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Merrill Lynch Is High On Marijuana

Merrill Lynch Is High On Marijuana

Pot is big business. | Copyright Ron Wurzer, Getty Images

Put this in your pipeline: Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees massive investment potential in weed. In an in-depth and pun-filled research report, the firm estimated that medical marijuana is currently a $2.9 billion industry that could at least double as more states move towards legalization. “In our view, scientific, clinical and anecdotal evidence support medicinal cannabis while recent media attention has contributed to public awareness,” the report states. The report examines everything from how marijuana products are produced, used and sold to how drug companies are getting involved to even the chemistry of how pot achieves its effect. The firm singled out the company GW Pharmaceuticals as being particularly attractive for conducting clinically approved trials of a cannabis based drug for children with epilepsy. Merrill said it's "bullish on the cannabis testing market," especially the development of new equipment for testing weed's quality and potency.

Weak Link?

Get everyone together. | Thinglass/iStock/Thinkstock

They’re your centers of influence, but are lawyers and their firms also a weak link when it comes to protecting your clients from cyber attacks? An overwhelming majority of legal professionals recognize the dangers cyber attacks pose to clients and say these breaches are coming more frequently, but nearly a third have not undertaken a formal assessment of their risk, according to a recent survey by ALM Legal Intelligence, which surveyed over 500 law firms and lawyers at corporations. Just over half (53 percent) say their companies regularly test their cybersecurity programs.

Tax Extenders Potentially... Extended

At least they did something. | Copyright Win McNamee, Getty Images

On Tuesday, House and Senate negotiators released the statutory language of a potential tax extender agreement. The “tax extenders” are a hodge-podge of largely niche and unrelated tax deductions, credits and incentives that are renewed on a year-to-year basis (in fact, in keeping with our government’s punctual nature, they’re often allowed to expire then renewed retroactively for previous tax years). According to unofficial estimates, the proposed legislation, which still has to be ratified by the House and Senate, would reduce federal receipts by over $650 billion between 2016 and 2025. Deloitte's Tax Policy Group has produced an excellent breakdown of the individual measures.

Make a Plan, Not a Resolution

Don't give up. | Thinglass/iStock/Thinkstock

Since 92 percent of new year's resolutions fail, Northwestern Mutual unveiled a marketing campaign for the end of the year urging women cut back on holiday spending, commit to acting on good fiscal habits and engage with others to discuss financial goals and progress. There is even a twitter hashtag: #WomanWithAPlan. Its 2015 Elements of Success Survey show that seven in 10 women admit to not having a financial plan in place. "It's time to think differently about how to achieve long-term financial fitness," said Katherine Forrester Schneewind, financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual. "Like binge diets, taking a short-term view of your finances often leads to inconsistent results. You can resolve to spend less and save more, but the best way to achieve lasting results is by working with a financial advisor to create a plan that's tailored to your whole financial picture and unique goals."

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