Readers Respond to medical marijuana and the home business
"For many years I believe that this market has not only been overlooked but is very lucrative, and for the life of me I cannot understand how anyone could miss the opportunity for growth (pardon the pun) in this market."
— Lynn Davis
"I believe this is a dishonest way of making pot legal and circumventing the Feds.
The states are tired of arresting pot smokers and sending them to jail. We tie up our court systems, which are really needed for higher crimes. We also tie up tax dollars that could be spent on something better. We have lost the war on drugs, and that is no joke. Billions have been spent to win this battle, or should I say this lost cause. It is not that I agree with this plan. I have never smoked pot, but those in charge today I bet most of them have and still do."
— John Stokes
"I would love to investigate this as a new category. Historically you can watch the social, regulatory and legal trends begin in California and sweep across the nation. Getting on board now will only keep up with the market, but help form it as well."
— Jennifer L. Andrew
VP business development
"It’s not appropriate at all."
— Ed Deiss
White Bear Lake, Minn.
"Yes, it is about time the medical marijuana community is treated with respect. Great opportunities for helping people and increases legitimate business and tax revenue."
— Name withheld
"Certainly an appropriate category. The stuff should be legalized anyway — and taxed to death."
— Mark Peterson
Retail container traffic almost flat through July
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to remain at about the same levels as last year through July before starting to resume increases later this summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
“With rising gas prices and challenges in the labor and housing markets, consumer spending has slowed and retailers have adjusted their inventory levels accordingly,” said the NRF’s VP supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “We are confident long-term consumer demand will grow and that imports will pick up significantly in the fall.”
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.22 million 20-ft. Equivalent Units in April, the latest month for which numbers are available. (One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.) That was up 12% from March and 7% from April 2010. It was the 17th month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement after December 2009 broke a 28-month streak of year-over-year declines.
May was estimated at 1.27 million TEU, only one-third of 1% over May 2010. June is forecast at 1.33 million TEU, a 1% increase from a year ago; July at 1.39 million TEU, up one-half of 1% from last year; August at 1.47 million TEU, up 3%; September at 1.49 million TEU, up 12%; and October at 1.54 million TEU, up 19%. August through October are traditionally the busiest months of the year as retailers stock up for the holiday season.
The first half of 2011 is forecast at 7.2 million TEU, up 5% from the first half of 2010. Global Port Tracker forecasts only six months beyond actual numbers, so a forecast for the full year is not yet available. Imports during 2010 totaled 14.7 million TEU, a 16% increase over 2009.
“2011 is turning out to be an uncertain year for shipping,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “The good news for the coming few months is that inventories are too low, which will generate shipping demand as the supply chain moves to re-stock, albeit cautiously.”
Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for June 17, 2011
*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.
Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.
LUMBER: SPF mills’ inability to sell at rates equaling production levels eroded order files, generating some negotiated deals. Wholesalers with positions continued to sell at prices $10 below replacement costs. Southern Pine lumber producers continued to struggle to sell production, leaving them open to negotiated price levels. Treaters purchased multiple carload volumes from several producers, but it was not enough to firm prices. Demand remained at a high enough level to push Coastal species lumber prices $5 to $10 higher. Dry Douglas Fir remained a big draw. Green Doug Fir prices were firm to higher. A combination of quiet markets is giving Inland species lumber some pause. This is affecting Hem-Fir considerably more than Fir-Larch, on the basis that Fir-Larch is thinly produced right now. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr is unchanged in price, in either 5/4 or 6/4, and #2&Btr Shop is very firm and holding its price levels. Both #3 Shop and P99 are strong, with price increases. Commons show an odd inversion between #2 and #3 Common. In #2 Common, wides are easier to sell than narrows, while in the #3 Common, narrows are moving easier than wides. Idaho White Pine is generally not available in any volume until the middle of July. Improved weather has given the Eastern White Pine market a little boost, but mills are holding strictly to their projected production volumes. Western Red Cedar buyers purchased volumes corresponding with takeaways. As has been the case for several weeks, there was very little price movement. Mills focused production on the broad demands of customers, negotiating price when buildups occurred.
PANELS: Although not as strong as the week prior, sales activity in the Western Fir plywood market did tick up a notch at midweek. Sales activity increased in the Southern Pine plywood market, firming prices. Distributors and retailers were active, while wholesalers tended to cover shorts and fill their customers’ immediate needs. Most of the OSB industry continues to report that "flat" is the term for the marketplace. Even so, a few attempts at raising prices have been made, all by producers, with varying degrees of success. Canadian plywood continues to be basically weak, without strong mill order files or underlying support from the marketplace. Selling levels have been based on the current C$290 mark, but a few sales above and below that number have been made. One key particleboard and MDF distributor commented that the composite market is seeing "no increases in price or demand," which captures much of the situation.
Source: RISI’s Crow’s Weekly Market Report