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US: Review: A Debate Full Of Smoke And Mirrors

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 03 Oct 2014 - 'The Culture High' Explores Marijuana Decriminalization THE CULTURE HIGH Opens on Friday
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Chronicle AM: CO MedMJ Crackdown, Heroin ODs Up, Mexican Soldiers Charged in Massacre, More (10/2/14)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 20:10

A Colorado legislative panel wants to tighten up on medical marijuana, a South Carolina legislative panel studies medical marijuana, the CDC says heroin overdoses are up, a North Carolina county engages in more drug war same old-same old, and there's news from Mexico, too. Let's get to it:

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

Colorado Lawmakers Want to Crack Down on Medical Marijuana. A state legislative panel, the Marijuana Revenues Interim Committee, yesterday recommended filing legislation that would tighten up the medical marijuana caregiver system and clarify that local governments can collect taxes on recreational marijuana. The bill would require all primary caregivers to register with the state. Officials fear that their inability to track caregiver grows under the present system is helping the black market. The bill would limit caregivers to six plants per patient and limit patients to one caregiver. Medical marijuana supporters questioned why a committee charged with revenue issues was concerning itself with medical marijuana laws.

South Carolina Medical Marijuana Panel Meets Today. A joint legislative panel studying the uses of medical marijuana in the state is meeting at the Medical University of South Carolina today. It's the first of three meetings to be held around the state to gather information. The state last year approved a CBD cannabis oil bill; these meetings are designed to help lawmakers gather information and refine the state's marijuana and hemp laws.

Heroin and Prescription Opiates

CDC Report Says Heroin Overdose Death Rate Doubled. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the heroin overdose death rate doubled between 2010 and 2012 in the 28 states covered in the report, but that twice as many people died from prescription opiate overdoses. The study says two things appear to be driving the increase in heroin overdoses: widespread exposure to prescription opiates and increasing rates of opiate addiction, and easier availability of heroin. Click on the link for more details.

Law Enforcement

Craven County, NC, Makes Penny-Ante Drug Roundup. After a "two-month investigation," the Craven County Narcotics Unit and the New Bern Police Narcotics Unit (CNET-the Coastal Narcotics Enforcement Team) rounded up 16 drug suspects this week, but the charges are less than impressive. Of the 16 people arrested in the big bust, five were charged only with possession of drug paraphernalia (which was also tacked onto nearly everyone else's charges, too), two were charged solely with failure to appear in court, and one was charged with possession of marijuana in jail. Five were charged with "possession with intent to sell" various drugs and one with "possession with intent to sell" marijuana. One person was charged with possession of meth precursors. Of the 16 arrested, only one was arrested on an actual drug trafficking charge.


Mexican Special Forces Grab Beltran-Leyva Cartel Head. Hector Beltran Leyva, head of the Beltran Leyva cartel since his brother Arturo was killed by Mexican marines in 2009, was captured at a San Miguel de Allende restaurant yesterday. It's another coup against the cartels for the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, which has also captured Sinaloa cartel head Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and at least two leaders of the feared Zetas cartel.

Three Mexican Soldiers Charged With Murder in Massacre of 22. Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced late Tuesday that three soldiers have been charged with homicide in the shooting deaths of 22 people killed in Mexico state on June 30. The military originally said they were cartel members who died in a shoot-out with troops, but witnesses described them being executed after surrendering. Just last week, the Defense Ministry had charged eight of the soldiers with crimes against military justice.

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Help Track Candidates' Positions on "Vote For Marijuana" Web Site

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 15:43

[image:1 align:left] has teamed up with Vote For Marijuana, a new web site that's building a database of all state and federal politicians and their public statements/votes/pledges related to marijuana policy. We hope you'll join the team by submitting information from your local races on the site.

Vote For Marijuana's goal (and ours) is to enable any voter to see all the local politicians running for (and holding) office, and what each politician has said and done about ending or continuing marijuana prohibition and its parts. For that we need activists from each state to help.

Visit to learn how to become a Vote For Marijuana moderator in your home state, or just check out the front end and see what the system already knows about your local politicians!

