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Ballot Initiatives

US WA: Column: Comparing Pot to Alcohol May Aid Legalization

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 07:00
The Herald, 27 Oct 2014 - When Colorado voters in 2012 approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana, the state did not merely break new ground in the ongoing battle over narcotics policy. It also bolstered an innovative new political message that compares cannabis to alcohol. Two years later, that comparison is being deployed in key marijuana related elections throughout the country, and drug reform advocates are so sure marijuana is safer than alcohol, they are now challenging police to a "drug duel" to prove their point.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Voters In 3 Cities To Decide Pot Proposals

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 07:00
The Daily Tribune, 26 Oct 2014 - Marijuana decriminalization proposals are on the ballot in three south Oakland County communities on Nov. 4 and pro-pot organizers have yet to lose such an election. Election Day in Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge and Berkley will show whether the activists' winning streak will continue in Oakland County and elsewhere.
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US FL: Medical Marijuana: Florida Parents Fight to Help

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 07:00
Miami Herald, 26 Oct 2014 - Nicolas Peruyero was 8 years old, blind and unable to walk or talk when his mother saw a documentary about the benefits of medical marijuana and its promise to reduce seizures. For a few moments, Nancy Peruyero imagined what Nicolas' life might be like without the relentless myoclonic seizures every day. And for the first time, she allowed herself to hope, an emotion she had rarely felt since that August afternoon in 2009 when her youngest son was diagnosed with Batten disease, an unusual neurological disorder marked by seizures, loss of motor skills and mental impairment. His life expectancy with the disease is no more than 12 years. He turned 9 on Oct.2.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: Let's Check the Facts on the Medical Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 07:00
The Gainesville Sun, 26 Oct 2014 - One of the splits between North and South is over the medical use of marijuana. In New York, the House recently voted for legalizing medical marijuana 117-30, followed by 49-10 in the Senate. In Maryland, the House approved 125-11 and the Senate 44-2. Last year in New Hampshire, the votes in favor were 284-66 in the House and 18-6 in the Senate. Those three states joined 20 others where marijuana could already be used medically. Every southern state, however, remains among the 27 that still outlaw its medicinal use, even as evidence accumulates that cannabinoids alleviate severe pain, nausea, weight loss and muscle spasms with milder side effects than alternatives. Medicinal use of marijuana is humane and reduces deaths from opioids. What about Florida, a cultural blend of North and South? Until recently, Amendment 2 legalizing marijuana, drafted by former House speaker and UF law school dean Jon Mills, appeared sure to gain the required 60 percent voter approval. Recently, however, a flood of negative TV advertising has turned many voters against it.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Is Medical Marijuana Amendment in Trouble?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 07:00
The Gainesville Sun, 26 Oct 2014 - With Election Day less than two weeks away, Ben Pollara feverishly worked the phones on Thursday. Pollara, the campaign manager for the political committee behind the medical marijuana referendum, contacted donors large and small in an effort to bring in a late infusion of cash.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Parents Fight for Medical Pot for Sick Kids

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 26 Oct 2014 - Stay or go: That's the choice Florida families with sick children may face as voters decide whether to allow expanded use of medical marijuana. Even with approval, no one is sure how quickly the strains would be available to the public. Nicolas Peruyero was 8 years old, blind and unable to walk or talk when his mother saw a documentary about the benefits of medical marijuana and its promise to reduce seizures.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Editorial: Cost Is a Poor Excuse for Local Pot Tax

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 07:00
The Mail Tribune, 26 Oct 2014 - Jackson County last week became the latest local government to slap a tax on recreational marijuana, just in case Ballot Measure 91 passes and just in case the courts throw out clear language in the measure prohibiting local taxes. County commissioners cited increased costs to the county if marijuana is legalized, but have provided no specifics. They should do so before asking voters to approve a new tax. The county tax isn't official yet, and would go to voters next March if Measure 91 passes. In addition to a 25 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana, the commissioners endorsed the same tax rate for medical cannabis.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Oregon Initiative Seeks Lower Pot Taxes Than Cities Want

