The Lede, Wednesday, April 11, 2018
By David Royse
A quick roundup of interesting news in emerging industries today
Boehner “Evolves” in Thinking on Cannabis, Joins Marijuana Company
Former House Speaker John Boehner, who opposed de-scheduling cannabis as an illegal narcotic during his political career, has joined the board of a leading marijuana company.
“I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved,” Boehner tweeted. “I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities. @AcreageCannabis”
Acreage also announced it was adding former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld to its board.
The firm is one of the biggest players in the cannabis industry in the United States, owning cultivation, processing and dispensary operations, and having a presence in 11 states.
“Over the past 20 years a growing number of states have experimented with their right to offer cannabis programs under the protection of the 10th amendment,” Boehner and Weld said in a statement.. “During that period, those rights have lived somewhat in a state of conflict with federal policy. Also, during this period, the public perception of cannabis has dramatically shifted, with 94% of Americans currently in favor of some type of access, a shift driven by increased awareness of marijuana’s many medical applications.
“We need to look no further than our nation’s 20 million veterans, 20 percent of whom, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, reportedly use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments,” Boehner and Weld said. “Yet the VA does not allow its doctors to recommend its usage. There are numerous other patient groups in America whose quality of life has been dramatically improved by the state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis.”
I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities. @AcreageCannabis https://t.co/f5i9KcQD0W
— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 11, 2018
UBER STILL HOLDS HOPE FOR FUTURE OF AUTONOMOUS CARS
“We believe in it,” Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said today of its push for a driverless fleet. The company has suspended testing temporarily in the wake of a fatal accident involving one of its driverless cars that struck a pedestrian in Arizona. But, “Autonomous (vehicles) at maturity will be safer,” Khosrowshahi said. Reuters
Mr. Zuckerberg, Can You Program My VCR?
Nobody said that at yesterday’s Senate hearing involving several politicians who clearly fail to “get” Facebook, but I kept expecting it.
The Senate panel questioning Zuckerberg over its business model and what it does with users’ data came off to me – and many others – as painfully awkward because it was clear many on the panel didn’t understand the idea behind the social media network or how it works.
The populists on the committee were playing to a constituency that doesn’t like what Facebook and Zuckerberg represent: a Silicon Valley success story and a founder who can come off as smug and condescending to a large group of Americans who have a much better understanding of the traditional economy and the things it made. And yeah, they may be a little bitter that Harvard “kids” like Zuckerberg are making millions and people in their Silicon Valley world are doing just fine, while the old economy seems to have gone down the drain. Just like the “drain the swamp” mentality that has almost nothing to do with anyone particularly in the swamp and everything to do with what that swamp stands for, dressing down Facebook, for the populists on the panel, was more about taking Big Tech down a notch.
My other difficulty with the hearing was the concerns about “censorship” by Facebook. Zuckerberg claims the company doesn’t “censor” viewpoints with some exceptions, like it tries not to provide a platform for terrorists. (Aren’t the exceptions always the hard part? I mean who censors the stuff everybody agrees with?) Zuckerberg didn’t fight much on this point, but I kept wondering why nobody was pointing out – Facebook can censor anybody it wants – it’s a company, not a government, and it doesn’t have to let anyone post anything. If people feel like they aren’t being allowed to share their message on Facebook, they should find another social network.
This censorship argument came up in today’s continued testimony, this time on the House side. Since you’ve heard my argument, I’ll give you the other argument to be fair.
Facebook will survive, and it sounds like Zuckerberg and company want to meet the critics partway to a middle ground. The company still needs to use data about you to deliver targeted ads, but Zuckerberg does seem to understand that many people don’t know what it does with their data, and now are starting to care about that.
Yesterday I passed along suggestions that you drink more water, eat caviar and get to a far infrared sauna.
NOTES FROM THE AGE OF DISRUPTION:
The Chinese, not Amazon
Are on the vanguard of online retail. Axios
Is getting into car rental and public transit. TechCrunch
Traded slightly higher today as markets got rattled by Trump Syria tweet. MarketWatch
As always, I welcome your thoughts. @daveroyse on Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org
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