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US: Return Of The Messenger

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:00
Reno News & Review, 02 Oct 2014 - How Jeremy Renner's New Film Will Vindicate Investigative Journalist Gary Webb Journalist Gary Webb, who worked at SN&R in the four months before his death, gained both acclaim and notoriety for his 1996 San Jose Mercury News series "Dark Alliance."
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US CA: Column: H20 And 420

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 02 Oct 2014 - It's harvest time-but is the drought going to affect the flowers? Will that impact the price of flowers at the dispensaries? - -Amy Wilson Short answer: not really. Like you said, it's harvest time. There is so much cannabis in the mountains right now, it's kinda stupid. The biggest effect that the drought has had on the outdoor-marijuana industry is that more than a few unscrupulous folks feel like it's OK to steal water. They just busted a kid in Winton (near Yosemite, in Madera County) for siphoning 1.5 million gallons of water for his 100-plant garden. The 19-year-old male faces fines of $25,000 for the plants, and $18,000 for stealing the water. The cops also destroyed the plants, which is kinda fucked up, because the boy is gonna need the money to pay his fines. I feel like the authorities should have made him harvest it, sell it-and then taken his money.
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US NJ: Column: Shaneen Allen Case Illustrates Discrepancies in Gun Laws

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 02 Oct 2014 - The Shaneen Allen case has made a lot of people look at New Jersey Gun laws, many are happy she's not going to trial. Not me. I had hoped she would have. I previously wrote I thought a jury wouldn't convict her. Instead, thanks to the scrutiny the Ray Rice case brought to her case, the Atlantic County Prosecutors office begrudgingly accepted her into the (PTI) Pre-Trial Intervention program. I don't think this a victory; a victory would have been a "not guilty" verdict. She will soon plead "guilty" and lose her right to vote and own a gun. She will now experience what millions of other citizens (especially black citizens) suffer, "second amendment-less citizenship" for trying to protect herself.
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CN BC: Council Mulls E-Cigarette Ban

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:00
Metro, 02 Oct 2014 - Health. Uncertainty Over Possible Effects on Marijuana Users Pushes Vote Back Vancouver councillors are huffing and puffing over the proposal to ban e-cigarettes from wherever smoking is banned.
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US OR: Travel Sage Rick Steves To Speak In Support Of

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:00
Eugene Weekly, 02 Oct 2014 - With a disarming smile and a lilting baritone made for public radio, Rick Steves has been making traveling the world less frightening for the past 30 years. Through his European travel guidebooks and public radio and television programs, he has introduced Americans to a kinder, more accessible world outside of our own. This October, Steves is taking a different kind of trip - a six-day tour around Oregon to calm our nerves in regards to November's Measure 91, which would legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana.
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US DE: An Anti-Pot Tirade Goes Up in Smoke

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:00
Daily Times, 02 Oct 2014 - Immigration lawyer and columnist Christine Flowers calls cannabis consumers the "lowest common denominator" in a recent piece. The truth is quite the opposite. The last three U.S. presidents admitted to an experience with the devil's lettuce along with scientists like Carl Sagan and possibly half of the NBA. In fact, 100 million Americans have tried cannabis.
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Jamaica: Jamaica Drafts Law to Lift Century-Long Ban on Use of

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:00
Scotsman, 02 Oct 2014 - JAMAICA'S justice minister has said legislation has been drafted to decriminalise marijuana on the Caribbean island where the drug has been pervasive but prohibited for a century. Mark Golding told reporters that parliament should make possession of two ounces or less a petty offence before the end of 2014.
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Medical Marijuana Update

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 23:17

A new study punctures some myths about medical marijuana in California, Connecticut's dispensaries finally open for business, the Illinois program is moving along, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]California

On Monday, a survey found that 5% of adult Californians have used medical marijuana. The survey from the Public Health Institute in Sacramento, which will appear in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, also found that, contrary to popular belief, it mostly is sick people using medical marijuana: "It is clear that (California law) is helping people who are sick and use medical marijuana to treat serious medical conditions… Our study contradicts commonly held beliefs that medical marijuana is being overused by healthy individuals… under the pretense that they have a serious medical condition and that they 'need' marijuana to treat it."


