Posts tagged with "CNBC"

Gone to pot: New York legalizes recreational weed; expects to collect $350M in taxes annually

April 1, 2021

On March 31, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation  (S.854-A/A.1248-A) passed by state lawmakers the night before to legalize adult-use cannabis in New York State, CNBC reports.

That makes New York the 15th state, along with the District of Columbia, to have legalized the drug for recreational use by adults. Legalization is effective immediately— but legal recreational sales are not expected to begin for one or two years.

 “This is [an] historic day. I thank the Leader and Speaker and the tireless advocacy of so many,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter after signing the legislation.

According to a press release from Cuomo’s office, the bill establishes the Office of Cannabis Management to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework that covers medical, adult-use and cannabinoid hemp. The bill also expands New York State’s existing medical marijuana and cannabinoid hemp programs.

The legislation provides licensing for marijuana producers, distributors, retailers, and other actors in the cannabis market, and creates a social and economic equity program to assist individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement that want to participate in the industry.

The development of an adult-use cannabis industry in New York State under this legislation has the potential to create significant economic opportunities for New Yorkers and the State. Tax collections from the adult-use cannabis program are projected to reach $350 million annually. Additionally, there is the potential for this new industry to create 30,000 to 60,000 new jobs across the State.

He elaborated in a statement Tuesday night after passage of the bill. “For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of color with harsh prison sentences; and, after years of hard work, this landmark legislation provides justice for long-marginalized communities, embraces a new industry that will grow the economy, and establishes substantial safety guards for the public.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he supports the legislation on the basis of racial equity. “I think this bill goes a long way. I think there’s more to do after, but it goes a long way,” de Blasio said, according to WDTV ABC 11.

The decision to legalize weed comes after neighboring state New Jersey recently legalized the plant. Lawmakers’ goal was to pass the bill as part of the state budget before the April 1 deadline.

According to CNBC, legalization is expected to eventually rake in billions of dollars in revenue for the state and for New York City in particular, with a hefty 13% tax, which includes a 9% state tax and a 4% local tax. The measure also includes a potency tax of as much as 3 cents per milligram of THC, the natural psychoactive component of marijuana that delivers the plant’s high.

The measure allows for possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana and 24 ounces of marijuana concentrate and allows for the growth of up to six plants at home.

The legislation also creates equity programs to provide loans and grants to people—including small farmers who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

The bill will expunge the criminal records of tens of thousands of people, has a goal of 40% revenue reinvestment into communities of color, and will grant 50% of adult-use licenses to social equity applicants and small businesses.

The bill also is meant to establish “a well-regulated industry to ensure consumers know exactly what they are getting when they purchase cannabis.”

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Research contact: @CNBC

Watt a concept: Volkswagen preps to change name to ‘Voltswagen’ in U.S.A.

March 30, 2021

The iconic Volkswagen brand is preparing to change its name to “Voltswagen” in the United States, in order to highlight its massive investment in electric vehicles.

The German automaker’s announcement about the name change appeared briefly on its media website on March 29 before it was yanked; it was apparently released too soon, reported USA Today. Officials were mum about the premature announcement; but a source confirmed to that newspaper, CNBC and other media including the HuffPost, that the statement was accurate.

“More than a name change, ‘Voltswagen’ is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility,” said the statement before it was pulled.

The name change was supposed to happen in May.

“The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs,” the release said.

Electric models will reportedly carry the name, “Voltswagen,” while gas-powered vehicles will retain the standard “VW” identification. To preserve elements of Volkswagen’s heritage, the company plans to retain the dark blue color of the VW logo for gas vehicles and will use light blue for the new “EV-centric branding.”

The company is about to debut the ID.4, its first long-range electric SUV, in the United States. It’s part of a new lineup of Volkswagen’s ID electric vehicles, including the ID Buzz, a rerun of its microbus. That’s expected to roll out next year in Europe and in America the following year, CNET noted.

The automaker expects that more than 70% of its brand’s European sales and 50% of sales in the U.S.A. will be electric vehicles by 2030, reported CNBC.

