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CN ON: OPED: Marijuana Should Be Decriminalized Now

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 08:00
Hamilton Spectator, 03 Feb 2018 - Millions of criminals are Canadians buying pot from Canadians, writes Jeremy Kemeny Everyone smoking recreational marijuana right now is a criminal. That is according to Canadian law and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who - planning to legalize this summer - has encouraged authorities to enforce these rules.
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CN ON: What's Next For Cannabis Crime?

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 08:00
The Daily Press, 03 Feb 2018 - Lawyers contemplate class action to push government into cannabis amnesty OTTAWA - At Anthony Morgan's law office, the calls keep coming: Parents of young black men hoping their son's marijuana possession charge will be wiped clean when the country legalizes the drug this year.
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Chronicle AM: WV "Free College" Bill Requires Drug Testing, NM MJ Init Bill Moves, More... (2/2/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 22:14

It's a longshot, but New Mexican could get a chance to vote on marijuana legalization this fall, an Iowa bill to lower pot penalties advances, so does a New Jersey hemp bill, and so does a West Virginia bill that would make community college free -- but only if students first pass drug tests.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Florida Legalization Initiative Comes Up Short on Signatures. Regulate Florida, the group behind an effort to put a marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot, says it doesn't have nearly enough signatures to qualify this year. The group needed 300,000 signatures to qualify, but has only gathered 40,000. The group says it is now eyeing 2020.

Iowa Bill to Reduce Marijuana Penalties Advances. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill lowering the penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Senate File 432, sponsored by Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) would classify a first offense for possession of five grams or less of marijuana as a simple misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and a fine of $625.

New Mexico Legalization Initiative Bill Advances. The Senate Rules Committee on Friday approved Senate Joint Resolution 4, which if passed by the legislature would place the question of marijuana legalization before the voters in November. But there are only two weeks left in the session, and the bill must still get through the Senate Judiciary Committee, the full Senate, and the House before then.

Oregon US Attorney Holds Summit on Pot Surplus, Issues Subtle Threat. Oregon US Attorney Billy Williams convened a marijuana summit Friday with state, law enforcement, and tribal and industry leaders about how to address what he says is surplus marijuana that has ended up in the black market. He also warned that how state actors address this issue could influence his prosecutorial decisions: "I have significant concerns about the state's current regulatory framework and the resources allocated to policing marijuana in Oregon," Williams wrote in The Oregonian, adding that the summit and the state's response to his concerns would "inform our federal enforcement strategy."

Medical Marijuana

Kentucky Sees a Second Medical Marijuana Bill. Sen. Stephen West (R-Paris) has filed Senate Bill 118, which would allow patients with certain specified medical conditions to use any form of marijuana. A companion bill has been filed in the House. Last month, Democratic Secretary of State Allison Grimes filed another medical marijuana bill, House Bill 166.

Texas Sees First Delivery of CBD Cannabis Oil to Patient. A six-year-old boy suffering from epilepsy became the first patient in the state to receive CBD cannabis oil Thursday -- more than two years after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a law legalizing its use. The delivery came from Knox Medical in Schulenburg.

Hemp

New Jersey Hemp Bill Advances. The Assembly Agriculture Committee voted Thursday to approve a bill that would allow farmers to grow hemp. The measure, Assembly Bill 1330, is sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer County).

Drug Testing

West Virginia Bill for Free Community College Would Require Drug Testing of Students. The state Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 284, which would create a benefit to cover community college education costs not covered by Pell grants or other student aid. But there is a catch: Prospective students would have to pay for, take, and pass, a drug test before they would be eligible. The bill now goes to the House.