On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court heard a patient's wrongful firing lawsuit. The state Supreme Court is hearing arguments in the case of Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic who worked for the Dish Network until he was fired four years ago for testing positive for marijuana. Dish Network argues that even though medical marijuana is legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law, and the firing was thus justified.


Last week, dispensaries finally opened for business. The state's first licensed grower sent its first shipment this week to dispensaries, which promptly began selling it to qualified patients. All six dispensaries in the state should be open this week.


Last Thursday, a SurveyUSA Poll had Amendment 2 at 53%. The latest SurveyUSA poll has the Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative with 53% of the vote, but since the initiative is a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% to pass. That's a slight drop from the last SurveyUSA poll, which had support at 56%. Importantly, while only 53% said they would vote for it, only 31% said they would vote against and 15% were undecided. If the undecideds split evenly, the initiative will squeak out a victory.


On Monday, a Guam attorney sought to block the pending medical marijuana initiative. Voters in Guam are set to vote on a medical marijuana initiative submitted by the territorial legislature next month, but a Guam attorney asked the US District Court there to block the vote. Howard Trapp argues that the legislature can't legally "pass the buck" to voters, even though the island's Supreme Court said it could in an August ruling. The election commission has until October 7 to respond to the filing.


Last Wednesday, state officials said more than 350 people had applied for medical marijuana business permits. Some 158 people applied as potential cultivation centers, while 211 applied to operate dispensaries. The state will grant 21 grow center permits and 60 dispensary permits by year's end, with the first legally obtainable medical marijuana available by spring 2015.

Last week, the first Illinois patients got their registration cards. Jim Champion, an Army vet who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was apparently the first Illinois patient to get his medical marijuana card. His came last week. He is the first of more than 2,000 Illinois residents who have applied under the state's new law.

New York

Last Friday, the governor asked the Justice Department to allow the state to obtain medical marijuana from other states. Last Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General David Cole asking the Justice Department to extend a narrow, time-limited exception to federal law to allow the importation of certain strains of medical marijuana from other states for use by children in New York with severe forms of epilepsy. The letter follows a similar letter sent last month by the Cuomo administration to Attorney General Eric Holder.

On Monday, the state's two US senators joined the call. US Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and Charles Schumer (D) Monday sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) request for the Justice Department to allow the state to import high-CBD cannabis oil from out of state. "As members of Congress whose constituents suffer from these illnesses, we feel that the federal government ought to do what it can to help these children," the senators wrote. "Therefore, we are requesting that you provide the state of New York with a waiver that would prohibit federal prosecution for the importation of cannabidol in the rare cases where medical marijuana is imported between two states with legalized medical marijuana, and the amount is small, finite and prescription-based."


Last Wednesday, the state Senate approved a restrictive medical marijuana bill. The state Senate approved Senate Bill 1182, after amending it to remove the ability to vaporize the plant and removing a large number of qualifying medical conditions. The bill now goes to the House.

Rhode Island

This coming Saturday, it's the second annual Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Festival. The Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition is hosting the festival to celebrate the eighth year of the state's medical marijuana program. Click on the link for more details.


On Monday, activists targeted obstructionist lawmakers with billboards. Sick and tired of seeing bills blocked in the state legislature, medical marijuana activists are targeting two key opponents, Republican state Sens. Mary Lazich and Leah Vukmir, in a newly unveiled billboard campaign. The billboards urge readers to call the two senators and ask them why Wisconsin patients have no access to medical marijuana. Click on the link to see the billboard.

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

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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 22:40

A Florida police chief gets caught with online pills, a North Carolina jail guard gets caught peddling pills, a former Pennsylvania cop heads to the slammer for cooking meth, and a Seattle-area former deputy gets even more prison time for lying during sentencing. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]In Atlantic Beach, Florida, the former police chief was arrested Tuesday on numerous drug charges just a week after he resigned in the middle of a state investigation. Former Chief Michael Classey went down after federal Homeland Security agents told the Florida Department of Law Enforcement they had intercepted a package of drugs from India addressed to Classey. He was arrested when he went to pick up the package, and a subsequent police search of his home turned up more drugs. He is now charged with 18 counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, one count of trafficking in a controlled substance, one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a York County jail guard was arrested last Friday after he was seen selling prescription drugs in a gas station parking lot. Guard John Strait allegedly admitted he stole Xanax pills from family members. He is charged with distribution of a controlled substance and is now out on bail. And looking for a new job.

