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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Mega Trend: India Per Capita Income

New post on Alpha Ideas

Mega Trend: India Per Capita Income

by Raoji

Fwd: [New post] Balrampur Chini: Best of Times, Worst of Times

Raoji posted: " Source: Notes from Talk Given by CFO,Balrampur Chini at CFA Society, Kolkata "

Monday, January 07, 2019

Our Favorite Facts of 2018

Each day, our editors collect the most interesting, striking or delightful facts to appear in that day’s stories throughout the paper. Here are 60 of our very favorites.

Each day on Page A3 of the Times print edition, our editors collect the most interesting, striking or delightful facts to appear in that day’s stories throughout the paper. Here are 60 of our very favorites from the year that was.
1. The computer power needed to create each Bitcoin consumes at least as much electricity as the average American household burns through in two years.
There Is Nothing Virtual About Bitcoin’s Energy Appetite
2. The vast bulk of criminal cases never go to trial — 97 percent of federal criminal convictions are the result of guilty pleas.
Prosecutors Had the Wrong Man. They Prosecuted Him Anyway.
3. Chile powder and chili powder are two different things. Chile powder is just dried, pulverized chiles. Chili powder is a mixture of dried, ground chiles with other spices.
Texas Chili Makes a Welcome Guest
4. The share of people in Oregon counties with kindergarten vaccination rates over 95 percent was close to 100 percent in 2000; in 2015, it was about 30 percent.
After a Debacle, How California Became a Role Model on Measles
5. M.R.I. studies suggest that all of a person’s neural connections form by age 3.
Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?
6. The transliteration of Emmanuel Macron’s name into Chinese forms a phrase that roughly means “horse overcomes dragon.”
In China, Macron Offers a Horse, and a Vision to Counter Trump
7. Some 40 to 50 percent of smokers try to quit each year, but fewer than 5 percent of them succeed.
Why Even Tougher Regulations on Smoking Are Justified

8. According to one study, people typically touch their phones 2,617 times per day.
How Companies Scour Our Digital Lives for Clues to Our Health
9. In the United States there are roughly 310 million firearms in the hands of civilians, nearly one for every adult and child.
Is Israel a Model When It Comes to Guns, as Mike Huckabee Says?
10. The Girl Scouts of Colorado said in 2014 that it did not allow scouts to sell cookies in front of marijuana shops, liquor stores or bars. It has since abandoned that policy.
A Girl Scout Sold 300 Boxes of Cookies Near a California Marijuana Shop
11. The oldest ice skates that anyone has found so far were made in Finland 2,000 years before the birth of Christ.
The Hidden Drama of Speedskating
12. In 1949, 75 percent of Chinese women were illiterate. Today, China has one of the lowest rates of female illiteracy in the world — as well as the highest percentage of self-made female billionaires.
First Comes Love, Then Comes What Exactly?

13. Women with abdominal pain wait in emergency rooms for 65 minutes compared with 49 minutes for men, and young women are seven times more likely to be sent home from a hospital while in the middle of a heart attack.
Three Views of the Crisis in Women’s Health
14. Ada Lovelace, the 19th-century British socialite whose writings about computing have earned her recognition as the first computer programmer, was the daughter of Lord Byron, the Romantic poet.
Overlooked: Ada Lovelace
15. During the 2016 election, fewer than 3 percent of Americans cited print as their most important source of campaign news.
For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.
16. The strands of hair on the head of President Trump’s wax replica at Madame Tussauds in New York City are a mix of human and yak. (For his eyebrows: squirrel.)
The Politics of Waxing
17. Only three humans have visited the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known ocean trench in the world — fewer than have been to the moon.
The Ruthless Phronima, and Other Hidden Wonders of the Sea

18. Eight million horses died in World War I.
Galloping Through History
19. The green-haired turtle, an Australian species that split from other living species about 40 million years ago, can breathe through its genitals.
Threatened: A Green-Haired Turtle That Can Breathe Through Its Genitals
20. The sweet potato is one of the most valuable crops in the world, providing more nutrients per farmed acre than any other staple.
All by Itself, the Humble Sweet Potato Colonized the World
21. The Vatican formally recognized an International Association of Exorcists in 2014, which keeps its 250 or so members updated on the latest best practices in confronting the Devil.
‘Shut Up, Satan’: Rome Course Teaches Exorcism, Even by Cellphone
22. More than 4.4 million people — mostly women — work in Bangladesh’s 3,000 factories, where the minimum wage is 32 cents an hour.
Why Won’t We Learn from the Survivors of the Rana Plaza Disaster?

