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Ballot Initiatives

US: Pot-Friendly States Team Up On Issue

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 08:00
The Oklahoman, 14 Nov 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - Members of Congress from states with legal pot urged their colleagues Thursday not to stand in the way of expanded legalization and to approve measures that would make it easier for marijuana businesses to operate. Voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia approved ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana possession last week. Those places would join Colorado and Washington state, which already have legal pot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Afghan Opium Funds Elections, Big WA Pot Auction, NV Signatures Handed In, More (11/13/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 22:23

More poppies are growing than ever in Afghanistan, and they helped fund the recent presidential election; the UNODC head tsk-tsks at US legalization votes, Nevada petitioners hand in 2X the signatures needed, federal bills get more sponsors, and more. Let's get to it:

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

UN Anti-Drug Chief Says Legalization in US States Violate Drug Treaties. Yuri Fedotov, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said Wednesday that American states that have legalized marijuana are not in line with international drug conventions. "I don't see how (the new laws) can be compatible with existing conventions," he told reporters. Fedotov is coming to Washington next week to discuss the issue with the US State Department and other UN agencies.

US Representatives from Marijuana States Urge Colleagues Not to Interfere. Members of Congress from states that have legalized marijuana held a press conference in Washington, DC, today to urge Congress not to try to interfere with state-level legalization. Democrats from Colorado (Jared Polis), Oregon (Earl Blumenauer), and the District of Columbia (Eleanor Holmes Norton) were joined by Republican California Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher. With some congressional Republicans grumbling, DC would appear to be at some risk of interference, since Congress controls the purse strings.

Nevada Legalization Petitioners Turn in Twice the Number of Signatures Needed. It looks like Nevada is going to vote on legalization in 2016 (if the legislature doesn't act first). The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada Wednesday turned in 200,000 signatures for its proposed 2016 legalization initiative. It only needs 101,667 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. Once the signatures are validated, the measure will head for the 2016 ballot unless the legislature decides to just pass it itself next year.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission Has Updated FAQs for Recreational Marijuana. In response to public queries, the commission has updated its recreational marijuana FAQs page. Click on the link to see the updates. Here is the full FAQs page.

RAND Briefs Vermont Lawmakers on Legalization Issues; Public Hearing, Too. The RAND Corporation's Drug Policy Research Center, which has been contracted by the state to prepare an in-depth report on the potential financial and social impact of legalization, briefed lawmakers Wednesday with the report's outlines. Center co-director Beau Kilmer told the lawmakers the report will cover the state's marijuana "landscape," analyze health and safety issues, review alternate approaches to taxation and regulation, and provide financial projections. Kilmer identified nine questions lawmakers should be asking themselves; click on the link to see them. The briefing was followed by a public hearing that took place on closed circuit television on towns around the state. The RAND report is due in January.

Virginia Decriminalization Bill Filed. State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Arlington) has filed a bill that would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. The bill will be considered in the new session beginning in January. It is SB 686.

Washington Pot Farmer to Auction Off A Ton of Weed. Well, this should help with those reported shortages plaguing the Washington state legal marijuana market. Fireweed Farm, a licensed marijuana producer in Prosser, has announced that its crop is in and processed, and it will be selling its one-ton harvest to the highest bidder (heh) on Saturday.

Medical Marijuana

Federal Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act Picks Up New Sponsors. The bill would remove low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oils from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It's newest sponsors are Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Allen Lowenthal (D-CA). The bill was introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and now has 32 cosponsors -- 18 Democrats and 14 Republicans. It has been assigned to subcommittees of the House Judiciary and House Energy and Commerce Committees.

Georgia Low-THC, High-CBD Medical Marijuana Bill to Be Debated in January. Lawmakers who tried and failed to get a low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana passed this year will be back at it in the coming session. The bill sponsor, Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), said he will introduce an improved bill to be debated in January. He said he hopes to file it next month.

