November 2022



There are “likely tens of thousands of illicit cannabis businesses” currently operating out of bodegas, smoke shops and other storefronts in New York City — with many of the pop-up shops selling bad or dangerously tainted weed, a new study reveals.

The survey, conducted by the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association — in concert with the NJ Cannabis Trade Association and Connecticut Medical Cannabis Council — bought cannabis products from 20 unlicensed stores that publicly advertise selling marijuana, and had the products tested by an independent lab.

The lab results found the presence of potentially deadly E. coli, salmonella, heavy metals and pesticides in many products.

About 40% of the THC products failed at least one of the standard tests administered to legal cannabis products and only available at legal medical cannabis dispensaries, the study found.

The lab results also found an example of THC levels more than twice as advertised — with gummy bears labeled at 100 mg of THC at one shop testing at 204.77 mg, the survey alleges.

The study says unlicensed pop-up stores are selling tainted cannabis.

Eight other stores had flowered or other cannabis products that tested at a lower level of THC than advertised, the study claimed.

Half the locations did not ask for identification — a major concern given that youths under the age of 21 are barred from buying cannabis or THC products. Recent studies show that cannabis use among young adults and youths has skyrocketed nationwide as more states have legalized the recreational sale of marijuana.

The report also claimed 100% of the cannabis flowered products and edibles would flunk New York State’s stringent regulations.

Equally startling is the study’s admission that there are “likely tens of thousands of illicit cannabis businesses currently out of bodegas, smoke shops, or other retail locations” that are licensed to sell other products. “The estimated number of `back room’ illicit locations in New York City is far too vast,” the study said.

illegal pot shops
The study found that “thousands” of bodegas and black-market shops are illegally selling cannabis.

Aside from the health dangers of buying from illicit cannabis dealers, the tremendous proliferation of the black-market stores and mobile trucks that pay lower or no taxes on their products threatens to undermine the newly licensed New York state cannabis operators obligated to follow the rules and pay higher taxes that boost the cost of their products.

The state last week issued 36 licenses — 28 to entrepreneurs and eight to not-for-profit groups — to sell cannabis retail. But The Post discovered unregulated shops already operating brazenly across the city, including tidy neighborhoods such as Kew Gardens. 

Jars filled with marijuana leaves are displayed at the Weed World store on March 31, 2021, in Midtown New York. - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation legalizing recreational marijuana on March 31. 2021, with a large chunk of tax revenues from sales set to go to minority communities. New York joins 14 other US states and the District of Columbia in permitting cannabis after lawmakers in both state chambers, where Cuomo's Democratic Party holds strong majorities, backed the bill on March 30.
Thousands of unlicensed shops are selling cannabis in New York City.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 07: Individual marijuana plants in plastic cups are ready to be handed out at the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally in Union Square on May 07, 2022 in New York City. Despite the heavy rain dozens showed up under umbrellas for the rally. This year’s event celebrates one year of legalization in New York. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
A new study found that unlicensed shops are selling marijuana tainted with salmonella, E. coli and lead.

“These bad actors present a clear danger that could undermine both the budding industry and the health of New York residents and visitors,” the study concluded.

“The report’s findings are deeply troubling and highlight the tremendous risks posed by unscrupulous firms operating above the law,” NYMCIA president Ngiste Abebe said.

“New York has a responsibility to not only protect the health and safety of its residents but also to fulfill the promise of a socially equitable adult-use market. Neither goal can
be realized without stricter enforcement against bad actors.”

Cannabis license applicant Juancarlos Huntt, co-founder of New York for Social and Economic Equity, fumed, “They’re opportunists that are retraumatizing our community and stopping our ability to build wealth.

“They are poisoning our black and brown communities. You cannot build wealth without health and these smoke shop owners are destroying the reputation of New York’s cannabis with their chemicals. They need to be stopped.”


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Discredited FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly bristled earlier this month over rampant speculation on whether he and other company executives were engaged in a polyamorous lifestyle.

Bankman-Fried criticized media inquiries about his love life during a Nov. 16 phone call with cryptocurrency influencer Tiffany Fong – excerpts of which were first published on Tuesday by Fong and prominent YouTuber Stephen “Coffeezilla” Findeisen.