23. Of Hawaii’s 1,200 native plant species, 90 percent exist nowhere else.
O’Keeffe’s Paradise, Lost and Found
24. Detroit is one of the most expensive places in the United States to insure a car.
Which Poor People Shouldn’t Have to Work for Aid?
25. The word “scientist” was only coined in 1833, by the philosopher William Whewell, who sought to professionalize science and separate it from philosophy.
Essays That Make Sense of the Infinite and the Infinitesimal
26. Until 1954, all private tombs in Venice, whether below or above ground, were leased for eternity. Since then, the city has leased tombs for a varying number of years. In some cases, leases can be renewed.
A Chance to Spend 99-Plus Years in Venice (in the Afterlife)
27. An eHarmony report on relationships found that American couples aged 25 to 34 knew each other for an average of six and a half years before marrying, compared with an average of five years for all other age groups.
Put a Ring on It? Millennial Couples Are in No Hurry

28. In the 19th century, critics of bicycles labeled them tools of the devil.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Electric Scooters
29. Of the roughly 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics produced worldwide since the 1950s, about 6.3 billion have been thrown away, according to a 2017 study in the journal Science Advances.
Whale’s Death in Thailand Points to Global Scourge: Plastic in Oceans
30. Dolphins can put one side of the brain to sleep as they swim while the other side remains alert. Then they can switch, putting the other hemisphere to sleep.
Hot Heads: Why Mammals Need R.E.M. Sleep
31. There has been a 40 percent increase in Google searches for “crystal healing” over the past four years.
Is Astrology Religion for Those of Us With No Religion?
32. A 2017 report by the United Nations predicts that all 29 World Heritage coral reefs will die by 2100 unless carbon emissions are drastically reduced.
In the Philippines, Dynamite Fishing Decimates Entire Ocean Food Chains

33. Many food historians believe that Bills in Sydney, which opened in 1993, was the first restaurant to serve avocado toast.
The Art of the Australian Breakfast
34. Chia seeds absorb 30 times their weight in water and can provide the body with slow-release hydration, especially during long bouts of physical activity in high heat and humidity.
Drink Up! Most of Us Could Benefit From More Water
35. Saddam Hussein used an Arabic version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” as his campaign theme.
How a Director Uncovered Whitney Houston’s Secret Pain
36. After Spanish conquerors brought home a tomato from the Americas in the 16th century, it was long used only as a table decoration.
Old Recipes, New Format: Spain Puts Historic Dishes on Video
37. Honeybees pollinate about a third of the nation’s crops.
With a Sniff and a Signal, These Dogs Hunt Down Threats to Bees
38. All together, over 500,000 animals have been surgically implanted with Neuticles, prosthetic silicone testicles for neutered pets, according to Gregg A. Miller, who invented them in 1995.
The Secret Price of Pets

39. There are roughly 200 American “news deserts” without any local newspaper coverage, and even more areas where a single source dominates.
When a Local Paper Gets New Owners, Partisan Strife Hits Its Doorstep
40. In 2017, 86 percent of the more than 17,000 people arrested on marijuana possession charges in New York City were people of color, according to data analyzed by The Times.
At an Updated Head Shop, High Meets Highbrow
41. The acclaimed conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein employed a hair puller to keep the blood flowing to his signature pompadour.
Leonard Bernstein Through a Daughter’s Eyes
42. Over 17 percent of teachers drop out within their first five years.
What Role Do Teachers Play in Education?
43. London’s subway system is recognized as a global pioneer of playing classical music in stations to deter antisocial behavior, having used it since 2003. It currently plays tracks in over 60 stations.
Will Jarring Music Drive Drug Users From a German Train Station?