Asset Forfeiture

Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act Picks Up New Sponsors. The bill, HR 5212, is sponsored by Rep. Tim Wahlberg (R-MI) and would tighten requirements for asset forfeiture. The latest cosponsors are Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA), James Moran (D-VA), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Henry Johnson (D-GA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI). The bill now has 19 cosponsors -- 15 Republicans and four Democrats. It is before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

Pardons and Clemency

Arkansas Governor Pardons Son for Marijuana Conviction. Gov. Mike Beebe (R) has issued a pardon for his son, Kyle Beebe, who was convicted in 2003 of marijuana possession with intent to deliver. It is one of 25 pardons he is issuing before leaving office in January. Beebe has issued more than 700 pardons during his time in office, including a number of other first time drug offenders.

Sentencing

Federal Second Chance Reauthorization Act Picks Up New Sponsors. Introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the bill would expand grant programs aimed at helping people upon their release from prison. The House version, HR 3465, has now picked up Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), while the Senate version, S 1690, is now cosponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). The House version now house 44 cosponsors (36 Democrats and eight Republicans), while the Senate version, introduced by Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), now has 22 cosponsors (17 Democrats, four Republicans, one independent).

Drug Testing

Key West Settles With Job Applicant Who Refused Drug Test. The city of Key West, Florida, will pay $75,000 to a former resident who refused to take a pre-employment drug test after applying for a position with the city and was then eliminated from consideration. The city will also pay $60,000 to the ACLU of Florida, which represented Karen Cabanas Voss. She had sued, arguing that the city's drug testing policy was unconstitutional, and a federal district court judge found in her favor.

International

Opium Helped Fund Afghan Elections, UNODC Says. The amount of land planted with opium poppies this year is at record levels, UN officials said Wednesday, and they said this year's presidential election campaign was part of the reason. "With the presidential election ongoing, there was a huge demand of funding," said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, a senior official with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). "And that funding is not available in the licit economy, and that money has to come from somewhere, so they turned to the illicit economy." In its annual opium survey, UNODC found that the area under cultivation had increased 7%, while eradication decreased by 63% between last year and this year.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MO: Talks On Marijuana Legalization In Missouri To Be Held

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 08:00
Missourian, 13 Nov 2014 - COLUMBIA - A civil liberties expert and a former drug law enforcement officer will weigh in on marijuana legalization during two talks at MU on Thursday. The events will take place a week after marijuana law reform advocates filed an initiative petition to the Missouri Secretary of State for the 2016 ballot. Both events are free and open to the public.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NM: Column: Pot Can Be Legal, But It's Still Not Cool

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 13 Nov 2014 - Legalization Is Not About What State Condones but Rather What's Allowed This past week, D.C. advanced America's 21st-century war on its 20th-century war on drugs. Now that marijuana is somewhat legal, the city's African-American residents are less likely to be disproportionately arrested for a victimless crime.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Legalized It

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 08:00
North Coast Journal, 13 Nov 2014 - Head north from Humboldt County and, after about two hours, you're now pretty much able to spark up all the way to the North Pole. Voters chose on Nov. 4 to legalize marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia, joining Colorado and Washington in the inevitable swing toward decriminalization.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Debate Is Not Over

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 08:00
The Star-Banner, 12 Nov 2014 - Amendment 2, Florida's -proposed medical -marijuana measure, failed on Election Day because too many voters felt it had too many loopholes. Critics overcame the proposal's widespread, even at times overwhelming, support by honing in on three little words: "or other conditions."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Pot Legalization: Gateway To What?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 08:00
U.S. News & World Report, 12 Nov 2014 - Advocates look to further reduce drug-related arrests, incarceration. Shane Mckee, co-founder of Shango Premium Cannabis dispensary in Portland, Ore., pulls a medical marijuana sample from a display casing on Nov. 5. Oregon became the third state to legalize recreational pot on election night, but it will be more than a year before the first shops open.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Many Pot Shops Clash With Neighbors

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 12 Nov 2014 - Proposal for Joint Marketing Plan Leads to Anger From Antique Stores DENVER (AP) - The booming new marijuana industry has an image problem. Not with government officials and the public - but with other businesses.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Column: Will D.C.'s Nightlife Go UP in a Cloud of Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 12 Nov 2014 - It was Election Day in the District, but as Ian Hilton walked past a polling place on Vermont Avenue NW, he was stunned to detect the pungent scent of pot. "Usually, I don't smell anyone smoking a joint out in public," said Hilton, who owns several D.C. bars with his musician brother, Eric.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: No More Portland Pot Cases, Senior Drug Testing Racket, Vets' MedMj Problems, More (11/11/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 21:56

