and there's nobody doing that job right now. So, we think that it's going to be a ban for an indefinite amount of time."MontréalThe nighttime skyline of downtown Montréal.Nicolas McComber/Getty ImagesIt's not just Americans who oppose the barrage of short-term rentals.Activists in Montréal, the largest city in Canada's Quebec province, are trying to curb the wave of listings in order to preserve housing for residents."In recent years, we have lost thousands of apartments in Montréal to short-term rentals," Cédric Dussault, the spokesperson for the Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenants Associations of Quebec, told CBC in a May interview.Some restrictions are in place. Currently, in order to rent out a unit, the owner must obtain an establishment number and, in some cases, a classification certificate from Quebec's tourism body. Since May 2020, it is required that operators put the establishment number on any advertisement or posting to rent space. The maximum stay is also capped at 31 days.Montréal, however, has had a tough time enforcing these regulations. CBC cited data from independent watchdog group Inside Airbnb stating that 11,639 Montréal Airbnbs are unlicensed. That's about 95% of them, it estimated."The simple story is that the province put a very good set of rules in place, but has not put in any effort to make sure that anybody follows those rules," David Wachsmuth, the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, told CBC.New York City, New YorkThere may be upwards of 10,000 short-term rentals operating illegally in New York City.Alexander Spatari/Getty ImagesMayor Eric Adams has moved to require Airbnb and Vrbo hosts to register their properties with the city, provide proof that the hosts live in the units with their guests, and show that the property meets local zoning and safety guidelines. The proposal will go into effect in January and hosts who fail to comply could face between $1,000 and $5,000 in penalties. A report by NPR suggests the policy could remove as many as 10,000 short-term rentals that are operating in the city illegally. "Currently as is, this is an entirely unregulated market and the consequences have been disastrous for New Yorkers," New York State Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani said during a hearing about the proposal in early December.Data from AirDNA shows that there are more than 24,500 active short-term rentals in New York that charge an average daily rate of $234 and are about 75% occupied.Oahu, HawaiiThe famous Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu, which brings in nearly half of Hawaii's annual visitors.M Swiet Productions/Getty ImagesIn April, Honolulu's mayor, Rick Blangiardi, signed a new law requiring a minimum stay of 90 days for short-term rentals in residential areas on the island of Oahu, in an attempt to curb the sprawl of vacation rentals in the city. Hawaii News Now reported that the city estimates there are between 10,000 to 14,000 short-term rentals in Oahu."This is a historic moment," Blangiardi said at a press conference for the bill, which passed the City Council by a vote of 8-1. The new law applies to the non-resort neighborhoods of Hawaii's most popular island, Oahu, which is home to iconic attractions like Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor. Before the pandemic, the Hawaii Tourism Authority recorded over 6 million visitors to Oahu in 2019, which represented nearly half of all tourism spending for the state. But local residents complain of tourists overrunning residential neighborhoods, taking away housing opportunities, and causing disturbances."Any economic benefits of opening up our residential areas to tourism are far outweighed by the negative impacts on our neighborhoods and local residents," Oahu resident Thomas Cestare said at a City Council hearing, according to Hawaii News Now.A group of short-term-rental owners sued the city in June, seeking an exemption for 30- to 90-day rentals that existed pre-ordinance, according to Courthouse News Service. In the suit, the Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance said thousands of owners previously operating legally would be "irreparably harmed" by the new 90-day minimum. In September, the alliance asked for an injunction ahead of the ordinance's planned effective date, October 23, according to Courthouse News Service. The presiding judge deferred the decision, but Courthouse reported the parties asked to meet with the judge before the deadline.Palm Springs, CaliforniaPalm Springs is known for its many golf courses and beautiful weather during the winter months.Robin Smith/Getty ImagesPalm Springs, California, a small town that borders Mt. San Jacinto State Park in the southern part of the state, recently adopted an ordinance to limit the number of short term rentals in its jurisdiction to 20% of homes in residential neighborhoods, KESQ reported in November. The new ordinance also reduced the number of days that a landlord can rent out their vacation rental property from 36 to 26. All existing permits plus the 300 applications the city received before October 17 will be grandfathered in, according to the report. There are more than 4,100 active vacation rentals in the city, according to data from AirDNA. The properties charge an average daily rate of $500 and are about 63% occupied, the data shows. For comparison, there are just 489 homes listed for sale in Palm Springs, according to Redfin, and the market commands a median home price of $605,000, a 14.4% increase when compared to November 2021. Zillow shows there are just 109 homes for rent in the city as well.Palo Alto, CaliforniaPalo Alto is the home of major tech companies HP, VMware, SAP Labs, and others.ShutterstockOne of California's wealthiest cities is planning to limit the number of short-term rental properties in its jurisdiction as it struggles to add new housing units. Palo Alto's city council voted 5-2 on December 12 to explore creating new regulations on vacation rentals. The council is exploring regulations that range from requiring the properties to be owner-occupied to banning rentals of fewer than 30 days, Palo Alto Online reported.  