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 07:00
Wall Street Journal, 25 Oct 2014 - HAPPY VALLEY, Ore.-As voters in this state prepare to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana, a dispute over taxing the drug is demonstrating the complexity of transforming a black market into a legal one. Drafters of the Oregon initiative, Measure 91, have proposed a state tax on pot producers that would be lower than those in the first two states where recreational pot was legalized, Colorado and Washington. Their aim is to prevent a situation where high prices at authorized pot shops push buyers to the black market.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Florida's Medical Pot Vote Turns into Political Party

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 07:00
Wall Street Journal, 25 Oct 2014 - MIAMI-A proposed constitutional amendment in Florida that would make it the first state in the South to legalize medical marijuana is among the most expensive ballot fights in the country and could affect the state's hard-fought gubernatorial race. The battle pits two wealthy donors. Democrat John Morgan, an Orlando trial lawyer, has pumped about $4 million into United for Care, the main organization supporting the measure. Republican Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate, has contributed about $4 million to the Drug Free Florida Committee, one of the groups opposing it.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Editorial: The Amendments

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 07:00
The Star-Banner, 25 Oct 2014 - Florida voters are being asked to approve or reject three proposed amendments to the state constitution. Amendments 1 and 2 were initiated by citizen petition. The Legislature proposed Amendment 3. With early voting beginning today, we offer these summaries of our previously published editorials.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: GOP Rep. Tackles Forfeiture, OR Measure 91 Support, CA Dispensary Troubles, More (10/24/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 21:00

James Sensenbrenner is on the asset forfeiture case, Oregon's Measure 91 picks up some big name endorsements, dispensaries get shut down in San Diego and raided by the DEA in LA, fallout continues in the case of the missing Mexican student teachers, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Asset Forfeiture

Key GOP Lawmaker Questions Asset Forfeiture Seizures. US Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), chair of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to provide documents and data related to the Justice Department's role in more than 60,000 cash and property seizures under the department's Equitable Sharing Program with state and local law enforcement agencies. "While we must ensure law enforcement is properly equipped, they should not be funded by slush funds accrued by violating Americans' civil liberties," Sensenbrenner said in a statement today. "The implications on civil liberties are dire," he said in the letter. "The right to own property is a fundamental right implicitly recognized in the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. I also believe that it is a human right." Sensenbrenner sent similar letters to the DEA and Department of Homeland Security last week, after a Washington Post investigation that found that 61,998 cash seizures of more than $2.5 billion have been made since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through Equitable Sharing.

Marijuana Policy

Marijuana Policy Expert Mark Kleiman Says Yes on Oregon's Measure 91. He grumbled, but in the end, academic marijuana policy expert and Washington state legalization implementation maven Mark Kleiman has come down in favor of Oregon's Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative. Even though he says the initiative doesn't reflect "a sophisticated understanding of the problems of illegal markets or a nuanced view about substance abuse disorder" and says that claims that legalization will reduce youth access to marijuana don't pass "the giggle test," "the choice Oregon voters face isn't between what's on the ballot and some perfectly designed cannabis policy; it's between what's on the ballot and continued prohibition at the state level, until and unless a better initiative can be crafted, put before the voters, and passed into law." Bottom line? "It's not an easy choice; as a Californian, I'm glad I don't have to make one like it (yet). But if I had to vote in Oregon, I'd vote 'Yes.'" Click on the link to read the whole piece.

Oregon US Senator Jeff Merkley Says He Will Probably Vote Yes on Measure 91. US Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has said he is inclined vote in favor of the Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative. "I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case," Merkley said. "And there is concern about a series of new products -- and we don't have a real track record from Colorado and Washington. But I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure." If he does vote yes, he will become the first US senator to support legalizing marijuana in his home state.

Medical Marijuana

Four San Diego Dispensaries Shut Down By Court Order. San Diego authorities won court orders earlier this week to close four dispensaries they said were operating illegally in the city. All four had closed their doors by Wednesday. The city has just adopted a permitting process for dispensaries and the first permit was handed out recently, but a number of dispensaries are operating in the city without permits. The city has shut down more than 200 unpermitted dispensaries since 2009, the city attorney's office said.

DEA Raids Two Los Angeles Dispensaries. DEA agents Thursday raided two Los Angeles dispensaries that staffers claim were fully compliant with state laws. Raiders hit two locations of The Farmacy, one in West Hollywood and one in Westwood, seizing cash, computers, and medical marijuana. No arrests were made. The Farmacy's Venice Beach location wasn't hit, but staffers said they thought that was because it had recently moved and the DEA couldn't find it.