44. Humans kill approximately 100 million sharks a year, while unprovoked shark attacks killed just five people in 2017.
How to Survive a Shark Attack
45. A full 29 percent of last year’s freshman class at Harvard were relatives of Harvard graduates.
At Elite Colleges, Racial Diversity Requires Affirmative Action
46. In the 1970s, a typical American drank about 30 gallons of cow’s milk a year, but now it’s about 18 gallons, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Got Milk? Or Was That Really a Plant Beverage?
47. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared sleep deprivation a public health epidemic, with one-third of American adults getting insufficient slumber.
Tech Can Hurt Our Sleep. So I Tried Bose Sleepbuds for Help.
48. Human brains are predisposed toward distraction, wandering for an average of 47 percent of the day.
Having Trouble Finishing This Headline? Then This Article Is for You.
49. Fifty-six percent of Americans have never listened to a podcast.
Endeavor, Always Looking to Grow, Starts Podcast Division

50. Bananas are often forbidden on fishing boats. Explanations include tales of naval crew members slipping on rogue peels and bananas floating tauntingly after the ships that carried them sank to the bottom of the sea.
This Is the Most Lucrative Moment in History to Catch Bass
52. White Americans earn about 77 percent of total income in the United States.
White Americans Gain the Most From Trump’s Tax Cuts, a Report Finds
53. A cup of live jellyfish provides just five calories — one-third the amount in a cup of celery.
Who Wants to Eat a Gooey Jellyfish? Pretty Much Everyone in the Ocean
54. Big Bird, the “Sesame Street” character, is 8 feet, 2 inches tall.
Original Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Leaves ‘Sesame Street’ After Nearly 50 Years

55. The median salary in the W.N.B.A. was about $70,000 last season, and the top salary is $115,500. The N.B.A. has a minimum salary of more than half a million.
W.N.B.A. Players Opt Out of Collective Bargaining Agreement
56. Twenty-two states have never elected a woman as governor.
Women Lead Parade of Victories to Help Democrats Win House
57. The average bra size in the U.S. is 34DD.
Victoria’s Secret? In 2018, Fewer Women Want to Hear It
58. Mark Twain was so famous in his time that his editor once journeyed to Washington to ask President Theodore Roosevelt if he would move Thanksgiving because it coincided with Twain’s birthday plans.
The Story of America, Told Through Mark Twain’s Favorite Foods
59. The average N.F.L. career lasts just over three seasons. Players don’t qualify for a pension until they complete the third game of their fourth season.
He Was 302 Pounds, but in This Battle, He’s David and Not Goliath
60. Following the end of World War II, Hungary printed notes of ever-higher value to finance its recovery. The fastest-ever recorded hyperinflation resulted: At its peak in July 1946, prices doubled every 15 hours.
What 52,000 Percent Inflation Can Do to a Country

Illustrations by Nadine Redlich
Alexandria Symonds is a senior staff editor at The Times. @a_symonds
Katie Van Syckle is a senior staff editor at The Times. @KatieVanSyckle
Melina Delkic is a senior staff editor. @MelinaDelkic
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page F7 of the New York edition with the headline: The Most Interesting Facts of 2018. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Monday, October 29, 2018