Data from AirDNA shows that there are 610 short-term rentals in Palo Alto, which attract an average daily rate of $277 and have a 77% occupancy rate. For comparison, Zillow's website shows there are just 179 available rental listings in Palo Alto. "We have more units available through Airbnb through short-term rentals than we do as far as just available rental units in the city," Palo Alto councilmember Greer Stone told Palo Alto Online. "That's a concern. Presumably, every short-term rental unit on the market is potentially a housing unit that someone can be in long-term or permanently."Other council members noted that limiting short-term rentals in the area could greatly restrict the ability of families who come to town to visit relatives who are being treated at nearby Stanford Hospital. "If we remove this option, we're really going to be limiting the people who live here and the people who have a pretty legitimate need to come here," said councilwoman Alison Cormack. Park Township, MichiganThe shoreline of Lake Michigan.iStock/Getty Images PlusStarting October 1, 2023, local officials in Park Township, Michigan — which is located about 30 miles due west of Grand Rapids — will start enforcing a town rule that prohibits short-term rental properties in residential neighborhoods. The ordinance has been on the books since 1974, the town's board of trustees noted as they voted unanimously on the plan during their November meeting. The ordinance still allows short-term rentals in commercial zones just like hotels and motels. During the meeting, the trustees offered a range of reasons why they support the ordinance, from keeping the peace to preserving the character of the resort town's residential neighborhoods. Data from AirDNA shows that there are 141 active vacation rental properties in Park Township compared to the 119 homes listed for sale and the 22 homes for rent that are listed on Zillow.Portland, MaineSunset over Portland, Maine.Mark BibikowState legislators in Portland, Maine are considering adding new restrictions on short-term rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo after voters defeated a ballot initiative that sought to restrict how the properties can operate. The initiative was submitted by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, a political organization, and approved by the local city council over the summer. It seeks to prohibit corporate owners of rental properties from owning short term rentals, prohibits evictions for the purpose of converting a property to a short term rental, and increases penalties for properties that don't comply with the law. Voters defeated the initiative by a 55% to 45% margin. Business owners and some employees formed a political action group called "Enough is Enough" to oppose the initiative, claiming that the Democratic Socialists are manipulating the city's citizen initiated referendum process. "My biggest issue is, trying to govern the city through referendum I think is a bad idea," said Nick Mavodone, a former city council member and the chairman of the Enough is Enough campaign. "One thing I know is there are a lot of unintended consequences with everything that comes before an elected body, no matter how simple it seems." Now, lawmakers on the Joint Select Committee on Housing are poised to consider new regulations for short-term rentals when the legislature reconvenes in January 2023, according to the Portland Press Herald. According to data from AirDNA, there are 766 short term rental properties in Portland and they have an occupancy rate of 74%. These properties are also charging an average daily rate of nearly $280, which is less than other popular destinations in Maine such as Bar Harbor.Red Hook, New YorkThe Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge in New York's Hudson Valley.OlegAlbinsky/Getty ImagesRed Hook, a small town about two hours north of New York City in the bucolic Hudson Valley region, unanimously passed short-term-rental regulations at the end of 2021.The new local laws limit the number of days a property can be rented out, establish rules for what type of renting is allowed, and require permits for hosting.In districts that are heavily residential, only one-bedroom rentals are permitted and are limited to 120 days per year. In less densely residential areas, units with multiple bedrooms are allowed to be rented. They are not capped by a day limit. No matter its size, the rule says, the home must be the primary residence of the host.To give a sense of the number of short-term rentals in the broader area, a search for available Airbnbs for a weekend in June in and around Red Hook, NY, led