College rankings have made school less affordable, less equitable, and more miserable for students. The pandemic exposed just how broken the system is.

Silhouettes of people struggling to hold up a giant U.S. News & World Report logo on a red background
The incentives around college rankings forced universities to take actions during the pandemic that made student experiences worse and more expensive.

  • College rankings don’t measure aspects of universities that are the most beneficial for students.
  • They’re mainly based on factors that are determined by wealth, access, privilege, and selectivity.
  • The pandemic showed how truly broken the system is, yielding worse experiences for students.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Early September is a blisteringly busy time for colleges and universities, with the start of the new semester and a whole new class of students kicking off the year of studies. But while everyone else is celebrating the start of something new, administrators are wracking their nerves over the results of something old, something they devote a considerable amount of prep to – their own big exam, the one that makes up an enormous amount of their grade: Will this be the year they take a big hit on the US News and World Report rankings?

Though circulation was down to 1.1 million in 2010 from 2 million in 2005, the once-powerful newsweekly commands an outsized presence in our popular understanding of universities.

“US News, of course, was the first one to really monetize rankings. They made huge big business out of rankings,” said Susan Paterno, author of the new book, “Game On: Why College Admission Is Rigged and How to Beat the System“.

When US News develops a rating, they select what is valuable in higher education. When they decide what’s valuable, colleges react, and try to get the numbers up. And when getting the numbers are this important, when they’re translated into a zero-sum ranking against their peers, colleges are incentivized to do things that make the college experience worse and more expensive for students, applicants, and faculty in order to appease that algorithm.

The birth of rankings

In the 1980s, two businesses emerged that would change higher education permanently: the test prep business, which was largely forged by Stanley Kaplan, who founded the company bearing his last name, and the beginning of the US News and World Report rankings.

As US News began to assign scores to universities using the test scores of admitted students as a proxy for quality, colleges began to desire more and more applicants who tested high.

The universities offered merit-based scholarships and financial incentives to those students, and as a result affluent parents of college applicants would pay for test prep for their kids to get those incentives.

“Even though that metric had nothing to do with the quality of the education that the particular college or university was providing – it was really just a number that describes kids in high school – that metric became the foundation that US News used to measure quality,” Paterno said. “But it was a bogus measure, really.”

Only 20% of the score on its Best Colleges rankings comes from academic instruction and faculty resources.

Optimizing this 20% may still lead to negative outcomes for students. Paying faculty more can raise the sticker price of colleges. Optimizing class size to appease US News can lead to things like capping classes and thus limiting the number of large, efficient lectures, or constraining the ability of students to get into entry-level courses.

It appears US News has more influence on class size than many professors. In 2014, Northeastern University’s former president Richard Freeland told Boston Magazine in 2014, “You get credit for the number of classes you have under 20 [students], so we lowered our caps on a lot of our classes to 19 just to make sure.”

How the pandemic and college ratings caused a perfect storm

When the pandemic set in, the college experience imploded overnight. All the academic and interpersonal hallmarks of a college education – landscaped verdant campuses, faculty-student mentoring, research opportunities, everything from sports to labs to parties to dorms – was all flattened to the width of an LCD screen.

Everyone was paying full sticker price to go to the same college, Zoom University.

During the pandemic, students needed academic flexibility. Thanks to the rigors of rankings, they did not get it.

professor gestures to students on video call
Associate Professor Carol Dysinger of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts conducts a remote office hour for filmmaking grad students at her Brooklyn apartment on May 29, 2020.

When graduation and retention is 35% of their score, colleges simply could not afford to have students transfer out, or defer their graduation, or pause their enrollment, because that could have a disastrous impact on their completion rate.

One-fifth of the score comes from a survey sent out to admissions offices asking for assessments of peer universities, and another fifth is an implicit reckoning of institutional wealth – per-student spending, alumni giving, admitted student selectivity. Improving per-student spending also has the knock-on effect of pushing colleges to spend more, which has to be paid for by tuition.

“If you look at how US News ranks, they had no definition of academic excellence, so they created one,” Paterno said. “And how did they create that? They didn’t measure actual learning at all. Instead, they measured students’ selectivity, test scores and grades, institutional resources.”

“And that’s: how wealthy are you?”

Robert Morse, chief data strategist at US News, disputed the incentives Paterno described.

“It’s an incorrect premise to say that our methodology only incentivizes colleges to enroll affluent students. Schools will do better in the U.S. News Best Colleges ranking if they enroll and graduate high proportions of Pell Grant students vs those that only enroll very small percentages of Pell Grant students,” Morse said in an email.

Five percent of the US News score is related to Pell Grant student performance.

“It is also an incorrect assertion to imply that graduation rates only represent institutional wealth,” Morse said. “Graduation rates are highly important to students and their parents. When a student enrolls in a school their intent is to graduate with a diploma. If a school is only graduating half their students, that is an important indicator of poor outcomes and is independent of the type of students and their economic background.”

girl adjusts graduation cap at college wearing a sash that says zoom university
Katherine Koeppel, 22, a psychology major who graduated from USC in May, on campus in Los Angeles on July 2, 2020. She had a Zoom logo embroidered onto her sash, a reminder of how she attended class her last semester because of the pandemic.

Bad for students, worse for applicants

The rankings make life even worse for applicants. The incentives are obvious, Paterno says: If you have two applicants of equal academic merit, and one comes from difficult circumstances and the other is affluent, who is more likely to graduate in four years? With 35% of the university’s score at stake, this isn’t hypothetical.

“Graduation rates are a very controversial metric,” Paterno said, “because it it gives colleges incentives to reject students they think won’t complete.”

During a pandemic – and especially during a year in which the number of college applications are through the roof – which applicants stood to gain and which stood to lose?

Another 5% is a newer figure that discerns how much money graduates owe. Making this a factor is an excellent way to push universities into accepting more wealthy or affluent people who don’t need to take loans.

“They don’t really want to accept students with hardships that might cause them to drop out,” Paterno said.

The pandemic turned the college application process from a merely Kafkaesque nightmare to an abattoir of despair.

Having dropped their testing requirements, universities received an onslaught of applications. One survey of applicants from consulting firm Art & Science Group found 20% were on some kind of wait list. While just 18% of middle- or lower-income kids were on a wait list, 32% of applicants from higher-income households were.

Some wait lists are still active today: the Applying to College subreddit inventories this anxiety, with applicants venting about “extended waitlists” in the University of California system, at Johns Hopkins, Duke, and more.

