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Judge dismisses cannabis lawsuit (Newsletter: Feb. 27, 2018)

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MA will delay social use & deliveries; Governors weigh in on marijuana; 1st Denver social use permit

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A federal judge acknowledged plaintiffs’ claims that “medical marijuana has, quite literally, saved their lives,” but dismissed their lawsuit challenging cannabis’s Schedule I status.

Massachusetts regulators agreed to delay considering proposed rules allowing marijuana social use areas and delivery services until a later date after receiving intense pressure over those license categories from state officials. But the commission also decided that when it does authorize the services, initial licenses will only be available to people with past drug convictions or who live in neighborhoods with high drug arrest rates.

/ FEDERAL

An unnamed U.S. Department of Justice official says there are “rumblings” that the Trump administration will issue further marijuana guidance.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said he’s working with a bipartisan group of senators on marijuana legislation.

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on responses to opioid issues on Wednesday.

Illinois Democratic congressional candidate Benjamin Thomas Wolf holds a lit joint in a campaign ad.

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Justin Santopietro supports legalizing marijuana.

/ STATES

A number of governors visiting Washington, D.C. spoke about efforts to implement marijuana laws in light of federal enforcement policy changes:

  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D): “It has not impacted us and we believe it will not, although that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention… We’re proceeding apace, again, beginning to make sure we get the medical piece right because it’s life or death. And then we will deliberately and steadily get to the recreational side.”
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D): “I think that it would be great if at the federal level they could change the schedule of marijuana so that we can get more data on it – do more research. I remind people all the time that probably over 100 medicines that we use routinely in health care come from plants, so let’s be a little bit more open minded and look at potential uses for medicinal marijuana.”
  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R): “It’s something that we’re weighing with our attorney general to see what the U.S. attorney general’s doing too. But we do think that if it’s implemented there are some guidelines, as far as licensing and how it is regulated in the state of Oklahoma, that will have to be addressed by our legislature.”
  • Utah Gov. Gary Herbet (R): “[The Obama administration]  turned a blind eye to it. They just let states do it in open violation of the federal law. That’s not how we do things in this country. I think that’s bad process. It’s bad form and sends a bad message… It ought to be a controlled substance just like anything else. It ought to be approved by the FDA. It ought to be in fact prescribed by a doctor and administered by a pharmacist. We probably ought not to have self-medication. The physiology of different people would require probably different quantities of the medicine, and I just think that’s prudent.”
  • Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: “I tried [to ask U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions a question about marijuana], but I couldn’t get called on. He only took about six questions. There were probably 40 governors in the room.”
  • Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D): “As Canada moves in that direction, as Massachusetts and Vermont, it’s going to be a neighborhood thing, and I understand that… I told [Sessions] to stop messing around with marijuana, because it really isn’t important. I have not taken the opportunity to endorse marijuana, but that’s very different than spending resources trying to combat marijuana use. And, quite frankly, if you’re going to be serious about opioids, you can’t be screwing around with marijuana.”
  • Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D): “It’s a shame that [Sessions] has a closed mind, and he’s much more attentive to his old ideology than to the new facts. The fears that he might have had 30 years ago have not been realized, and we wish he would just open his eyes to the reality of the situation. If he did, I think he would no longer try to fight an old battle that the community and the nation is moving very rapidly forward on.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed into law a bill fixing a drafting error in marijuana tax legislation.

The Georgia House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee approved legislation to add PTSD and intractable pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Oklahoma Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to restrict medical cannabis if voters approve a June ballot measure.

Tennessee’s House speaker and Health subcommittee chair signed on as cosponsors of medical cannabis legislation.

A Utah representative filed a bill to delay implementation of any ballot measure enacted this November, including the medical cannabis proposal.

Many New Jersey African-American lawmakers are skeptical of marijuana legalization.

Washington State lawmakers’ budget proposals include money to resume issuing and renewing hemp cultivation and processing licenses, contrary to a request from Gov. Jay Inslee (D) to zero out funds.

The Connecticut Board of Physicians approved albinism and osteogenesis imperfecta medical as cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Tuesday.

/ LOCAL

Denver, Colorado regulators approved the city’s first marijuana social use area license.

New York City Council committees held a hearing on marijuana enforcement.

Seattle, Washington Mayor Jenny Durkan (D), a former U.S. attorney, tweeted in support of opening safe injection facilities for illegal drug consumers.

The Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky Urban County Council will vote on a resolution endorsing medical cannabis on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the country’s police oppose allowing medical cannabis exports.

Canadian military officials are grappling with how to handle the country’s impending legalization of marijuana.

Here’s a look at three marijuana bills being considered by German lawmakers.

/ ADVOCACY

The California Democratic Party approved several marijuana platform planks and withheld a reelection endorsement from prohibitionist U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) at its convention.