The fallout from last week's legalization votes begins, California veterans are reporting medical marijuana problems with the VA, doctors are billing Medicare for largely needless senior drug testing, and more. Let's get to it:

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

No More Pot Prosecutions in Portland. That didn't take long. Less than a week after Oregon voters approved the Measure 91 legalization initiative, prosecutors in Multnomah County (Portland) announced Monday that they will dismiss all pending violation-level marijuana possession cases and won't bother to prosecute any future ones. "Because it is clear that a significant majority of voters in Multnomah County support the legalization of marijuana in certain amounts, this office will dismiss the pending charges related to conduct which will otherwise become legal July 1, 2015," said a statement from Multnomah County DA Rode Underhill. "Any remaining charges not impacted by Ballot Measure 91 will be prosecuted." Prosecutors in other Oregon counties are still figuring out how to respond.

Alaska Legislator Getting to Work on Legal Marijuana Draft Regulations. That didn't take long, either. Less than a week after Alaska voters approved the Measure 2 legalization initiative, Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) said Monday he plans to file legislation in January that would restrict pot shops within a certain distance of schools and public parks, limit advertising, and bar people with felonies from working in the industry. Lynn said he expects his proposals to attract plenty of discussion among lawmakers.

Opposition Coalition Forms in Vermont. A coalition to oppose marijuana legalization in the Green Mountain State has announced itself. SMART VT calls itself a "grassroots coalition" of "concerned Vermonters" and is now calling on Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) to not take up legalization this legislative session. Too late, though: A public hearing on legalization is set for Wednesday. Click the last link for hearing details.

Medical Marijuana

US Veterans Denied Pain Medications Over Medical Marijuana Use. California NORML is reporting that it is being contacted by veterans who are being told by their VA doctors that they must choose between their prescription pain medications and medical marijuana. The group reports "a spate of complaints" from Long Beach and Loma Linda after scheduling changes for some prescription drugs recently took effect. Those changes entail stricter reporting requirements for doctors, and that, among other factors, seems to have spurred the tightening up. Click on the title link for more details and a plan for action from CANORML and Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Happy Veterans Day!

Drug Testing

Pain Docs Getting Rich Doing Useless Drug Tests on Seniors, Taxpayers Pick Up the Tab. In an expensive side-effect of the "war" on pain pill addiction, pain specialists are now ordering costly testing of seniors for recreational drug use, and Medicare is stuck footing the bill. The doctors are also responding to a Medicare crackdown on abusive billing for simple urine drug screens by moving to high-tech testing methods for which billing is not limited. Now, doctors are testing for a number of different drugs -- including illegal ones rarely used by seniors, such as cocaine, ecstasy, and PCP -- and raking in the tax dollars. Medicare spending on drug testing has increased an incredible 1,423% since 2007 to $445 million in 2012. That included $14 million for testing seniors for PCP, for which one lab director with 25 years in the business told The Wall Street Journal she had never seen a positive test result in people over 65. The comprehensive article is worth the read; click on the link to get it.

International

Montreal Gets First Medical Marijuana Clinic. Montreal's first medical marijuana clinic is opening today. Sante Cannabis does not sell medical marijuana, but its doctors and staff guide patients on how to use marijuana, proper strains to use, and determine whether to smoke, vape, or use edibles. The city has had dispensaries or "compassion centers" for years, but Sante Cannabis is the first medical marijuana business to have doctors on staff.