The US News applicant performance rating, worth 7%, doesn’t measure the quality of the instruction at the college but rather the standardized testing and class ranking of the people who are admitted. Even that, Paterno said, is a proxy for finances, namely the budget to recruit and advertise and offer scholarships to desirable high performers.

student with a face mask attends a college class in their dorm on zoom
Freshman Kyalynn Moore-Wilson sits at a desk in her dorm room before joining a Zoom meeting for an Introduction to Psychology course as classes begin amid the coronavirus pandemic at the University of New Mexico on August 17, 2020.

The incentives for colleges and universities are clear: with 35% of the score derived from the fraction who stick around, make it incredibly financially painful for students to take a break during the pandemic and don’t gamble on students who are financially precarious. With 20% derived from money, don’t cut tuition or offer breaks. With 5% from graduate indebtedness, only take the richest applicants. Remember, you’ve got a reputation to maintain: that’s 20% of your score, after all.

Is there a good rating system out there?

The current rating system that Paterno argues is fundamentally broken is, even still, the result of years of improvements.

This includes the removal of the acceptance rate, which was responsible for lots of applicant misery and a heap of third-party mailers going out to applicants the universities knew would likely fail to make the grade. In order to get their acceptance rate down, colleges and universities would mount colossal ad campaigns and direct mail to drive the applicant counts up.

Developing a new and improved rating system is fraught, as the Obama administration learned during a 2013 rollout of a federal college rating system that was eventually scrapped.

Even the best-intentioned arbiters face an uphill battle in trying to assign an arbitrary rating and ranking to a college, probably because the idea of reducing a colossal institution to a fragmentary rank completely misunderstands what a university actually is, and further sets up incentives that undermine their abilities to accomplish their actual mission.

There’s no indication that the market for ratings is slowing down. Following the outstanding commercial success of their college rankings, US News has since expanded to medical schools, law schools, and even high schools.

If anything, the market for ratings is only growing – their database now includes preschools and elementary schools, too.

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COVID-19 symptoms are overlapping again with colds, flu, and seasonal allergies. Here’s how to tell the difference.

coronavirus test
A medical worker performs a PCR test for COVID-19 in Montreuil, France on August 31, 2020.

  • Respiratory infections may become more prevalent again now that Americans are ditching their masks.
  • Some cold or flu cases could be easily confused with a mild COVID-19 infection.
  • Headaches and runny noses seem to be more common among recent COVID-19 cases than past ones.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Measures to curb the coronavirus’ spread, like mask wearing and social distancing, effectively blunted last year’s flu season: Just 155 Americans were hospitalized with the flu from October through January. That’s compared to around 8,600 during roughly the same time period a year prior.

But as Americans ditch their masks and return to normal activities, experts caution that respiratory infections could become more prevalent again.

“I do anticipate that in the months ahead, if people are not wearing masks – and we’ve started to see some of this already – that there will likely be an increase of upper respiratory infections in places that are not wearing masks,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a White House press briefing last week.

Common colds are particularly likely to spread, since they’re a year-round illness (though cold cases typically spike in the spring and winter).

“There’s no doubt the colds are coming back,” Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, told Insider.

In some instances, colds could be easily confused with a mild COVID-19 case. The following chart shows how COVID-19 symptoms either overlap with or diverge from symptoms commonly associated with colds, flu, and seasonal allergies:

The COVID Symptom Study – a project that tracks self-reported COVID-19 symptoms via an app – suggests that a headache and runny nose are now two leading indicators of a COVID-19 infection in the UK, especially among people who are young or partially vaccinated.

So public-health experts are considering whether the Delta variant – which is now dominant in the UK – is causing a somewhat different set of symptoms than the original strain. It’s also possible that average COVID-19 symptoms appear milder lately because more young, healthy people (who are less likely to be vaccinated) are getting infected – or getting official diagnoses – than earlier in the pandemic.

For the most part, though, fully vaccinated people rarely contract COVID-19, let alone develop symptoms. From January to April, just 0.01% of vaccinated Americans – around 10,000 out of 100 million people – got COVID-19 after they were fully immunized, according to a May CDC report. About 27% of those infections were asymptomatic.

That means severe respiratory symptoms among vaccinated people are more likely the result of something other than COVID-19, Gandhi said.

“There are more people hospitalized for other non-COVID respiratory pathogens in the UK right now than there are for COVID-19,” Gandhi added. “That’s what happens when you mass vaccinate.”

Is it COVID-19? Allergies? The common cold?

COVID-19 rarely follows a neat pattern. The CDC estimates that around 30% of cases are asymptomatic, while the remainder can range from mild to severe. The disease can bring a variety of symptoms, the most common of which include fever, cough, loss of smell or taste, headaches, sore throat, and fatigue.

But vaccines could be making symptoms milder overall, so it’s difficult to tell what an average case looks like now.

The COVID Symptom Study found that loss of smell was more common among those who were fully vaccinated than those who hadn’t been immunized. Meanwhile, fever was more common among unvaccinated than vaccinated people.

“Our hope is it’ll get milder,” Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, recently told Insider. “So it will just become like a cold.”

Both colds and COVID-19 tend to develop gradually – whereas the flu and allergies have more abrupt symptoms, as the chart below shows.

COVID-19 symptoms compared to seasonal influenza, allergies, and the common cold

On average, people with COVID-19 start to feel sick five days after they were infected, though symptoms can manifest anywhere from two days to two weeks post-infection.

Similarly, people with a common cold may have a sore throat for eight days, a headache for nine to 10 days, and congestion, a runny nose, or cough for more than two weeks. Cold symptoms usually reach their peak within two to three days of infection.

People with the flu, on the other hand, typically feel sick one to four days after exposure.

Allergies tend to last longer – about two to three weeks per allergen – and won’t resolve until the allergen leaves the air. Peak allergy season lasts through July this year, so some runny noses may be attributable to pollen, not COVID-19. But getting tested is still the only way to know for sure.

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The original coronavirus strain has almost disappeared in the US. One chart shows how variants took over.

covid delta variant
A mobile COVID-19 vaccination center in Bolton, England, on June 9, 2021.

  • Coronavirus variants have largely replaced the original strain, rendering it essentially obsolete.
  • The Alpha variant took over as the US’s dominant strain in April. Delta could replace it soon.
  • Scientists aren’t sure whether more contagious variants will evolve from the dominant ones.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Viruses will do what it takes to survive – even if it means killing off an older, weaker self and replacing it with a more transmissible strain.