to more than 300 listings.Some Red Hook residents have voiced concerns about their town becoming overrun by weekenders and as a site for party houses. "With nearly four years of committee and community discussion, input and changes, we hope we've been able to strike a balance between encouraging short-term rentals and protecting residential neighborhoods from conversion," Robert McKeon, the Red Hook town supervisor, told the Poughkeepsie Journal. Santa Rosa, CaliforniaSanta Rosa, California is a town 55 miles north of San Francisco.Matt DutcherThe Santa Rosa City Council voted on August 10 to limit the number of STRs in its jurisdiction to 198. There are currently 581 short term rental properties in Santa Rosa, according to AirDNA, which means that nearly two-thirds of property owners won't be able to continue renting their homes. The new limitations have also pitted neighbor against neighbor in the town that sits 55 miles north of San  Francisco. "My problem is I moved into a residential neighborhood and now I live next to a hotel," resident Bernadette Burrell told the city council in August when they voted on the new cap.The new cap on short term rentals comes as cities across California move to place restrictions on these properties. Other cities include Lake Tahoe in California's popular wine country, Temecula, and Riverside. Property owners say the new cap is just another example of city officials "harassing" them and trying to "solve a problem that doesn't exist," according to a report by CBS News. Rental owners like Gary Lentz told CBS that they try to work collaboratively with neighbors who complain about noise and other issues with their properties. Still, Lentz feels the scrutiny against his business is unjustifiable. "It's almost unenforceable what these people are trying to do," Lentz said.Sarasota, FloridaSarasota, Florida is on the Gulf of Mexico.krblokhin/Getty ImagesThe beachy city of Sarasota has become a hotbed for short-term-rental stays — especially in the early spring months.With 4,923 active listings, AirDNA listed Sarasota as the No. 3 destination in the country for spring travel in 2022, based nights booked for March and April, behind Orlando and Phoenix. That's notable, considering Sarasota's population of 54,842 is a fraction of Orlando's 307,573 residents and Phoenix's 1,608,139 residents.The city passed vacation-rental regulations in May 2021. Sarasota now requires a seven-day minimum for stays, and a 10-person maximum for single-family-home stays.  Some residents — like Caitlyn Marriott, who lives in nearby Venice — believe that isn't enough and are advocating for further regulations."The county and some small towns tried to initiate some local ordinances to try to put a curb on the effects that it would have on neighbors, but not so much the community as a whole," Marriott said.Starting June 1, 2022, hosts are required to have a certificate of registration, which costs $250, from the city in order to rent out property for less than 30 days. Registration is not required for owner-occupied vacation rentals, condos, and rentals that exceed 30 days, according to the city.Steamboat Springs, ColoradoMountains rise behind a street in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.Shutterstock/Rachele A. MorlanSteamboat Springs, an idyllic ski town in northwest Colorado, passed an ordinance in June that created a 9% tax on short-term rental properties to fund affordable housing developments. The law was passed as wealthy out-of-towners continue to make up a majority of buyers in Colorado's resort towns. In 2020, nearly two-thirds of homebuyers in Routt County — where Steamboat Springs is located — hailed from other counties and took home an average salary of approximately $150,000, according to a survey by the Colorado Association of Ski Towns. For comparison, more than 60% of Routt County's workforce earns less than $150,000 per year, the survey found. Meanwhile, the average home sales price in the county has jumped to nearly $2 million, a 33.7% increase since June 2021, according to data from the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR). "There is not a day goes by that I don't hear from someone ... that they have to move" because they can't afford rent, Heather Sloop, Steamboat Springs' city council president, told KUNC, an NPR affiliate station in northern Colorado. "It's crushing our community."An economic impact study commissioned by Airbnb in May shows that there are more than 6,800 short-term rentals listed in Routt County compared to the county's total housing inventory of 16,800 units. Short-term rental and second-property owners pushed back against the ordinance, saying it could effectively tax them out of the town.  "New people became involved with the politics and the ski resorts and everything, and their goal was to make it a winter and summer destination," Sara Gambino, a local real estate broker, told Steamboat Pilot & Today. "So, they're kind of going back on all the work that went into making the county the destination that it is."Tybee Island, GeorgiaTybee Island is barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean about a 30-minute drive from downtown Savannah, Georgia.Jeff Foster/500px/Getty ImagesTybee Island, Georgia, which sits about 20 miles southeast of Savannah along the South Carolina border, passed an ordinance in October that prohibits vacation and short-term rental properties from its residential neighborhoods. The move comes about 16 months after the local city council initially instituted a moratorium on short term rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo in August 2021, citing numerous complaints from local residents. "I've seen my neighborhood change from all permanent residents to over half vacation rentals now," Anna Butler, a Tybee resident since 1994, told Savannah Now in August. "I support the extension of the moratorium so that the new ordinance can be worked out in a fair and equitable manner."However, not everyone agrees with the ordinance. Tybee Alliance, a local coalition of business leaders, is suing Tybee Island to overturn the ordinance. "We believe that the city disregarded their own city charter and state law in passing the ordinance by ignoring the basic rules by which a city government is required to provide written notice and written text of a law before they pass it so that the public can review, comment and provide feedback to their elected leaders," Dusty Church, a member of Tybee Alliance, told local news station WTOC in December. According to data from AirDNA, there are about 1,500 active short-term rentals on the island today. That's compared to the island's total population of about 3,000 full-time residents, according to census data.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 29th, 2022

The Sinaloa Cartel is losing its marijuana business, and El Chapo"s sons are going after the "premium weed" market to make up for it

"We lost a share of the business, but in no time we will take it back by producing the best weed in the world," a cartel operative told Insider. Seized marijuana bricks are incinerated in Guadalajara in March 2018.ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images Over the past decade, a growing number of US states have legalized marijuana. The domestic production and sales that enables has eroded Mexican cartels' share of the US market. Mexico is also headed toward legalizing marijuana, and the Sinaloa Cartel sees an opportunity in it. Culiacán, SINALOA — The Sinaloa Cartel wants to take back a business that had long belonged to it but has been lost to producers in US over the past decade.As more and more US states legalize marijuana for recreational use, Mexico's biggest drug cartel is trying to corner the legal weed market in Mexico, even if the drug itself is not yet legal in Mexico.In late 2015 when several US states began legalizing weed for medical and recreational use, the Sinaloa Cartel — known for building a criminal empire on smuggling weed into the US — began to feel the financial impact.In 2012, prior to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness calculated that the cartel stood to lose nearly $2.8 billion if the drug was legalized in those states.In the years since, "Mexican marijuana has largely been supplanted by domestic-produced marijuana" in US markets, according to the DEA's 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment.Mexican soldiers incinerate a marijuana plantation in Baja California in March 2018.GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty ImagesIn 2013, US authorities seized roughly 1.3 million kilograms of weed at the border with Mexico, according to the DEA report. By 2019, however, pot seizures at the border had fallen to nearly 249,000 kilograms.Although the criminal organization formerly led by infamous drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has made up for the lost revenue by entering other illegal and pseudo-legal businesses — like illegal logging, extortion, and monopolizing water in several regions of Mexico — they still want the weed business back."This is a business that belongs here, to Sinaloa," a Sinaloa Cartel operative who works as a regional manager for marijuana operations in Culiacán told Insider. "We lost a share of the business, but in no time we will take it back by producing the best weed in the world."The Sinaloa Cartel's weed operations are overseen by three of El Chapo's sons, who are known as "Los Chapitos."After Guzmán's extradition to the US, where he is now serving a life term in prison, sons Ivan Archivaldo, 39, known as "El Chapito"; Jesús Alfredo, 36, known as "Alfredillo"; and Ovidio, 32, known as "El Raton"; have taken full control of Culiacán on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel.A legalization activist smokes marijuana in front of the San Lazaro Legislative Palace in Mexico City on October 12.Luis Barron / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty ImagesFollowing a significant decline in drug-trafficking revenue and the arrest of "El Chapo" in Mexico in January 2016, "Los Chapitos" decided to start investing in order to take Mexico's weed industry to another level.The "juniors," which the sons are called in Culiacán in order to avoid using their real names, "gave us the trust to start producing the best weed in Mexico," a weed producer working for the cartel told Insider. "They asked me if I knew what I was doing. I said yes, and through another person they became the godfathers of this project."Operatives, producers, and sellers told Insider is that the cartel's move into the marijuana industry is currently in an "experimental phase.""This is by far not the final product. We are buying seeds from all over the world to create our own strain, to produce top-notch Sinaloa weed and to develop a strong