British Lib Dem Leader, Former Colombian President Team Up to Fight for Drug Reform. Liberal Democratic party leader and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos have agreed to work together to help forge an alliance between European and Latin American countries aiming to reform global drug prohibition. They are taking aim at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs set for 2016.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Alaska Lawmaker to Introduce Bill Limiting Legal

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 11 Nov 2014 - ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage state legislator plans to introduce the first bill to restrict legal marijuana sales. Republican Rep. Bob Lynn announced Monday he will introduce the draft legislation when the Legislature begins its next session in January.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Historic UK Drug Debate Looms, NYPD Ending Marijuana Possession Arrests, More (11/10/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 22:52

Look out! Here comes the next wave of marijuana legalization efforts. Also, NYPD will stop its penny-ante pot arrests, Oregon DAs ponder dropping pot charges, the FBI's annual arrest figures are out, the ACLU gets $50 million to fight overincarceration, Britain awaits a historic debate on drug policy, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Nevada 2016 Legalization Initiative Ready to Hand in Signatures. The Nevada Coalition to Regulate Marijuana says it will turn in 170,000 signatures Wednesday for its proposed 2016 initiative to legalize marijuana. It needs 102,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. This is a Marijuana Policy Project effort.

Oregon Prosecutors to Rethink Pending Pot Cases. Although marijuana possession won't be legal in the state until July 2015, prosecutors in some of its most populous counties say they will revisit pending marijuana cases in light of last week's legalization victory at the polls. DAs in Clackamas (Oregon City), Multnomah (Portland), and Washington (Hillsboro) counties all said they are trying to figure out how to proceed.

Rhode Island Activists Aim to Legalize It in 2015. Which will be the first Northeastern state to legalize marijuana? Rhode Island activists organized into Regulate Rhode Island want their state to be the one. They are putting together a coalition to try to push a bill to tax and regulate marijuana through the General Assembly next year. The bill died in the legislature this year. This is a Marijuana Policy Project effort.

NYPD to Stop Arrests for Minor Marijuana Offenses. The NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced today that the department will quit arresting people for low-level marijuana possession. NYPD has been arresting tens of thousands of people each year, but in the face of withering criticism, it will now begin issuing tickets instead. But people caught smoking pot in public will continue to face arrest.

Drug Testing

Wisconsin Governor Calls for Drug Testing for Unemployment, Food Stamps. Newly reelected Republican Gov. Scott Walker is calling drug testing of people seeking public benefits, including unemployment insurance. He and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) both say it will be a priority in the coming legislative session. Walker and Vos haven't unveiled an actual proposal, but any bill that calls for mandatory, suspicionless drug testing is certain to face constitutional challenges.

Law Enforcement

Pot Arrests Drop, But Still 1.5 Million Drug Arrests Last Year. More than 1.5 million people were arrested for drug offenses in the US last year, and more than 693,000 of those for marijuana offenses. The figures come from the FBI's 2013 Uniform Crime Report, which was released today. Marijuana arrests have declined from peaks early in this century. In 2008, there were a record 872,000 marijuana arrests, so pot busts have declined by slightly more than 20% since then. But arrests for other drug offenses continue apace, actually increasingly slightly last year. Still, because of the decline in marijuana arrests, the overall number of drug arrests dropped by about 50,000.

Sentencing

ACLU Gets $50 Million to Fight to Reduce Incarceration. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been awarded a $50 million grant from George Soros's Open Society Foundations to mount an eight-year campaign to change criminal justice policies and reduce incarceration in this country. The group says there is an emerging bipartisan consensus to make reforms, although last week's election results may stiffen opposition. The ACLU wants to reduce imprisonment by 50% in the next years.

International

Missing Mexican Students Were Murdered By Drug Gang, Officials Say. Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said last Friday that 43 radical student teachers missing for more than a month in Iguala, Guerrero, had been murdered by a drug gang working with the wife of the mayor of the city. Murillo said the students were killed and their bodies burned, with the remains scattered in a local river. The announcement of the students' fate has not, however, quieted outrage in the country, where corruption and impunity are major issues. Demonstrators torched the wooden front doors of the National Palace in Mexico City Saturday night and were blocking the Acapulco airport Monday, among other actions.