For the first several months of the pandemic, however, the coronavirus had no need to become more dangerous: The virus was doing a good job of spreading, with each new infected person passing it to an average of two to three others. At the time, scientists hoped that the original strain of the virus, known as the “wild type,” was already contagious enough that it wouldn’t evolve further.

But as the pandemic swelled and more people got infected, the coronavirus had more opportunities to replicate, and therefore mutate, incurring small, random changes in its genetic sequence. Most mutations are harmless, but every so often a distinct set yields new properties – a variant.

Scientists now estimate that variants have almost completely replaced the original strain in the US, rendering it essentially obsolete.

“Pretty much all the virus that’s circulating right now has one of these variants that make it differ from the original strain that first took off across the world,” Tyler Starr, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, told Insider.

The chart below shows how a few variants have dominated the US since February. More than 200 less prevalent strains, including the original version of the virus, are listed as “other.”

The Alpha variant, first identified in the UK in September, became prevalent in the US from February to April, going from 27% to 70% of all circulating strains. It’s about 50% more transmissible than the original strain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, the share of other coronavirus strains (including the original) fell from 20% to 4%.

By May, Alpha had a strong competitor: Delta. An analysis from Public Health England found that the Delta variant was associated with a 60% increased risk of household transmission compared to Alpha, though more recent estimates suggest that difference is closer to 40%.

From May to June, Delta grew from less than 3% of all circulating strains in the US to more than 20%. It’s poised to become the US’s dominant strain within weeks.

“Basically everywhere, once Delta gets there, it does overtake something like the Alpha variant,” Starr said. “That is evidence that, to some degree, it is more transmissible.”

Could an even more contagious variant replace Delta?

variant lab
Researchers sequence coronavirus samples at the University Hospital of Badajoz in Spain on April 15, 2021.

So far, Starr said, coronavirus variants – even Delta – aren’t fundamentally different from the wild type.

“These mutations might be slightly modifying things like transmissibility,” he said, but “that trait was there in the original virus and it’s just being altered slightly.”

In fact, some scientists wonder if the virus is nearing “peak fitness,” the point after which it no longer mutates to become more infectious.

Delta is by far the “fittest” variant to date, according to the World Health Organization. In addition to being more transmissible than other strains, it may also be deadlier: Researchers in Scotland found that getting infected with Delta doubled the risk of hospital admission relative to Alpha. (Previous studies have suggested that the Alpha variant may be 30 to 70% deadlier than the original strain.) Vaccines, of course, significantly lower that risk for both variants.

“Delta is absolutely going up the fitness peak – whether it’s at the top, I think that’s very hard to say until we just don’t see any further change,” Andrew Read, who studies the evolution of infectious diseases at Pennsylvania State University, recently told Insider.

“If Delta takes over the world and nothing changes,” he added, “then we’ll know in a while – a year or two – that it is the most fit.”

But Starr thinks the virus probably won’t ever stop mutating.

“As people continue to get immunity, the virus will continue to evolve to be able to transmit and infect people,” he said. “But at the same time, we’ll have that low-level immune reaction that makes it a much less severe thing over time.”

It’s still possible that an entirely new lineage might replace Delta as the dominant variant, or that two variants – Delta and Alpha, for instance – could combine mutations to produce an even more infectious strain. In the worst-case scenario, the virus could evolve into a “variant of high consequence” – one that’s far more distinct than the variants currently circulating and highly resistant to vaccines. That hasn’t been observed yet.

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One chart shows how COVID-19 vaccines stack up against 4 worrisome variants, including the one found in India

India vaccine
Medical workers administer COVID-19 vaccines in Mumbai, India, April 13, 2021.

Sixteen months into the pandemic, half of all US adults have been vaccinated, and the number of new daily coronavirus cases has fallen below 30,000 for the first time since June.

But infections involving worrisome coronavirus variants continue to pop up. Some of these mutated strains are more transmissible than earlier versions of the virus, while others can partially evade antibodies developed in response to prior infections. So concerns linger about how well the authorized COVID-19 vaccines work against these variants.

Earlier this year, lab studies exposed blood samples from vaccinated people to the variants first found in South Africa and Brazil. The results showed that the samples generated fewer protective antibodies that could neutralize those variants than they did when exposed to the original virus.

But as more people get vaccinated, real-world data has started to trickle in from areas where these pernicious variants dominate. This offers a better look at how well leading shots work at preventing symptomatic infections. And the results are promising: none of the variants that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are monitoring can fully evade vaccines. Plus, reduced antibody responses haven’t necessarily translated into poorer protection against infection.

The COVID-19 vaccines even seem to work against a group of variants discovered in India this winter, called B.1.617, which likely contributed to the country’s coronavirus surge. Data from the UK government, obtained by the Financial Times, suggest that two doses of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines offer a high degree of protection against B.1.617.

The chart below summarizes what we know so far about how well five vaccines work to protect people from four of the most worrisome coronavirus variants.

Comparing worrisome coronavirus variants

Countless versions of the coronavirus circulate worldwide, each separated by a small number of genetic mutations. Once a slew of mutations makes a particular strain better at infecting people, deadlier, or more able to evade the antibodies generated from a vaccine or previous infection, geneticists label it a variant of concern.

There are four of these, according to the WHO: B.1.1.7, the variant initially found in the UK in September; P.1, which was discovered in December; B.1.351, which was detected in samples from South Africa dating back to October; and B.1.617, a group of strains first spotted in India this winter.

The first three share a mutation that affects the shape of the virus’ spike protein, which it uses to invade cells. That may be why these variants are more transmissible.

Studies have found that the B.1.1.7 variant is 50% to 70% more contagious than its viral predecessors. Recent evidence also suggests that people infected with this variant face a higher risk of death than those who get other strains. One potential reason is that people infected with B.1.1.7 tend to have higher viral loads, meaning they produce more viral particles when they’re infected.

The same goes for the P.1 variant, which is 40% to 120% more transmissible than earlier versions of the virus and possibly deadlier, though more research is needed to confirm that. An April study found that people who got COVID-19 in Manaus, Brazil were nearly twice as likely to die after P.1 came to dominate the viral landscape in Brazil. But it’s unclear whether that higher mortality rate is linked to the variant or the overburdened hospital system in Manaus. P.1 has been detected in 51 countries.

