Tag Archives: Small business

Market for small businesses rebounds after 4 quarterly drops

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The market for small businesses rebounded in the last three months of 2019 after four straight quarterly declines caused in part by uncertainty about U.S. trade policy and rising employee pay

NEW YORK —
The market for small businesses rebounded in the last three months of 2019 after four straight quarterly declines caused in part by uncertainty about U.S. trade policy.

That’s the finding of a report analyzing business sales released by BizBuySell.com, an online marketplace for companies. BizBuySell.com counted 2,340 small businesses sold during October-December, up nearly 2.3% from 2,288 sold in the same period of 2018. For all of 2019, sales fell 5.5% to 9,746 from 10,312 the previous year. BizBuySell.com counts sales reported by brokers.

BizBuySell.com noted that sales activity is at high levels, but the Trump administration’s tariffs on goods imported from China and Europe have driven up companies’ overhead and lowered the number of transactions. Buyers are wary about the impact the tariffs can have on a company’s earnings, especially since it’s unclear how long the tariffs may remain in effect. Meanwhile, prospective sellers are concerned about how much the tariffs can affect their selling prices.

Owners have had to price companies conservatively to make a sale although their businesses are financially healthy. The median revenue of businesses sold in 2019 was up 7% at $567,000, compared to $531,653 in 2018, the report said. Yet the median sales price of a company rose a slim $1,000 to $250,000. Asking prices were flat at $275,000.

Besides tariffs, sales have also been affected by rising minimum wages and uncertainty about the November elections. But Bob House, BizBuySell.com’s president, expects strong sales this year “even if levels plateau a bit due to economic and political concerns.”

Nearly 40% of the reported sales were of service businesses, while retailers comprised nearly 24% and restaurants, 23%. Four percent of sales were of manufacturers, with other companies comprising the remaining 11%.

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Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg. Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com



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Health insurance costs force some to get creative | Western Colorado

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Last year, Lisa Mullen was combing through insurance plan options to offer her employees at Rocky Mountain Sanitation when she came to a realization.

“As a business, we have to find something else,” she said. “It’s so difficult.”

Mullen, who employs about 30 people at the Grand Junction garbage collection service, decided to abandon traditional health insurance plans and offer a health savings account with a high deductible, along with a membership at Appleton Clinics, a local concierge primary care practice where patients pay monthly fees.

Mullen said her insurance costs have risen 62% in the past five years and would have gone up an additional 21% if she had stuck with the same plan as last year.

“What other services go up 21% in a year?” she asked. “(My business) sure can’t.”

Insurance costs have left multiple Mesa County businesses scrambling to keep up with rising prices. Even as some rates have dropped this year, some small businesses have steered away from traditional insurance to offer alternative plans while local business leaders and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce are attempting to find ways to band together to bargain for better rates.

Rocky Mountain Sanitation used to pick up 100% of their employees’ premiums and the employee would pick up their dependents. But that also changed a few years back and employees now pay about 28% of their own premium. With the increases, Mullen said some employees have not been able to afford putting their spouse on the plan.

Over the past few years, she said the company has been paying more and receiving fewer benefits. Some of the plans she looked at had out-of-pocket maximums of $16,000. She ultimately settled on two HSA plans, one with a $4,500 deductible and another with a deductible between $7,000 and $8,000 that included the membership with Appleton Clinics.

Mullen estimates that 3% of the company’s budget is dedicated to health care and it paid about $17,000 per month last year.

“We want our employees to have good coverage,” she said. “Just figuring out what’s going to work and what we can afford and employees can afford is very difficult.”

Nina Anderson’s Express Pros temp agency also offers primary care coverage through Appleton Clinic memberships for her eight full-time employees, along with vision, life insurance and short-term disability. Employees have to purchase their own insurance plans for hospital stays or any catastrophic events, or get it through a spouse.

She said when she first opened and looked at insurance plans, she was hit by “sticker shock,” as one employee in her late 50s would cost the company more than $1,000 per month to insure.

“There’s no way I have the margins for that,” Anderson said.

By dropping traditional insurance, the company is able to pick up 100% of the costs for the health plan. She said her employees preferred this to a more comprehensive plan in which the workers were picking up more of the costs.

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Schwenke feels Mullen’s and Anderson’s decision to go with concierge care is becoming more common with smaller businesses — less than 50 employees — that would not face a penalty by declining to offer health insurance to employees.