കുറഞ്ഞ ചെലവിൽ കൂടുതൽ ആദായത്തിനുള്ള വഴികൾ

കുറഞ്ഞ ചെലവിൽ കൂടുതൽ ആദായത്തിനുള്ള വഴികൾ

Saturday 27 October 2018 12:23 PM IST
by മനോരമ ലേഖകൻ
പ്രളയകാലത്തെ കാറ്റിലും മഴയിലും പെട്ട്  തൊഴുത്തും പച്ചക്കറിപ്പന്തലും തകർന്നുവീണുണ്ടായ നാശനഷ്ടങ്ങൾ ആലപ്പുഴ ചേർത്തലയ്ക്കടുത്ത് അർത്തുങ്കൽ കല്ലുപുരയ്ക്കൽ വീട്ടിലെ കർഷകദമ്പതികളായ ഇമ്മാനുവലും റോസിയും കാര്യമാക്കുന്നില്ല. മറ്റു കർഷകരുടെ നഷ്ടക്കണക്കുകളുമായി താരതമ്യം ചെയ്യുമ്പോൾ അതു സഹിക്കാവുന്നതേയുള്ളു വെന്നാണ് ഇവരുടെ ചിന്ത. അതേസമയം ഈ കർഷകർക്കെല്ലാം അതിവേഗം വരുമാനത്തിലേക്കു മടങ്ങിയെത്താൻ തങ്ങളുടെ കൃഷി–മൃഗസംരക്ഷണ രീതികൾ പ്രയോജനപ്പെടുെമങ്കിൽ അതു പങ്കുവയ്ക്കാൻ ഈ ദമ്പതികൾ തയാർ.
നെല്ലും പച്ചക്കറിയും പശുവളർത്തലുമായി നീങ്ങിയിരുന്ന ഇമ്മാനുവൽ–റോസി ദമ്പതിമാരുടെ പതിവുകളെ വരുമാനത്തിന്റെ പുതുവഴികളിലേക്ക് തിരിച്ചുവിടുന്നത് ഇളയ മകനായ ജയനാണ്. ബിസിനസ് അഡ്മിനിസ്ട്രേഷൻ ബിരുദമെടുത്ത ശേഷം അക്കൗണ്ടിങ്ങിൽ ഉന്നത ബിരുദത്തിനു പഠിക്കുന്ന ജയൻ നിത്യവും ഫാം ഫ്രഷ് പാലും മുട്ടയും ഇറച്ചിയും മീനും പച്ചക്കറിയും ലഭിക്കുന്ന സൂപ്പർ മാർക്കറ്റായി പൂഴിമണ്ണ് നിറഞ്ഞ പുരയിടത്തെ മാറ്റിയത് വെറും ഒരു വർഷംകൊണ്ട്.
നിത്യവും മൽസ്യം
ഒരു സെന്റും അര സെന്റുമൊക്കെ വരുന്ന എട്ടു കളങ്ങളിലെ മൽസ്യക്കൃഷിയാണ് കല്ലുപുരയ്ക്കൽ വീട്ടിലെ മുഖ്യ കൗതുകം. 365 ദിവസവും നാട്ടുകാർക്ക് ‘പെടയ്ക്കണ മീൻ’  നൽകുന്ന കുളങ്ങൾ. മൂന്നെണ്ണത്തിൽ തിലാപ്പിയ, രണ്ടെണ്ണത്തിൽ നട്ടർ, മറ്റു രണ്ടു കുളങ്ങളിൽ ആസാം വാള, ഇനിയൊന്നിൽ ജയന്റ്ഗൗരാമി. ആദ്യത്തെ മൂന്നിനങ്ങളാണ് നിലവിൽ വിൽപനയ്ക്കുള്ളത്. സാധാരണ മൽസ്യക്കൃഷിയിൽ ഒരു സെന്റിൽ 200 തിലാപ്പിയ ഇടാമെന്നാണ് കണക്കെങ്കിൽ ജയൻ നിക്ഷേപിക്കുന്നത് 500–600 എണ്ണം. എന്നു കരുതി ആധുനിക രീതിയിലുള്ള സാങ്കേതികവിദ്യകളെല്ലാം ഒരുക്കിയുള്ള അതിസാന്ദ്രതാക്കൃഷിയൊന്നുമല്ല. മൽസ്യങ്ങളുടെ എണ്ണം കൂടുതലാവുമ്പോൾ വെള്ളം വേഗത്തിൽ മലിനമാവും. അതു പരിഹരിക്കാന്‍   വേനലിൽ ആഴ്ചതോറും കുളത്തിലെ പകുതി വെള്ളം മോട്ടർ ഉപയോഗിച്ച് പുറത്തു കളയും. നീരുറവയുള്ളതിനാൽ താമസിയാതെ വീണ്ടും കുളം നിറയും. മഴക്കാലത്ത് അതും വേണ്ട. 