In Brookville, Pennsylvania, a former Brookville police officer was sentenced last Thursday to five years in state prison for running a meth lab. April Ann Novak was convicted of criminal conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance and manufacturing methamphetamine.

In Seattle, a former King County sheriff's deputy was sentenced Tuesday to more prison time after he was found to have lied during his sentencing hearing. Darion Holiwell had been convicted in August of pimping his estranged wife, stealing ammunition from the department, and dealing drugs and was sentenced to a year in prison. During his original sentencing hearing, Holliwell's lawyer told the court the ex-deputy was broke, but investigators found that he had just cashed in a $180,000 retirement package. That earned him an additional five months in the clink.

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Chronicle AM: Decrim in Jamaica/MD/Philly, Chris Christie Talks Drugs, PA ODs Bill, More (10/1/14)

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 20:50

Decrim comes to Maryland and Philadelphia, and Jamaica is working on it, too; the Oregon initiative campaign heats up, Chris Christie talks drugs, a SWAT reporting bill in Michigan gets a hearing, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Oregon Legalization Campaign Unveils First TV Ad. The Measure 91 legalization initiative campaign has unveiled the first of its TV spot ads, featuring a former veteran Oregon law enforcement officer explaining why he supports legalization. The campaign has about $2 million budgeted for TV ads in the final weeks of the campaign. Click on the title link to view the ad.

Leading Legalization Foe to Make Oregon Campaign Appearances. The man who is arguably the leading public opponent of marijuana legalization, Dr. Kevin Sabet of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), will make seven appearances in Oregon this week to campaign against the Measure 91 legalization initiative. He had planned a 13-stop "Oregon Marijuana Education Tour" partly funded with federal grant dollars, but that was scrapped after the Measure 91 campaign cried foul. Now, Sabet's crusade is privately funded.

Philadelphia Mayor Signs Decriminalization Bill. Mayor Michael Nutter (D) today signed into law a bill that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Up to an ounce will be considered a civil offense, punishable by a $25 fine or a $100 fine for public consumption. The new law will go into effect October 20.

Decriminalization Now in Effect in Maryland. As of today, the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana is no longer a crime, but a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $100. The move comes after the legislature earlier this year passed and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signed into law SB 364. Now, 17 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized small-time pot possession.

Louisiana Poll Shows Little Support for Harsh Marijuana Sentences. A new Public Policy Polling survey released by the ACLU of Louisiana found that 78% opposed sentences of longer than six months for pot possession, 71% opposed life sentences for felons caught with marijuana, and 68% support medical marijuana. Louisiana has some of the nation's harshest marijuana laws, including a sentence of up to life in prison for marijuana possession by a felon and a prison sentence of up to 20 years for repeat pot possession offenders. Simple possession first offense is punishable by up to six months in jail, but 60% of respondents said it should be decriminalized. Click on the poll link for demographics and methodologies.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia Lawmakers to Hear High CBD Cannabis Oil Testimony Today. A legislative panel is meeting today in Lawrenceville to hear testimony from law enforcement, health care professionals, and others about medical marijuana extracts and cannabis oils. This could lay the groundwork for new legislation to be filed next year.

New Mexico Credit Unions Will Close Medical Marijuana Producer Accounts. Some credit unions have sent letters to nearly half the state's licensed medical marijuana producers saying they no longer accept their business and are closing their accounts. The credit unions said they could not comply with federal guidelines. Medical marijuana supporters are demanding to know why.

Drug Policy

Chris Christie Talks Drug Treatment, Ending Mandatory Minimums. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a possible 2016 GOP presidential contender, called Tuesday for making drug and alcohol treatment "more available for everybody" and criticized mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses. "With 23 million folks addicted, it's not working," Christie said of the war on drugs. "There's gotta be a separation between the criminal act [of using illegal drugs] and the disease." Click on the link for more details.