“Things have frankly gotten so bad that employers are just wondering if there is another way,” she said.

However, the emergence of more data, such as hospital prices, is bringing some hope of lower prices.

“There’s been some interesting developments in terms of data,” she said. “Employers are becoming more empowered in the process.”

The chamber is also beginning to work on an effort to bring small employers together as a group to potentially increase bargaining power with insurance companies and negotiate lower rates. In a recent survey conducted by the chamber, health care costs were at the top of the list of concerns among members.

“This is an opportunity for smaller employers,” Schwenke said. “We want to do it in a collaborative manner.”

Hilltop Community Resources CEO Mike Stahl sits on the chamber’s board of directors and will help lead the formation of a task force to help negotiate better rates.

Stahl said the board will research what is driving the costs of health care across the state and try to help the community as a whole, not just one business.

“The costs affect everybody,” he said. “It is really choking out any financial growth (for businesses).”

Stahl hopes there will be strength in numbers.

“I would clearly think the bargaining power would be much stronger,” he said.

Robert Smith, executive director of Colorado Business Group on Health, said the main issues to tackle are pharmacy costs and hospital prices. He noted that reducing hospital errors, which result in extra costs, would be a big step.

“You can absolutely get some of the highest and most reliable services in Colorado,” Smith said. “The catch is, the exact opposite is also true.”

Smith said he does see some hope with some new legislation in Colorado, particularly re-insurance, which is more or less insurance for insurance companies that is thought to lower rates. Addressing out-of-network bills and primary care will also help, he believes.

Health insurance costs for private-sector businesses rose steadily from 2008 through 2017, according to statistics from the Colorado Division of Insurance.

Average costs for a single premium rose from $4,303 in 2008 to $6,456 in 2017, an increase of about 50% over that span. The average family premium in that span went from $11,952 to $19,339, a rise of more than 60%.

Smith notes that the costs of health care have risen more than four times the cost of inflation over the past five years, which has impacted employees directly as companies ask workers to pick up a greater percentage of the premiums.

“Unfortunately, one of the strategies employers have had to employ is shifting more costs to employees,” he said. “That’s taking more money out of salaries.”

Monument Health, a health insurance provider that serves Mesa and Delta counties, is already seeing a reduction in premium rates because of some of this legislation, CEO Stephanie Motter says.

Motter said rates dropped 10% to 20%, depending on the product and she’s seen some smaller businesses return to the organization. She referred to small businesses as companies that employ fewer than 100 people.

“We have seen the very small employer groups coming back,” Motter said.

More than 200 businesses are using Monument Health to provide insurance for their employees in 2020, Motter said.

Monument Health is in its fifth year offering health plans, and while Motter says costs are still a big issue, she feels lower costs could be on the horizon.

“We’re very bullish that we can continue to see efficiencies and pass that on,” she said.



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Producers, retailers much less optimistic, survey says

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Small producers and retailers are shedding confidence within the nationwide economic system but stay upbeat about their very own prospects.

That is the discovering of a 3rd quarter survey of 1,000 corporations launched final week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. Sixty-three p.c of producing corporations surveyed had been optimistic in regards to the economic system, down from 69% in a second quarter survey. Fifty-three p.c of outlets had been optimistic, down from 59%.

The drop in optimism wasn’t stunning given the challenges each industries face. Producers have contended with the Trump administration’s tariffs on imports from China, and that nation’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-made items; the duties have raised bills for producers and have additionally depressed income for some corporations. Retailers are additionally coping with tariffs on Chinese language-made items and are seeing customers changing into extra cautious because the economic system has proven indicators of weakening this yr.

General, corporations that participated within the newest survey had been about as optimistic in regards to the economic system as they had been in the course of the second quarter; 58% had been upbeat edging down from 59%.

Regardless of their dip in confidence, 65% of producers reported their well being nearly as good, little modified from 66% in the course of the second quarter. And 59% of outlets mentioned their well being was good, up from 55%.

Nonetheless, these companies are cautious. Seventeen p.c of producers and 18% of outlets mentioned they employed extra staff on this quarter, in comparison with 24% of service corporations.

Producers have grow to be considerably extra conservative about investing of their corporations, an comprehensible response as they’ve seen enterprise weaken. Twenty-three p.c of these surveyed mentioned they deliberate to take a position, down from 35%. The variety of retailers with funding plans edged as much as 25% from 24%.

