R.I. Lawmakers get the Legalization Conversation Rolling

RI Lawmakers Spark Marijuana Conversation from Stephanie Ressler on Vimeo.

BRISTOL, R.I. __ With legislation already in the works, Rhode Island law makers look to make Rhode Island the first New England state, to legalize and tax marijuana for both medical and recreational usage.  Representative Scott Slater, proposed the bill and feels that the legalization of marijuana would greatly benefit the State’s economy.

Check out the full story at SmallBizRI.

RSS Kirk: NPR’s Digital Masterpiece

BRISTOL, R.I. __ The untold story of the RSS Kirk, the US Naval ship that rescued thousands of Vietnamese refugees during the falling of Saigon, epitomizes the importance of a journalistic presence and the power that lies in a journalists words.

The story of the RSS kirk is one of true valor and excellence.  It allows people to view the Vietnam war from completely different angle and tells a story of humanity, unlike any other from that day.

NPR applied multiple digital tools to tell this story including, audio podcasts, a timeline, video, and images of each crew member and some survivors that each had their own personal audio clip.

All of these digital tools allow the audience to see the story from multiple different angles and make it more personal allowing each person involved to tell their own story.  The personal touch helps tie together the overall story, which is told through a more traditional long form piece.

The timeline aspect is very user friendly and guides the reader through the major events of the Vietnam war, allowing them to see precisely when the RSS Kirk made its rescue.

The archive photographs make the story feel more authentic and is a great visual aide to the readers.

The story of the RSS kirk is not only a prime example of the importance and power of journalism, but also highlights a variety of digital tools available to journalists today, and the impact they have on how we tell stories.

Medical Marijuana brings controversy to R.I.

PORTSMOUTH, R.I.__  Rhode Island passed the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act in January of 2006, but changes in the past few years, with more proposed changes on the table, has led to increased buzz around the medical marijuana industry in Rhode Island.

There are over 9,000 medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island with hundreds of applications still pending but recent state legislation has left many questions for current and future medical marijuana patients.

medical marijuana

Via Thomas Hawk on Flickr

In 2014, then Governor, Lincoln Chaffee passed an amendment to the medical marijuana law that limited the amount of plants allowed to someone who is both a patient and a caregiver from 24 to 12 seedling.

On April 29, the House Committee on Judiciary will hear a bill that would add PTSD to the list of conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana and also a bill that would reverse Chaffee’s amendment and return the number of seedling allowed to a patient and caregiver to 24.  PTSD would become the first mental health disorder permitted by states medical marijuana law.  A full list of approved medical conditions to qualify for medical marijuana can be found at the RI Department of Health.

medical marijuana

Via Pixabay

There was another bill that was scheduled to be heard by the House along with two mentioned above, House bill H6091, but was withdrawn by the sponsor’s request last Friday, April, 24.

Bill H6091 would eliminate caregivers as a whole from the Rhode Island medical marijuana industry and have patients rely on the three compassion centers and three cultivation centers in the state as well as creating two new “for profit” cultivation centers for patients.

Rhode Island is home to over 3300 caregivers who provide for over 5500 medical marijuana patients and while their job is safe for now, the fight over medical marijuana in Rhode Island is just beginning.

Small Business Sustains Economy

BRISTOL, R.I. __ Small Businesses don’t just have a large impact on Rhode Island’s economy, but on a national scale as well.

Jerry Dauterive, Professor in the Gabelli School of Business at Roger Williams University, believes that small business are the backbone of the nation’s economy,

“The health of the small business community is extremely important, not just for Rhode Island, but nationally” said Dauterive.

The SBA defines a small business based on the number of employees annually, and releases guidelines to make it as clear as possible.

Stay tuned for more updates on small business.

Mayor Elorza launches “Buy into Spring” campaign to help local Businesses

PROVIDENCE, R.I. __  Recently elected Providence Mayor, Jorge Elorza launched his “Buy into Spring” campaign on Monday, April 11 to encourage support of local businesses opening in the Spring.

The Spring shopping season is finally upon us and seasonal businesses all around the state are open for business.  Mayor Elorza announced at his press conference that every Saturday from April 18 to May 9, there will be free two hour parking in the city to encourage people to shop and spend money at local businseasonal shoppingesses.

Seasonal business is a large part of Rhode Islands economy, with an almost 20,000 employee increase in the Spring and Summer months.

Mayor Elorza’s initiative to increase foot traffic and encourage shopping this Spring is sure to bring a boom in local businesses in and around Providence this season.

Small Business Administration names winners of 2015 Rhode Island Small Business Awards

PROVIDENCE, R.I. __ The Small Business Administration announced the 2015 winners of the Rhode Island Small Business Awards last Tuesday, April 7.  Notable winners were Christopher Ciunci, for Small Business Person of the Year and Rick Becker, for the Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.  The full list of winners is below:

SMALL BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR
Christopher Ciunci, Owner
Tribal Vision
Providence

YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR
RHODE ISLAND AND NEW ENGLAND
Jason and Lynsey Colgan, Owners
A Child’s University
Cranston

MINORITY-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS
RHODE ISLAND AND NEW ENGLAND
Oscar Mejias, CEO
Hernan Padilla, Executive Director
HiTEP
Providence

ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS
Justin Hoffler, Owner
Muff’s Motorsports, LLC
Ashaway

WOMAN-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS
Deborah Schimberg, CEO
Verve, Inc.
Providence

HOME-BASED SMALL BUSINESS
Patricia Raskin, Owner
Raskin Resources Productions, Inc.
East Greenwich

FINANCIAL SERVICES CHAMPION
Sandra Cano, VP of Business and Community Development
Navigant Credit Union
Central Falls

JOSEPH G.E. KNIGHT AWARD FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL EXCELLENCE
Rick Becker, Owner
Garland Pen
Coventry

RHODE ISLAND DISTRICT DIRECTOR AWARD
The Center for Women & Enterprise
Women’s Business Center
Rhode Island

The winners will be awarded at the Alpine Country Club in Cranston on May 13, during the Small Business Awards Luncheon.  Tickets are available for $40 per person.  For more info contact matthew.spoehr@sba.gov or call 401-528-4574.