“The problem is that, at the end of the day, their metric is clicks. That’s what they need to get and it’s fine, it is what it is, but what it means is that a boring story won’t sell and so they’re going to be trying to ask me, like, the most provocative possible questions,” Bankman-Fried said.

“We, as a society, have, in my opinion, in my humble opinion, have spent about enough time this week trying to figure out whether anyone living in Albany was polyamorous,” Bankman-Fried added. “I feel like I’ve answered that question a lot, and the answer is too boring for people to, like, believe.”

The Post has reached out to Bankman-Fried for comment.

Speculation about Bankman-Fried’s romantic entanglements is closely entwined with questions about FTX’s operations in the days before its collapse. CoinDesk reported that Bankman-Fried was part of a “cabal of roommates” who ran FTX and its sister cryptocurrency trading firm Alameda Research from a luxury penthouse in the Bahamas.

CoinDesk stated that the roommates “are, or used to be, paired up in romantic relationships with each other.” In particular, Bankman-Fried was romantically involved with Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of the now-shuttered Alameda Research.

Caroline Ellison
Caroline Ellison was CEO of Alameda Research.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch

Bankman-Fried later confirmed the two had dated but indicated they were not currently in a relationship.

The report sparked rampant online gossip that FTX’s leaders lived in a “polycule,” or a network of polyamorous relationships. Recently resurfaced Tumblr posts purportedly written by Ellison described a “foray into poly.”

“When I first started my foray into poly, I thought of it as a radical break from my trad past,” Ellison allegedly wrote in the Tumblr post. “But tbh I’ve come to decide the only acceptable style of poly is best characterized as something like ‘imperial Chinese harem.’”

Earlier this month, FTX’s former in-house performance coach George Lerner downplayed the situation and told the New York Times the doomed platform’s leaders “were undersexed, if anything.”

Fong said Bankman-Fried had followed her on Twitter for some time by the time FTX filed for bankruptcy. She sent Bankman-Fried a Twitter direct message asking if he’d be willing to discuss the situation, which led to the phone call.

In audio from the Nov. 16 call published on Fong’s YouTube page, Bankman-Fried said he had agreed to speak to her because he felt she would approach the conversation “from at least a somewhat neutral and interested vantage point.”

The collapse of FTX, the crypto exchange founded by the disgraced Sam Bankman-Fried, has rocked the industry.
The collapse of FTX, the crypto exchange founded by the disgraced Bankman-Fried, has rocked the industry.

Fong admitted that she had “redacted” portions of the phone call at Bankman-Fried’s request.

Bankman-Fried participated in the call on the same day that Vox published a story detailing wild direct messages he had exchanged with reporter Kelsey Piper. In that interview, Bankman-Fried ripped regulators and indicated he regretted filing for bankruptcy.

The disgraced FTX founder made several other bold claims during his conversation with Fong – including an unverified assertion that he made massive “dark money” donations to Republican lawmakers during the midterms.

Caroline Ellison
Ellison has yet to comment on Alameda’s collapse.

Bankman-Fried – the second-largest Democratic donor ahead of the midterm elections – said he kept the GOP donations under wraps to prevent media blowback.

“The reason was not for regulatory reasons. It’s because reporters freak the f—k out if you donate to Republicans, they’re all super-liberal, and I didn’t want to have that fight,” Bankman-Fried said.

Bankman-Fried also claimed ignorance of the so-called “back door” described in a Reuters report which alleged that FTX co-founder Gary Wang created a system to allow stealthy changes to the company’s books.

“I don’t even know how to code, is the honest, embarrassing answer,” Bankman-Fried said.


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Joplin plumber, Steve Baird came up with the idea to covert old hot water heaters into smokers

Plumber, Steve Baird converted this old hot water tank into a fully-functioning meat smoker.

JOPLIN, Mo. — What can you do with your old hot water tank? You could sell it for the scrap metal, or you can do what one Joplin plumber decided to do: Turn it into a meat smoker. The idea came to plumber, Steve Baird, after he amassed a large collection of old hot water heaters over the years.

“For a long time I’ve removed water heaters as a plumber. I usually just scrap pile them and once I get a whole truckload, I take them in and get $20 or $30 for them. Then, I got to thinking, ‘man, there’s got to be something better to do with these.’ I came up with the idea a long time ago but never had time to do it. Finally the hot water tank in my house went out, and rather than haul it off, I just cut it all up and made it into a smoker,” said Baird.

