Bandit opens a ‘mobile-only’ coffee shop in New York

If you wander into the Bandit coffee shop in Midtown New York, you won’t be able to just walk up to the counter and order something. Instead, you’ll need to download a mobile app.

I experienced it for myself yesterday afternoon, when I — along with several other customers — pulled out my phone, downloaded the Bandit app, then used the app to create a profile, order and pay. A couple of minutes later, a barista called me up to the counter and handed me a pretty good cup of coffee.

In other words, while Starbucks has been experimenting with mobile ordering and payment, Bandit is betting entirely on what co-founder and CEO Max Crowley called a “mobile-only” store.

Obviously, this model can lead to some initial awkwardness, particularly if random passersby don’t understand it. But there are friendly Bandit staff members on-hand to help, and Crowley (who was previously the general manager of Uber for Business) said that this model offers an opportunity to create “a whole new type of experience.”

He pointed to the rapid growth of China’s Luckin Coffee as an inspiration, and suggested that, ultimately, Bandit should offer customers the most convenient way to satisfy their coffee cravings: Wherever they are, they open the app and order the drink they want. Then they’ll be told when it will be ready, and where to pick it up.

Bandit can’t deliver that level of convenience for most customers quite yet, as it only has a single location. But Crowley said he’s rethought other aspects of the coffee shop model.

For one thing, this first Bandit store is located in what’s essentially a raw retail space. Crowley said his team has developed an 11’x11′ countertop where all the coffee is prepared — it’s assembled elsewhere and just needs to be plugged in, eliminating the need for an extensive buildout.

“We can launch [a new location] in a few hours, and we can do it at about a tenth the cost of a traditional store,” he said.

So the plan is to launch four or five more New York stores in the coming months, and to expand beyond New York by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Crowley added that by keeping costs down, Bandit can also keep its coffee affordable: “I don’t think an iced latte needs to be $6 or $7. Our goal is to be less expensive than Starbucks.” (My coffee yesterday, for example, cost me $2.) It’s also experimenting with other pricing models, starting with a $20 subscription that gets you an unlimited number of $1 drinks for a month.

And if this phone and pop up-focused mentality sounds a little transactional — maybe even a little soulless — I will note that the actual coffee shop didn’t feel that way at all. While the space was a bit bare, it was eye-catching, with several large games like cornhole set up for customers. Most importantly, people weren’t just rushing in to pick up their coffee — they were actually hanging out.

“When we did some rudimentary scouting of coffee shop locations, we saw that about 80% of customers are grabbing their coffee and leaving,” Crowley said. “That is definitely core to us, making it super easy to grab it and leave, fulfilling drink orders in less than a minute. All of that said, in the future, we’re going to have this portfolio of different kinds of spaces, different kinds of experiences.”

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Recover From Your Workouts Faster With This $100 Personal Massager

Get targeted muscle relief for 37 percent off.

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

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It’s important to exercise at least a few times a week to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to give yourself the energy you need to perform in life and around the office. But when you get a little older, the workouts tend to take a little longer to recover from, and you’re a little more susceptible to injury. The Evertone™ Prosage Deep Tissue Massager is a handheld, personal device that can help you recover faster and avoid those workout injuries.

Rather than pay for costly, repetitive massage treatments, this device gives you targeted, fast relief precisely where you need it. The Prosage takes deep tissue-trigger point massage to a whole new level by using vibration to reduce joint and muscle pain, increase circulation, break up knots, release trigger points, and help you recover faster. Just use the gun for 30 seconds on each muscle group, choosing from three intensity levels depending on your needs. Before you know it, you’ll start feeling the benefits. You can use it for two hours on a single charge if you’re in real pain.

Take care of yourself with the Evertone™ Prosage Deep Tissue Massager. Normally $149, you can save 37 percent off when you get it for $93 today with promo code “BFSAVE15” at checkout. 

Prices subject to change.

