Pot News & More

SeptWaynesI wrote my first article for 10-4 back in June of 1993. That’s about 1/3 of my life! This month, besides celebrating my 73rd birthday, I thought I would start this one off by reiterating the importance of what we have been doing here since 1993. For those people who are just starting out in the transportation business, before you buy anything, do your due diligence and make sure you are not a victim. Every month I see anywhere from 2,300 to 3,500 sole proprietors go out of business because they didn’t think about what they were getting into.

I cannot stress enough that everyone should join their applicable state trucking or a nationwide association, like the NTA, and find out the secrets that will allow you to engage in business, credit or real estate agreements, as an established company, without having to go through the long waiting period of establishing a brand-new corporation. We are trying to take 10-4 Magazine and NTA (NorthAmerican Transportation Association) to another level. Our goal is to make 10-4 Magazine “the go-to place to get help in the transportation industry.” From the entry level drivers to top supervisory management, 10-4 and NTA are the places you should go for answers!

Now, let’s switch gears to the popular topic of medical/legal marijuana. Here are a few interesting things happening around the country. The top court in Massachusetts has ruled in favor of an employee who was fired for using medical marijuana recommended by her doctor. The decision could have a huge effect on employers dealing with medical marijuana cardholders in states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes, as it opens the door for these users to sue their employers.

In a matter of days this last spring, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed two bills regarding the use of marijuana in his state. The first legalized medical marijuana and went into effect at the beginning of this month. The second bill gave employers the right to test employees and applicants for drug use. Up until this law went into effect on July 7th, drug testing was considered an impermissible invasion of an employee’s right to privacy, except under a few circumstances. The Safer Workplace Act overrules current case law and allows employers to require mandatory drug and alcohol testing for both applicants and current employees.

Here’s one that could only happen in California. A publicly traded marijuana grower, American Green Inc., has just bought an entire town and made a bold play on California’s marijuana legalization. The company has acquired the tiny town of Nipton, California, for about $5 million and plans to invest as much as $2.5 million over the next 18 months to create a pot-friendly tourist destination. The purchase includes 120 acres of land with a general store, a hotel, a school building and mineral baths. The new town already has a new name, The Apothecary, which seems fitting for an Old West pot-friendly town.

American Green, based in Tempe, Arizona, will use the existing structures and build new ones — powered by renewable energy — to revitalize the town. The company hopes that showing there is a viable means of having a cannabis-friendly municipality, and further making it energy independent, could be a way of inspiring folks to say, “Why can’t we do that here?” Nipton, a former mining turned gold-rush ghost town, has a population of somewhere between 6 and 20 people. There are a handful of businesses, including a general store and a five-room hotel, located in the massive Mojave Desert in the nation’s largest county, San Bernardino.

Located near the California-Nevada border, about an hour southwest of Las Vegas, summertime temperatures in Nipton often top 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Any bets on how long it will take Raging Waters or some other outfit to set up a waterpark there? The company plans to develop Nipton into a pot-friendly resort town along the lines of some of the small towns that make up the Napa Valley wine country. They hope to exploit the anticipated “Green Rush” as marijuana becomes legal and (presumably) more acceptable to society.

The company is well-aware of the looming threat of intervention by the federal government now that Trump is president. The Obama administration generally did not pursue enforcement efforts in states where pot was legalized, but the company believes it is crucial to craft the right public image of the first “Pot Town, USA” from the beginning. American Green makes and sells an oil derived from hemp known as CBD, along with a number of other cannabis products, that do not contain the psychoactive effects of marijuana, such as balms, mints and capsules, that it claims provide “long lasting relief” from pain. One of the first products it plans to manufacture in Nipton will be hemp water, made from infusing oil into water tapped from a local aquifer.

Speaking of the Trump administration, Eric Morath from the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Senate has approved one of President Donald Trump’s two nominees for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Senators narrowly confirmed attorney Marvin Kaplan, on a 50-48 vote, for a position on the five-member board that referee’s disputes between unions and employers. His confirmation now splits the board evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

Trump’s second nominee for the NLRB, William Emanuel, hasn’t yet been scheduled for a vote. The Senate’s Labor Committee advanced his nomination alongside Mr. Kaplan’s in July. Democrats had controlled the board since 2010, when President Barack Obama’s nominees were confirmed. If and when Emanuel gets approved, the Republicans will control the NLRB. Board decisions during Mr. Obama’s tenure resulted in some big advances for labor unions, including an easier path for employees at franchise businesses and contractors to join unions. The board’s position in the months ahead will shape how far these efforts will actually go.

Like every other industry or profession, if you want to succeed in trucking, educate yourself, work hard, and align yourself with the right people and organizations to help you. NTA can help you succeed! For more information, call them today at (562) 279-0557 or visit www.ntassoc.com. Until next month, “Drive Safe – Drive Smart!”

About Wayne Schooling

Wayne Schooling has been in the transportation business since 1962. Starting out as a driver, Wayne later made the switch to management. Over the years, he has accumulated 22 various awards and honors, been involved with 6 professional affiliations, has spoken at several lectures, and earned 3 professional diplomas. Wayne, who has written for 10-4 Magazine since 1994, is currently President Emeritus of the NorthAmerican Transportation Association (NTA).