Research contact: USATODAY

GlaxoSmithKline requests emergency authorization from FDA for COVID monoclonal antibody drug

March 29, 2021

On Friday, March 26, GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology  applied for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for their monoclonal antibody drug, CNBC reports.

The companies are requesting clearance for use by high-risk patients, age 12 and older.

The FDA submission is based on an interim analysis of a phase three trial that evaluated the drug for the early treatment of COVID-19 in adults at high risk of hospitalization. The drug reduced hospitalizations or death from COVID by 85% compared with a placebo. The trial results were based on 583 patients.

“As a result, the Independent Data Monitoring Committee recommended that the trial be stopped for enrolment due to evidence of profound efficacy,” the companies said in a statement.

The companies started testing the antibody on early-stage COVID patients in August, CNBC notes—hoping to keep symptoms from progressing. Antibody drugs gained attention after they were used to treat former President Donald Trump last year.

U.S. health officials say antibody drugs already authorized for use—from Regeneron and Eli Lilly—are being underutilized.

GSK said the companies will also continue discussions with the European Medicines Agency and other global regulators to make the drug available to COVID patients as soon as possible.

Research contact: @CNBC

Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shield tax records from NY prosecutors

February 23, 2021

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a last-ditch bid by former President Donald Trump to keep his financial records—including years of his tax returns—out of the hands of the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., CNBC reports.

The decision—the second time the nation’s highest court has refused to block a grand jury subpoena for those confidential records—was announced in an order with no noted dissents. The news further imperils the ex-president, who is facing investigations in New York and elsewhere.

The legal battle over Trump’s financial records, including personal and business documents dating back to 2011, comes in connection with an investigation by Vance’s office into potential tax violations involving the Trump Organization.

Vance’s probe originally appeared to have been focused on hush money payments made on Trump’s behalf to two women who have said they had affairs with him. Trump has denied their claims. But, CNBC reports, court records and news reports suggest prosecutors are now examining more serious allegations.

A court filing last summer by Vance indicated that the probe could be eyeing possible “insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers.” In another filing, a month later, prosecutor suggested they might be investigating Trump for potential tax crimes.

Indeed, Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, told Congress in 2019 that Trump improperly inflated and deflated the value of his real estate assets for tax and insurance purposes.

Vance’s filings appeared to reference Cohen’s testimony. One filing by prosecutors cited a  New York Times report Trump engaged in “dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.”

In a statement, Cohen said: “The Supreme Court has now proclaimed that no one is above the law. Trump will, for the first time, have to take responsibility for his

In a statement posted to Twitter, Vance wrote: “The work continues.”

Research contact: @CNBC

Pfizer asks FDA to approve ‘not-so-cold storage’ for its vaccine

February 22, 2021

Pfizer announced on February 19 that  it is seeking permission from the Food and Drug Administration to store its COVID-19 vaccine for two weeks at temperatures that still are extremely cold, but that are commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators, CNBC reports.

The vaccine, which was developed with German drugmaker BioNTech, currently needs to be stored in ultra-cold freezers that keep it between minus 112 and minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the FDA.

Pfizer said it submitted new data to the U.S. agency that demonstrates that the vaccine is stable at between minus 13 and minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit, according to CNBC.

If the FDA grants the request, it could simplify logistics for distribution of the vaccine. U.S. federal and state officials are trying to pick up the pace of vaccinations as the virus spreads.

“We have been continuously performing stability studies to support the production of the vaccine at commercial scale, with the goal of making the vaccine as accessible as possible for healthcare providers and people across the [nation] and around the world,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a release. “If approved, this new storage option would offer pharmacies and vaccination centers greater flexibility in how they manage their vaccine supply.”

Medical experts had warned that Pfizer’s vaccine would present logistical challenges because of the need for ultracold temperatures. In December, U.S. officials said they quarantined several thousand doses in California and Alabama after an “anomaly” in the transportation process caused the storage temperature to get too cold, CNBC notes.

The vaccine is shipped in a special thermal container that can be used as temporary storage for up to 30 days , if it is refilled with dry ice every five days. Before mixing with a saline diluent, the vaccine also may be refrigerated for up to five days at standard refrigerator temperature, between 36 degrees and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the company.