The process to convert a hot water tank into a smoker isn’t a difficult one, Baird claims. The round shape of the tank is ideal for cooking and smoking meat. “I made it all from raw materials. I use the tank itself and I was just careful when I cut doors in it. I just had to buy some hinges for the doors. I bought some expanded metal to make my own grates and that was about it. Everything else can be fabricated pretty easily.”

| Army Vet Builds, Donates Grandfather Clock >

Baird converted his first hot water tank just in time for the Thanksgiving. He started with several racks of ribs. After that, Baird decided to tackle a holiday ham. He claimed that both of them were “incredible.”

Baird is now sharing his knowledge of turning old hot water tanks into a high-end smokers. Don Turnbull, a friend of Baird’s and welding instructor at Franklin Technology Center in Joplin, MO learned how to convert the tanks and is now teaching some of his students how to do the same. “Right now, I’ve got four students that are working on this particular project and once they’re done, the smokers will likely be auctioned off,” said Turnbull.

Each smoker is estimated to be worth anywhere from $500 to $700. Baird says the smokers from Franklin Technology Center, including any that he builds, will likely be put up for auction at the annual “Bands For Brothers” veteran charity event during the summer of 2023.

SLIDESHOW: View Photos of the Hot Water Tank Turned Smoker


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B&B’s Darin Brooks (Wyatt) and Kelly Kruger (ex-Eva; ex-Mackenzie, Y&R) will appear on screen together in the upcoming GAF Family holiday flick, THE ART OF CHRISTMAS. The film was scheduled to air on December 18, but has been pushed up to December 9. Brooks was not expecting to be part of the cast but the stars aligned. “Kelly had worked with the producers before and they were still casting and Kelly was like, ‘Let me ask Darin if he wants to do one of the roles,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure.’ It was very cool that worked out, and it was so fun for us to work together again,” the actor told Digest.


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The Federal Reserve could scale back the pace of its interest rate hikes “as soon as December,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday, while cautioning the fight against inflation was far from over and that key questions remain unanswered, including how high rates will ultimately need to rise and for how long.

“It makes sense to moderate the pace of our rate increases as we approach the level of restraint that will be sufficient to bring inflation down. The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting,” Powell said in remarks prepared for delivery at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.

But, in a speech emphasizing the work left to be done in controlling inflation, Powell said that issue was “far less significant than the questions of how much further we will need to raise rates to control inflation, and the length of time it will be necessary to hold policy at a restrictive level.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell
“Despite the tighter policy and slower growth over the past year, we have not seen clear progress on slowing inflation,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a speech Wednesday.

While the Fed chief did not indicate his estimated “terminal rate,” Powell said it is likely to be “somewhat higher” than the 4.6% indicated by policymakers in their September projections. He said curing inflation “will require holding policy at a restrictive level for some time,” a comment that appeared to lean against market expectations the central bank could begin cutting rates next year as the economy slows.

“We will stay the course until the job is done,” Powell said, noting that even though some data points to inflation slowing next year, “we have a long way to go in restoring price stability … Despite the tighter policy and slower growth over the past year, we have not seen clear progress on slowing inflation.”

The Fed’s response to the fastest outbreak of inflation in 40 years has been a similarly abrupt increase in interest rates. With a half-percentage-point increase expected at its Dec. 13-14 meeting, the central bank will have lifted its overnight policy rate from near zero as of March to the 4.25%-4.5% range, the swiftest change in rates since former Fed Chair Paul Volcker was battling an even worse rise in prices.

That has made home mortgages and other forms of credit more expensive for consumers and businesses.

It has not, however, caused any appreciable impact on the job market, where the current 3.7% unemployment rate has led some policymakers to argue they are free to tighten rates further without much risk.

Shoppers during Black Friday
Powell noted that while goods inflation has been easing, the cost of housing is likely to continue to rise into next year.
Getty Images

But it has also had no convincing impact yet on inflation, a fact that has left open just how much further the Fed may need to raise rates into what it refers to as “restrictive” territory designed to slow the economy.

