Posts Tagged With: college

Legal pot in Colo., Wash. poses growing dilemma…..


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It may be called weed, but marijuana is legendarily hard to grow.
Now that the drug has been made legal in Washington and Colorado, growers face a dilemma. State-sanctioned gardening coaches can help folks cultivate tomatoes or zucchini, but both states have instructed them not to show people the best way to grow marijuana. The situation is similar in more than a dozen additional states that allow people to grow the drug with medical permission.
That’s leaving some would-be marijuana gardeners looking to the private sector for help raising the temperamental plant.
“We can’t go there,” said Brian Clark, a spokesman for Washington State University in Pullman, which runs the state’s extension services for gardening and agriculture. “It violates federal law, and we are a federally funded organization.”
The issue came up because people are starting to ask master gardeners for help in growing cannabis, Clark said. Master gardeners are volunteers who work through state university systems to provide horticultural tips in their communities.
The situation is the same in Colorado, where Colorado State University in Fort Collins recently added a marijuana policy to its extension office, warning that any employee who provides growing assistance acts outside the scope of his or her job and “assumes personal liability for such action.”
The growing predicament is just the latest quandary for these states that last year flouted federal drug law by removing criminal penalties for adults over 21 with small amounts of pot. In Washington, home-growing is banned, but it will be legal to grow pot commercially once state officials establish rules and regulations.
In Colorado, adults are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants in their own homes, so long as they’re in a locked location out of public view.
At least two Colorado entrepreneurs are taking advantage of that aspect of the law; they’re offering growing classes that have attracted wannabe professional growers, current users looking to save money by growing their own pot and a few baby boomers who haven’t grown pot in decades and don’t feel comfortable going to a marijuana dispensary.
“We’ve been doing this on our own, but I wanted to learn to grow better,” said Ginger Grinder, a medical marijuana patient from Portales, N.M., who drove to Denver for a “Marijuana 101” class she saw advertised online.
Grinder, a stay-at-home mom who suffers from lupus and fibromyalgia, joined about 20 other students earlier this month for a daylong crash course in growing the finicky marijuana plant.
Taught in a rented room at a public university, the course had students practicing on tomato plants because pot is prohibited on campus. The group took notes on fertilizer and fancy hydroponic growing systems, and snipped pieces of tomato plants to practice cloning, a common practice for nascent pot growers to start raising weed from a “mother” marijuana plant.
Ted Smith, a longtime instructor at an indoor gardening shop, led the class, and warned these gardeners that their task won’t be easy. Marijuana is fickle, he said. It’s prone to mildews and molds, picky about temperature and pH level, intolerant to tap water.
A precise schedule is also a must, Smith warned, with set light and dark cycles and watering at the same time each day. Unlike many house plants, Smith warned, marijuana left alone for a long weekend can curl and die.
“Just like the military … they need to know when they’re getting their water and chow,” Smith said of the plants.
The class was the brainchild of Matt Jones, a 24-year-old Web developer who wanted to get into the marijuana business without raising or selling it himself. As a teenager, Jones once tried to grow pot himself in empty Home Depot paint buckets. He used tap water and overwatered, and the marijuana wilted and died.
“It was a disaster,” he recalled. Jones organized the class and an online “THC University” for home growers, but his own thumb isn’t green. Jones said he’ll be buying his marijuana from professional growers.

The course showed would-be grower Cael Nodd, a 34-year-old stagehand in Denver, that marijuana gardening can be an intimidating prospect.
“It seems like there’s going to be a sizable investment,” he said. “I want something that really tastes good. Doesn’t seem like it will be that easy.”

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One day on the campaign trail…..


During a recent Romney campaign stop, a heckler from the audience hollered, “Hey Mitt Witt, where are you hiding your tax returns?”

Governor Romney politely responded, “I’ve found a very secure place that I’m certain they won’t be found.”

The insistent heckler, then shouted, “And just where is that, dummy”?

Governor Romney smiled and said, “They are underneath Obama’s college records, his passport application, his immigration status as a student, his funding sources to pay for college and his Selective Service registration.
What’s your next question?”

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Students, Grads and unemployment…..Forgotten by Obama…


Unemployment has remained stubbornly high for college graduates — it was at 8.8% for 2011. Those without a college degree are more than twice as likely to end up without jobs, however. The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates was 19.1% last year.

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America’s hidden unemployed: too discouraged to count…..



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(Reuters) – When Daniel McCune graduated from college three years ago, he was optimistic his good grades would earn him a job as an intelligence analyst with the government.
With a Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University in Virginia, majoring in government service and history, McCune applied for jobs at the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies.