By comparison, Moderna’s vaccine needs to be shipped at between minus 13 and minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit. It has said its vaccine remains stable at 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of a standard home or medical refrigerator, for up to 30 days. It can be stored for six months at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which is expected to be authorized for emergency use by the FDA as early as this month, has said it plans to ship its vaccine at 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

As additional stability data is obtained, Pfizer said it anticipates the shelf life could be extended, and alternate short-term temperature storage may be considered.

Research contact: @CNBC

 

Nike taps the comfort trend with the launch of GO FlyEase, a no-lace, slip-on sneaker

February 2, 2021

Nike is offering its first pair of slip-on sneakers without laces—hoping to enjoy some of the same momentum that rivals like Crocs and Vans have seen during the pandemic, as more consumers gravitate toward comfortable, no-fuss footwear, CNBC reports.

The GO FlyEase shoe is marketed as a style that easily slips on and off, without the use of hands or laces. The company said it was inspired in part by Asian cultures, where it’s customary to remove shoes before entering a home. The debut also comes at a time when people are more conscious of not touching dirty surfaces, like the bottom of shoes.

“This shoe really responds to our current-day situation living in these COVID times,” Sarah Reinertsen, manager of FlyEase Innovation at Nike, said in an interview. “This is actually an innovation that has been cooking up in our innovation kitchen for a little while … but it just came out right at the right time, when we needed it more than ever.”

Go FlyEase is part of Nike’s FlyEase line of running, soccer and basketball sneakers that are said to be easier to wear and fit feet better, says CNBC. Nike has been working on FlyEase innovations for about five years—including shoes that zip up the side and a pair with a pull-cord at the back to tighten the shoe around the heel.

“We have been using laces for a long time,” Reinertsen said about Nike’s decision to go without them. “But … a lot of times [people] are trying to work around those laces, they’re trying to use one foot to anchor the shoe and slip out. Laces are kind of a hassle. We wanted to make shoes easier for everybody.”

These look nothing like a pair of rubber Crocs, though, if that’s what you had in mind. For a slip-on shoe, Nike’s version is quite unique and complex, CNBC reports. When it’s not being worn, the Go FlyEase sits in an open position. A separate foot-bed platform, detached from the base of the shoe, moves up and down, thanks to a hinge that’s constructed into the bottom.

A band wraps around the top of the shoe, and snaps into place once the foot is inside, since there aren’t any laces to help with tightening. The biggest issue with slip-on shoes, for many consumers, tends to be getting them to fit tight enough around the foot.

There is also a “kickstand” on the heel to help take the shoe off. Reinertsen said many people already intuitively step on the back of their shoe to remove it.

According to Reinertsen, Nike’s newest shoe isn’t meant for endurance sports, but more for casual movements like walking. She said Nike plans to build on the GO FlyEase design and create more slip-on sneakers. The additions could help Nike position itself as not only a brand for athletics, but for everyday activities.

The new sneakers will be available to select Nike members in its largest markets at a retail price of $120, starting February 15. Later, the shoes will be sold more broadly.

Research contact: @CNBC

The Mega Millions jackpot is $1 billion. What to know before you buy a ticket

January 25, 2021

At some point, whether on Friday night, January 22, or sometime later, on the buyer of one Mega Millions lottery ticket is going to win an insanely high jackpot.

It just probably won’t be you, CNBC reports. For Mega Millions, you have about a 1 in 302 million chance of winning the jackpot.

With the odds stacked against players matching all six numbers needed to hit the mother lode, the lottery game’s top prize has been increased to $1.0 billion (or $739..6 million in cash).

This only the third time in its history that a lotto jackpot has gone so high, Mega Millions says in a press release. The largest jackpot in U.S. history—a $1.59 billion Powerball prize in 2016—was split three ways.

“We know that players love big jackpots, and when the numbers are this big, it becomes a national phenomenon,” said Gordon Medenica, Maryland lottery director and lead director of Mega Millions.

“Everyone wants to dream about what they’d do if they won.”

The Mega Millions jackpot has been climbing since mid-September, when someone scored $120 million ($95.4 million cash) and the top prize reset to $20 million. That’s 37 weeks of no one matching all six numbers in twice-weekly drawings, marking the longest stretch ever with no winner, according to lottery officials.