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US MD: Industrial Hemp Advocates Hope This Is Their Year In Annapolis

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 02 Feb 2018 - The industrial hemp plant has a lot of boosters. They praise it for its hardiness and versatility. They say its oils yield food and medicine, its fibers produce clothing and plastic-like auto parts. They contend that when planted strategically, it can absorb manure and other pollutants before they flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
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US PA: Oped: How Can I Supervise Heroin Injections And Live With

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 08:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 02 Feb 2018 - A Philly nurse on safe injection sites "You want me to do what?" "Where's your compassion?" "What a waste of resources!" "I have an obligation to help people stay healthy." These are conflicting responses I imagine nurses and health-care professionals may have when asked to provide care at safe injection sites, places where people can use drugs under medical supervision. There aren't any such sites right now. But the City of Philadelphia announced that it will encourage setting them up. Should health-care professionals participate? It's a dilemma wrought with ethical, moral, legal, and regulatory issues and more questions than answers. As a nurse, I can understand and appreciate both sides.
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CN ON: Opioid OD Kits Heading To Lambton Kent High Schools

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 08:00
The Chatham Daily News, 02 Feb 2018 - Lambton Kent District school board is following measures taken by some other Ontario school boards to provide help if a student has an opioid overdose. Superintendent Gary Girardi said trustees were advised at Tuesday's board meeting in Sarnia that naloxone kits will be placed in all high schools across the region by month's end.
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CN NF: Editorial: Drug Driving

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 08:00
The Western Star, 02 Feb 2018 - Unsettling incidents involving young people who insist on driving while drunk have grabbed the spotlight in recent days and months across Atlantic Canada. It doesn't augur well for potential law enforcement issues later this year. In Halifax, a 23-year-old New Brunswick man is facing charges after a pedestrian was struck and killed in the downtown last weekend. A 63-year-old well-known and much-liked street person was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver is charged with impaired driving causing death.
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CN NS: Column: Dope? Nope!

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 08:00
Amherst News, 02 Feb 2018 - Sometimes so little is going through my head that if Ralph were to say something, I'd actually have room to listen to him. Those few times that's happened also seems to be my week to write an article which then leaves me scrambling.
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CN NS: Annapolis Valley Marijuana Advocates Upset With NSLC Snub

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 08:00
Amherst News, 02 Feb 2018 - Users will have to drive to Yarmouth or Lower Sackville to purchase pot When marijuana becomes legal across Canada July 1, Annapolis Valley residents won't be buying any of the recreational drug from their local NSLC. In fact, they'll have to drive all the way to Yarmouth or Lower Sackville.
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Chronicle AM: Marijuana Bills Popping Up, HRW Calls on Philippines to Support UN Inquiry, More... (2/1/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 22:05

With the legislative season gearing up in the states, marijuana bills are everywhere. And Human Rights Watch has a message for the Philippine government.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Alaska Bill Would Seal Public Records of Past Marijuana Convictions. Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) has filed House Bill 316, which would seal public records for past marijuana possession convictions. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Georgia Bills Would Amend State Constitution, Codes to Legalize Marijuana. Lawmakers in Atlanta have not one, but two, marijuana legalization measures to deal with this year. Senate Resolution 614 proposes amending the state constitution to legalize it, while Senate Bill 344 would amend the state code to allow for the legalization and regulation of marijuana businesses. Since the measures are in the form of amendments to the constitution, they must first pass the General Assembly and then they would go to the voters on the November 2018 ballot.

Maine House Fails To Pass Short-Term Moratorium on Retail Marijuana Sales. The House has failed to extend a moratorium on recreational marijuana sales that expired today. Supporters had said that extending the moratorium would send a strong signal to would-be entrepreneurs that legal sales are still on hold, but failure to pass it will have little effect, since retail operations can't happen until there is a regulatory framework in place. It's now been more than 13 months since voters approved legalization.

New Mexico Bill to Legalize Marijuana Introduced. State Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque) on Wednesday filed House Bill 312, which would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. Advocates don't expect the bill to pass this year, but said it would advance the conversation.

New Jersey Assembly Sees Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton) has filed a marijuana legalization bill, Assembly Bill 1348, that would allow a single household to grow up to 12 plants. The bill would also set a limit of 80 retail marijuana outlets in the state. If it passes the Assembly, it would need to be reconciled with a legalization bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 380, that doesn't allow home grows and does not cap the number of shops.