The view of producing is according to month-to-month surveys by the Institute for Provide Administration, a commerce group for company buying executives. The ISM manufacturing reviews have proven slowing manufacturing due partially to the impression of the commerce wars.

The Chamber of Commerce/MetLife survey was carried out from June 28 by July 25.

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Observe Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work could be discovered right here: https://apnews.com



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Apple investors need its new iPhone to be a hit | Business

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Happy Tuesday. A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.

Apple’s iPhone 11 probably won’t be revolutionary. But the company needs it to sell.

The company is expected to unveil its latest iPhone lineup at its headquarters in Cupertino later on Tuesday. The rub: None of these devices are expected to look radically different from those released last year, per my CNN Business colleague Samantha Kelly.

From Samantha: “At a time when some of its competitors are launching innovative but riskier concepts, such as Samsung’s foldable smartphone and its two 5G devices, Apple is expected to stay the course. That, too, may be risky. The iPhone business — still Apple’s single biggest moneymaker — has been lackluster at best of late.”

The backdrop: Apple’s core iPhone sales have declined for three consecutive quarters. For the three months ending in June, they dropped by nearly 12% compared to the previous year.

Despite this, shares have been resilient in 2019, rising more than 35%. But Apple’s stock price is still below its 2018 peak.

What’s happening: Demand is slowing as customers hold onto their smartphones for longer. Apple is also in a slump in China, once its most promising market. The bruising trade war between Washington and Beijing has been a big part of the problem.

The iPhone 11 lineup — which should include an iPhone 11 Pro and an iPhone 11 Pro Max — presents a crucial opportunity for Apple to reverse the trend. Roughly 60 million to 70 million consumers in China are due for an upgrade, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives points out.

Expect changes such as a faster processor and improved Face ID. But without any blockbuster design overhauls or flashy 5G phones, it may be difficult for Apple to grab customers’ attention. “Apple tends to perform well when it changes the design of the iPhone in a drastic way,” ABI Research analyst David McQueen told Samantha. “However, it cannot do this every year.”

Watch this space: Look for Apple also to use the massive event to highlight its growing services business. It needs Apple TV, the App Store and Apple Music to help cushion the drop-off in iPhone sales.

Calling more stimulus from Beijing

Another batch of weak data from China is a reminder that the country’s economy is not out of the woods just yet.

China’s producer price index — which measures the cost of goods sold to businesses, and is an important measure of corporate profitability — dropped 0.8% in August compared to one year ago, according to government statistics released Tuesday. That’s the index’s worst decline in three years.

Analysts said the drop points toward a broad slowdown in demand, according to my CNN Business colleague Laura He in Hong Kong. And it bolsters the expectation that China will ease monetary policy even more in the coming months.

“The authorities will not cease easing … until they see definitive signs that PPI rises are recovering,” Freya Beamish, chief Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note.

China also released data this week that showed a sharp decline in exports, while imports stayed weak.

The scene: The country’s central bank has already taken some steps to support its economy. This includes its announcement last week that it would reduce the amount of cash banks have to keep in reserve. The government still has plenty of tools available, and it’s expected to use them.

Jack Ma has retired from Alibaba

If I had a fortune of nearly $40 billion, I’m not sure I would wait until my mid-50s to retire. But I’m not Jack Ma. China’s most famous entrepreneur and the country’s richest man has been preparing to hand over the reins at Alibaba for a year. He officially steps down as executive chairman on Tuesday, just as he turns 55.

After two decades building Alibaba into a $460 billion business, Ma is now pivoting full time to philanthropy, my CNN Business colleague Sherisse Pham in Hong Kong writes. A former English teacher, he’s expected to focus on education and gender equity.

Don’t expect Ma to be out of the picture entirely, Sherisse writes. He’s expected to continue to shape the company’s future through his lifetime membership with the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 people that can nominate a majority of the directors to the board. There’s also the matter of his 6.2% stake.

But by exiting the chairman role, Ma is leaving on a high — and at a time when China’s government is increasing restrictions on internet companies.

Up next

Apple’s iPhone 11 event kicks off at 1 pm ET. Consumers — and investors in the tech company — will definitely be tuning in.

  • The NFIB’s US small business optimism index for August posted at 6 am ET.
  • US job openings data for July arrives at 10 am ET.