The B.1.351 variant, meanwhile, is estimated to be 50% more transmissible and has been found in 92 countries. But studies have not found it to be more lethal than the original virus.

The variant first found in India, B.1.617, is in fact four distinct strains, according to the CDC. The quickest spreader of the lot is B.1.617.2, which has spread to 50 countries and is now the dominant form of the virus in the UK. That strain has a combination of mutations that help it bind more tightly to cells and enable it to partially evade antibodies developed in response to an infection with the original coronavirus. There’s no evidence these variants are deadlier, but the WHO has said B.1.617 could be more transmissible.

Vaccines hold up well against variants

coronavirus india pandemic
Ambulance staff wait for permission to enter Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital in New Delhi, India, on April 21, 2021.

The leading shots may still be slightly less effective against variants than against the original virus, but so far, it seems like they still protect people.

“There’s a degree of reduction of efficacy, but it’s going to be manageable,” John Moore, an immunologist at Weill Cornell Medical College, told STAT. “It’s why we call these ‘variants of concern,’ and not ‘variants of mass panic.'”

Some shots seem to perform better than others, though – particularly against against the B.1.351 and P.1 strains. A recent study from Qatar found that the Pfizer vaccine is 75% effective at stopping B.1.351 infections in the real world, while the AstraZeneca shot’s effectiveness dropped to 10% in some South Africa trials. China’s Sinovac vaccine, meanwhile, was found to be about 50% effective at stopping symptomatic COVID-19 in Brazil, where three-quarters of the infections were due to the P.1 variant.

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New York could have kept a House seat if just 89 more people had been counted in the 2020 census

US Census briefing
The US Census Bureau unveiled which states will gain and lose House seats after the 2020 census

  • New York lost a US House seat by just 89 people, Census Bureau officials revealed Monday.
  • Had 89 more people filled out the Census, the state would have been spared from losing the seat.
  • Minnesota was able to get the 435th House seat and keep all 8 of its districts because of New York.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York could’ve retained one House seat if just 89 more people in the state had filled out the 2020 census, officials revealed Monday.

On Monday, the US Census Bureau unveiled its long-awaited population counts and apportionment figures from the census that determine how many House seats states gained and lost.

Federal law requires the House to have 435 seats that each represent the exact same number of people – just over 760,000 – to satisfy the principle of one person, one vote. This means that states are subject to lose or gain House seats based on changes to their population – and as New York’s experience shows, every completed census form makes a difference.

“What we have is that if New York had had 89 more people, they would have received one more seat instead of the last state that received their last seat,” Kristin Koslap, a senior technical expert for the 2020 Census Apportionment Division, said at a Monday news conference.

“There are 435 seats, so the last seat went to Minnesota, and New York was next in line. And if you do the algebra equation that determines how many they would have needed, it’s 89 people. But that’s if you hold the population of all other states, constant,” she added.

Read more: The great migration of 2020: People from New York and California moved in droves this year – here are the states that benefited from the mass exodus, from Idaho to Texas

Texas came out of the 2020 census as the biggest winner in reapportionment, gaining two House seats. Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Montana, and Oregon will all each gain one seat.

Meanwhile, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all lost one House seat each.

Alabama, Minnesota, and Rhode Island, which were all projected to lose a seat, didn’t lose any – and Minnesota is able to keep its eight House seats thanks to New York falling short.

Koslap explained, however, that because of the system the Census Bureau uses to determine which state gets the 435th seat, it’s not unheard if for just a few hundred or dozen people to make or break a state’s fortunes.

“It’s part of the standard of the method of equal proportions is that it all depends on the overall proportion of all the states within the nation. And so … it’s not unusual for there to be a small margin like that,” she said.

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All the differences between COVID-19 vaccines, summarized in a simple table that you can take to your vaccination appointment

woman getting vaccine
A physician injects someone with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

  • COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca all have unique features.
  • They vary in effectiveness, side effects, dosage, and ages approved for the shots.
  • Here is a table that compares them all. Scroll down to view it.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Coronavirus vaccines are the world’s escape route out of a pandemic that has shut down schools, grounded flights, and left millions dead.

Vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford University, and Johnson & Johnson have been approved in the West. In the US, all of them have been authorized except AstraZeneca’s – in the UK, all of them except Johnson & Johnson’s are authorized.

Each is given as a shot in the muscle of the upper arm.

You might not get a choice about which COVID-19 vaccine you get, but all four offer some protection against severe illness, so the advice is to take one if you are offered it. For the two-dose vaccines, you should have two shots of the same one, where possible.

Speak with your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a specific medical condition, or take medicines -especially if they thin your blood or affect your immune system. Experts have said the COVID-19 vaccines won’t make you infertile. Side effects may start within a day or two and should go away within a few days.

A rare adverse-event associated with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot includes unusual blood clots in the brain. You should seek urgent medical attention if you have a persistent or severe headache lasting more than three days. Other symptoms to watch out for include: shortness of breath, chest pain, painful limbs and tummy pain.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended on April 13 that the J&J vaccine’s rollout be paused while authorities looked into reports of rare blood clots in the brain in people who received the shot. J&J temporarily stopped its vaccine rollout in the EU too.

We’ve made a table that gives you the key information for each shot, whether you’ve booked an appointment or not. Scroll down to view it.

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These 8 charts show the glaring gap between men’s and women’s salaries in the US

town hall on gender and pay equity in Minneapolis
US Rep. Ilhan Omar poses for a photo with fellow panelists at a town hall meeting on gender pay gap and equity on April 24, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • March 24 is Equal Pay Day, which reflects how many extra days women had to work to make as much as men did in 2020.
  • The gender wage gap persists, and women make 82 cents for every dollar a man makes.
  • These charts show the gap in pay varies widely based on location, race, and several other factors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Men have earned more than women since 1979, the first year with available data.

Equal Pay Day reflects how many extra days women have to work to earn what men did in the previous year. This year’s Equal Pay Day falls on March 24. The Census Bureau wrote in a recent post that this is “earlier than it’s ever been since its inception in 1996,” suggesting a modest shrinking of the gender pay gap. 

Over half a century after the US passed the Equal Pay Act, American women still face a substantial gender wage gap across the spectrum. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that equal pay will not be reached until 2059.

Based on weekly earnings data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the gap has narrowed over time.