Drug Testing

Key West Job Offer Drug Test Case to Go to Jury. A Florida woman who sued the city of Key West for rescinding a job offer after she refused to take a pre-employment drug test will have to seek damages before a jury, a federal judge has ruled. Karen Voss had sued, arguing that all suspicionless, pre-employment drug tests were unconstitutional, and she won a summary judgment holding the city liable. She then filed a second motion seeking financial relief for her losses. US District Judge James Lawrence King ruled that a jury must determine what damages, if any, will be awarded, but he did not address whether mandatory, pre-employment drug testing was constitutional.

International

Irish Report Finds Drug Law Enforcement Has Little Impact on Drug Availability. In a study commissioned by the Irish government's drug advisory body, the National Committee on Drugs and Alcohol, researchers have found that the availability of drugs is "largely unaffected" by law enforcement anti-drug operations and recommended that police focus on drug markets causing the most community harm. Both police and dealers agreed that police operations had "no impact on availability" other than temporary reductions because of stiff competition, massive profits, and a steady demand for drugs. The 328-page report is Illicit Drug Markets in Ireland.

Mexico Missing Student Teacher Scandal Forces Guerrero's Governor to Resign. Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre Thursday said he was taking a leave of absence. He is not expected to return to office. Aguirre becomes the highest ranking politician yet to fall victim to the festering scandal over the case of 43 radical student teachers missing for more than a month after being seized by local police forces and Guerreros Unidos drug gang members working hand-in-hand with them. The mayor of Iguala, the city where they were seized, and his wife, also face arrest, but they have fled. Several mass graves have been found in the search for the students, but the bodies in them don't appear to be the students. The case has seen mass protests in Mexico City, as well as violent protests in the Iguala and Chilpancingo, the capital of the state.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Editorial: Government Tries To Cash In On The Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
Albany Democrat-Herald, 24 Oct 2014 - It's a little alarming - and, truth be told, a little amusing - to watch city and county governments line up, one by one, for their potential slice of tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana. Even communities that have made it clear that medical marijuana dispensaries are not welcome within their boundaries are hoping to cash in on recreational marijuana as a way to drive some additional dough into their coffers.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: Research Doesn't Justify Legalizing Medical Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 24 Oct 2014 - Amendment 2, termed "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions" on the November ballot, represents a classic case of creating medicine by public opinion, not by science and research. And, I can assure you that in spite of the anecdotal stories claiming the amazing benefits of "medical marijuana" for everything from epilepsy and cancer to any "condition" a physician identifies, there is currently no scientific evidence that meets the peer-reviewed, statistically relevant level for both effectiveness and safety that prescription medications must meet in the United States today.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Editorial: 'No' On Amendment 2, Then Analyze Medical

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
Naples Daily News, 24 Oct 2014 - Florida should find a compassionate way to make sure the chronically ill have access to any bonafide medication that might help ease suffering. That said, Amendment 2 isn't the answer. The medical marijuana constitutional amendment is too broadly structured. So we urge a 'no' vote on Amendment 2. But that can't be the end of the story; there needs to be a next chapter.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: NAACP & NOW Support DC Init, Pot Shop ATM Problems, Mexico Impunity, More (10/23/14):

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 20:44

Marijuana retailers face ATM problems, Seattle dispensaries get a heads up, the DC initiative wins a pair of endorsements, California's Prop 47 is drawing big bucks support, the Mexico missing student teacher story gets uglier, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Pew Poll: Latinos Are Even Split on Marijuana Legalization. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Latino voters are slightly less likely than the population as a whole to favor marijuana legalization, but are almost evenly divided in their opinions. Some 49% said marijuana should be legal, while 48% said it shouldn't. A Pew poll earlier this year found support for marijuana legalization among the general population at 53%.

Banking Network Pulls the Plug on Pot Shop ATMs. Hundreds of recreational and medical marijuana retail outlets in Colorado and Washington have had their ATMs shut down after the South Dakota-based MetaBank pulled the plug on them. MetaBank had warned ATM providers in January that the presence of such machines in marijuana retail outlets violated federal rules, but shops had remained unaffected until this week. Other retail outlets using different bank networks were still able to process transactions.