ആറു മാസംകൊണ്ട് മീൻ അര കിലോ തൂക്കം വരണമെന്നു വാശിയില്ല, കൂടുതൽ മത്സ്യങ്ങളെ ഇടുന്നതിനാൽ. നാലു മാസംകൊണ്ട് ഒരെണ്ണം 200–250 ഗ്രാം എത്തും. മൂന്നോ നാലോ എണ്ണത്തെ പിടിച്ചാൽ ഒരു കിലോ എത്തും. കിലോയ്ക്കു വില 200 രൂപ. ദിവസവും എത്തുന്ന ആവശ്യക്കാർക്കായി ഇങ്ങനെ വിറ്റ് രണ്ടു മാസംകൊണ്ട് സ്റ്റോക്ക് തീരും. അപ്പോഴേക്കും അടുത്ത കുളത്തിലെ മീൻ വിൽപനയ്ക്കു തയാറാ വും. ഒന്നിച്ചുള്ള വിളവെടുപ്പിനെക്കാൾ സാധാരണ കാർഷക കുടുംബത്തിന് നിത്യവരുമാനവും ലാഭവും നൽകുന്നത് ഈ രീതിയെന്നു ജയൻ.
താറാവും കോഴിയുമാണ് മറ്റൊരു വരുമാന വഴി. 40 ദിവസംകൊണ്ട് രണ്ടു കിലോ തൂക്കം ലഭിക്കുന്ന വിഗോവ ഇനം ഇറച്ചിത്താറാവും മൂന്നു മാസംകൊണ്ട് രണ്ടു കിലോ തൂക്കം വരുന്ന നാടൻതാറാവും (കുട്ടനാടൻ ചാര ചെമ്പല്ലിയും മറ്റു സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളിൽനിന്നു ലഭിക്കുന്നതും) ഒരുപോലെ ഡിമാൻഡുള്ള ഇനങ്ങൾ. ഒരു ബാച്ചിൽ 200 വീതം രണ്ടിനവും വാങ്ങും. നിരണത്തുള്ള സർക്കാർ ഫാമിൽനിന്നാണെങ്കിൽ ഒരു ദിവസം പ്രായമായ കുഞ്ഞിന് നാടൻ 18 രൂപയും വിഗോവ 45 രൂപയും വില.  നിരണത്തു ലഭ്യമല്ലാത്തപ്പോൾ പുറത്തുനിന്നു വാങ്ങും. കൂടുതൽ വിലകൊടുക്കേണ്ടിവരുമെന്നു മാത്രം. 
വാങ്ങുന്ന നാടൻതാറാവിൽ പകുതി പൂവനായിരിക്കും, അവയാണ് മൂന്നു മാസം കഴിയുമ്പോൾ ഇറച്ചിക്കു വിൽക്കുന്നത്. പിടയ്ക്ക് ലെയർ തീറ്റ നൽകി പരിപാലിക്കും. ആറു മാസമെത്തുമ്പോൾ മുട്ടയിട്ടു തുടങ്ങും. തീറ്റ മികച്ചതെങ്കിൽ രണ്ടു കൊല്ലം മികച്ച മുട്ടയുൽപാദനം. നൂറ് പിടകളുണ്ടെങ്കിൽ ദിവസം 50  മുട്ടകൾ ഉറപ്പ്. ഒന്നിനു പത്തു രൂപയ്ക്കു വിൽപന. താറാമുട്ടയിൽനിന്നു മാത്രം ദിവസം 500 രൂപ ലഭിക്കുമെന്ന് ഇമ്മാനുവൽ. കോഴിയെ അപേക്ഷിച്ച് താറാവിന്റെ കൂട്ടിൽ അസുഖകരമായ ഗന്ധമുണ്ടാവും. രണ്ടു നേരം കൂടു വൃത്തിയാക്കേണ്ടി വരും. കനത്ത മഴയുള്ള ജൂൺ, ജൂലൈ മാസങ്ങളിൽ എണ്ണം കുറയ്ക്കുകയും ചെയ്യും.