In the first quarter of 1979, median weekly earnings for men age 16 and over working full time was $408, compared to $251 for women. That is, women’s weekly earnings were 61.5% of men’s weekly earnings. There has been some progress over the years, and in the third quarter of 2020 women’s weekly earnings were 81.7% of men’s weekly earnings.

Overall, women who were full-time, year-round employees made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019, based on median earning data from the Census Current Population Survey. That means women are paid 17.7% less than men, earning $10,157 less than men.

The gender wage gap varies widely by state.

According to American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau, the gender pay gap in the United States in 2019 was around 19%. This means that a woman who is at least 16 years old, working a full-time, year-round job, and who is part of the civilian employed population makes 81% as much as her male counterpart earns.

The pay gap varies, however, by state.

In Wyoming, for instance, the gender pay gap is 36.6%, the biggest wage gap in the nation based on those who are part of the “full-time, year-round civilian employed population 16 years and over with earnings” population. That is, median earnings of women who in this state make 63.4% of what men earn. In 33 states, the gender pay gap is larger than the national average.

Most states have implemented laws against gender discrimination, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects women at the federal level, yet disparities persist.

Vermont had the smallest pay gap in 2019 at 9%, with full-time, year-round women who are at least 16 and part of the civilian employed population making a median salary of $46,641, while men made $51,241.

Major cities show an even bigger discrepancy.

Around the US, salaries in large cities show an even greater range of pay discrepancy between men and women.

The American Association of University Women, a nonprofit that advocates for gender equality, examined how much women earn compared to men in 25 major metro areas using 2019 US Census data from the American Community Survey.

Out of the 25 cities, the narrowest gender wage gap overall is in Los Angeles, where women make approximately 90.6% of the median earnings for men, a pay gap of 9.4%. Detroit had the widest wage gap: Women’s median earnings of $44,486 in this city is 73.8% of men’s earnings of $60,278. That translates to a pay gap of 26.2%.

Overall, Black and Hispanic women face the biggest pay gap when comparing earnings to non-Hispanic white men.

Black and Hispanic women are most affected by the wage gap, especially when compared to non-Hispanic white men, who make up the largest demographic segment of the workforce.

We looked at the wage gap for different racial and ethnic groups using median earnings data for full-time, year-round workers from the US Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.

Asian women face the smallest wage gap — they earn 91.4% of what non-Hispanic white men earned, resulting in a pay gap of just 8.5%. Non-Hispanic white women earn 78.1% of what non-Hispanic white men do, while Black women earn 61.1%. Hispanic women earn 53%, or a pay gap of 47%.

When compared to Black men, Black women earn 90.7% of what men earn, and Hispanic women make 80.6% of what Hispanic men do.

The larger disparity between non-Hispanic white men’s and women of color’s earnings could be attributed to the fact that “women of color suffer both because of their gender and their race,” according to an April 2016 report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee’s Democratic Staff.

Another way of looking at that gap for women of different racial and ethnic groups is to consider when “equal pay day” for each group falls.

Number of days women have to work into the next year to earn as much as white men calendar graphic

Equal Pay Days further vary by race and ethnicity, in line with the pay discrepancies between non-Hispanic white men and women of different races and ethnicities.  

The above calendar graphic shows how many days into the next year a woman has to work in order to earn what a non-Hispanic white man would have earned in the previous year, using estimates from the American Association of University Women.

For example, a typical full-time, year-round employed Black female worker starting on January 1, 2020, would have finally earned on August 3, 2021, what a similarly employed non-Hispanic white male worker would have made over the course of 2020 alone. That means Black women have to work around seven extra months to earn the same as non-Hispanic men earned in a single year in 2020.

It takes full-time, year-round employed Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) women the shortest time to make what non-Hispanic white men would have made the year before. It would take a female Asian American or Pacific Islander worker over two extra months in 2021, or until March 9, to earn what a non-Hispanic white man earned the year before.

However, pay gaps for Asian women vary further. Although AAPI women make 85 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men make, an analysis from the Center for American Progress finds Burmese woman makes just 52 cents for every dollar the median non-Hispanic white man makes, for instance.

Read more about equal pay day by race here.

Women with children gain no salary boost, while men with children are rewarded.

In 2015, women with children were earning roughly the same as women without children, $727 and $726 respectively. However, working fathers with children earned about $141 more than a men without children. 

That gap has slowly been closing since then, as 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that women with children now make slightly more than women without kids under 18 at home.

Men with children see an earnings boost, and the difference between their weekly take-home pay was typically $189 higher than their counterparts without kids in 2019.

For working women, the difference in earnings between women with and without children is minimal. Working mothers only made $30 compared to other working women in 2019.

While this disparity can be attributed to differences in careers and work hours between men and women who have children and those who do not, a 2016 report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee Democratic Staff says that there is also a difference in how working mothers and fathers are perceived by management.

According to the report, some employers may view motherhood as a “signal of lower levels of commitment and professional competence.” Working fathers, on the other hand, may be viewed as having “increased work commitment and stability.”

Women’s earnings are lower than men’s over the course of a lifetime.

The gender pay gap exists for workers across a lifetime.

Using Census data from the Minnesota Population Center’s IPUMS program, we found that the median full-time, year-round male worker earns more than his female counterpart at every year of age.

The gap is narrower for younger workers, with the median 25-year-old woman earning about 91.1% of the median 25-year-old man. Meanwhile, the median 50-year-old woman earns just 76.9% of her 50-year-old male counterpart.

Women over the age of 75 are almost twice as likely to live in poverty, according to the Senate report. Many women that age didn’t work when they were younger, so they have fewer sources of retirement income than men their age.

In 1950, about 34% of American women were in the labor force, compared to about 86% of men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 1980, the numbers were 52% and 77% respectively — and the numbers have largely plateaued since then.

Before the pandemic, the labor force participation rate for women was around 58% in February 2020 and around 56% in February 2021. The labor force participation rate for men was about 69% in February 2020 and about 67% in February 2021.

The number of women promoted to the highest levels within companies reveals unconscious biases.

Very few women are CEOs of major corporations, or in the C-level suite of executives running corporate America.

Data from a study put together by McKinsey & Co. and Lean In show how men are promoted up, while women fall by the wayside. Based on the latest report, only one in five C-level executives were women. Women of color are furthermore underrepresented at the executive level, making up less than 1 in 30 in the C-suite.