But after a long hunt that yielded only two interviews, the 26-year-old threw in the towel last fall, joining millions of frustrated Americans who have given up looking for work.

“There’s nothing out there and there probably won’t be anything for a while,” said McCune, from New Concord, Ohio. He has moved back home to live with his parents, who are helping him pay off his college debt of about $20,000.

“I don’t like it, it’s embarrassing. I don’t want to be a burden to my parents,” said McCune, adding that he felt like a high school dropout.

Economists, analyzing government data, estimate about 4 million fewer people are in the labor force than in December 2007, primarily due to a lack of jobs rather than the normal aging of America’s population. The size of the shift underscores the severity of the jobs crisis.

If all those so-called discouraged jobseekers had remained in the labor force, August’s jobless rate of 8.1 percent would have been 10.5 percent.

The jobs crisis spurred the Federal Reserve last week to launch a new bond-buying program and promise to keep it running until the labor market improves. It also poses a challenge to President Barack Obama’s re-election bid.

The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one has fallen by an unprecedented 2.5 percentage points since December 2007, slumping to a 31-year low of 63.5 percent.

“We never had a drop like that before in other recessions. The economy is worse off than people realize when people just look at the unemployment rate,” said Keith Hall, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.

The participation rate would be expected to hold pretty much steady if the economy was growing at a normal pace. Only about a third of the drop in the participation rate is believed to be the result of the aging U.S. population.

SLOW PROGRESS

The economy lost 8.7 million jobs in the 2007-09 recession and has so far recouped a little more than half of them.

Economists say jobs growth of around 125,000 per month is normally needed just to hold the jobless rate steady.

Given the likelihood that Americans will flood back into the labor market when the recovery gains traction, a pace twice that strong would be needed over a sustained period to make progress reducing the unemployment rate.

Last month, employers created just 96,000 jobs.

Roslyn Swan lost her job in 2007 as a portfolio associate at a financial firm in New York. After submitting hundreds of applications, the 44-year-old is taking a break.

“Maybe after the elections,” Swan said of her next attempt to get work. “I know that I will be employed again. I don’t know when, but I know it will happen.”

Americans of all ages are leaving the workforce, but the problem is most acute in the 20-24 age group, where the participation rate has plunged by 4.4 percentage points since December 2007.

Many Americans typically start working in their teens, taking part-time jobs after school and over summer vacations, a tradition that is supposed to instill a work ethic. With many failing to secure jobs after graduating from high school and college, analysts worry about U.S. competitiveness.

“Because of delays to their career, the skills set accumulation that normally happens in the first or third job is not happening,” said Paul Conway, president of Generation Opportunity in Washington, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works with 18- to 29-year-olds on economic issues.

TOUGH ON YOUNG WORKERS

Last month, the proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds in the labor force was its lowest since 1972. Other age categories are faring little better. The 25-54 age group has seen a decline of 1.8 percentage points since December 2007.

Some, like 27-year-old Casey Potts, have gone back to school. She is studying nursing in Kentucky after losing her medical sales job.

“If I had stayed in medical sales, I would be job searching now,” said Potts.

But separate surveys by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Generation Opportunity found little evidence that young people were going back to school when unable to land a job.

One deterrent is the rising cost of education and record levels of student debt. About two-thirds of 2012 college graduates left school in debt, owing on average $28,700 in student loans, according to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org.

“Young people dropping out of the labor force to go back to school would be a silver lining if it were true,” said Heidi Shierholz, a senior EPI economist, adding that enrollment had gradually been increasing for decades.

A Generation Opportunity survey published in August showed a third of young people were putting off additional training and post-graduate studies because of the sour economy.

“This is significant. People are making the decision to put those off because the assurance of a return to investment is not there,” said the non-profit’s Conway, a veteran observer of the labor market as a former Department of Labor chief of staff.

He said his organization found that young people were doing unpaid internships at nonprofit groups and businesses to prevent their skills from atrophying. Others were joining the military.

Some economists say the participation rate does not paint a true picture because people find work in the informal sector, ranging from legal activities such as child care to crime in some cases.

“People are picking a buck here and there and not being reported in anybody’s payroll,” said Patrick O’Keefe, head of economic research at J.H. Cohn in Roseland, New Jersey.

“They will say they are not doing anything, even as they have a job and are being paid under the table,” said O’Keefe, a former deputy assistant secretary at the Labor Department. “We do not know to what extent that is going on.”

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Obama and the future for College Students


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