brand even better than the gringos," the producer said, referring to growers in the US.Currently the weed market is focused almost exclusively in Culiacán, a city of just over a million people, but the cartel operatives say they are aiming for a much larger market."The juniors are not only investing in producing and branding weed. They are also investing in lobbying with Mexico's top politicians to legalize weed," the operative said.Lawmakers in Mexico's Chamber of Deputies discuss decriminalization and regulation of marijuana on March 10, 2021.Luis Barron / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty ImagesThe operative and others in the business say the cartel is "very interested" in legalizing weed. Some believe it is because of Los Chapitos' love for the plant and its supposed benefits. Others think it is purely a business decision."The juniors are intelligent men. They know that once weed is legal the organization will be ready to go legal and will already have the most known and best-quality weed in Mexico," the operative said, referring to the cartel.But attempts to legalize weed have stalled in Mexico's Senate. In 2021 the Senate passed a bill legalizing recreational use of marijuana, but lawmakers in the lower house held up the measure while they tried to raise the amount of pot that consumers could carry in public higher than the proposed limit of 28 grams.What the Sinaloa Cartel is really waiting for is the legalization of the production of weed, a part of the process that could potentially yield millions of dollars in revenue without them needing to go to the illegal side of the business."The juniors are a different litter. They are educated. They want to live well and stop being a target for the government," said a Sinaloa Cartel commander who acts as a link between Los Chapitos and Culiacán's marijuana producers. "So weed could be their option to go out of the illegal [trade] and become successful businessmen in Mexico and leave all the crime behind."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 13th, 2022

15 states that make it easier to launch your business with startup tax credits and fewer licensing restrictions

California is lifting restrictions for street vendors and Missouri banned noncompete clauses so it's easier to start a business. Some states have passed laws that make it easier for people to obtain occupational licenses.Mike Harrington/Getty Starting a business might be easier in some states compared with others.  In the past two years, several states passed laws lifting restrictions to entrepreneurship.  For example, Missouri's Right to Start Act gives tax breaks to startups. If you're considering starting a business, like the 5.4 million Americans who did last year, the ease of the process varies depending on where you live.Over the past couple years, some states have made entrepreneurship easier by passing legislation that lifted certain restrictions, enacted tax breaks for young companies, and banned red tape that can make it difficult for some to survive. For example, state Rep. Travis Fitzwater of Missouri introduced the Right to Start Act last year to encourage entrepreneurship in the state with tax incentives and increased government contracting."The best way to incentivize new businesses is to remove barriers to start," he told Insider months before the bill was signed into law. "Startups are the ones that create jobs, not large businesses."Below is Insider's list of states that passed recent legislation to benefit entrepreneurs. We will continue to update this list as new laws are signed.ConnecticutBridgeport, Connecticut.DenisTangneyJr/Getty ImagesConnecticut legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2021, opening up opportunities for consumer businesses. Licensed retailers can begin selling marijuana products to adults 21 and older beginning on January 10, 2023, according to the state's Department of Consumer Protection.CaliforniaSacramento, California.Getty Images.In September, California passed a bill that eases restrictions and permit requirements for street vendors, particularly for small operators who can't afford expensive fees. The California Retail Food Code bill waives or reduces permit fees, helps businesses comply with health codes, and increases access to health-department-approved kitchens for food preparation and storage. It also places sidewalk food vendors in a different category from food trucks, lowering the requirements for code compliance and making the carts and equipment more affordable.MissouriKansas City, Missouri.Edwin Remsberg/Getty ImagesIn 2021, Missouri passed the Right to Start Act, which outlines plans to make the state a better place for entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running."The first five years are the most important" to a startup's survival, Fitzwater said. The bill requires the government to award 5% of all state contracts to startups that have been operating for less than five years, nullifies noncompete clauses in worker contracts, and establishes an office of entrepreneurship.There are also several tax provisions for companies less than five years old. Businesses created within the past tax year, beginning on January 1, are exempt from paying taxes on their first $250,000 of income and pay 4% on income afterward. Small businesses with less than $5,000 in revenue can defer filing their taxes for one year.Missouri also