A recent IBM report also finds little change between leadership representation in 2019 and 2021. Based on the survey covering 10 industries from nine different regions, women made up just 10% of C-suite and 8% of executive board positions in 2019 and 2021.

The latest McKinsey report suggested that more women are working in senior positions, but it is still hard for women to move up from entry-level jobs into higher roles. “For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted,” the report said, which affects the number of women being promoted to higher positions in the corporate pipeline.

However, women consistently ask for promotions and raises more. One of the reasons for the disparity between women asking for promotions and actually getting them was because when women negotiate, people like them less for it, according to a previous McKinsey study, covered by Insider, found.

Harvard Business Review found in its research that women ask for raises just as much as men, but men are more “successful” with their requests, with a success rate of 15% for women and 20% for men.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Insider Cannabis: Stocks to bet on for New York legalization – Cannabis on Capitol Hill – Dutchie’s $1.7 billion valuation

GettyImages 1178310599
As the legal cannabis market grows in the US, there are many ways for investors to gain exposure to the industry.

Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we’re bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.

Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week.

Happy Friday readers,

The cannabis news machine was cranking on all cylinders this week.

First, the SAFE Banking Act was reintroduced in the House by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The Senate version will be introduced next week. We read through the bill and pulled out all the most important details.

The SAFE Banking Act, a relatively narrow cannabis reform bill, has a really good chance of becoming law. The same cannot be said for more widespread decriminalization bills, at least in this Congress, as we reported with our colleague Kimberly Leonard in DC.

President Biden, for his part, will not likely be a friend to cannabis reform efforts – recent reporting from The Daily Beast shows that the White House fired staffers who admitted to past cannabis use. Bob Dylan may have said it best: The times are a-changing, but not quite as quickly as some may have hoped.

It’s important to keep in mind the more pernicious impact of punitive cannabis policies, though: It’s on people of color. Ninety-four percent of marijuana-related arrests by the NYPD last year were people of color.

In other news, check out my panel on cannabis reporting for SXSW online with some of the other folks on the beat. You can watch it anytime before Saturday.

-Jeremy (@jfberke) and Yeji (@jesse_yeji)

Here’s what we wrote about this week:

The CEO of a $1.7 billion cannabis-tech startup shares how he convinced Tiger Global and DFJ to bet on the spread of marijuana legalization

Dutchie closed a $200 million Series C funding round led by Tiger Global. The monster round gives Dutchie a valuation of $1.7 billion.

Cannabis tech is one of the few areas that mainstream investors are allowed to bet on – and cannabis is hot.

A top Wall Street analyst lays out 5 cannabis stocks to buy now that could pop if New York races ahead to legalize marijuana

New York Gov. Cuomo said he expects to strike a deal to legalize cannabis ahead of the April 1 budget. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic picked five companies to bet on that are set to benefit.

The bankruptcy risk of every major cannabis company, ranked

Cannabis companies that survived a tumultuous 2019 and 2020 are seeing their fortunes improve. Insider looked through data from CreditRiskMonitor to see the risk of bankruptcy for major cannabis companies.

The good news is that cannabis companies have generally seen their financial situations improve over the past year. The bad news is that many still remain at risk and in the “red flag” zone.

Several Democratic senators say they’re against cannabis legalization, busting claims that the filibuster is the only obstacle in the way of reform

Democratic leaders want to federally legalize weed, an exciting prospect for the industry. But six Democratic senators on Capitol Hill told Insider they had reservations about doing so.

Insider’s interviews with several senators on Capitol Hill show Democrats aren’t united on the issue, and the prospect of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level this Congress isn’t as high as the industry envisions. Republicans tend to oppose the matter, but some would like legislation to support cannabis shops.

A House bill would help cannabis companies work with big banks and let you use your credit card when shopping for marijuana. Here are 7 things to know about the bipartisan plan.

House lawmakers introduced a modest cannabis reform bill this week that has a good chance of becoming law, because it has bipartisan support. Insider read through the SAFE Banking Act and chose the top takeaways from the legislation.

Executive Moves

Deals, launches, and IPOs

  • California cannabis company MWG Holdings Group announced it closed a $10.8 Million Series B preferred private placement.
  • Psychedelics company Field Trip announced it closed a $78 million bought deal financing.
  • Cannabis real estate firms NewLake Capital Partners and GreenAcreage Real Estate Corp are merging, to create what the companies say would be the largest cannabis real estate firm with a combined portfolio of $325 million across 9 states.
  • Publicly traded cannabis tech company Akerna will acquire Viridian Sciences, a business management platform geared toward dispensaries in an all-stock transaction. The company did not disclose the size of the deal.

Policy moves and politics

  • Dozens of White House staff have been sidelined for their past cannabis use, according to The Daily Beast. Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said that only five people who started working at the White House are no longer employed.
  • Sens. Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden held a discussion on Facebook Live to underscore their support for the SAFE Banking Act and federal marijuana decriminalization.
  • A deal to legalize recreational cannabis in New York is “very close” according to state lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo. Senator Liz Krueger, a co-sponsor of the MRTA, said in a radio interview this week that she is “extremely pleased” with the agreement that Gov. Cuomo and other lawmakers have reached in regards to growing pot at home and social equity funding.
  • The New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB12, a bill that would legalize cannabis in the state, on Thursday. The bill could become law as soon as this weekend.
  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would allow cannabis companies to access banking services. Read our story here.
  • Sen. Bob Menendez reintroduced the CLAIM Act, a bill that would allow cannabis companies to access insurance.

Research and data

  • A report from the nonprofit Tax Foundation found that the value of marijuana sales – if projections hold – may be twice that of firearms and ammunition and three times bigger than McDonald’s sales revenue by 2023.
  • Between 2010 and 2019, there were eight times as many marijuana-related arrests of Black and Latinx people as there were of white people in New York City, according to a report from the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance and the City University of New York’s Public Science Project.
  • People of color made up 94% of arrests by the NYPD last year, according to the department’s data.

Earnings roundup

  • Columbia Care released its Q4 and full-year results, reporting a combined revenue of $76 million and a $73.7 million net loss for the quarter.
  • Green Thumb Industries released its Q4 and full-year results, reporting net revenue of $177.2 million and $22.5 million in net income.
  • Sundial released its Q4 and full-year results, reporting net revenue of C$13.9 million and a net loss of C$64.1 million.
  • Hexo Corp released its Q2 results, reporting net revenue of $32.8 million and a net loss of $20.8 million.