San Francisco to Wipe Out Thousands of Old Marijuana Convictions. City District Attorney George Gascon announced Wednesday that the city will retroactively apply the state's marijuana legalization to past marijuana cases going back to 1975. He said more than 3,000 misdemeanor cases dating back decades will be dismissed and sealed.

Medical Marijuana

Maine Governor Agrees to Delay New, More Restrictive Medical Marijuana Rules. Gov. Paul LePage (R) has agreed to delay the implementation of new, more restrictive rules that were set to go into effect Thursday. They would have allowed surprise inspections of caregivers and shut down markets for infused edibles, tinctures, and lotions. Now, the governor is giving the legislature another three months to draft a new law. "While I believe strongly that the medical marijuana program needs improved and increased regulation, waiting until May to ensure we do not create unnecessary confusion and complication is a reasonable approach," LePage said in a letter Wednesday.

Utah Medical Marijuana Bills Advance. Two bills taking the state down the path toward allowing medical marijuana advanced in the legislature Wednesday. House Bill 197 would allow marijuana cultivation for research purposes, while House Bill 195 would establish a "right to try" for terminally ill patients. Both bills were filed by Rep. Brad Daw (R-Orem). They passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and now head for a House floor vote. Meanwhile, an initiative for a full-blown medical marijuana program is now in the signature gathering phase.

Industrial Hemp

Indiana House Unanimously Passes Industrial Hemp Legalization Bill. The House on Wednesday approved House Bill 1137 on a vote of 90-0. The bill would allow farmers in the state to grow industrial hemp crops -- if the federal government issues the necessary permits and waivers. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Drug Testing

Maine Employee Drug Testing Bill Filed. Sen. Amy Volk (R-Scarborough) has filed a bill that would usher in a sweeping overhaul of the state's employee drug testing laws, giving employers new powers to test and discipline workers for drug or alcohol use. The bill is backed by GOP lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage (R). The bill would remove probable cause requirements for drug tests and eliminate provisions mandating that employers provide access to drug treatment.

South Dakota Senate Panel Approves Bill Requiring Drug Tests for Legislators. Two days after a committee in the House voted to kill the bill, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 to approve House Bill 1133, which would require legislators to submit to drug testing. The full Senate will now take up the bill.

Vermont Legislature Considers Saliva Test Ahead of Marijuana Legalization. The House Committee on Transportation is pondering whether to look into a saliva test for drivers as the state faces looming legalization. Legislators are also proposing a per se THC blood limit of .05 nanograms per milliliter. But as the Vermont ACLU noted, the presence of THC does not necessarily indicate impairment.

International

Human Rights Watch Calls on Philippines Government to Support UN Inquiry into Drug War Killings. The Philippine government should urgently support the creation of a United Nations-led investigation into the thousands of killings linked to its "war on drugs," Human Rights Watch said Thursday. A UN-led probe would both help clarify the disparity in official and independent estimates of killings in the anti-drug campaign and facilitate accountability for unlawful deaths. "The glaring disparity between the Philippine government's official death toll and those of credible independent observers underscores the urgent need for a UN-led independent investigation into killings since the drug war began in June 2016," said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director. "The government should welcome a UN effort to establish an impartial and verifiable death toll as a crucial first step in accountability for wrongful deaths."

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CN BC: Vancouver Blazes Psychedelic Research Trail

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 08:00
The Georgia Straight, 01 Feb 2018 - Decades after Canada abandoned the field, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use is investigating the benefits of drugs like MDMA and psilocybin In 2011, Gerald Thomas was invited to an Indigenous community in a remote area of British Columbia. Working for the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C., he was one of a small team of scientists who observed 12 people take ayahuasca, an Amazonian mixture that induces vivid visual and auditory hallucinations as well as deep emotional and intellectual reflection.
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CN BC: Overdose Toll 150 In Valley Last Year

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 08:00
The Daily Courier, 01 Feb 2018 - Health official says region needs to be able to treat more drug users With the second highest rate of illicit drug overdose deaths in the province last year, the overdose crisis in the Okanagan remains concerning and distressing, says chief medical health officer Trevor Corneil.
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CN AB: Ready To Challenge Trudeau