Former Chilean President Calls for Drug Decriminalization. In an interview last Friday, former President Ricardo Lagos said decriminalizing marijuana -- and possibly even cocaine -- possession was the best way to reduce both prohibition-related crime and drug use. Start with marijuana, he said. "After one or two years we will see if we dare to legalize cocaine. It starts with a major prevention campaign and with providing non-prison punishment for those who are incarcerated today, depending on the magnitude of their offenses," Lagos proposed. "The only thing that's clear to me is that there were 10,000 drug arrests per year in Chile in 2002 and 10 years later it's multiplying by eight, reaching 82,000. Chile needs to grow up," he said. Lagos was president of the country from 2000 to 2006.

In Historic Move, British Parliament to Debate Drug Policy. The House of Commons will debate Britain's drug policies for three hours this coming Thursday. It is the first time Parliament has taken up the topic since passage of the Misuse of Drugs Act -- the current law -- four decades ago. The debate comes as Britain's governing coalition has been sundered on the issue, with the junior partner Liberal Democrats coming out loudly for drug decriminalization and the senior partner Conservatives firmly holding the line against any reforms.

Australia's New South Wales Wants Random Drug Testing of Drivers. The New South Wales state government has introduced a bill that would allow police to randomly drug test drivers for the presence of marijuana, amphetamines, and ecstasy. The tests would be done with a saliva swab.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OK: Tulsa Firm Wants To Sell Marijuana E-Cigarettes

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 08:00
Tulsa World, 10 Nov 2014 - (AP) - As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise. Marijuana is illegal under federal drug laws. But voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved ballot measures Tuesday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, joining Washington state and Colorado.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OK: Emerging Cannabis Oil Market Eyed

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 10 Nov 2014 - E-Cig Company Sees Great Opportunity OKLAHOMA CITY - As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Medical Marijuana: On The Ballot Again In 2016?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 09 Nov 2014 - Maybe the second time's the charm. After the defeat of Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative his money largely got on the ballot, Orlando attorney John Morgan is already looking toward 2016.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Column: Marijuana May Be Legal, But It's Lame

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 09 Nov 2014 - The Post's Justin Moyer Says Pot Has Gone From Rebellious to Tedious This past week, D.C. advanced America's 21stcentury war on its 20th-century war on drugs. Now that marijuana is somewhat legal, the city's African American residents are less likely to be disproportionately arrested for a victimless crime. If the cannabis industry stays out of town, D.C. Council members, who should spend time fixing the city's public schools, won't be preoccupied with regulating a substance arguably less harmful than alcohol. And police officers who should be chasing bank robbers and murderers will no longer bust college students carrying dime bags.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Column: Take Moral, Not Political Road on Medical Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 08:00
The Palm Beach Post, 09 Nov 2014 - Florida voters denied - barely - a political imperative to pass a constitutional amendment legalizing the use of medical marijuana by folks with debilitating illnesses. It falls upon the Florida lawmakers to follow a moral imperative to pass medical marijuana legislation and give relief to thousands of Floridians suffering from horrible ailments. This is reason enough to move quickly, but faith in this Legislature on this issue is hard to come by.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Support For Legal Pot Down Off Its High

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 11/08/2014 - 08:00
The Daily Home, 08 Nov 2014 - Even as the national experiment legalizing recreational pot spread this week to Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., a new poll suggests the enthusiasm among voters has hit a plateau. A majority, 51 percent, favors legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup poll. That's about where support has been since 2011, but a drop from the 58 percent who told Gallup last year they supported legalization. Last year's poll came just after Colorado and Oregon had voted to allow marijuana to be sold in stores and were in the process of setting up the market.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: State Approves Boston's First Medical Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 11/08/2014 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 08 Nov 2014 - State health officials on Friday approved a highly coveted license for Boston's first medical marijuana dispensary, selecting Patriot Care Corp. to operate a facility near Downtown Crossing. The company, which was already provisionally approved to open a dispensary in Lowell, also won permission Friday for a location in Greenfield, making it the only company positioned to run three dispensaries in Massachusetts.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NM: Next Steps for Pot Law, Mental Health Tax in Question

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 11/08/2014 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 08 Nov 2014 - Results Are Not Binding, and It's Unclear If They Will Turn into Government Action Both advisory questions on the Bernalillo County ballot - marijuana decriminalization and a mental health tax - won big at the polls this week.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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