Powell said that Fed estimates of October inflation showed its preferred measure still rising at about triple the central bank’s 2% target.

‘Long way to go’

Powell noted that while goods inflation has been easing, the cost of housing is likely to continue to rise into next year, while key price measures for services remain high and the labor market tight.

“Growth in economic activity has slowed to well below its longer-run trend,” Powell said. But for inflation to slow “this needs to be sustained. Bottlenecks in goods production are easing and goods price inflation appears to be easing as well, and this, too, must continue.”But “we will likely see housing services inflation begin to fall later next year,” he said. Citing data released earlier on Wednesday that showed still about 1.7 job openings for each unemployed person, he said that “so far, we have seen only tentative signs of moderation of labor demand.”

“Despite some promising developments, we have a long way to go in restoring price stability.”


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Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie has died at the age of 79, the band announced Wednesday.

McVie, a keyboardist, joined the band in 1970.

She’s credited with writing many songs for the band, with five appearing on arguably their best album — 1977’s “Rumours.”

No cause of death is available at this time.

Fleetwood Mac broke the news on their official Facebook page.

“There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be very missed,” the band wrote.

This story will be updated.


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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy defended his decision to continue peddling the controversial anti-Semitic film that landed Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving in hot water.

During the Dealbook conference in New York on Wednesday, Jassy insisted the movie, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” doesn’t directly incite hate as the reason for the film remaining on the site.

“Trying to decide which content contains hate content to an extent of which we don’t provide access to customers is one the trickiest issues we deal with at the company,” Jassy told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin. “We have hundreds of millions of customers with lots of different viewpoints.”

The CEO explained that content that “espouses hate” or “negative characteristics to people” is more straightforward and deserves to be banned, but this case is more nuanced.

“Inside the company we won’t tolerate hate or discrimination or harassment, but we also recognize as a retailer of content to hundreds of millions of customers with lots of different viewpoints that we have to be willing to allow access to those viewpoints even if they are objectionable and even if they differ from our own personal viewpoints if you’re going to serve that number of people,” he said.

The documentary film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” is laced with anti-Semitic tropes.
A description from of the anti-Semtic film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.”

The answer rankled Sorkin, who is Jewish and who said the film could spread anti-Semitism. Jassy, who is also Jewish, agreed but held firm despite admitting he finds some of the film’s content “objectionable.”

The film, which is based on a 2015 book of the same title, promotes anti-Semitic tropes and bogus claims, including that the Black Hebrew Israelites are the true descendants of biblical Israelites.

It also alleges a global Jewish conspiracy to oppress black people and that Jews were partially to blame for the African slave trade. Irving posted a link to the film on Twitter earlier this month, and later refused to condemn the movie when pressed by the media. He was eventually suspended for eight games by the Nets.

kyrie irving
Nets star Kyrie Irving was suspended after posting a link to the anti-Semitic film and refusing to condemn it after being pressed by the media.
Getty Images

Sorkin asked if Amazon would consider putting a notice or warning label on either the book or film.

Jassy said that while Amazon has a panel of people who look at each piece of content to evaluate if something should be removed, it didn’t have a process in place for warning labels. Adding this new layer is “tricky” because it is “hard to scale,” Jassy said.

“There are a lot of books and a lot of pieces of content where people would want those disclaimers and we don’t want a store where every page has a disclaimer,” he said, noting that customers do a good job of providing warnings in their reviews.

Andy Jassy
Jassy waffled when asked if Amazon would consider putting a notice on the anti-Semitic book and film.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon’s decision to continue selling the book and movie spurred backlash earlier this month from the Anti-Defamation League and Hollywood stars like Mila Kunis and Debra Messing, who wanted it pulled from the site.


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If you’ve been searching for the right opportunity to add more style, vigor and comfort to your space, you’ll appreciate this list. We checked in with professional designers and industry players for their take on the top interior design trends for 2023.

Some of their picks confirm that certain things like: shades of blue, personality-packed rugs fit for maximalists, statement window treatments and high-style marble slabs in kitchens, stand the test of time. After all, a few of these were also highlighted in our feature on the leading design trends for 2022. But other trend predictions may surprise you: high-gloss wood finishes and full-on craft rooms are just a few examples to note.