DC Initiative Wins Endorsement from NAACP, NOW Branches. The DC marijuana possession and cultivation legalization initiative, Measure 71, has picked up the endorsements of the local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Organization for Women (NOW). "The NAACP DC Branch strongly advocates to end the war on drugs, which has caused significant damage in our communities. Endorsement of Initiative 71 does not mean that the NAACP is pro marijuana, however, we view Initiative 71 as a step towards ending discriminatory drug policies." said Akosua Ali, President of the NAACP DC Branch. "Criminalization of marijuana has played a major role in the racial disparities and injustice in the criminal justice system," said Susan Mottet, president of DC NOW. "DC NOW works to end all discrimination in DC and urges the voters to pass Initiative 71 to help put an end to this tool for discrimination."

Medical Marijuana

Seattle Warns Dispensaries They Will Need Licenses, But… The city of Seattle has sent letters to 330 dispensaries operating there that they will need to be licensed by the state. The only problem is there is no such license for medical marijuana businesses. The city council had placed the requirement on hold until the state legislature decides whether and how to license dispensaries, but the letter warns that as of January 1, 2015 (or January 1, 2016 if the legislature doesn't act before then), dispensaries must have state licenses or close their doors. Click on the title link to see the letter.

Sentencing

California Defelonization Initiative Picking Up Big Bucks Support. Proposition 47, he initiative that would defelonize drug possession and some other offenses, is getting generous contributions from California-based technology mavens and other business figures, but those donations are being dwarfed by the ACLU, which has contributed more than $3 million. Some of the big names include Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ($246,000); Cari Tuna, the wife of Facebook billionaire Dustin Moskovitz ($150,000), Democratic Party funder Quinn Delaney ($100,000), Hyatt Development Corporation CEO Nick Pritzer ($250,000), and app maker Sean Parker ($100,000).

International

OAS Drug Commission Meets in Colombia. The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) met in Cartagena, Colombia, yesterday and today, and addressed the consensus among countries that prison overcrowding in the Americas is a real problem, with more than 1.5 million people detained for drug offenses. The results of this initiative will be presented at the upcoming biannual meeting of CICAD that will take place in Guatemala during the third week of November.

Canadian House of Commons Report on Cannabis Harms. The Conservative-dominated House of Commons has issued a report on the harms of marijuana. It recommends raising "public awareness and knowledge of the risks and harms associated with marijuana use." Click on the link to read the report.

NACLA on Race, Class, and Cannabis in the Caribbean. The venerable North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) has published a thoughtful piece about marijuana reform in the Caribbean, The Other Side of Paradise. In in, author Kevin Edmonds cites Caribbean activists to the effect that the region must act effectively on reforms or risk losing its lucrative, but currently illicit, pot crops to imported marijuana from places where it's already legal. An interesting read.

Case of Missing Mexican Student Teachers Unveils Tight Ties Between Local Officials, Drug Gang. Mexico's top prosecutor said Wednesday that the mayor of Iguala and his wife ordered the attack on 43 radical student teachers who have been missing for a month now, and that the wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, was the "principal operator" of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which is being blamed for disappearing the students. Jesus Murillo Karam said the mayoral couple ran the group's illegal activities out of Iguala's city hall. City hall was attacked again Wednesday by protestors demanding the return of the students, and thousands marched in Mexico City to demand justice in the case, which is turning into a national scandal epitomizing the breadth of corruption and impunity in the country. Several mass graves have been found in the area, but the bodies in them haven't been identified as those of the missing students. That raises another touchy question: Whose bodies are in the mass graves?

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NJ: Column: Venting About Apathy And Election Fraud

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 23 Oct 2014 - This past weekend there was a marijuana legalization protest, "The Cannabis Conference," here in Trenton. Only a few Trenton residents showed up, which is sad considering this is a minority city and most of the arrests here are for marijuana possession. Usually I'd say if you don't stand up for yourself don't expect others to, but more than 200 suburbanite Caucasians did exactly that. They came out to protest a law that disproportionately affects you, my brothers. So now I say, keep your pants saggy and don't cry racism or unfairness from your porch bro's. Say nothing next time the man scoops you up and puts your blunt-smoking butt in the concrete plantation system for a while as chattel.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Editorial: Constitutional Amendments