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OneCoin Fugitive Cryptoqueen Allegedly Paid $50 M to Lawyer to Launder Funds

United States prosecutors told a Manhattan jury that lawyer Mark S. Scott was paid $50 million to help OneCoin co-founder and current fugitive Ruja Ignatova launder $400 million.

On Nov. 20, Law360 reported that the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and the New York County district attorney’s office are in the last phase of prosecuting Scott,  a former partner at law firm Locke Lord, who allegedly received $50 million to launder a whopping $400 million for Ignatova, also known as the “cryptoqueen.”

Crypto scam raised $4.4 billion

OneCoin is among the crypto industry’s most infamous exit scams. However, the Bulgaria-based firm remains operational to date despite investigators’ allegations that it raised $4.4 billion in a Ponzi scheme.

The U.S. prosecutors accuse Scott of employing a wide network of fake companies, offshore bank accounts and fraudulent investment schemes to launder more than $400 million in ill-gotten funds.

Prosecutor Julieta Lozano had previously said that as compensation for his criminal activities, Scott was paid in the form of a 57-foot yacht, three multimillion-dollar homes in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and luxury cars, including three Porsches and a Ferrari.

Although Scott maintains that he had no knowledge that OneCoin was a scam, prosecutor Nicholas Folly said that the evidence against Scott was “overwhelming” and “obvious.”

Scott’s defense lawyer, on the other hand, told the jury that there is plenty of doubt, making the case that there is no evidence that Mark Scott ever believed OneCoin was a scam.

A spokeswoman for Locke Lord said in a statement that the firm was unaware of Scott’s alleged criminal activities, which occurred after he left, saying:

“Scott, who was with our firm for a little over a year, was charged by the federal government with money laundering almost two years after his departure. We were not aware of his individual activities outside of the firm, and we have been fully cooperating and working with government authorities.”

George Bush’s brother met with OneCoin’s ‘cryptoqueen’

In November, Cointelegraph reported that Neil Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush and son of the late President George H.W. Bush was alleged to have received $300,000 to attend a meeting involving Ruja Ignatova. Scott’s counsel David Garvin said:

“Bush recalled that the head of Hoifu Energy, Dr. Hui Chi Ming, received a bunch of cryptocurrency for an oil deal in Madagascar. Bush had a residual interest in the cryptocurrency from the oil deal. Bush met the woman from the cryptocurrency company, Ruja Ignatova, in Hong Kong with Dr. Hui.”

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Chart: Year-To-Date Cannabis Investment Activity Up 40 Percent Over 2018, But It’s Slowing

Are marijuana stocks still all the rage, or are they starting to level out as we head into 2020?

3 min read

This story originally appeared on MJBizDaily

Cannabis industry capital investment in 2019 hit $10.4 billion through Week 40 — a 40 percent increase over 2018 — but the previously hot investment activity has cooled in recent months and is now running at what one analyst called a more “normal” pace of growth.

This comparison of public and private capital investments from 2017 to 2019 — along with other new marijuana industry data and analysis — is available in the November update to the 2019 Marijuana Business Factbook.

While total capital raised is up 460 percent ($8.5 billion) from 2017 to 2019, recent activity has slowed: The total capital raised from 2018 to 2019 increased by only 40 percent ($2.9 billion).

RELATED: Is Cannabis A Better Investment Than Cryptocurrency?

By comparison, capital raises through Week 40 were up 300 percent ($5.6 billion) from 2017 to 2018.

During September 2019, the number of raises was up over the same month in 2018, but the average size and total capital raised were down year-over-year.

The slowed investment comes along with recent layoffs across various sectors of the cannabis industry — including 20-25 percent workforce reductions by the Hexo Corp.Pax Labs and Weedmaps.

But analysts say slowed investment isn’t unexpected after a period of rapid growth.

RELATED: Amateur Investors Are Bullish About Cannabis. That Has The Pros A Little Worried

“Current conditions are closer to normal; the prior year or two of almost unlimited capital to burn without showing profits was abnormal,” said Craig Behnke, equity analyst for MJBizDaily’s Investor Intelligence.

