Marijuana Legalization – What’s All the Fuss

I’ve recently been working on a project involving SEO for a website that deals with products related to marijuana. What an eye opener it’s been to see the popularity surrounding this topic. There is an entire industry dedicated to growing and using marijuana and I didn’t even realize it. Naturally I began to consider the whole debate about the legalization of pot and what it would do to our culture, not to mention our economy.

Alcohol has been a legal substance in our society for decades. However, finding real economic data on how alcohol impacts the economy is quite a challenge. What we do know is that alcohol is related to many deaths.  One source I found, claims alcohol is related to almost 6% of deaths world wide.  If that’s accurate, it’s a high number.  But how many people make their living from alcohol?  The beer , wince, and spirits industries are huge!  My point is, alcohol is legal and if used responsibly, is deemed safe for our society.  Why then is a popular recreational drug like marijuana not legal (for recreational use) in most of the US?

When considering the economic implications, one must think beyond the substance itself and consider related products.  For example, grow lights. (Check out this website reviewing and selling LED grow lights.)  Since 2015, the sales of these lights has increased by 50% and is expected to double by 2020 in the state of California (California Legalization of Recreational Marijuana to Benefit LED Grow Light Industry). This is just one industry impacted and there are undoubtedly countless others.

I suppose I’m still not exactly sure where I stand on the whole issue of marijuana laws.  I’m not a user myself, but not so naive as to think that I won’t be affected by the inevitable changes on the horizon.  I just can’t quite figure out whether the impact will be positive or negative. Whether legal or illegal, there will continue to be a whole lot of marijuana users, that we know for sure.

Gun Death Stats Can Be Misleading

Gun Death Stats Debated After Las Vegas Tragedy

With gun death stats being hotly debated, I will try to stay neutral on the whole gun control debate that has popped up following the recent Las Vegas tragedy.  My heart grieves for the people who were killed and those who had to witness this atrocity. I can only image that their lives are forever changed.  I was however, quite surprised at how quickly the politicians (from either side of the isle) started to politicize this horrific even to further their own agenda.

After taking in some of the rhetoric, I began to think about which side of this whole gun control issue has the most valid arguments.  I mean after all, there is no clear cut answer to the problem.  What I came away with is just how misleading gun death stats can be. The statistics are quite shocking, but a deeper look into these gun death stats bring some interesting data to light.

Tens of thousands of people die of gun inflicted injuries each year in the US.  That’s a fact and no matter how you look at it, it’s an awful truth.  But did you know that two thirds of those deaths are suicides?  Two thirds is a huge number to me, and I was very surprised to learn that.  Then we have around 2% of gun deaths falling into the category of accidental or undetermined intent.  That leaves around one third of gun deaths in the category of homicide.

Gun Death Stats for US 2013

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States

So what does all this mean?  I’m not exactly sure, I just know that this break down of the statistic makes me realize that there are a whole lot of hurting and mental ill people out there. It seems to me that until we can find a way to treat the root of the problem, people will continue killing themselves and others with or without guns.

 

What happened to Talk America phone service?

It’s really true that this site was the number one selling agent for Talk America Phone company back in 2002. We basically taught the company how to sell their phone service to customers online.  Since that time, I often get asked the question what ever happened to Talk America phone service?  After all, they were pretty darn popular for awhile and they had great rates.  I’d have to say that they were the biggest player in taking advantage of the deregulation of land line phone providers like Ameritech.  Here’s a little history of the company.

Talk America was founded in 1989 as Tel-Save Inc. It was formed for the purpose of reselling AT&T long-distance service. After a few years, Tel-Save became one of the biggest wholesalers of AT&T long distance. In 1994, a scandal involving illegal campaign contributions to Congressman, Jim Greenwood, resulted in a name change to Tel-Save Holdings.

Most of their success thus far relied on their affiliation with AT&T and now the needed to acquire their own subscribers.  In July of 1997, they acquired a huge provider of U.S. telecom services named Share Technologies Fairchild Inc.

At a cost of $511 million, or $11.25 per share, Tel-Share CEO Dan Borislow viewed the transaction as key.  Several other acquisitions would follow. the name changed once again in 1998 to Tel-Save.com and then to Talk.com in 1999.

It was in October 1999, that Talk.com began providing local phone service.  At first, they offered this service only to small and medium-sized businesses. Then, in March 2000 Talk.com merged with Access One Communications. This local telephone company provided local phone service to residential customers in nine states.  As a result of this re-positioning in the local phone market, Talk.com was able to begin an aggressive strategy of selling bundled telecommunications services including local, long-distance, and Internet.  As a result, their brand name awareness increased and customer acquisition began to grow steadily.

After some legal turbulence, Talk America reported a huge loss in August 2001, but by pushing its debt out to the future, they were able to recover.  Their success was built on leasing lines from the baby bells at very attractive prices and then using that advantage to sell at a savings to it’s customers.  This model would prove profitable for the next few years before Talk America was acquired by company called Cavalier Telephone and TV in 2006.