With nearly half of Americans now living in states where weed is legal, holiday sales are going to be lit

More retail dispensaries open this 4/20 should mean more sales. (Photo by Damian Barczak on Unsplash)

It’s the Mardi Gras of marijuana, the most important day in the stoner calendar. And this April 20 (“420” is stoner code for, um, weed) is shaping up to be the most lucrative yet for the legal U.S. cannabis industry.

This year’s holiday comes at a strange historic juncture. Despite restrictions on in-person sales and, despite/because of living in the midst of a deadly pandemic, U.S. consumers have ramped up their (legal) cannabis consumption exponentially in the past year. Data analyzed by Leafly shows that sales of medical and adult-use marijuana increased by 71% over 2019. …

After the Trump Slump, top U.S. schools are seeing a rebound in applications from abroad—with one very big exception

Photo: Getty Images

On the long list of Donald Trump’s dubious accomplishments as President, there’s one you might have missed: an unprecedented decline in applications from foreign students seeking to attend U.S. colleges and grad schools.

The U.S. has long been the top destination for international students. About one million international students are currently enrolled in colleges and universities here — more than twice the number studying in the second and third top destination countries. But thanks to a toxic combination of racist and xenophobic rhetoric, travel bans, and student visa restrictions, international applications to U.S. …

The surprising resilience of the digital nomad and the coming work-from-abroad boom

Digital nomads offline at Outsite Costa Rica. Photo: Outsite

For more than a year, the travel and hospitality sector has been absolutely wrecked by the Covid-19 pandemic. With many countries’ borders effectively closed, international travel has been especially hard hit. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, international tourist arrivals in 2020 were down 79% compared to 2019. Some 120 million tourism jobs have been put at risk, with the economic damage likely to exceed $1 trillion in 2020 alone. …

The history of America’s St. Patrick’s Day dinner staple

Corned beef and cabbage at Junior’s in Brooklyn. Photo: Adam Bluestein

St. Patrick’s Day is about more than just green beer and Shamrock Shakes, of course. It’s about corned beef and cabbage, too. Even with parades canceled and many bars closed due to Covid-19, a recent survey by the National Retailers Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics found that 49% of U.S. adults planned to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, spending an estimated $5.1 million. …

After years of buildup, will the pandemic finally put an end to Big Test?

Photo: Wadi Lissa/Unsplash

Last Monday, the University of Maryland announced that it would extend its test-optional application policy to the spring and fall admissions periods of 2022 and 2023, allowing students to choose whether to submit SAT or ACT scores. It was just the latest nail in the coffin of the college-entrance-exam establishment: the College Board and American College Testing, which administer the tests, and the test-prep ecosystem that has evolved around them.

Like many other schools, Maryland first implemented the test-optional policy last year, for students applying to enter school in fall 2020. But calls for un-testing have been growing for years…

Why are massive brands and startups selling Tesla shorts, McDonald’s chicken nugget pillows, and Stouffer’s hoodies?

Illustration by James Clapham for Marker

In May 2020, confronting a raging pandemic, fierce competition from a slew of new entrants in the alternative-beverage category, and a limited marketing budget to support the launch of three new drink flavors, Ben Witte, CEO and founder of Recess, a maker of CBD-infused sparkling water, did what the head of any up-and-coming direct-to-consumer brand might: He dropped a merch line.

Featuring a “last two brain cells” hoodie ($65), a “cool your horses” T-shirt ($35), an orange “on recess” beanie, and a pair of $18 “around the block” socks (“for going nowhere in particular”), the line was designed, says Witte…

From Gap to Vistaprint, companies are betting on masks to save them. But what happens when the bubble pops?

Illustration: Bráulio Amado

If you arrived at the Vistaprint website looking to bulk-order some promotional pens or business cards or other swag you could send en masse to your remote staff as a morale boost and accidentally landed on its masks page, you most certainly would think you’re in the wrong place. A slick, minimalist grid floating over airy white space flaunts mask collaborations with the most street-cred artists around — L.A. psychedelic multimedia artist Jen Stark, Dutch illustrator Parra, New York graffiti legend Futura Laboratories, and famed graphic designer Geoff McFetridge. If art’s not your thing, then politics might be — there’s…

Photo Illustration: Dora Godfrey | Photos: Drew Anthony Smith

What the hottest boomtown off the coasts will look like on the other side

Last summer, RigUp moved into a 24,000-foot, magazine-spread worthy office in the kind of location you’d expect for one of Austin’s most buzzed about venture-backed startups. The company — a hiring platform for energy-sector contract workers — had recently raised a $60 million Series C round. It wasted no time spending it, leasing a full floor of a 30-story story highrise on Congress Avenue, overlooking Lady Bird Lake, where hordes of youthful Austinites come to run, walk dogs, and do paddleboard yoga. The airy space, with its ample natural wood, LED boards, and chill-out corners stuffed with natural vegetation, was…

Startups need to brace for fewer seed rounds, harsher terms and more earthly valuations

A $100 US dollar bill against a black background.
A $100 US dollar bill against a black background.
Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

“My mom used to tell me, ‘I think you were born with a horseshoe up your ass,’” says Eric Rea.

He has reason to feel lucky. He’s CEO of Podium, a messaging platform for small businesses that’s based in Lehi, Utah, which at the end of March closed on a $125 million Series C round. It was one of the largest venture deals of a first quarter unlike any in memory — and not in a good way. Like most financing events consummated during the Covid-19 shutdown, Podium’s deal, which valued the fast-growing SaaS business at about $1.5 billion, had…

Illustration: Lorenzo Gritti

It only took a pandemic for us to live in Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s remote work fantasy

“Obviously, the news is a big deal,” said Jason Fried on a call last week. The markets were spiraling, his hometown of Chicago had just issued a stay-at-home order, and the coronavirus pandemic seemed to permeate every aspect of life. “But otherwise, it’s absolutely no different than any other workweek in the past 20 years.”

Fried wasn’t being sarcastic. The author, blogger, podcaster, and co-founder/CEO of Basecamp — a remote project management platform that was sort of Slack before there was Slack — was at his home office 15 minutes outside of downtown Chicago. Meanwhile, his CTO co-founder, co-author, co-blogger…

Adam Bluestein

I write about business, science, and things that people do for fun. Work published in Fast Company, Inc., Men’s Journal, Proto, Marker. Vermonter by choice.

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