Chart of the week

Cannabis jobs have been growing rapidly across the US in recent years. The industry has averaged 27.5% growth each year, according to Leafly’s 2021 Jobs Report. In 2021, there are now 321,000 legal cannabis jobs in the country:

Total cannabis jobs in the US

What we’re reading

Investors Are Debating Who Should Own the Future of Psychedelics (Vice)

‘Chopped’ Takes on Cannabis and Generation Z in New Editions for Discovery Plus (Variety)

Can Magic Mushrooms Heal Us? (NYT)

Biden White House Sandbags Staffers, Sidelines Dozens for Pot Use (The Daily Beast)

Does smoking marijuana cause cancer? (Discover Magazine)

The data on legalizing weed (NPR)

No One Knows Where President Biden is on Marijuana (The News Station)

Mexico’s move to greenlight marijuana may pressure Biden (Politico)

Read the original article on Business Insider

7 charts that show the glaring gap between men’s and women’s salaries in the US

town hall on gender and pay equity in Minneapolis
US Rep. Ilhan Omar poses for a photo with fellow panelists at a town hall meeting on gender pay gap and equity on April 24, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • Not only is March Women’s History Month, but March 24 is Equal Pay Day for women.
  • Even though a lot of progress has been made, the gender wage gap persists.
  • That gap in pay varies widely based on location, race, and several other factors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

March is not only Women’s History Month, where all the hard work and achievements of women are recognized, but March 24 marks this year’s Women’s Equal Pay Day.

The date refers to how many days into 2021 women had to work to make as much as men did in just 2020. Equal Pay Days further vary by race and ethnicity, in line with the pay discrepancies between non-Hispanic white men and women of different races and ethnicities.

And while women have gained important political power and some gains in the corporate pipeline, there is still work to be done to reach equality, especially when it comes to financial power.

Over half a century after the US passed the Equal Pay Act, American women still face a substantial gender wage gap across the spectrum. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that equal pay will not be reached until 2059.

Overall, women who were full-time, year-round employees made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019, based on median earning data from the Census Current Population Survey. That means women are paid 17.7% less than men, earning $10,157 less than men.

The seven charts below illustrate the significant pay discrepancies between men and women based on race, age, geographical location, and more.

The gender wage gap varies widely by state.

According to American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau, the gender pay gap in the United States in 2019 was around 19%. This means that a woman who is at least 16 years old, working a full-time, year-round job, and who is part of the civilian employed population makes 81% as much as her male counterpart earns.

The pay gap varies, however, by state.

In Wyoming, for instance, the gender pay gap is 36.6%, the biggest wage gap in the nation based on those who are part of the “full-time, year-round civilian employed population 16 years and over with earnings” population. That is, median earnings of women who in this state make 63.4% of what men earn. In 33 states, the gender pay gap is larger than the national average.

Most states have implemented laws against gender discrimination, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects women at the federal level, yet disparities persist.

Vermont had the smallest pay gap in 2019 at 9%, with full-time, year-round women who are at least 16 and part of the civilian employed population making a median salary of $46,641, while men made $51,241.

Major cities show an even bigger discrepancy.

Around the US, salaries in large cities show an even greater range of pay discrepancy between men and women.

The American Association of University Women, a nonprofit that advocates for gender equality, examined how much women earn compared to men in 25 major metro areas using 2019 US Census data from the American Community Survey.

Out of the 25 cities, the narrowest gender wage gap overall is in Los Angeles, where women make approximately 90.6% of the median earnings for men, a pay gap of 9.4%. Detroit had the widest wage gap: Women’s median earnings of $44,486 in this city is 73.8% of men’s earnings of $60,278. That translates to a pay gap of 26.2%.

Overall, Black and Hispanic women face the biggest pay gap when comparing earnings to non-Hispanic white men.

Black and Hispanic women are most affected by the wage gap, especially when compared to non-Hispanic white men, who make up the largest demographic segment of the workforce.

We looked at the wage gap for different racial and ethnic groups using median earnings data for full-time, year-round workers from the US Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.

Asian women face the smallest wage gap — they earn 91.4% of what non-Hispanic white men earned, resulting in a pay gap of just 8.5%. Non-Hispanic white women earn 78.1% of what non-Hispanic white men do, while Black women earn 61.1%. Hispanic women earn 53%, or a pay gap of 47%.

When compared to Black men, Black women earn 90.7% of what men earn, and Hispanic women make 80.6% of what Hispanic men do.

The larger disparity between non-Hispanic white men’s and women of color’s earnings could be attributed to the fact that “women of color suffer both because of their gender and their race,” according to an April 2016 report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee’s Democratic Staff.

Another way of looking at that gap for women of different racial and ethnic groups is to consider when “equal pay day” for each group falls.

Number of days women have to work into the next year to earn as much as white men calendar graphic

The above calendar graphic shows how many days into the next year a woman has to work in order to earn what a non-Hispanic white man would have earned in the previous year, using estimates from the American Association of University Women.

Equal Pay Day for all women falls this year on March 24. This day falls much later in the year for some racial and ethnic groups.

For example, a typical full-time, year-round employed Black female worker starting on January 1, 2020, would have finally earned on August 3, 2021, what a similarly employed non-Hispanic white male worker would have made over the course of 2020 alone. That means Black women have to work around seven extra months to earn the same as non-Hispanic men earned in a single year in 2020.

It takes full-time, year-round employed Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) women the shortest time to make what non-Hispanic white men would have made the year before. It would take a female Asian American or Pacific Islander worker over two extra months in 2021, or until March 9, to earn what a non-Hispanic white man earned the year before.

However, pay gaps for Asian women vary further. Although AAPI women make 85 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men make, an analysis from the Center for American Progress finds Burmese woman makes just 52 cents for every dollar the median non-Hispanic white man makes, for instance.

Read more about equal pay day by race here.

Women with children gain no salary boost, while men with children are rewarded.

In 2015, women with children were earning roughly the same as women without children, $727 and $726 respectively. However, working fathers with children earned about $141 more than a men without children. 

That gap has slowly been closing since then, as 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that women with children now make slightly more than women without kids under 18 at home.

Men with children see an earnings boost, and the difference between their weekly take-home pay was typically $189 higher than their counterparts without kids in 2019.

For working women, the difference in earnings between women with and without children is minimal. Working mothers only made $30 compared to other working women in 2019.