However, CNBC cautions, Even if you buy multiple tickets, you wouldn’t move the needle much. To give yourself even a 50-50 chance of winning the Mega Millions jackpo—i.e., the same odds when you flip a coin once—you’d have to buy more than 151 million different number combinations. Even then, you wouldn’t be able to guarantee that you’re the only winner.

For the drawing this weekend, lottery officials estimate that 40% of all possible number combinations will be played.

Of course, you can win in the game without hitting the jackpot. The last Mega Millions drawing, held Tuesday night, produced nearly 5.2 million winning tickets, according to lottery data. That included two winners of $2 million each, 11 winners of $1 million each and 139 winners who nabbed at least $10,000.

Once the Mega Millions jackpot is won, it will reset to $20 million.

Research contact: @CNBC

Dominion brings $1.3 billion defamation suit against ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell

January 11, 2021

Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems—which serves 28 U.S. states nationwide—has brought a $1.3 billion defamation suit against the conservative lawyer Sidney Powel, alleging that her false and outlandish claims about fraud in the 2020 election “caused unprecedented harm,” CNBC reports.

The suit is the first in an expected flurry of high-priced litigation against prominent conspiracy theorists and right-wing media organizations that have spread baseless falsehoods about President Donald Trump’s defeat in last November’s election.

It comes as the nation continues to reckon with the aftermath of Wednesday’s deadly insurrection by a mob of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol.

The supplier of voting machines brought the suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The company warned last month that it would bring defamation suits against those trumpeting conspiracy theories about its voting machines, including Fox News and major media personalities.

Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment  from CNBC. The attorney, a former member of Trump’s legal team, has falsely claimed among other things that Dominion was somehow created by the deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to rig the 2020 contest. Chavez died in 2013.

“As a result of the defamatory falsehoods peddled by Powell—in concert with likeminded allies and media outlets who were determined to promote a false preconceived narrative—Dominion’s founder, Dominion’s employees, Georgia’s governor, and Georgia’s secretary of state have been harassed and have received death threats, and Dominion has suffered enormous harm,” Dominion attorney Thomas Clare said in the 124-page lawsuit.

The suit says the company issued Powell a letter formally warning her to stop lying about the company, and cited a tweet that she posted shortly afterward refusing to do so.

“Powell doubled down, tweeting to her 1.2 million Twitter followers that she heard that ‘#Dominion’ had written to her and that, although she had not even seen Dominion’s letter yet, she was ‘retracting nothing’ because ‘[w]e have #evidence’ and ‘They are #fraud masters!’,” the company said.

Dominion asked the court to award it at least $651,735,000 in compensatory damages and the same amount in punitive damages, in addition to paying for the expenses it incurred filing the litigation. The suit lists Defending the Republic, a company Powell has used for fundraising purposes, as a defendant alongside Powell.

Powell, L. Lin Wood and Brannon Castleberry are the directors of Defending the Republic.

Powell and Wood, another conspiracy theorist lawyer, held a joint “Stop the Steal” rally in Georgia in December in which they spread conspiracy theories about the election. Wood frequently tweeted conspiracy theories about Chief Justice John Roberts and the election until he was banned from the platform this week.

Powell, a former federal prosecutor, and Wood, had filed lawsuits in district courts in Georgia and Michigan seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election. All of the lawsuits have been dismissed.

“Powell and Wood filed their election lawsuits—which never had a chance of reversing the results of the election—with the obvious and cynical purpose of creating court documents they could post on their fundraising websites and tout as ‘evidence’ during their media campaign,” the Dominion lawsuit says.

It also accuses the attorneys of seeking “to raise funds and their public profiles, and to ingratiate themselves to Donald Trump for additional benefits and opportunities that they expected to receive as a result of their association with him.”

Wood did not immediately return a request for comment from CNBC.

Other lawsuits are expected shortly.

Research contact: @CNBC

Sweetgreen will pilot a drive-in restaurant as part of suburban push

December 17, 2020

These are the “salad days” for the restaurant chain Sweetgreen, which has been been offering contact-free delivery and pickup at its 91 restaurants throughout the pandemic, CNBC reports..