passed legislation in 2020 that eased licensing restrictions. Professionals such as barbers, nail technicians, and real-estate agents no longer need to be a resident of the state to receive an occupational license as long as they have valid certification in another state.ColoradoDenver.Caleb Alvarado for InsiderBusinesses in Colorado can apply for the Employee Ownership Tax Credit to allow employee shareholding in exchange for a tax break. The state covers half the cost of converting a company's equity into stock-ownership plans, employee-ownership trusts, or worker cooperatives. The tax provision, which is credited on a company's state income tax, will continue through 2027. Massachusetts and Texas are considering similar legislation. Additionally, in 2020, Colorado passed licensing legislation that allows professionals who have substantial work experience or credentials from another state to receive certification in Colorado without needing additional training.FloridaSarasota, Florida.Suncoast AerialsIn 2020, Florida became one of several states to reform licensing requirements with the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act. Barbers and cosmetologists who move to Florida from another state may use their active out-of-state licenses. Home inspectors and electrical-system contractors can continue to work in the state if they have held a license for at least 10 years in another state.This legislation also removed examination requirements for some professions, such as landscape architects, and reduced education and training hours to lower the cost to enter certain industries. Other professions no longer need a license, including interior designers, hair braiders, hair wrappers, body wrappers, boxing announcers, and boxing timekeepers.MississippiJackson, Mississippi.Denis Tangney Jr.In 2020, Mississippi passed the Military Family Freedom Act, which allows military members and their spouses to get their occupational licenses based on previous education and training they received out of state.OhioCincinnati.Icon Sportswire/GettySenate Bill 7, which was signed into law in 2020, gives military members and spouses a temporary certification for six years if they have a valid out-of-state occupational license and have moved to Ohio for military duty.ArizonaTucson, Arizona.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockIn 2019, Arizona became the first state to pass universal licensing legislation. The law allows professionals to receive a new license as long as they have valid certification in good standing in another state. This applies to barbers, chiropractors, contractors, cosmetologists, dentists, real-estate agents, and others. Additionally, Arizona legalized recreational cannabis in 2020, ruling that adults 21 years or older could possess up to 1 ounce of the substance. This opens up opportunities for consumer businesses.UtahSalt Lake City.AaronP/Bauer-Griffin / Getty ImagesIn 2020, Utah passed licensing legislation that allowed professionals to receive their occupational license as long as they had valid certification in good standing in another state. The law also removes a clause that required applicants to "be of good moral character" to practice as a cosmetologist, podiatrist, electrologist, esthetician, barber, nail technician, or pharmacist, among other occupations.IdahoBoise, Idaho.Darwin Fan/Getty ImagesIn 2020, Idaho passed licensing legislation that allowed professionals to receive their occupational licenses as long as they had valid certification in good standing in another state. The law also requires that any disqualifying criminal offense be deemed "relevant" to bar an applicant from certification.IowaDes Moines, Iowa.Eddie Brady/Getty ImagesIn 2020, Iowa passed licensing-reform legislation that allowed a professional to get licensed in the state if they met a requirement for work experience, rather than requiring additional education or training. The law removes licensing fees for low-income workers and omits restrictions for people with a criminal record that relates to their profession.New JerseyNewark, New Jersey.Howard KingsnorthNew Jersey legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2020, opening up opportunities for consumer businesses in what's expected to be one of the largest markets of legal cannabis in the nation. Recreational cannabis products incur a 6.65% sales tax.MontanaBillings, Montana.peetervMontana legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2020, but sales for adult use is limited to counties that voted in favor of Initiative 190.Businesses with preexisting medical-marijuana licenses are the first allowed to sell the substance at a consumer level, the local news station 3KRTV reported. In July 2023, new businesses can apply for licenses to sell recreational cannabis. New MexicoSanta Fe, New Mexico.ShutterstockNew Mexico legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2021, opening up opportunities for consumer businesses once sales begin in April. Marijuana sales will have an excise tax of 12%. New YorkAlbany, New York.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockNew York passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in 2020, which legalized cannabis for recreational use. Once sales begin this year, the state is expected to be one of the largest markets of legal cannabis in the nation.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 9th, 2022