All in all, use this list of the biggest design trends for 2023, including trending kitchen ideas, to bring your own space to life in the coming year. And remember that this forecast isn’t a mandate to embark on a gut renovation if that’s not in the cards for you right now. Sometimes the smallest design upgrades — the right color palette, hardware style, piece of furniture or decorative accent — are all it takes to give a room a fresh, picture-perfect look. Get started on your dream kitchen, living room, bedroom retreat or just about any other space that could use a refresh.


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TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. – A Schnucks grocery store in Town and Country sold a Powerball ticket worth $50,000 for the Nov. 7 drawing.

The numbers drawn that night were 10, 33, 41, 47, and 56, with a red Powerball number of 9. The ticket matched four of the five white-ball numbers, plus the Powerball number.

Missourians had several winners for the Nov. 7 Powerball drawing. Players won a pair of $1 million prizes and a $100,000 prize. Six $50,000 winners were sold as well.

The Nov. 30 Powerball drawing is worth an estimated $65 million. If there is a jackpot winner, the game’s “Jackpot Reset” promotion kicks in, giving players who bought three Powerball plays on a single ticket a free $2 ticket for a future drawing.


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Despite high interest rates and chronic inflation, the US economy grew at a 2.9% annual rate from July through September, the government said Wednesday in a healthy upgrade from its initial estimate.

Last quarter’s rise in the gross domestic product — the economy’s total output of goods and services — followed two straight quarters of contraction. That decline in output had raised fears that the economy might have slipped into a recession in the first half of the year despite a still-robust job market and steady consumer spending.

Since then, though, most signs have pointed to a resilient if slow-moving economy, led by steady hiring, plentiful job openings and low unemployment. Wednesday’s government report showed that the restoration of growth in the July-September period was led by solid gains in exports and consumer spending that was stronger than originally reported.

“Despite higher borrowing costs and prices, household spending – the driver of the economy – appears to be holding, which is a positive development for the near-term outlook,″ said Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics.

Shopper at a Target store
Retailers say inflation-weary shoppers are shopping cautiously, with many holding out for the most attractive bargains.

It marked the second of three estimates the Commerce Department will provide of economic expansion in the third quarter. In its initial estimate, the department had estimated that the economy grew at a 2.6% annual rate last quarter.

Economists expect the economy to eke out modest 1% annualized growth from October through December, according to a survey of forecasters conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The nation’s manufacturing sector is slowing despite an easing of supply chains that had been backlogged since the economy began rebounding from the pandemic recession two years ago. And inflation is threatening to weaken the crucial holiday shopping period. Retailers say inflation-weary shoppers are shopping cautiously, with many holding out for the most attractive bargains.

But a recession, if likely a mild one, is widely expected in 2023, a consequence of the Federal Reserve’s drive to tame the worst bout of inflation in four decades by aggressively raising interest rates. The Fed has raised its benchmark short-term rate six times this year — including four straight hefty hikes of three-quarters of a percentage point. The central bank is expected to announce an additional half-point hike in its key rate when it next meets in mid-December.

Because the Fed’s benchmark rate influences many consumer and business loans, its series of hikes have made most loans throughout the economy sharply more expensive. That has been particularly true of mortgage rates, which have proved devastating to the housing market. With mortgage rates having doubled over the past year, housing investment shrank in the July-September period at a 26.8% annual pace, according to Wednesday’s GDP report.

Employees at assembly line at Rivian plant.
The nation’s manufacturing sector is slowing despite an easing of supply chains that had been backlogged since the economy began rebounding from the pandemic recession two years ago.

Chair Jerome Powell has stressed that the Fed will do all that it takes to curb the spikes in consumer prices, which shot up 7.7% in October from a year earlier — a slowdown from a year-over-year peak of 9.1% in June but still significantly above the Fed’s 2% target.

Economists had shrugged off the contraction in GDP in the first half of the year because it didn’t reflect any major fundamental weakness in the economy. Instead, it was caused mainly by an influx of imports and by a reduction in companies’ inventories.

In the meantime, the job market has remained surprisingly durable. Employers have added a healthy average of 407,000 jobs a month so far in 2022. And according to a survey by the data firm FactSet, economists predict that the nation gained an additional 200,000 jobs this month. The government will issue the November jobs report on Friday.


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