Hundreds of students from across the world with participate in Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s conference and Capitol Hill lobby day this weekend.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis as a palliative treatment for cancer patients seems to be well tolerated, effective and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy related symptoms.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Herald editorial board is happy that Massachusetts regulators delayed some marijuana rules.

/ BUSINESS

Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics project in a new report that global consumer spending on legal cannabis will reach $57 billion by 2027.

Canadian firm Cronos Group will be the first marijuana stock listed on Nasdaq.

Massachusetts regulators suspended sales at Healthy Pharms dispensaries after finding pesticide contamination in medical cannabis products.

/ CULTURE     

National Football League teams reportedly don’t care as much about marijuana use by recruits as they used to.

Actress Charlize Theron says  she was “a wake-and-baker for most of my life” and “really appreciated marijuana way more than alcohol or anything else.” She stopped using it because she “just became boring on it,” but is open to “retrying it again because now there’s all these different strains and you can be specific with it.”

Comedian Lewis Black spoke about his consumption of marijuana edibles.

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Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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Veterans cannabis bill filed in Congress (Newsletter: January 26, 2021)

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DE auditor: Legal marijuana = revenue; NM gov & top lawmaker bullish on legalization; Anti-cannabis ND rep’s legalization bill; New psychedelics org

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed a new bill in Congress to protect military veterans from losing their Department of Veterans Affairs benefits for using marijuana. But the new legislation omits a section from last year’s version that would let VA doctors issue written medical cannabis recommendations.

Delaware’s state auditor issued a new report concluding that legalizing marijuana would generate $43 million in annual tax revenue and create more than 1,000 new jobs.

  • “The First State cannot and should not be the last state to approve legalization in the region.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she is “optimistic” the state can boost its economy by legalizing marijuana this year, and the Senate majority leader is also “feeling more confident” about getting it done in 2021. Legalization bills could be unveiled as soon as this week.

A North Dakota Republican lawmaker who opposes legalizing marijuana has filed a bill to do just that. He sees reform as inevitable and wants lawmakers to write the rules, instead of activists who just got approval to collect signatures to put the issue on the 2022 ballot.

  • “I’m not for [legalization] at all, but I understand that it’s coming, and we have to address the issue. I’m trying something different in government—we’re trying to be proactive and not be reactive.”

The Plant Medicine Coalition is a new psychedelics advocacy group that will, among other things, focus on lobbying Congress to appropriate $100 million for research on the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, ayahuasca, LSD and other entheogens.

/ FEDERAL

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Legalize cannabis, expunge records for nonviolent crimes, and invest in Black and brown entrepreneurs.”

/ STATES

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “Medical marijuana patients, like all patients, deserve to be protected from discrimination under our laws.” She also tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana for adult-use makes sense and it’s the right thing to do: ✅Strengthens our economy ✅Starts to right wrongs in our justice system ✅Source of new state revenue”

The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee held a hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment to block the state from legalizing marijuana or other drugs, and a vote is planned for Wednesday.

The Virginia House General Laws Committee will hear a presentation on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

New York regulators began accepting applications for hemp retailer and distributor permits.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin about having marijuana business design plans reviewed by the Bureau of Fire Services.

Montana regulators sent an update on medical cannabis business fingerprinting requirements.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission will meet on Wednesday.

Ohio regulators will consider medical cannabis rules changes on February 2.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

A New York City mayoral candidate wants to legalize marijuana and psychedelics and issue reparations to people harmed by the war on drugs.

Northampton, Massachusetts is the first municipality in the state to stop charging marijuana businesses an annual “community impact fee.”

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania argued in federal court that it should be able to deny employment at a jail to people who use medical cannabis.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Guyana’s government and opposition are pursuing separate marijuana reform bills.

The leader of Scotland’s Conservative Party said, in response to a question in a Facebook chat, “I am not on magic mushrooms. Indeed there were also no mushrooms in the spaghetti bolognese I had tonight.”

Thailand’s government launched a legal cannabis business registration guide.

The Antigua and Barbuda Cannabis Board granted a provisional permit for a company to grow medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that using hemp products “benefits in cannabis dependence, epilepsy, and anxiety disorders” and that “pre-clinically, hemp derivatives showed potential anti-oxidative, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-neuroinflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-acne, and anti-microbial activities.”

A study found “no statistically significant differences in 30-day readmission rates for [irritable bowel syndrome]-specific causes when comparing patients who reported cannabis use with those who did not” but that “cannabis use was associated with reduced 30-day hospital readmission rates for all causes.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Connecticut Democratic Party tweeted about Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) support for legalizing marijuana.

The Commonwealth Dispensary Association dropped a lawsuit against Massachusetts marijuana delivery rules that favor equity applicants after it lost several of its member businesses in the wake of a boycott.