Now, Chief Concept Officer Nic Jammet says that the business pivot that the company has taken since the virus took hold in the USA earlier this year has accelerated its decision to pilot test a new type of eatery—slated to open next winter in Highlands Ranch, Colorado next winter. At the test site, customers will be encouraged to order on-site using dedicated parking spaces with intercom boxes connected to the chain’s app; and to pick up their food from drive-thru lanes.

As Sweettgreen expands from urban settings into suburban America, it joins the flood of restaurant companies that have unveiled new designs inspired by the coronavirus pandemic. Fast-food chains like Yum Brands’ Taco Bell and Restaurant Brands International’s Burger King have focused their new designs on making delivery and digital orders even more convenient.

But the fast-casual segment, which includes Sweetgreen and Chipotle Mexican Grill, has been influenced by the success of drive-thru lanes. Drive-thru orders grew by 24% across the restaurant industry in October, according to the NPD Group.

Like Sweetgreen, Shake Shack will open its first ever drive-thru lane in 2021, says CNBC. And Chipotle, which has been building its “Chipotlanes” for several years, is planning to add even more drive-thru lanes as same-store sales at those restaurants outpace the rest of its footprint.

Already, says Jammet, “A lot of our customers [… already are adopting this] behavior of using the Sweetgreen app to order ahead and come in ahead to pick it up.”

Research contact: @CNBC

LeBron James’, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sports nutrition company sells to fitness platform Openfit

December 3, 2020

Los Angeles-based Ladder, a nutritional supplements company found by basketball icon LeBron James and weight lifter and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been sold to technology fitness platform, Openfit, the companies told CNBC.

Openfit CEO Jon Congdon said the Santa Monica-based tech company purchased Ladder—buying shares from investors, including investment firm Main Street Advisors. Terms of the deal were not made available.

In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Congdon said James and Schwarzenegger would stay on as minority shareholders and help with future promotional content.

“We looking to grow the brand,” said Congdon, adding that the company would integrate Ladder’s nutritional supplements in its own subscription offerings.

Openfit is a mobile application that monetizes private training and exercise classes through subscriptions. The packages range from roughly $40 for three months to $100 per year. The company says it has approximately 130,000 subscribers.

Congdon said the company is “profitable”  but didn’t divulge exact revenue. He said, “those numbers could be available in the not-so-distant future.”

Asked if that meant that Openfit is seeking an IPO, Congdon, the co-founder of the fitness company Beachbody (parent company of P90X in-home exercises), told CNBC that he couldn’t comment. He didn’t deny the notion, either, adding “all possibilities are open for us, and we’re considering all possibilities.”

With the acquisition of Ladder, which is on pace for $4 million in sales for 2020,  it will pair nutritional supplements with its “live and on-demand fitness programs, personalized nutrition plans and virtual access” to certified trainers.

“We looking at 300% too 400% growth at minimum next year and even more than that in the coming years,” Congdon said. “We’re hoping that they are a huge part of our revenue base moving forward.”

James and Schwarzenegger founded Ladder 2018, aiming to create nutritional products for athletes to combat cramping while in action. The idea stemmed from James’ severe cramping in Game One of the National Basketball Association’s Finals series in 2014.

“After pushing my body to its limits season after season, I needed a different level of supplements that I could trust to complement my workouts and aid in the recovery process,” said James in a statement. “With Ladder, we achieved that. We were able to work with experts to create an incredible line of certified, high caliber supplements for all athletes, but we always recognized that is just one part of the process.

“Now with the reach and resources of the Openfit platform, we’re excited about bringing this all together and creating a new level of training and nutrition that fits everyone’s individual needs,” James said.

“It’s in the right hands,” added Schwarzenegger in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, December 1. “It’s the right move to make.”

The former governor of California added he would be involved with future content creation and use his resources to solicit top trainers for Openfit’s platform.

“I will do everything for them to be successful, and I think LeBron will do everything for them to be successful,” Schwarzenegger said. “We’re all partners. We’re going to do this together; that’s our mission.”

Research contact: @CNBC