Harm Reduction

Pennsylvania Governor Signs Overdose Prevention Bill. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) Tuesday signed into law SB 1164, which has two harm reduction measures aimed at reducing drug overdoses. The bill creates a "Good Samaritan" immunity from prosecution for people helping overdose victims and it makes the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) more available to police and the public. The new law will go into effect on October 20.

Law Enforcement

Michigan House Committee Hears Testimony on SWAT Reporting Bill. The state House Criminal Justice Committee is hearing testimony today on a bill that would require SWAT teams in the state to report on their activities. The SWAT Team Reporting ACT, HB 4914, would require agencies with SWAT teams to n the number, location, reason, authorization and outcome of all deployments, and to file reports with the Attorney General's office twice a year.


Jamaica on the Way to Marijuana Decriminalization. Justice Minister Mark Golding said today that a bill to decriminalize marijuana has been drafted and should be passed into law before the end of the year. The bill would make possession of up to two ounces a petty offense and would also allow decriminalization for religious purposes, allowing the island nation's Rastafarians to smoke "Jah herb" without fear of arrest.

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US NJ: Family To Leave N.J. Over Cannabis Law

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:00
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 01 Oct 2014 - Jennie Stormes Said Her Son Has Life-Threatening and Frequent Seizures. She's Held Weekly Protests. A nurse who has staged weekly protests about New Jersey's troubled medical marijuana program is joining an exodus of families with ill children for Colorado. Courtesy of Jim Miller Jennie Stormes organized weekly protests against medical marijuana rules she says are too restrictive.
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US NJ: Christie Talks Compassion For Addiction

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:00
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 01 Oct 2014 - CHRISTIE TALKS COMPASSION FOR ADDICTION Every one of these lives is an individual gift from God and has to be treated that way. Gov. Christie NEWARK, N.J. - Gov. Christie joined with the pastor of a church here Tuesday to call for lessening the stigma of drug addiction, invoking a friend's death as he sought to frame the issue as a universal problem.
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US MI: Chief Pego Declares War On Substance Abuse

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:00
Morning Sun, 01 Oct 2014 - Chief Steve Pego of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe declared war on substance abuse to an at-capacity audience at the Celebration of Healing, Recovery and Hope event last week at the Eagle's Nest Tribal Gym on the reservation. In a historic move, Steve Pego signed a birch bark document of community standards declaring war, something he said the tribe hasn't done since 1763, during the Sept. 24 community meeting.
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US FL: Sides Fire Up Ad War On Medical Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 01 Oct 2014 - Twenty-three states have adopted similar measures, but the Florida campaign has drawn national attention because it would be the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana. TV viewers in Florida this week are seeing the first attack in an ad war over medical marijuana, as polls point to a close contest on a constitutional amendment to legalize the illicit weed.
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Canada: Drug laws killing users: Groups

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:00
The Intelligencer, 01 Oct 2014 - OTTAWA - Canada's drug policy is a failure and it is killing people in communities across the country, drug-reform activists said Tuesday in Ottawa. Drug activists, health lobbyists and other leaders in the field, including the Liberal Party's health critic, gathered on Parliament Hill for a press conference to advocate for a fairer drug policy than the current one they say unfairly criminalizes drugs users and leads to the mistreatment of addiction.
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Canada: Drug laws killing users: Groups

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:00
Sudbury Star, 01 Oct 2014 - OTTAWA - Canada's drug policy is a failure and it is killing people in communities across the country, drug-reform activists said Tuesday in Ottawa. Drug activists, health lobbyists and other leaders in the field, including the Liberal Party's health critic, gathered on Parliament Hill for a press conference to advocate for a fairer drug policy than the current one they say unfairly criminalizes drugs users and leads to the mistreatment of addiction.
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US MS: Group Proposes Legal Pot In Miss.

Top Stories (MAP) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:00
Commercial Appeal, 01 Oct 2014 - JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A group has filed a petition seeking a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Mississippi. Petition organizer Kelly Jacobs said Mississippi for Cannabis hopes to place an initiative on the November 2016 election ballot. Jacobs says the ballot initiative proposal would legalize cannabis for adults to own as much as they wish, to use as they wish, but keep it from minors. - --- MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
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