വെറ്ററിനറി സർവകലാശാലയുടെ മണ്ണുത്തി പൗൾട്രിഫാമിൽനിന്നു വാങ്ങുന്ന സങ്കരയിനങ്ങളും ഭാര്യ റോസി അടവെച്ചു വിരിയിക്കുന്നവയും ചേർന്ന് ഏതാണ്ട് നൂറിനടുത്ത് കോഴികളും എപ്പോഴും സ്റ്റോക്കുണ്ടാവും. ചുരുങ്ങിയത് 20 മുട്ടകൾ ദിവസവും വിൽപനയ്ക്ക്. നാടൻ കോഴിപ്പൂവന്റെ ഇറച്ചിക്കുമുണ്ട് നല്ല ഡിമാൻഡ്.
ഫാം ഫ്രഷ് പാലിനായി മൂന്നു പശുക്കൾ. വീട്ടാവശ്യത്തിനാണെങ്കിൽപോലും ഒരു പശുവിനെ മാത്രമായി വളർത്തുന്നത് ലാഭകരമല്ലെന്നാണ് റോസിയുടെ അഭിപ്രായം. കറവയുള്ള രണ്ടു പശുക്കളുണ്ടെങ്കിൽ ഒന്നിൽനിന്നുള്ള വരുമാനംകൊണ്ട് രണ്ടിന്റെയും തീറ്റച്ചെലവു നടക്കും. രണ്ടാമത്തേതിൽനിന്നുള്ള വരുമാനം കൊണ്ട് ഒരു സാധാരണ കുടുംബത്തിന്റെ വീട്ടുചെലവും നടക്കുമെന്നു റോസി.
ആലപ്പുഴ ജില്ലയിലെ പൂഴിമണ്ണിൽ പച്ചക്കറിക്കൃഷി വിജയിപ്പിക്കുക അത്ര എളുപ്പമല്ല. കോഴി, താറാവ് എന്നിവയുടെ കാഷ്ഠവും ചാണകവും ആവശ്യത്തിനുള്ളതുകൊണ്ടാണ് സമൃദ്ധമായ കൃഷി സാധ്യമാകുന്നതെന്ന് ഇമ്മാനുവൽ. അതും സമ്പൂർണ ജൈവകൃഷി. പുരയിടത്തിൽ ഇത്തിരി സ്ഥലം കിട്ടുന്നിടത്തുപോലും നിലത്തും ഗ്രോബാഗിലുമായി ഹൈബ്രിഡ് ഇനങ്ങളുൾപ്പെടെയുള്ള പച്ചക്കറികൾ വളർത്തുന്നു ഈ ദമ്പതികൾ. വിളവെടുത്ത 
പച്ചക്കറികൾക്കെല്ലാം കിലോയ്ക്ക് 50 രൂപ എന്നു സ്വന്തം നിലയ്ക്ക് നിശ്ചയിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു. പച്ചക്കറി മാത്രമല്ല, പഴവുമുണ്ട് വിൽപനയ്ക്ക്. പുരയിടത്തിൽ വിളയുന്ന വാഴക്കുല പഴുപ്പിച്ചുള്ള ചില്ലറ വിൽപന. ഒരുൽപന്നത്തിനും വിപണി തേടിനടക്കേണ്ടി വരുന്നില്ല ഈ കുടുംബത്തിന്. കർഷക കുടുംബത്തിൽനിന്നു ലഭിക്കുന്ന മുട്ടയും പാലും പഴവും പച്ചക്കറിയും ഇറച്ചിയും മീനും തേടി ആളുകൾ രാവിലെമുതൽ കല്ലുപുരയ്ക്കൽ വീട്ടിലെത്തുന്നു.അതുവഴി മാസം ഏതാണ്ട് 50,000 രൂപ വരുമാനവും.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