Behnke noted that many cannabis companies, even those that have raised significant amounts of capital, have yet to produce earnings or cash flow.

Rather than raising cause for concern, the slowdown is a natural part of the investment cycle.

“Investors being more judicious and pressing companies to focus on profitability is actually a sign of a healthy, rational capital market,” he said.

And the competition for resources forces companies to run more efficiently, as evidenced by the layoffs.

Another factor playing a role in the investment slowdown is the type of investors entering the space.

As marijuana investment has become more mainstream, traditional investors have increasingly brought their money to the table.

With traditional players come traditional expectations — those that rely on tangible results.

RELATED: Podcast: Cannabis Investing Tips For Non-Millionaires

Here’s what else you need to know about cannabis investment:

  • From 2018 to 2019, the number of year-to-date capital raises during the first 40 weeks increased 6 percent, from 459 to 487.
  • Through Week 40 in 2019, the average size of a capital raise was $21.3 million, up 31 percent over 2018’s average raise of $16.2 million.
  • Cultivation and retail have been the driving sectors behind marijuana capital raises and mergers and acquisitions throughout 2019.

To stay up to date on the latest marijuana-related news make sure to like Marijuana Business Daily on Facebook

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Two European Salmon Producers Use IBM’s Blockchain Platform to Track Supply Chain

Salmon farming company Cermaq and smoked salmon producer Labeyrie began using IBM’s cloud blockchain technology to trace their product supply chains.

Cermaq announced the development in a Nov. 20 press release, revealing that it cooperated with Labeyrie and IBM’s blockchain platform IBM Food Trust to enable customers to get information about the salmon value chain. All Cermaq salmon products now come with a CV and QR-code, so consumers can check details such as:

“… [fish] origin, when it was hatched, which fresh water facility it came from, how big it was when it was transferred to seawater, at which sea water facility it has been farmed, as well as health and welfare information such as which vaccinations it has received, what it has been fed, and when it was harvested.”

Labeyrie rolled out a traceability system for two of its Norwegian smoked salmon products, thus allowing consumers to see information about the whole production chain of the fish — from egg to store. Commenting on the development, Brede Løfsgaard, sales director in Cermaq Norway, said that the project was partly driven by customer demand for more transparency.

Putting food on the blockchain

Food manufacturers around the world have been actively integrating blockchain technology into their supply chains. Earlier in November, retail giants Carrefour and Nestlé began deploying IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform to track the supply chain of milk-based formula for infants. The firms aim to advance consumer confidence in the products’ quality by ensuring more transparency of the supply chain of formulas produced by Laboratoires Guigoz.

American logistics giant UPS successfully delivered a blockchain-verified beef shipment from the United States to Japan. The company had partnered with agritech firm HerdX to incorporate its packaging technology into a blockchain network to trace the journey of beef from Kansas to Japan.

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How a Digital Detox Saved My Career

And how it can change yours.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A few days before I  started my job anchoring a business show on Bloomberg, my boss set up a video conference with the rest of the team in San Francisco. During the call, I began frantically typing an email on my phone. I wanted the team to see just how hard I was working and how seriously I was taking this job. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my boss get on his phone. “See!” I thought. “We know what we need to do to get ahead. He gets me!”  And just then, another email came through! I tapped on it immediately. It was a one-line message — from my boss: “Pay attention, Lapin. Get off your phone.” 

My intention wasn’t to come across as a bad team player or disrespectful. Quite the contrary, I was working for the team and wanted them to know it. But what I would come to realize is that working for the team and working with the team are two different things. Being distracted and unprofessional is only one of the ways your phone saps your superpowers. If you want others to respect your valuable time, you must pay them the same consideration. That means being present in meetings and actively listening to those around you, not mindlessly nodding over the top of your screen. 

Related: Why Digital Detox Is a Good Idea for Entrepreneurs

Of course, no one is going back to conducting business over snail mail any time soon, so we have to be able to use it but not abuse it, or let it abuse us. For me, a detox was the best way to reset my relationship with my phone. Sound hard? It was, but it ultimately saved my career. Here’s how I did it, it and how it helped me (and can help you).