While this disparity can be attributed to differences in careers and work hours between men and women who have children and those who do not, a 2016 report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee Democratic Staff says that there is also a difference in how working mothers and fathers are perceived by management.

According to the report, some employers may view motherhood as a “signal of lower levels of commitment and professional competence.” Working fathers, on the other hand, may be viewed as having “increased work commitment and stability.”

Women’s earnings are lower than men’s over the course of a lifetime.

The gender pay gap exists for workers across a lifetime.

Using Census data from the Minnesota Population Center’s IPUMS program, we found that the median full-time, year-round male worker earns more than his female counterpart at every year of age.

The gap is narrower for younger workers, with the median 25-year-old woman earning about 91.1% of the median 25-year-old man. Meanwhile, the median 50-year-old woman earns just 76.9% of her 50-year-old male counterpart.

Women over the age of 75 are almost twice as likely to live in poverty, according to the Senate report. Many women that age didn’t work when they were younger, so they have fewer sources of retirement income than men their age.

In 1950, about 34% of American women were in the labor force, compared to about 86% of men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 1980, the numbers were 52% and 77% respectively — and the numbers have largely plateaued since then.

Before the pandemic, the labor force participation rate for women was around 58% in February 2020 and around 56% in February 2021. The labor force participation rate for men was about 69% in February 2020 and about 67% in February 2021.

The number of women promoted to the highest levels within companies reveals unconscious biases.

Very few women are CEOs of major corporations, or in the C-level suite of executives running corporate America.

Data from a study put together by McKinsey & Co. and Lean In show how men are promoted up, while women fall by the wayside. Based on the latest report, only one in five C-level executives were women. Women of color are furthermore underrepresented at the executive level, making up less than 1 in 30 in the C-suite.

Since 2015, there’s been an increase in the share of women in the C-Suite, while women in lower-level management roles have seen a smaller increase since that year. 

A recent IBM report also finds little change between leadership representation in 2019 and 2021. Based on the survey covering 10 industries from nine different regions, women made up just 10% of C-suite and 8% of executive board positions in 2019 and 2021.

The latest McKinsey report suggested that more women are working in senior positions, but it is still hard for women to move up from entry-level jobs into higher roles. “For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted,” the report said, which affects the number of women being promoted to higher positions in the corporate pipeline.

However, women consistently ask for promotions and raises more. One of the reasons for the disparity between women asking for promotions and actually getting them was because when women negotiate, people like them less for it, according to a previous McKinsey study, covered by Insider, found.

According to Lean In, women who negotiate are more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are “intimidating,” “too aggressive,” or “bossy.”

Another poll by American Express and The New York Women’s Foundation found that less than one-third of women were comfortable with calling themselves ambitious. According to psychologists interviewed by Insider, the reasoning behind this is that the word could be seen as aggressive.   

Harvard Business Review found in its research that women ask for raises just as much as men, but men are more “successful” with their requests, with a success rate of 15% for women and 20% for men.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Top cannabis stock picks for 2021

Marijuana Cannabis
Welcome to Insider Cannabis.

Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we’re bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.

Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week.

Happy Friday readers,

Never a dull week in the cannabis (and psychedelics industry). The biggest headline news this week is Atai’s monstrous $157 million raise. CEO Florian Brand told Yeji the company is “doubling down” on its strategy – you can read her report here

Beyond that, I asked Jason Wild of JW Asset Management for his top cannabis picks for 2021. In short, he’s bullish on US cannabis

And last, I had the chance to chat with five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber about his new $100 million cannabis equity fund and his push to make cannabis more inclusive from the start. 

“I don’t know of any other industry where this type of vested interest has been made to make change,” Webber told me. “It hasn’t been in tech – tech is lucrative. It damn sure wasn’t in cotton, it wasn’t in transportation.”

You can read more from him here

-Jeremy (@jfberke) and Yeji (@jesse_yeji)

Here’s what we wrote about this week:

The biggest private psychedelics company in the world just raised a record $157 million, pushing psychedelics further into the mainstream

Just months after breaking the record for the largest funding round in the psychedelics field, Atai Life Sciences has raised another $157 million to continue to develop treatments for mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and anxiety. CEO Florian Brand told Insider the money will be used to “double down” on the company’s strategy.

A hedge-fund manager who returned 146% last year shares the 6 cannabis stocks he’s betting on now and why he’s bullish on the industry

Jason Wild had a pretty good year last year.

His hedge fund, JW Asset Management, returned over 146% in 2020 – buoyed by significant investments in the cannabis industry. In an interview, Wild shared the six cannabis stocks he’s betting on, including Trulieve and TerrAscend, Green Thumb Industries, and more. 

Former NBA All Star Chris Webber is launching a $100 million fund to help minority entrepreneurs get ahead in cannabis. He told why it’s crucial to build an inclusive industry from the start.

Former five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber has a new mission: Helping minority entrepreneurs access the economic boom created by the wave of cannabis legalization sweeping the US.

Webber is launching a $100 million fund to invest in Black and other minority cannabis entrepreneurs. He told Insider he has a unique opportunity to ensure that the cannabis industry is inclusive from the start.

Executive Moves

  • Private MSO Parallel announced on Monday that Walgreen’s veteran Jeremy Kunicki would be coming aboard as the company’s new CFO.
  • California cannabis distributor HERBL said on Wednesday that it had appointed Chemistry Holdings founder Josh Held as chief strategy officer.
  • Psychedelics company NovaMind has appointed Joseph Braganza as an SVP in charge of the company’s M&A strategy.

Deals, launches, and IPOs

Policy moves

Science and research

Chart of the week

Psychedelics companies saw a rush of private funding in 2020, according to data from CB Insights. In 2020, private psychedelics startups raised $448 million globally, compared to just $95 million in 2019. Insider rounded up the 14 psychedelics startups that raised the most capital in 2020:

Capital flooded into the psychedelics space in 2020

What we’re reading

MedMen co-founders Bierman, Modlin return to cannabis industry with different California company (Marijuana Business Daily)

Pot or Alcohol, Barron’s Has Never Favored Prohibition (Barron’s)

Merrick Garland, cannabis policy, and restorative justice (Brookings)

Aphria-Tilray cannabis merger talks overcame pandemic pause, rival bidder and other hurdles, proxy reveals (Marijuana Business Daily)

Should marijuana legalization limit THC? Probably not, but it’s happening (Forbes)

Read the original article on Business Insider