Coming tomorrow: OPEC releases its monthly report, coming just after Saudi Arabia appointed a new oil minister.



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Invoice would assist small NC companies present medical insurance to employees

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A proposal designed to assist North Carolina small companies provide extra reasonably priced well being insurance coverage is one vote away …

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San Francisco curbs waste with public bogs, ‘poop patrol’

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The sidewalks surrounding Ahmed Al Barak’s nook market in one in every of San Francisco’s roughest neighborhoods are stuffed with cardboard, used syringes and homeless individuals who have nowhere protected to go at evening.

However Al Barak says it is an enchancment from a yr in the past, earlier than town posted a transportable bathroom throughout the road from his enterprise within the metropolis’s Tenderloin district.

He now not often sees folks relieve themselves in broad daylight, and he doesn’t see as a lot feces and urine on the streets. In his opinion, it is the one vibrant spot in a metropolis the place taxes are too excessive.

“We used to have a catastrophe right here. I used to name town on a regular basis to come back and clear, as a result of they do not know the place to go,” he mentioned, recalling one lady particularly who shrugged at him in a “what are you able to do?” gesture as she squatted to pee.

San Francisco began its “Pit Cease” program in July 2014 with public bogs within the metropolis’s homeless-heavy Tenderloin, after kids complained of dodging human waste on their approach to college. At this time, the staffed bogs have grown from three to 25 areas, and this system has expanded to Los Angeles. In Might, the bogs in San Francisco recorded almost 50,000 flushes, all logged by attendants.

The situation of San Francisco’s streets has been a supply of embarrassment to metropolis leaders, and cleansing up shouldn’t be low cost. The town obtained almost 27,000 requests for feces removing in the latest fiscal yr, though not all are human.

Mayor London Breed final yr introduced the formation of a particular six-person “poop patrol” workforce the place every cleaner earns greater than $70,000 a yr.

Advocates say steam cleansing requests have dropped in areas surrounding a few of the public bogs. The mayor signed a price range Thursday that features greater than $9 million for the Pit Cease bogs this yr, up from $5 million final fiscal yr. San Francisco will add seven new bogs in a metropolis the place a one-night rely of homeless folks grew 17% previously two years.

The bogs every value a median of $200,000 a yr to function, with a lot of the cash going to staffing and overhead.

A number of the bogs are everlasting fixtures, whereas others are portables with two bogs which can be trucked out and in. The stops have receptacles for used syringes and canine waste. Attendants who’re paid town’s minimal wage of $16 an hour examine after each use and knock on doorways to ensure persons are not doing medicine or different illicit exercise. The bogs should shine or they don’t open.

The staffing is what makes a rest room a Pit Cease, and the work is normally achieved by males popping out of jail after many years behind bars.

The “practitioners” stand guard at a few of society’s bleakest intersections of poverty, habit and psychological sickness, says Lena Miller, founding father of nonprofit Hunters Level Household and its spinoff, City Alchemy, which staffs the Pit Stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They stop overdoses, break up fights and greet regulars, she says.

“Actually what we’re doing is we’re creating this area the place folks know that they will stroll into it, and it will scent good. It’ll look good,” Miller mentioned. “There will not be trash in every single place, and so they’re protected. And I feel that makes all of the distinction on the planet.”

Nelson Butler was a 19-year-old Los Angeles gangster when he went to jail for 30 years for killing an individual. Butler was launched final yr from San Quentin State Jail, scared and apprehensive and in want of a job. He went to work at a Pit Cease.

Technically, his job was to forestall drug use within the bogs and ensure homeless folks did not arrange camp.

“The fact is I am a safety guard. I used to be a babysitter, I used to be a social employee, I used to be a counselor. I did quite a lot of issues that was not essentially within the scope of my job description, however that is my group,” Butler mentioned. “So my thought was, if I noticed any individual that wanted assist, that is why I am there — to assist.”

Homelessness has surged all through California, and cities are struggling to open extra bogs. Officers are contemplating including port-a-potties and particular loos designed by town of Portland, Oregon, and increasing hours of restrooms in authorities buildings.

Sacramento, which is in a county the place a one-night rely of the homeless elevated 19% in two years, tried a Pit Cease however stopped after a number of months as a result of it value an excessive amount of.

Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin initially thought the stops too expensive, however he now understands that having somebody to observe over the bogs has its upsides. Los Angeles noticed a 16% enhance over a yr in its one-night rely of homeless, to 36,000.