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 08:00
Metro, 01 Feb 2018 - Group to ask about opioid crisis at town hall Edmontonians will line up at MacEwan University on Thursday in hopes of getting face time with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Moms Stop the Harm, a group of parents who have lost children to drug overdoses, plans to have 10 to 15 members at the town hall to challenge the PM on the opioid crisis.
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CN BC: B.C. Health Officer Calls For Greater Focus On Opioid Crisis

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 01 Feb 2018 - Kendall ends term by calling on province to think further outside the box, its comfort zones British Columbia's provincial health officer concluded his last day in the role with a call to further push the envelope in responding to the province's overdose crisis, which new numbers show killed more than 1,400 people last year.
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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 22:09

It's been a pretty quiet week on the corrupt front, but we've got another prison guard breaking bad and a police dispatcher who picked the wrong husband. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In Columbus, Georgia, a former state prison guard was sentenced Tuesday to nearly seven years in federal prison after being caught trying to bring a hundred grams of meth and more than a pound of pot into the Calhoun State Prison in Morgan. Joshua Washington, 30, said he had been promised $3,000 to bring the drugs into the prison. He copped to a single count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

In Claremont, North Carolina, a police dispatcher was fired Tuesday after Catawba County narcotics officers executing a search warrant found 65 pounds of marijuana in her home. The dispatcher was neither arrested nor named, but her husband, Blong Ly Vang, now faces marijuana and stolen firearms charges.

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Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 21:54

The medical marijuana movement loses a founding father, and the only other action this past week was a pair of CBD bills.

[image:1 align:right]California

Last Saturday, Dennis Peron, "the Father of Medical Marijuana," died at age 72. A key player in California's groundbreaking embrace of medical marijuana has died. Dennis Peron, an AIDS activist whose partner, Jonathan West, died of the disease in 1990, argued for the benefits of medical marijuana for AIDS patients, opened the nation's first dispensary in San Francisco, and was a driving force behind the city's 1992 ordinance allowing medical marijuana. That was the first step toward the state's historic passage of Prop 215 four years later. Peron was 72. He died of lung cancer at a San Francisco hospital.

Idaho

Last Thursday, a CBD bill was filed in the House. Conservative Republican state Rep. Dorothy Moon has filed a bill that would allow the CBD cannabis oil for medicinal purposes. House Bill 410 would limit cannabis oils to less than 0.3% THC. It is now before the House Health and Welfare Committee.

Indiana

On Tuesday, the House approved a CBD bill. The House voted 93-0 Tuesday to approve House Bill 1214, which would allow anyone to buy and use CBD cannabis oil, provided it contains less than 0.3% THC. The bill also gets around federal controlled substance prohibitions by designating CBD oil as an exempt hemp product. The bill now goes to the Senate.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

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Chronicle AM: CA MJ Bank Plan, Israel Decrim Draft, No Drug Testing SD Lawmakers, More... (1/31/18)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 21:37

California's treasurer wants to create a public bank for pot businesses, a New Jersey poll on legalization has mixed results, the Indiana House passes a CBD bill, Israel takes another step toward marijuana decriminalization, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

California Treasurers Lay Out Plan to Create Public Marijuana Bank. State Treasurer John Chiang on Tuesday laid out a plan to create a public bank for marijuana businesses, a defiant move in the face of the Trump administration's opposition to legal marijuana. "We are contending with the emergence of a multibillion-dollar cannabis industry that needs banking services, and a private banking industry that is stymied by federal law in meeting the needs of the new industry," said Chiang, who is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. "The current administration is out of step with the will of the people, not only those in California, but the 29 states that have legalized either or both medicinal and recreational-use cannabis."

New Jersey Pot Poll Has Mixed Results. A new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University has strong support for further marijuana law reforms in the state, but only a minority in favor of outright legalization. The poll found 42% said legalize it, 26% said only decriminalize it, and 27% said it should be legal only for medical purposes. The poll comes as Gov. Phil Murphy (D) champions the cause of legalization and with one legalization bill already filed in the Senate and another set to be filed in the House.