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
Miami Herald, 23 Oct 2014 - AMENDMENT 1 Florida's natural environment is its bread and butter, its tourist magnet, its lush and storied history and, if voters approve this amendment, its glorious future. Amendment 1 would use existing state revenue - money that already is being paid into state coffers - and dedicate it to purchase and preserve natural areas and wildlife habitat for the next 20 years.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Dueling Measures

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
The Chico News & Review, 23 Oct 2014 - Two Medi-Pot Cultivation Items Bring Confusion to the Ballot When it comes to Measures A and B, confusion reigns supreme. That's because they're both related to the growing of medical marijuana, and proponents of each side are using similar slogans: Yes on A, No on B vs. No on A, Yes on B.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Medical Marijuana Update

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 22:07

There's a national "vote medical marijuana" campaign, Colorado won't ban edibles, the Florida initiative appears to be in trouble, Massachusetts patients can start registering, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]National

On Sunday, Americans for Safe Access launched a "Vote Medical Marijuana" campaign. The medical marijuana defense and advocacy group aims to educate voters ahead of next month's elections with a new 30-second online TV advertisement that aired on Sunday cable news programs in Detroit, Philadelphia, South Florida, and Washington state. The campaign also includes an interactive online voters' guide at VoteMedicalMarijuana.org. Check it out at the links.

California

Last Friday,the bell tolled for San Jose dispensaries. There is about to be a dramatic decrease in access to medical marijuana in San Jose. The city had up to 80 dispensaries this summer, but only six have permits, which means that as of last Friday, the rest must shut down. Forty-seven more have filed for permits, but 20 have been denied and 20 more remain under review. The move comes after the city passed a strict new dispensary ordinance earlier this year. An effort to challenge it with an initiative came up short.

On Tuesday, the Costa Mesa city clerk certified an initiative for the ballot. The Act to Restrict and Regulate the Operation of Medical Marijuana Businesses (ARRO) gathered well over the number of signatures necessary to make the ballot in a special election. That could be avoided if the city council approves the ARRO at its November 18 meeting. The initiative would allow up to eight dispensaries in the city.

Colorado

On Monday, the health department backed away from a proposal to ban most edibles. The Department of Public Health and Environment had told state regulators they should ban most edibles, but backed away from that idea after a firestorm of criticism.

Florida

Last Thursday, another poll had the Florida initiative coming up short. A new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll had the Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative at 48% of the vote with 44% opposed and 7% undecided. Because the initiative is a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% to win. This is just the latest in a series of polls showing the initiative failing to reach that mark. Click on the link for more poll details.

Guam

On Monday,a judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block the vote on a medical marijuana initiative. A US district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging next month's vote on a legislative medical marijuana initiative. Attorney Howard Trapp had sued to block the vote last month on the grounds that a "legislative submission" was illegal under Guam law, but the judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying that Trapp didn't have legal standing to bring it.

Massachusetts

Last Friday, the health department announced that patients can now register for state ID cards. Patients need to get them by February 1; after that date, unregistered patients will have no legal protections.

Missouri

On Tuesday, the health department announce it is about to begin taking applications to grow low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana. People who want to grow high-CBD, low-THC marijuana for medical purposes under a new state law can begin submitting applications to the state Department of Health beginning November 3. The state will license two growers, and the window for applications is 30 days. The growers must operate as nonprofits and must produce marijuana that is less than 0.3% THC.

Oregon

Last Thursday, a circuit court judge ruled local governments can ban dispensaries. In a case brought by the town of Cave Junction, Judge Pat Wolke ruled that nothing in the state's dispensary law or another law enacted last year that let localities impose yearlong dispensary moratoriums bars them from instituting outright bans. State city and county associations had argued strenuously that local governments had that ability.

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

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: OPED: Marijuana Prohibition Is Immoral

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 22 Oct 2014 - As members of a community, we have a responsibility to work with and for one another to achieve a common good. It is a good defined by both our common moral framework, and by the fundamental American values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The debate about marijuana legalization has left many struggling to find what is right. On Oct. 14, Archbishop Roger Schweitzer wrote that "Marijuana legalization would be immoral." In respectful disagreement with the archbishop, I suggest that persecuting individuals and families for use of marijuana is immoral. Moreover, the Archbishop's judgment ignores the negative impacts of our marijuana policy on Alaskans and their families.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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