Going Cold Turkey

Knowing that I would never be able to fully disconnect if I remained in the city, with all of its easy distractions and endless barrage of screens, I opted for a full-on wilderness retreat. So, there I was, in a cabin. With a shared bathroom. Basically glamping. With no phone. No emails to check. No texts. No camera. No apps. Nada. And even if I had managed to sneak in a phone, there was no cell service. The first day was like coming off drugs — withdrawal to the max. Total separation anxiety. I was going on hikes with beautiful views that were just begging to be Instagrammed, and I had no way of even taking a photo. But each day, it got a little easier, and by the end, it was downright liberating. As I came down from my digital high, I observed some big changes in myself. 

Appreciating the World Outside My Screen 

The first thing I noticed was that I was more conscious of the world around me, which I would have missed with a phone basically sutured to my hand. As I walked through the woods, I took in the various plants and shrubs and the differences in the texture of their leaves. I marveled at the different shades of wood in the paneling that lined my room. My senses were heightened in everything I did, from tying my shoes to watching a sunset that could only be captured with my eyes and memory. 

Sleeping Better

The next thing I noticed was that I felt more alert at 6 a.m. than I usually did at 8 a.m. after two cups of coffee. Waking up to watch the sunrise was glorious and easy because I had less trouble falling asleep. There was no phone light beaming into my eyeballs before bed, ruining the natural darkness (and my eyes). Instead, I read or simply fell right to sleep after a full, rich, adventurous day. 

Related: Low Productivity? You May Need a Digital Detox.

Being More Present 

Finally, I noticed how present I was with everyone I talked to. I was more engaged in the stories they told. I remembered little details about each person I met and what we’d talked about in a way I never had before. I was even able to confront a few tough conversations, straight-on and in person (like with one, um, married guy who would not take a hint that I was not interested in a romp in the woods), squashing conflict way faster than a barrage of texts would have. 

Sure, these were all simple things I could have worked on before taking a digital time-out, but I never thought I needed to. I didn’t even think to think about it. It took a week without my phone for me to really start looking outward at the world with fresh eyes and inward at the things about myself that I’d completely lost sight of. 

Excerpted and adapted from Becoming Super Woman: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Go from Burnout to Balance.  

Nicole Lapin is the New York Times Bestselling author of Rich Bitch and Boss Bitch. She is the host of the nationally syndicated business reality competition show, Hatched. She has been an anchor on CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg. Her latest book, Becoming Super Woman, is available now. 

 

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This Y Combinator-Backed App Is Like Having a Personal Investing Analyst

Make smarter investments with help from an AI-backed system.

1 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

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Investing is a key part of life and of growing your personal wealth. And while many people use a personal stockbroker or have a comprehensive financial education to guide their investment strategy, most of us do not have either of those things. However, with advances in technology, anybody can get the intelligent investment help they need. Just use Finbox.

Funded by Y Combinator, Finbox is like having your own personal financial analyst, only it’s a robot who won’t try to charge you hidden fees or skim off the top. This comprehensive toolset includes a powerful stock screener, an idea generator, fair value estimates, and spreadsheet add-ons, all geared to give you complete control over your investments. Plus, with a litany of valuation models and risk metrics, Finbox lets you see the total picture of what your investments might look like down the line and helps you adjust your risk profile accordingly. Their partnership with S&P Market Intelligence ensures that their data is up to date at all times.

Invest smarter! A Finbox Starter Plan is 82 percent off now at just $99, while a Professional Plan is 57 percent off at $299.

Prices subject to change.

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Why Not Pay Sources for Stories? — Asks Blockchain Media Startup

Tel Aviv-based media outlet BLOCKTV announced details of a tokenized rewards system to incentivize sources to share exclusive news tips. This comes after BLOCKTV revealed that its native token, BLTV, would be listed on the Bittrex Global exchange on Nov. 21.