Medical Marijuana

Indiana House Approves CBD Bill. The House voted 93-0 Tuesday to approve House Bill 1214, which would allow anyone to buy and use CBD cannabis oil, provided it contains less than 0.3% THC. The bill also gets around federal controlled substance prohibitions by designating CBD oil as an exempt hemp product. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Drug Testing

Maine Employers Must Ignore Off-Work Marijuana Use, Cease Testing Applicants. As of Thursday, Maine becomes the first state to protect workers from adverse employer action because of their use of marijuana. The state Department of Labor has removed marijuana from the list of drugs for which employers can test in its model drug policy. The legalization initiative passed by voters bars employers from refusing to employ or otherwise penalizing any person age 21 or older based on that person"s "consuming marijuana outside the … employer's property. Employers can still discipline workers who are high on the job, but a positive drug test will not be deemed sufficient to conclude that a worker was under the influence at work.

South Dakota Lawmakers Reject Drug Testing Themselves. The House State Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to kill House Bill 1133, which would have required lawmakers to be drug tested within two weeks of taking office. The committee "deferred the bill to the 41st day," of the legislature's 40-day legislative session.

International

Israeli Ministry Releases Marijuana Decriminalization Draft Legislation. The Public Security Ministry on Tuesday published draft legislation to decriminalize the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Under the proposal, being caught with pot would lead to a $265 fine on a first offense, a $530 fine on a second offense, and possible prosecution for a third offense. The draft language doesn't specify the amount of marijuana being decriminalized, but it will likely be up to 15 grams. The draft legislation will be submitted to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on February 18.

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Can Magic Mushrooms Fight Authoritarianism?

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 19:05

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Psychedelic drugs have been associated with anti-authoritarian counter-cultures since the 1960s, but a new study suggests using psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, actually makes people less likely to embrace authoritarian views, PsyPost reports. The study conducted by the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]While other studies have linked the use of psychedelics to a greater sense of oneness with nature, openness to new experiences and political and social liberalism, this is the first to provide experimental evidence their use can leading to lasting changes in these attitudes.

In the study, researchers gave two oral doses of psilocybin to seven participants suffering from treatment-resistant major depression while a control group of seven healthy subjects did not receive psilocybin. Researchers surveyed participants about their political views and relationship to nature before the sessions, one week after the sessions, and 7-12 months later.

Subjects who received the psilocybin treatment showed a significant decrease in authoritarian attitudes after treatment, and that reduction was sustained over time. They also reported a significant increase in a sense of relatedness to nature.

"Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it. Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… But now I see there's no separation or distinction -- you are it," one participant told researchers.

Subjects who had not received psilocybin did not exhibit significant changes in attitudes.

"Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism," wrote study authors Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris.

That is a significant advance in the research on the links between psychedelics and anti-authoritarianism. That's because this is the first study to suggest that psychedelic use promoted such attitudes and not the other way around.

But while this study's design allows the drawing of some inferences about cause and effect, its small sample size limits the strength of its findings. As Lyon and Carhart-Harris noted in their study, "It would be hasty, therefore, to attempt any strong claims about a causal influence due specifically to psilocybin at this stage."

Still, one can't help but wonder what might happen if, say, Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump or Rodrigo Duterte were to go tripping on 'shrooms. The world might be a better place.

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CN BC: Interior Health Issues Overdose Alert For Region

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 08:00
Nelson Star, 31 Jan 2018 - 'It doesn't help to have conversations that are fear-based' Nine people died of suspected overdoses in a span of five days last week in the Interior Health region that includes Nelson. Seven of those deaths were reported to have occurred between Jan. 23 to 26, with two more fatalities added on Jan. 27.
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CN ON: Safety Advocate Issues Warning About Pot Edibles

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 08:00
Edmonton Sun, 31 Jan 2018 - Unless you want to see people climbing up trees, the Ontario Safety League is urging Canada to stay away from legalizing the sale of marijuana edibles. "Governments planning to tax legal marijuana sales should put a stop to edibles right now," said Brian Patterson, president of the Ontario Safety League. "It's way too risky to go down that road."
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