“I heard from everybody, from folks affiliated with legislation enforcement, from individuals who reside within the neighborhood, from homeless advocates, from people who find themselves homeless themselves, that it is essential to have a workers to ensure they keep clear and freed from destruction or abuse,” he mentioned.

Down the road from Ahmed Al Barak’s nook market is Aref Elgaali’s Z Zoul, a Sudanese cafe. The general public rest room by his eatery has helped, he says, however it closes too early, and there must be many extra of the bogs.

“Why to not have on this nook one and that nook one and the opposite nook one? That may resolve quite a lot of issues for the folks right here in San Francisco,” he mentioned.

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Clickety clack, let’s look back: Typewriters return

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For most of us, the clickety clack of a manual typewriter — or the gentler tapping of the IBM Selectric — are but memories, or something seen only in movies.

But at the few remaining typewriter repair shops in the country, business is booming as a younger generation discovers the joy of the feel and sound of the typewriter — and older generations admit they never fell out of love with it.

“What’s surprising to me is that the younger generation is taking a liking to typewriters again,” says Paul Schweitzer, 80, owner and operator of the Gramercy Typewriter Co., founded by his father in 1932. He now works alongside his son, Jay Schweitzer, 50, and — this summer — a grandson, Jake.

Vintage typewriters are sent for repair and restoration daily from around the country, Schweitzer says. Demand is so great that early this year, the family finally opened their own store, in New York City. Other surviving shops include Berkeley Typewriter and California Typewriter, both in Berkeley, California, and also founded in the 1930s.

Gramercy sold dozens of old typewriters over the holiday season, Schweitzer says.

Two recent documentaries, “The Typewriter (In The 21st Century)” (2012) and “California Typewriter” (2016), featuring collector Tom Hanks, have helped popularize vintage typewriters among young people, who also have a soft spot for other analog technologies like vinyl records and fountain pens.

At one time, Schweitzer says, there were six pages of typewriter repair listings in the New York City phone book (which also hardly exists anymore).

Schweitzer, who also services HP laser printers, still packs up his leather typewriter-repair bag and heads out on jobs at offices around the city, seeing to sticky keys and shredded ribbons. But these days, he sees to just a handful of typewriters in any given office, as opposed to years ago, when he visited offices with as many as 700 typewriters, one at each desk.

“A lot of law firms and accounting firms still have typewriters in their offices. They have computers, too, but there are always times when typewriters come in handy,” he says. They are convenient for smaller jobs, like addressing envelopes, and there are times you just want something done quickly and in triplicate.

The American Writers Museum, in Chicago, features a popular section with seven manual typewriters and an electric typewriter that visitors can try out.

“Typing for the first time is exciting, especially for younger people,” says Carey Cranston, president of the museum, which now features an exhibit with 16 typewriters used by famous writers like Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou and John Lennon.

“With a pen or pencil you can distract yourself by doodling, and of course on a computer it’s easy to find distractions. But a typewriter was invented specifically for writing. There are no distractions. It’s just you and the page,” Cranston says.

Students who visited the museum on a field trip were so enamored with the typewriters that they started their own typewriter club, and Cranston says he’ll never forget the reaction of one fifth-grader discovering typewriters for the first time.

“Wow, this is great! It’s an instant printer!” he exclaimed.

Ellen Lupton, senior curator in contemporary design at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, which has an array of typewriters in its collection, says, “There’s an irresistible tactility to typing on a typewriter, a satisfying sound, a feeling of authentic authorship. No one can spy on you and there are no distractions,” she says.

She notes that typewriters’ legacy can be seen in smart phone and computer keyboards.

The “shift” key, for instance, was originally meant to literally shift the position of a typewriter key, to a capital letter from a lower-case one. The return key (or lever, on manual typewriters) originally returned the carriage into position for the next line.

“And we’re still stuck with the QWERTY keyboard — even on phones — which was supposedly designed to prevent keys from sticking together when someone is typing quickly,” Lupton says.

While early typewriters of the late 19th century were designed purely for function, “by the ’20s and ’30s they’d become quite stylish,” Lupton says.

“We have quite a few very stylish Italian typewriters in our collection. They’re very chic, with wonderful geometry and unusual lines. Olivetti was a big producer of office equipment and they are really invested in design,” says Lupton. “Another reason for the appeal must surely be the beautiful and authentic appearance of a typewritten page.”