BLOCKTV CEO Aviram Elad told Cointelegraph:

“We see the BLTV token as a solution to fix a broken business model in the media industry. The token aims to empower an upcoming token economy that combines content creators, advertisers, and consumers.”

BLTV is an ERC20 token that will be offered to publishers, journalists, advertisers, sources and viewers. It forms the backbone of a media ecosystem in which all participants get compensation for their time and effort in helping tell a story, or for consuming the ads that fund them. Building this kind of economy around a media company will drive that company’s growth — or at least that is the thinking.

When viewers watch advertisements on BLOCKTV, they can earn BLTV tokens in exchange for their time. The model is similar to the Basic Attention Token (BAT) offered on the Brave Browser.

BLOCKTV has also said that BLTV tokens will incentivize sources to come forward with exclusive news tips and interesting content deserving a wider audience. With over 15 years of experience in journalism, Elad suggests that providing sources with digital money in exchange for news tips will help ensure consistently high-quality and original reporting within the cryptocurrency and blockchain spaces.  

“In my experience, when someone wants to give you a story to cover, they either want to promote themselves or someone else who they know,” Elad explained. “These are the two main reasons why people want to share information today. We want to change this through a token-based economy.” 

Creating change through blockchain technology

The BLTV token will begin its life on Bittrex. News sources, which could include journalists, whistleblowers, or other publication staff, can then submit tips to BLOCKTV’s editorial team. These stories will then be verified to ensure that they meet the company’s journalistic standards.

“The token system we are building allows sources to submit a story, which we would then run by our professional editorial team to make sure that the information is true and interesting,” said Ron Friedman, BLOCKTV’s editor-in-chief.

Upon publication of their story, sources will receive a cut of the revenue generated by that story’s views and engagement. The story’s continued performance will be monitored using smart contracts to record the number of impressions and calculate the appropriate tokenized reward.

According to Friedman, BLOCKTV’s token model has also been optimized to align incentives between news providers and broadcasters. As a result, this creates a token model that encourages the mass distribution of quality news, while sharing the proceeds with sources.

“For the first time ever, sources will be compensated for sharing the news with a media outlet. We also plan to add a tipping mechanism and bonus program for stories considered to be extremely important,” Friedman said.

BLOCKTV CEO Elad also noted that while BLOCKTV is providing a proof-of-concept for this model, he thinks that other major media outlets will eventually adopt something similar. 

“BLOCKTV is just a proof of concept for this model, but eventually this will expand and be replicated not only for others in the crypto media sphere but for all news organizations,” he said.

But what about ethics in journalism?

While both Elad and Friedman are optimistic that a token-based economy will ensure the production of high-quality, original content, the model also raises questions around concerns of journalistic ethics.

According to Joshua Benton, director of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab, mainstream journalistic norms specifically call for not paying sources. Benton noted that while this may be the standard today, some have pushed back against it in a number of ways.

“Traditionally, the journalistic norm has been to not pay sources. However, some arguments have been made that go against this. For example, stories that involve multiple sources might include some that have been paid to disclose information. Also, people may not get paid directly for being a source, but could get compensated in other ways, like being offered payment for licensing photographs.”

In the case of BLOCKTV providing sources with BLTV tokens, Benton noted that this sounds similar to a typical publication’s freelance model, in which case it makes sense to provide compensation.

“There is nothing wrong with being a journalist that pitches a good news story to a media outlet, and hopefully, there is some money exchanged there,” Benton told Cointelegraph. However, it’s different if payment is being exchanged to a source that is not a journalist, he warned.

“For example, if a company has news that it wants to announce and it contacts a media organization and receives payment for publication, rather than putting the news on its own website, that would be looked down upon,” Benton explained.

According to Elad, BLOCKTV will primarily accept tips and stories from freelance journalists who do not already contribute to a publication and would like to see an important story get out. Moreover, these sources could remain anonymous or choose to reveal their identity, a concept made possible through a BLTV token function called “BLTV newsroom.”

