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Meet the Girl Comforting Cancer Patients With Teddy Bears

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Oct. 11, 2022 – During the early days of the pandemic, Alivia Gustman, then just 8 years old, was in a class tasked with the goal of starting a business.

For Gustman, this wasn’t the time to pitch a bake sale. Instead, having recently watched her mom go through breast cancer treatment, an idea immediately popped into her mind: Why not sell teddy bears to raise money to help kids with cancer — or to anyone whose loved ones are in treatment?

After doing a virtual pitch to her Boca Raton, FL, teacher and classmates, the idea broadened when her dad jumped on board and helped build a website and secure a trademark.

The result: A family-run project and the launch of Cancer Bears, a nonprofit that has already sold more than 1,000 bears in over 30 states and abroad.

Best of all: Thanks to all of these bears being sent across the country (and globe), Cancer Bears has raised $30,000 to date and donated those funds to cancer centers across the country. In fact, since they started the organization, they’ve set up donation partnerships with Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center – all locations that played a role in helping Alivia’s mom – and formed an alliance with Keaton’s Child Care Alliance, a nonprofit that provides support services to families facing a pediatric cancer diagnosis.

So how did a then-third grader make all of this happen?

“Knowing that my mom would be OK motivated me,” says Gustman, now a very busy fifth grader who turns 10 on Oct. 16. “I wanted anybody going through treatment to be able to hold onto something. I thought a bear would be the perfect thing to cuddle with.”

For Tara Gustman, Alivia’s mom, helping others is in the family DNA.

“This was such a simple act of kindness that happened during virtual school and right when I was getting back on my feet again,” says Tara, who was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in December 2018 and went through a double mastectomy, the removal of 12 lymph nodes, 16 rounds of chemo, and 7 weeks of radiation. She’s now been in remission for 4 years.

“The feedback that we get from everybody is remarkable. We can’t wait to continue to make a difference to those in need.”

And, while Alivia admits that she’s busy with schoolwork- it’s all about time management, she says – there’s nothing better than seeing all of the bears lined up and ready to be shipped out of her (and her grandparents’) garage.

Recently, Alivia and her sister, Savannah, 8, have gotten very busy attaching ribbons to each bear before it’s shipped.

“You can request the ribbon for the person’s cancer – so teal for ovarian, yellow for childhood cancer, and pink for breast cancer,” she says. “My sister is really good at organizing the ribbons.”

Ultimately, this is one family that’s laser-focused on helping others.

“Every 2 minutes, someone is diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. and, while that is unfortunate, what we’re doing keeps our entire family motivated,” says Tara. “We’ve become a resource of encouragement in the form of bears and conversation with people in our community. Happily, Alivia’s story keeps getting shared, and the more people know about us, the more we can help others.”

Ask Alivia and she’ll tell you that being a kid should never be a barrier to rolling up your sleeves.

“Personally, I’d tell other kids to follow their dreams,” she says. “If something motivates you to help others – do it.”

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Original Post: webmd.com

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Congress Under Pressure: Colorado Officials Push for Cannabis Banking Reform

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With the end of Congress’ session just around the corner, marijuana advocates, stakeholders and lawmakers continue to push for marijuana banking policy change.

This time, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) joined forces with Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera (D), Attorney General Phil Weiser (D), Treasurer Dave Young (D) and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Executive Director Stan Hilkey in urging congressional leaders to revisit the issue, reported Marijuana Moment.

In a letter sent on Monday to both House and Senate leaders, Colorado officials focused on the impact which a bipartisan marijuana banking bill will have in terms of public safety and industry equity,

“The lack of safe banking and financial services for the cannabis industry in the State of Colorado has become a dire public safety issue for highly regulated cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Original Post: benzinga.com

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New Data Shows Weed Legalization a Boon for Real Estate, New Jobs and Tax Revenue

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A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank shed light on the economic impact marijuana legalization has had in recent years, reported Marijuana Moment. Policy changes on the state level have resulted in increased commercial real estate demand, as well as a surge in tax revenues while creating more jobs.

According to an analysis from the Kansas City arm of the Central Bank, which collected data from several states under its jurisdiction, the Tenth Federal Reserve District, the cannabis industry has become one of the main economic sectors positioned to grow substantially in the coming period.

“Overall, the marijuana industry has had a significant effect on the economies of Tenth District states in the initial years after legalization,” the report said. “The emergence of the industry has …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Article: benzinga.com

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Will Missouri Legalize Cannabis? Amendment 3 Suffers Another Attack This Time by State NAACP

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Cannabis legalization efforts in Missouri are under attack once again, this time by The Missouri State Conference of the NAACP.

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The Missouri NAACP, breaking with chapters in the St. Louis area is urging its members to vote against Amendment 3 on the Nov. 8 ballot, reported the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.

The group announced Thursday that it believes recreational marijuana legalization, as it is proposed under Amendment 3, would prevent minorities from entering the cannabis industry. 

“Marijuana possession should not be a constitutional crime. Additionally, for years now, Black people, other minorities, and people who have been criminalized by marijuana laws in the past have been unable to enter the medical marijuana market,” the Missouri NAACP wrote. “That is not right. In an effort to prevent the permanent exclusion of minorities from the cannabis industry in the state of Missouri, the NAACP calls upon every voter to reject the criminalization of marijuana possession, de facto racist regulation of the cannabis market, and the wool being pulled over our eyes by the supporters of Amendment 3.”

Under Amendment 3, the first “comprehensive” cannabis business licenses would be provided to existing medical marijuana companies. 

The state’s chapter highlighted that the amendment “does not increase the number of available full market licenses” and claims that giving “micro” business licenses to disadvantaged groups makes a “very limited” program. 

According to Nimrod “Rod” Chapel Jr., president of the Missouri NAACP, members agreed last week …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Source: benzinga.com

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