It’s common for typewriters to allow for typing in red and black, and to feature a “ribbon reverse” function to maximize use of the ink ribbon by running it in the opposite direction once it reaches the end of the spool.

And as with every tool, there are tricks to using a typewriter. To save on the number of keys, there is generally no number “1” on older keyboards (a lower case “L” suffices), and to make an exclamation point, a period is simply topped with an apostrophe.

The “cent” key seems decidedly quaint today.

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Some legal immigrants in marijuana jobs denied citizenship

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Colorado officials are warning legal immigrants that working in the state’s marijuana industry could jeopardize their legal status, after two people said they were denied U.S. citizenship because of their jobs.

Although 10 states broadly allow its use and sale, federal law still bans marijuana and immigration authorities say they are bound to follow that prohibition when reviewing citizenship applications.

Attorneys representing the two legal immigrants from Colorado, and Denver officials, accused the Trump administration of quietly targeting immigrants seeking to work in the expanding field. Immigration advocates said Thursday they have seen others denied citizenship based on past or ongoing work in cannabis-related jobs, but it is not clear how many cases exist.

Oswaldo Barrientos, one of those denied citizenship, said he began working in the industry in 2014. He was inspired by the research he had done into medical products after his mother was diagnosed with skin cancer.

Barrientos, 30, said he was brought to the U.S. from El Salvador as an infant and was granted a green card when he was 13.

He said he didn’t anticipate any problems with his citizenship application. He is fluent in English and said he has no criminal history, pays taxes and graduated high school. But during an interview in November, the immigration official focused on Barrientos’ job with a state-licensed company that grows marijuana, he said.

Weeks later, he received a letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denying him because of his job, his lawyers said.

“I was shocked, appalled, sad,” Barrientos said. “It was a mixture of emotions. I had no idea I was going to be in this situation.”

Barrientos’ attorneys Aaron Elinoff and Bryce Downer, who specialize in immigration law in Colorado, said they also represent a woman whose citizenship application was denied because of a previous job at a marijuana dispensary. She asked not to be named publicly because of a new job in the medical field, they said.

“Frankly, these are the people we want to be citizens,” Elinoff said. “And the U.S. government is telling them no. We don’t know how many people have been denied on the same issue.”

Kathy Brady, a senior staff attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said legal immigrants have reported similar denials in Colorado and Washington state, where marijuana also is legal. Brady said she doesn’t know how many people have been denied citizenship for their work in the marijuana industry.

She advises people without U.S. citizenship to find work elsewhere unless federal law changes.

“Even if you have had a green card for 20 years, you had better not work in any aspect of this industry and you better not use marijuana,” Brady said.

Deborah Cannon, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the agency does not comment on individual cases. She defended denials based on involvement with marijuana, saying the agency must follow federal law that prevents its use or sale.

“Despite state law that may allow medical marijuana use, the Supreme Court has held that Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause empowers it to prohibit drug distribution and possession, even if the prohibited activities are not also illegal under state law,” she said. “When adjudicating applicants for citizenship, the agency is required to apply federal law.”

The use and sale of marijuana for adults is broadly permitted in 10 states. More than 30 states allow a variety of marijuana-based products for medical purposes.

Advocates have warned immigrants of the peril that using state-permitted marijuana could do to their legal status for years and are expanding that message to include employment by marijuana businesses.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center began working with California’s employment agency to answer workers’ questions this year. On Wednesday, the Denver agency that regulates marijuana businesses told companies to warn new employees that their work could block citizenship applications.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock met with Barrientos and others this week before calling on U.S. Attorney General William Barr to issue formal guidance on the issue.

“Denver understands the need for federal laws and regulations regarding citizenship and immigration, but we are seeing the heartbreaking effects that those federal laws and regulations are having on our residents,” Hancock wrote to Barr.

Barrientos said he plans to appeal the denial of his application. His attorneys are also considering his options in federal court.

In the meantime, he is following their advice not to leave the country and risk being barred from re-entering. He plans to keep his job and calls the government’s denial of his application “downright wrong.”

“I’m trying to help people,” he said. “We want to work hard to live the American dream. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

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Kathleen Foody is a member of AP’s marijuana beat team. Follow her at twitter.com/katiefoody. Find complete AP marijuana coverage here: apnews.com/tag/Marijuana.



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