High and higher: The Money in Marijuana! - courtesy market musings

High and higher: The Money in Marijuana!

In 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president of the United States, and was asked whether he had ever smoked marijuana, he responded that he had, but that he did not inhale, reflecting the fear that being viewed as a weed-smoker would lay low his presidential ambitions. How times have changed! Today, smoking marijuana recreationally is legal in nine states, and medical marijuana in twenty nine states, in the United States. Outside the United States, much of Europe has always taken a much more sanguine view of cannabis, and on October 17, 2018, Canada will become the second country (after Uruguay) in the world to legalize the recreational use of the product. In conjunction with this development, new companies are entering the market, hoping to take advantage of what they see as a “big” market, and excited investors are rewarding them with large market capitalizations. I have never smoked marijuana, but on my daily walks on the boardwalks of San Diego, I have been inhaling a lot of second-hand smoke, leaving me a little light headed as I write this post. So, read on at your own risk!

The Macro Big Picture
While there is much to debate about how this market will evolve over time, and whether investors and businesses can make money of that evolution, there is one fact that is not debatable. The cannabis market will be a big one, in terms of users and revenues, drawing in large numbers of the population. To get a sense of the growth in this business, consider some nascent statistics from the soon-to-be legalized Canadian recreational market:
  1. Lots of people smoke weed: According to the Canadian national census, 42.5% of Canadians have tried Marijuana and about 16% had used it in the recent past (last 3 months), with the percentages climbing among younger Canadians, where one in three being recent users.
  2. And spend money to do so: The total revenues from recreational marijuana sales in Canada alone is expected to be $7-8 billion in 2020 and grow at a healthy rate after that. Some of this will represent a shifting from the illegal market (estimated at close to $5 billion in 2017) and some of it will represent new users drawn in its legal status.
There is also information that can be gleaned about the future of this business from the states in the United States that have legalized marijuana.
  1. In California, where legalization occurred at the start of 2018, revenues from cannabis are expected to be about $3.4 billion in 2018, but that is not a huge jump from the $3 billion in revenues in the illegal market in 2017. One reason, at least in California, is that legal marijuana, with testing, regulation and taxes, is much more expensive than that obtained in the illegal markets that existed pre-legalization. 
  2. In Colorado, where recreational marijuana use has been legal since 2014, the revenues from selling marijuana have increased from $996 million in 2015 to $1,25 billion in 2016 to $1,47 billion in 2017, representing solid, but not spectacular, growth. Marijuana-related businesses in Colorado have benefited from the revenue growth but have, for the most part, been unable to convert that growth into solid profits, partly because of the regulatory and tax overlay that they have had to navigate. 
With the limited data that we have from both Canada and the US states that have legalized marijuana, here are some general conclusions that come to mind.
  1. The illegal marijuana market will persist after legalization: The illegal weed business will continue, even after legalization, for many reasons. One is that legalization brings costs, regulations and taxes, which make the cost of legal weed higher than its illegal counterpart. The other is cultural, where a segment of long-time weed smokers will be reluctant to give up their traditional ways of acquiring and using weed. From a business standpoint, this will mean that the legal weed businesses will have to share the market with unregulated and untaxed competitors, reducing both revenues and profitability.
  2. There will be growth in recreational marijuana sales, but it will not be exponential: For those who are expecting a sudden surge of new users, as a result of legalization, the results from the parts of the world that have legalized should be sobering. In most of these parts, to the extent that society and law enforcement had already turned a blind eye to enforcing marijuana laws before legalization, there was no sea change in legal consequences from weed smoking. 
  3. The medical marijuana market growth will be driven more by research indicating its value in health care than by popularity contests. The bad news is that this will require navigating the time-consuming and cash-burning FDA regulatory approval process but the good news is that once approved, there is less likely to be pushback, cultural or legal, against its use. It is a safe prediction that medical marijuana will be legal in all of the United States far sooner than recreational marijuana.
  4. Federal laws matter: If you are a company in the weed business in one of the nine states that has legalized recreational marijuana, you still face a quandary. While your operations may be legal in the state that you operate in, you are at risk any time your operations require you to cross state lines and as we noted with Colorado businesses, when you pay federal taxes. Since most financial service firms operate across state borders and are regulated by Federal entities, it has also meant that even legal businesses in this space have had trouble raising funding or borrowing money from banks.
In spite of all of these caveats, there is optimism about growth in this market, with the more conservative forecasters predicting that global revenues from marijuana sales will increase to $70 billion in 2024, triple the sales today, and the more daring ones predicting close to $150 billion in sales.

The Business Question
If the marijuana market is likely to grow strongly, it should be a good market to operate a business in, right? Not all big businesses are profitable or value creating, since for a big business to be value creating, it has to come with competitive advantages or barriers to entry. If you are an investor in this space, you also have to start thinking about how companies will set themselves apart from each other, once the business matures. To see how companies in this business will evolve, it is important that you separate the recreational from the medical cannabis businesses, since each will face different challenges.

I. Recreational Cannabis
Like tobacco and alcohol, the recreational marijuana business will grow with a wink and a nod towards its  side costs, and potential to be a gateway to more potent and addictive substances. Like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana will face both constraints on who it can be sold to, as well as lawsuits down the road. Before you take issue with me for taking a negative view of marijuana, note that this is not a bad path to follow, given that tobacco and alcohol have been solid money-makers for decades. The question then becomes whether, like alcohol and tobacco, cannabis will become a brand-name driven business, where having a stronger brand name allows the winners to charge higher prices and earn better margins, or whether it devolves into a commodity business, where there is little to differentiate between the offerings of different companies, leading to commoditization and low margins. If it is the former, the most successful businesses in the space will bring marketing and branding skills to the table and if it is the latter, it will be economies of scale, and low-cost production that will be the differentiator.

II. Medical Cannabis
The medical marijuana business will more closely resemble the pharmaceutical business, where you will have to work with health care regulations and economics. Success in this business will come from finding a blockbuster cannabis-based drug that can then be sold at premium prices. If our experience with young pharmaceutical and biotech companies is an indicator, this would suggest that to succeed in this business, a company will need continued access to capital from investors with patience, a strong research presence and an understanding of the regulatory approval process. The company will also generate more value in health care systems where drug companies have pricing power, making the US market a much more lucrative one than the Canadian one. The differences between the two businesses are stark enough that you can argue that it will be difficult for a company to operate in both businesses without running into problems, sooner or later.

Investment considerations
So, should you invest in this business or stay away until it becomes more mature? While there is an argument for waiting, if you are risk averse, it will also mean that you will lose out on the biggest rewards. If you are exploring your options today, you have to start by assessing your investment choices and pick the one that you are most comfortable with.