The Drug Policy Alliance brought on two new board members.

/ BUSINESS

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed a sale leaseback transaction with Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. for a Florida property.

New Cannabis Ventures reportedly obtained a leaked recording of the CEO of iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. and an investor discussing events leading to a plan that will leave current shareholders with just 2.75% of the company.

/ CULTURE

Lil Wayne’s cannabis brand,  GKUA Ultra Premium, is expanding into Colorado.

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AZ adult-use cannabis sales begin (Newsletter: January 25, 2021)

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VA legal marijuana bill clears key committee; WA lawmakers approve cannabis homegrow; SBA weighs in on USDA hemp rule; MO hotel cannabis license bill

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There are now 415 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2021 sessions. 

  • Dave Lewis, former Montana lawmaker: “I worked on the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana.  I found Marijuana Moment to be very helpful with intelligence on other states.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Virginia Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee amended and approved a marijuana legalization bill that was introduced by the governor and top lawmakers. The panel rejected an amendment to strip cannabis home cultivation rights from the legislation, which now heads to the Judiciary Committee.

Arizona recreational marijuana sales officially began after regulators approved applications from existing medical cannabis dispensaries. This is the fastest that sales have launched in any state following voter approval of legalization.

The Washington House Commerce and Gaming Committee approved a bill to legalize marijuana home cultivation. Most other legal states already let adults cultivate their own cannabis, but it’s still a felony in Washington.

The Small Business Administration said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final revised hemp rules fix a number of problems with the earlier draft but that “some concerns remained unaddressed.”

A Missouri representative filed a bill to create a new “medical marijuana lodging establishment” license to let hotels and Airbnbs allow guests to consume cannabis on site.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said hemp rules it recently filed won’t be placed on hold under an executive order President Joe Biden issued concerning regulations from the final days of the prior administration.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) tweeted, “Floridians voted OVERWHELMINGLY in support of #medicalmarijuana & it’s time state laws & employers catch up. Proud to see @TinaPolsky & @DuranForFlorida introduce a bill similar to my Fairness in Federal Drug Testing, protecting vets and other employees who use cannabis legally!”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Dear Diary, It has been 478 days since @GovernorTomWolf and I first called for immediate decriminalization and a path to legalization of adult-use cannabis. Yet still, no action on this commonsense issue to let people choose for themselves.”

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Not only will legalizing adult-use cannabis be a step towards righting the wrongs of an unjust system, it will provide much-needed revenue for New York!”

South Dakota’s House majority leader and minority leader spoke about efforts to implement voter-approved marijuana initiatives.

The Utah House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee approved a bill to block cities from banning hemp cultivation.

A Florida senator filed a bill to let medical cannabis dispensaries sell recreational marijuana. Separately, Senate Democrats tweeted about another bill to protect public employees from being fired for medical cannabis use.

Hawaii lawmakers filed marijuana legalization legislation.

New Mexico marijuana legalization bills could be filed this week.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that a person who purchases a legal amount of marijuana for another person is not guilty of distribution when they transfer it to the person who provided the funds.

Michigan regulators created a marijuana Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup. Senate Democrats tweeted, “BIPOC communities have suffered the most under the drug war yet benefitted the least from the cannabis industry. We must nip discrimination in the bud via #CJReform & equity programs that strengthen this growing business.”

California regulators sent a notice about restrictions on marijuana billboard advertising. Separately, they proposed emergency regulations on sharing marijuana business information with financial institutions.

Oregon regulators published a draft of marijuana compliance testing requirements.

Colorado regulators will host town halls on marijuana social equity and delivery on Wednesday and on February 11.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Detroit, Michigan’s planning commission will hold a hearing on proposed marijuana rules on February 4.

San Francisco, California officials are conducting a survey on the growth of the marijuana industry and the effectiveness of the city’s Cannabis Equity Program.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The government of the Netherlands will continue to allow the supply of cannabis medicines to the UK until July despite Brexit.

The Isle of Man’s parliament approved regulations allowing medical cannabis cultivation.

Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that Catalonia lacks the power to regulate marijuana clubs.

Japan’s government is considering increasing marijuana penalties.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of chronic pain patients found that “approximately one-third of patients in the cohort remained on medical cannabis for six months” and that “pain intensity and pain-related interference scores were reduced and [quality of life] and general health symptoms scores were improved compared with baseline.”

A study found that “cannabidiol can selectively kill a subset of Gram-negative bacteria that includes the ‘urgent threat’ pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that India residents oppose legalizing marijuana, 55%-36%.

The Commonwealth Dispensary Association has lost several of its member businesses in the wake of a boycott over its decision to sue Massachusetts regulators over marijuana delivery rules that favor equity applicants.

