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Business News Roundup, March 16, 2021

A dip in retail sales, new data on marijuana legalization’s economic impact, a $1 trillion forecast for e-commerce, record growth in the solar industry, and a protest against development at Connecticut’s State Pier are among the top business news items this morning.


Retail sales fell 3 percent in February, although they were higher than the previous year. Sales in the retail sector are anticipated to pick up due to stimulus payments under the American Rescue Plan, ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and other factors.

NPR has summarized a variety of research into the effects of state-level recreational marijuana legalization after Colorado and Washington first took this step a decade ago. These included the creation of 321,000 jobs, higher state tax revenues, and a reduction in claims through workers’ compensation programs.

Business trends

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated an existing shift in spending to e-commerce, with $813 billion spent online in 2020. A report by Adobe’s e-commerce division expects that e-commerce sales will continue to grow in the coming years and exceed $1 trillion in 2022.

Renewable energy developments proceeded at a quick clip in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with the solar energy industry adding 19.2 gigawatts of new capacity during the year – a jump of 43 percent from 2019. Solar capacity is also expected to quadruple by 2030.


Opponents of a plan to overhaul State Pier in New London into a heavy-lift facility capable of supporting work on offshore wind installations staged a protest outside the Connecticut State Capitol on Monday. Protestors said the State Pier plan should have been more of a collaborative effort to preserve existing businesses and professions at the waterfront.

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