The Investment Landscape
This is a young and evolving business, with the  Canadian legalization drawing more firms into the market. Not only are the companies on the list of public companies in the sector recent listings, but almost all of them have small revenues and big losses. While that, by itself, is likely to drive away old time value investors, it is worth noting that at a this early stage in the business life cycle, these losses are a feature, not a bug. Looking at just the top 10 companies, in terms of market cap, on the cannabis business, here is what I see:
Largest Publicly Traded Cannabis Companies- October 2018 
Note that the biggest company on the list is Tilray, a company that went publicly only a few months ago, with revenues that barely register ($28 million) and operating losses. Tilray made the news right after its IPO, with its stock price increasing ten-fold in the weeks after, before losing almost half of its value in the weeks after. Canopy Growth, the largest and most established company on this list, has the highest revenues at $68 million. More generally, Canadian companies dominate the list and all of them trade at astronomical multiples of book value.

As new companies flock into the market, the list of publicly traded companies is only going to get longer, and at least for the foreseeable future, most of them will continue to lose money. Adding to the chaos, existing companies that have logical reasons to enter this business (tobacco & alcohol in the recreational and pharmaceuticals in the medical) but have held back will enter, as the stigma of being in the business fades, and with it, the federal handicaps imposed for being in the business. Put simply, this business, like many other young and potentially big markets, seems to be in the throes of what I called the big market delusion in a post that I had about online advertising companies a few years ago.

Trading and Investing
Like all young businesses, this segment is currently dominated by trading and pricing, not investing and valuation. Put differently, companies are being priced based upon the size of the potential market and incremental information. Put simply, small and seemingly insignificant news stories will cause big swings in stock prices. Thus, there is no fundamental rationale you can give for why Tilray’s stock has behaved the way it has since it's IPO. It is driven by mood and momentum. If you are a good trader, this is a great time to play the game, since you can use your skills at detecting momentum shifts to make money as the stock goes up and again as it goes down. Since I am a terrible trader, I will leave it up to to you to decide whether you want to play the game.

If you are an investor, you want to invest on the expectation that there is more value in these companies than you are paying up front, for your equity stake. As I see it, here are your choices:
  1. The Concentrated Pick: Pick a stock or two that you believe is most suited to succeed in the  business, as it matures. Thus, if you believe that the business is going to get commoditized and that the winner will be the one with the lowest costs, you should target a company like Canopy Growth, a company that seems to be pushing towards making itself the low-cost leader in the growth end of the business. If, in contrast, you believe that this is a business where branding and marketing will set you apart, you should focus on a company that is building itself up through marketing and celebrity endorsements. To succeed at this strategy, you have to be right on both your macro assessment and your company pick, but if you are, this approach has the potential to have the biggest payoff. 
  2. Spread your bets: If your views about how the business will evolve are diffuse, but you do believe that there will be strong overall revenue growth and ultimate profitability, you can buy a portfolio of marijuana stocks. In fact, there is an ETF (MJ) composed primarily of cannabis-related stocks, with a modest expense ratio; its ten biggest holdings are all marijuana stocks, comprising 62% of the portfolio. The upside is that you just have to be right, on average, for this strategy to pay off, but the downside is that these companies are all richly priced, given the overall optimism about the market today. You also have to worry that the ultimate winner may not be on the list of stocks that are listed today, but a new entrant who has not shown up yet. If you are willing to wait for a correction, and there will be one, you may be able to get into the ETF at a much more reasonable price.
  3. The Indirect Play: Watch for established players to also jump in, with tobacco and alcohol stocks entering the recreational weed business, and pharmaceutical companies the medical weed business. You may get a better payoff investing in these established companies, many of which are priced for low growth and declining margins. One example is Scott’s Miracle-Gro, for instance, which has a growing weed subsidiary called Hawthorne Gardening. Another is GW Pharmaceuticals that has cannabis-based drugs in production for epilepsy and MS.
It may be indication of my age, but I really don’t have a strong enough handle on this market and what makes it tick to make an early bet on competitive advantages. So, I will pass on picking the one or two winners in the market. Given how euphoric investors have been since the legalization of weed in Canada in pushing up cannabis stock prices, I think this is the wrong time to buy the ETF, especially since sector is going to draw in new players.  That leaves me with the third and final choice, which is to invest in a company that is not viewed as being in the business but has a significant stake in it nevertheless. At current stock prices, neither Scott Miracle-Gro nor GW Pharmaceuticals looks like a good bet (I valued Scott Miracle-Gro at about $55, below its current stock price of $70.), but I think that my choices will get richer in the years to come.  I can wait, and while I do, I think I will take another walk on the boardwalk!

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