1. Recreational marijuana sales begin in Oregon
Oregon joins Colorado and Washington as the only states with recreational marijuana marketplaces on Thursday. Adults 21 and older in Oregon may buy up to a quarter-ounce of cannabis per day, without needing a doctor’s recommendation. And frugal stoners will be pleased to note that pot sales will be untaxed until January. Voters in Alaska and the District of Columbia have approved recreational marijuana, but sales there have not yet begun.
Cannibis dispenseries around Oregon have been scrambling to stock their shelves as recreational marijuana becomes legal. Permits for recreational growers won’t be issued until January, so shops have to rely on medical marijuana growers.
2. Hurricane Joaquin strenghtens to Category 3 storm, eyes East Coast
Hurricane Joaquin has been upgraded to a Category 3 storm, clocking 115-mph winds as it approached the Bahamas Wednesday night. Forecasters are still divided whether the storm will touch land, but some are predicting a path that would take it smack into the East Coast this weekend. Authorities in the Bahamas were bracing for contact with the storm and the center was supposed to pass near or over the islands Thursday. President Obama was briefed about federal preparations for Joaquin in case it hits the East Coast, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
Hurricane Joaquin is forecast to strengthen over the next two days and could track near the East Coast by this weekend.
3. Dip, don’t swipe your credit card
Credit card technology is getting an upgrade, and it should be in place by Thursday. For you: Banks should have supplied you with a new credit card with chip-enabled technology (though 60% of people haven’t gotten theirs yet). For merchants: They need new credit card readers that make you “dip,” not swipe, your credit card into the reader. Until they are geared up with the new machines (and only about a third of them are), merchants will be held fully liable for any losses due to credit card fraud.
More and more people are receiving new credit cards with microchips in them. Here’s everything you need to know.
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4. Amtrak mimics airlines, adds bag fee
Amtrak is cracking down on passengers who try to board their trains with too many bags. Starting Thursday, passengers who exceed the limit of two carry-on bags and two personal items will have to pay $20 for each extra bag. Overweight bags will also carry a fee. Most U.S. airlines have been charging fees for checked bags for years, raking in $3.5 billion in baggage fees last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
5. High-end Swiss chocolate brand finally on sale in the U.S.
Great news for the chocoholics out there. Nestle announced that for the first time it will begin selling its Cailler chocolate outside of Switzerland. The nearly 200-year-old Swiss brand will go on sale in the United States, Britain and Germany with the help of Amazon starting Thursday. The nuts used in the chocolate are roasted in-house. The company says milk for Cailler chocolate brands comes from “1,800 of the world’s happiest dairy cows grazing the lush, green grass” near the Nestle factory in Broc, Switzerland. Super-premium chocolate doesn’t come cheap though. A box of 25 bon bons will run you $24.90, while a pack of three plain chocolate bars will cost $13.50.
And, the essentials:
Weather: Most of the nation will have a fairly quiet first day of October while the East Coast braces for Hurricane Joaquin.
Stocks: U.S. stock futures pointed higher Thursday.
TV tonight: Wondering what to watch tonight? TV critic Robert Bianco looks at Bones, Blacklist and Sleepy Hollow.
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