Marijuana activist Jason Robert Karimi has been charged by federal prosecutors with allegedly threatening an unnamed member of Congress, including saying he would “cause you pain in every way possible” and “make it so you can’t even walk in anything but a wheelchair.”

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Operations Inc. is voluntarily recalling cannabis vape pens due to a hardware defect.

Choice Consolidation Corp. is a new special purpose acquisition corporation formed by former Cresco Labs and  Green Thumb Industries Inc. executives.

Cresco Labs closed an overnight marketed offering of subordinate voting shares for total gross proceeds of approximately $125 million.

Canadian retailers sold C$261.4 million worth of legal marijuana products in November.

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First federal cannabis bill of new Congress filed (Newsletter: January 22, 2021)

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CT gov’s draft legal marijuana bill; Poll: TX adults say legalize cannabis to fund schools; IL uses marijuana-funded grants to repair drug war harms

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  • Russell Sumners: “I’ve been reading your daily newsletters for a while and decided it was (past) due for me to contribute to those who put together these amazingly consistent and informational newsletters. I live in Texas and our state legislature is back in session this year. I hope to read positive news on medical marijuana policy changes to make cannabis more available to those in need in the great Lone Star State.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed the first federal marijuana reform bill of the new Congress. It would simply move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III, which would not end prohibition but would have a number of other effects.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is circulating a draft marijuana legalization bill for feedback.

A new poll found that 64% of Texans support legalizing and taxing marijuana to fund schools. That’s more than those who want to increase the sales tax, put a new tax on sugary drinks or raise taxes on corporations, hotel occupancy or motor vehicles.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced $31.5 million in grant awards funded by marijuana tax revenue to aid communities harmed by the war on drugs. One NAACP branch got $1.8 million. Branches of the Urban league, United Way and YMCA are also getting  cannabis funds.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said state-licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Rural Business Development Grant Programs.

No members of the Senate Finance Committee asked Janet Yellen, treasury secretary nominee, questions about marijuana banking or tax issues during her confirmation hearing or in written queries for the record.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order extending the validity of medical cannabis cards through the coronavirus pandemic. Separately, he tweeted about Jay-Z’s fund for minority-owned marijuana businesses, saying, “I led the effort to decriminalize & legalize cannabis because the war on drugs has been an abject failure—with disproportionate & devastating impacts on communities of color. These are the types of entrepreneurial opportunities we dreamed of—thanks Jay-Z!”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said her administration is working to prepare to implement marijuana legalization if litigation she is backing to overturn the voter-approved measure is not successful.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) latest coronavirus order allows marijuana businesses to stay open after 9:30 PM.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) tweeted about a study linking marijuana use by young people with mood disorders to an increased risk of self-harm, suicide attempts and death.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor posted on Facebook, “For decades, we’ve criminalized a plant + people who consumed it. What a bizarre, destructive superstition. Legal Weed for USA. 🇺🇸”

The North Dakota House of Representative approved a bill to tie the state’s definition of hemp to federal law.

New Mexico lawmakers spoke about the details of marijuana legalization bills they plan to file soon.

A protest against Georgia’s medical cannabis production license request for proposals from Trulieve GA Inc. has been withdrawn, and applications are now due on Wednesday.

Michigan regulators began hemp sampling.

Florida lawmakers filed legislation to protect public employees from being fired for medical cannabis use.

A Maryland delegate tweeted about a bill she is sponsoring that “will allow medical marijuana businesses to obtain state tax benefits for their business expenses — a standard benefit for businesses in every other industry. We must have equitable financial conditions in place for these businesses to thrive!”

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana business issues on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 300 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Prairie Village, Kansas City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

San Francisco, California officials sent an update on the timeline for cannabis permanent permit applications.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s Department of Health said the country’s medical cannabis access program will launch this year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical marijuana patients were positive about the health benefits they received and the fact they were able to reduce or eliminate many prescription medications; however, there were concerns about the costs.”

A study concluded that “the way people experience mystical occasions due to psychedelic use have archetypical patterns, but culturally specific storylines.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Sacramento Bee editorial board is pushing California officials to do a better job expunging past marijuana convictions.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. entered into a deal to sell 12 million units of the company for gross proceeds of approximately $125 million.

Harborside Inc. announced that a lawsuit alleging it committed securities violations has been voluntarily dismissed.

Verano Holdings, LLC completed a concurrent brokered and non-brokered private placement financing of subscription receipts worth $100 million.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. announced that a previously announced deal to sell units has been upsized to C$17.5 million.

Wesana Health closed a $4 million convertible note financing round.

Wurk founder and CEO Keegan Peterson died.

/ CULTURE

Jay-Z started a $10 million fund to invest in minority-owned cannabis startups.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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