“The BLTV token allows the source to decide if they want to remain anonymous or not. This function is called ‘BLTV newsroom’ and will include a reputation score. Every journalist or publication submitting a story to the BLTV newsroom will have a ranking based on the source’s credibility, the history of the publication, and more,” Elad explained.

Even with rigid verification of news tips and reputation scores, Benton remains skeptical of a model that uses tokens to reward its sources. This is mainly due to the financial aspect of it all — at the end of the day, it’s still a source taking money for a story.

“News organizations and journalists are supposed to be serving their readers. This means that a journalist is asked to figure out the truth as best determined on a given topic. This information is then shared with an audience,” Benton explained, adding, “The more financial considerations injected into that equation, the more the audience has reason to think that maybe they are not getting the full story.”

Benton also points out that a model such as this raises the concern that a news outlet may be producing biased news by only taking one source’s view into consideration.

“If one source is getting paid to contribute to a story, it raises questions if the news organization pursued others with different perspectives on that story,” he said.

Yet Benton does make an important distinction that sets BLOCKTV’s rewards-based model apart from questionable journalistic behaviors.

“Most journalistic corruption in the crypto world involves sources bribing journalists to run stories. This model is the opposite of that approach. However, I still think that most journalists would say that they wouldn’t want to have money being exchanged for certain interactions.”  

Benton, who reported on Civil’s failed initial coin offering, also noted that there is an uncertainty that comes with paying sources via cryptocurrency. As in the case of Civil, the blockchain-enabled media platform that gathered a number of journalists together last year by offering payment with its own token. The Civil ICO ultimately flamed out and the token became worthless.

Based on this example, Benton notes that while a cryptocurrency can be an appealing form of exchange, some people may not be too excited about receiving compensation from a token of uncertain value.

Friedman begs to differ:

“We want to get important stories broadcasted, and that extra incentive might encourage people to come to BLOCKTV first. A token-based model allows all parts of the ecosystem to have an interest in the process of telling and sharing news, which goes hand-in-hand with core journalist values.”

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Dream Games raises $7.5M seed to develop ‘high-quality’ puzzle games

Dream Games, a Turkish mobile gaming company founded by former Peak Games employees who worked together on hit puzzle games Toy Blast and Toon Blast, has raised $7.5 million in seed funding.

Leading the round is Makers Fund, with co-investment from London’s Balderton Capital. The funding will be used to increase headcount within the Dream Games team, targeting 20 employees in year one.

The company — which is yet to launch a product — is co-founded by CEO Soner Aydemir, the former Product Director at Peak Games. The rest of the Dream Games team are Ikbal Namli and Hakan Saglam (former Peak Games engineering leads), Eren Sengul (former Peak Games product manger), and Serdar Yilmaz (former Peak Games 3D artist).

“Most of the [mobile games] companies believe that the market is saturated, but we believe there are still huge opportunities in the casual puzzle market,” Aydemir tells TechCrunch. “There are too many mediocre mobile games, but players deserve better. We see that there are still millions of players waiting for new, well-designed and enjoyable puzzle games, and we are committed to creating great games to meet players’ expectations”.

Aydemir says Dream Games doesn’t believe in a “hit-or-miss approach” to game development. Instead, he frames the studio’s strategy as “evolution over innovation” and “execution over ideas”. This will see it develop a first flagship title that can be iterated over the long term.

“We plan to fix the pain points for players in existing games,” he says. “Our experience makes us confident we can build something truly global by focusing on a single high-quality, long-standing game instead of multiple flash-in-the-pan titles. We’d rather people were loyally playing our one game for 10 years than losing interest every six months when something new comes along”.

With regards to audience, Aydemir says Dream Games is targeting players over the age of 25 in U.S., Canada and Europe. He pegs gender distribution at 65% female and 35% male. “Our players can be from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, but they are mainly average people who have routine lives,” he says.

Aydemir is also keen to flag up the burgeoning gaming sector in Turkey, which he claims is positioned to be one of the world’s leading ecosystems for mobile games.

In 2017, Peak Games, based in Istanbul, sold its card and board games studio to mobile gaming giant Zynga for $100 million. Zynga later opened a studio in the city and made further acquisitions, paying $250 million for Gram Games, the Turkish developers behind a number of popular puzzle titles. Other casual gaming studios with a presence in the region include Good Job Games, Ruby Games, Alictus, Rollic Games and Bigger Games.

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NYPD Makes Huge Pot Bust, But It Was All Legal Hemp

In an embarrassing “oops” moment, NYPD seizes a perfectly legal shipment of hemp.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The New York Police Department was pleased with itself in early November. On the 75th Precinct’s Facebook page, they posted images of officers and 106 pounds of what they called “marijuana that was destined for city streets.”

Except it wasn’t marijuana. And it was destined for a legal marijuana dispensary, not the “city streets.” Unraveling all that took time, but not before a shipment was seized and a person arrested — all for, apparently, doing things that are perfectly legal.

Officers with the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn appeared unable to distinguish between marijuana and hemp, according to Jahala Dudley, one of the people who made the legal shipment.

Dudley told NBC that a person looking at the package “can’t tell the difference. Genetically, it’s a very similar plant. I’m not blaming anyone for that. But the paperwork was there. We’ve had it all tested.”

RELATED: Offering Consumers A Face-To-Face Experience Helps Them Remember A Marijuana Brand, Experts Advise

Florida And Texas Saw This Problem Coming Months Ago

Prosecutors in Florida and Texas foresaw something like this happening earlier this year. Reacting to the U.S. Congress making hemp legal in the 2018 Farm Bill, Jack Campbell, a prosecutor in Florida, took the step of publicly stating his office would no longer pursue cases involving possession.

The reason? Because officers can’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. Campbell said that no reliable test yet exists to tell the difference. Police in Palm Beach County in South Florida also ordered officers to stop doing “sniff and search,” where the smell of marijuana is used to justify a warrantless search. The reason is that hemp smells like marijuana.

Texas officials soon followed suit, asking state patrol officers not to pursue low-level possession cases. So, this issue was well known. But, apparently, not in Brooklyn.

Frustrated Business Owners Dealing With Police

In the Brooklyn case, Dudley and her business partner, Buddy Koerner, had grown the hemp from high-end seeds provided by a company in Oregon. The two run Fox Holler Farms in New Haven, Vermont.

After growing and harvesting the hemp, they meticulously packaged the 106 pounds of hemp to ship to a commercial hemp outlet in Brooklyn, according to NBC. They used FedEx, as they had done before, and informed them of what was in the boxes. Dudley told NBC that each box also included documentation that they hold a Vermont hemp grower’s license, as well as a test report from an independent lab confirming the hemp had “non-detectable” levels of THC, the chemical ingredient in marijuana that causes the “high.”

Brooklyn police not only seized the shipment and boasted about it on Facebook, but they also arrested someone from the Green Angel CBD shop in Brooklyn when they arrived to pick up the shipment.

RELATED: Why Paul Pierce Jumped On The CBD Train

The Post Is Still Up, And The Hemp Remains In Police Custody

As of mid-November, the post was still up on the precinct’s Facebook page, along with many comments criticizing the police for the seizure and arrest. 

Oren Levy, who owns the Green Angel CBD shop, told the Associated Press he fears that the seizure could run him out of business. He paid $17,500 for the hemp. “He was a hungry cop,” Levy said of the Brooklyn police. “He thought he had the bust of the day.”

The Associated Press listed other arrests that have been similar. They include a man arrested in South Dakota with 300 pounds of hemp, and a truck driver in Idaho arrested with 7,000 pounds of hemp. 

This led the federal Department of Agriculture to send a memo to states instructing them not to block transportation of hemp when it contains 0.3 percent or less of THC. Dudley said the hemp in the shipment seized in Brooklyn contained less than half of that amount.

To stay up to date on the latest marijuana-related news make sure to like dispensaries.com on Facebook

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