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Justice Department defends student cannabis advocacy rights (Newsletter: December 10, 2019)

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Buttigieg backs safe injection sites; AOC to file more psychedelics legislation; Decrim Nature op-ed: Apply legal marijuana lessons to entheogens

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The Department of Justice filed a brief in a free speech case defending the right of college students to speak out on marijuana legalization and other issues.

  • “The United States of America is not a police state. Repressive speech codes are the indecent hallmark of despotic, totalitarian regimes. They have absolutely no place in our country, and the First Amendment outlaws all tyrannical policies, practices, and acts that abridge the freedom of speech.”

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, said he supports safe injection facilities where people can consume illegal drugs under medical supervision to help mitigate overdoses.

  • “It is common sense that if you can prevent the harms associated with injection drug use, you should.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) plans to introduce more congressional legislation on psychedelics, according to a Decriminalize Nature activist who spoke with her at a town hall meeting.

In an op-ed for Marijuana Moment, Decriminalize Nature Board Chair Carlos Plazola argues that psychedelic activists need to learn lessons from legal cannabis’s implementation.

  • “If the common person has the ability to grow and use their own healing plants, and share with friends, they can forever hold the corporate interests accountable.”

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration published an overview of the research and approval process for cannabis and cannabinoids.

U.S. officials knowingly carried out ineffective and at times counterproductive anti-drug operations in Afghanistan, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.

The  U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the conviction of a former congressional staffer who tried to bribe marijuana business owners.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for ending the war on drugs, legalizing marijuana and expunging records in a speech in Iowa.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) discussed hemp at a Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation meeting.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said he thinks his marijuana banking legislation will advance in the Senate.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “I’m proud to sponsor this House Resolution that would force Congress to admit that the War on Drugs was a racist failure, apologize, and provide justice to all those negatively impacted by it.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a hemp regulation bill into law and announced the state will hold a hemp summit next month.

Illinois regulators will begin accepting applications for new recreational marijuana retail licenses on Tuesday.

Virginia regulators are moving to ban vitamin E acetate in medical cannabis vaping devices instead of banning THC and CBD vapes altogether.

Nevada regulators temporarily removed an online database of marijuana business owners and officers. Separately, an analysis portrays the state’s cannabis testing labs in an unflattering light.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis program now has more than 200 out-of-state patients.

The Washington, D.C. Council’s official Twitter account posted a video of the city’s Christmas tree lighting, saying, “There hasn’t been this much excitement about something being lit at the Wilson Building since we legalized marijuana.”


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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

Cincinnati, Ohio’s police chief denied that officers are specifically targeting African Americans for marijuana enforcement even though 95% of cannabis warning citations in October were issued to black people.

The Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey mayor, who also serves as executive director of New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy, authored an op-ed arguing that lawmakers should not place a cannabis legalization referendum on the ballot.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A top aide of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is calling for an investigation into his boss to clear him of charges that he and his brother are linked to an illegal marijuana growing operation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study “demonstrated a proof of concept that a competitive immunoassay construct can determine if a person has recently used products containing THC, specifically marijuana, from the sweat content of fingerprints.”

A study found that “cannabis exposure is linked to a lower odds of [neurocognitive impairment] in the context of HIV” and that a “possible mechanism of this result is the anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Staff and affiliates of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana will hold a Wednesday press conference to oppose legislation placing a cannabis legalization referendum on the 2020 ballot.

/ BUSINESS

Jeffrey O. Friedland, Intiva Pharma LLC and Global Corporate Strategies LLC agreed to pay $4.2 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that they fraudulently promoted the stock of OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp.

Canopy Growth Corporation named Constellation Brands’s CFO as its new CEO.

Medicine Man Technologies Inc. appointed a new CEO and leadership team.

Cresco Labs announced the first harvest from its large Illinois cultivation facility.

Burns & Levinson and Vicente Sederberg LLP are partnering to offer legal services to the cannabis industry.

Instagram deleted a post from CBD beverage maker Recess that the company paid people $3 each to share.

Leafly examines efforts to patent cannabis.

Michigan retailers sold more than $1.6 million in recreational marijuana products in the first eight days of legal sales.

/ CULTURE

Federal agents administered Narcan to Juice WRLD shortly before he died at a Chicago airport. Seventy pounds of marijuana, codeine cough syrup, firearms and ammunition were found on the private jet he had arrived on.

Beyoncé denied that she was high in a video in which she said she loves whales and would choose to be one if she could be any animal.

Musician Melissa Etheridge tweeted, “Over the past 40 years our incarcerated population has increased 500% mostly due to the failed war on drugs. Today thousands remain incarcerated for victimless cannabis offenses.”

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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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Virginia cannabis decriminalization bill advances (Newsletter: January 24, 2020)

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WI gov slams lawmakers over marijuana; CT Senate president: legalization a 2020 priority; Austin decrim approved; Sanders campaign’s marijuana op-ed

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There are now 1,085 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.

  • Danny Danko: “You have the best cannabis political content of any news source I’ve found.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) used part of his State of the State speech to blast lawmakers for failing to legalize medical marijuana despite overwhelming public support.

  • “When more than 80 percent of our state supports medical marijuana…and elected officials can ignore those numbers without consequence, folks, something’s wrong.”

Connecticut Senate leaders announced at a press conference that legalizing marijuana is a priority for the 2020 session.

  • “I think the time has come. We need to recognize it. There’s broad based public support for it.”

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Criminal Law Subcommittee approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

The Austin, Texas City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to effectively end low-level marijuana arrests.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on a bill that would legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation—although no retail dispensaries would be allowed. A vote is expected in the panel as soon as next week.

The Nevada co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) presidential campaign submitted a new op-ed to Marijuana Moment about the senator’s plans to legalize cannabis and ensure equity in the marijuana industry for communities harmed by the drug war.

/ FEDERAL

The newly appointed Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice is charged with examining “refusals by State and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes,” among other issues.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer raised hypothetical questions about state marijuana legalization laws during oral arguments in a case on the definition of a “serious drug offense.”

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quickly approve Virginia’s hemp plan.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) spoke about marijuana policy with a group of Illinois mayors.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is backing legislation to limit the medical cannabis program to only state residents. Separately, the Senate Public Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

Vermont’s attorney general is scheduled to speak at a marijuana education event on Sunday.

The West Virginia House of Representatives rejected a move to discharge a marijuana legalization bill from an unfavorable committee.

A second Montana group of activists filed a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Alaska regulators approved the state’s first on-site marijuana consumption areas at dispensaries.

California regulators adopted emergency rules requiring marijuana businesses to post QR code certificates so consumers can identify licensed operations.

Missouri regulators began issuing medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Washington State regulators approved rules on marijuana quality control testing and penalties. They also sent an update on the ban on flavored vaping products.

A New York senator who opposed marijuana legalization last session is now in support.

Indiana senators held a press conference to build support for marijuana decriminalization legislation.

Louisiana regulators gave a presentation detailing the state’s hemp program.

Michigan regulators posted a video of their marijuana social equity program presentation.

Massachusetts regulators hosted a forum to receive feedback from marijuana license applicants.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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 Springfield, Illinois City Council approved the state’s first marijuana social consumption area.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor spoke about plans to pardon people with past marijuana convictions.

A Spokane, Washington city councilwoman violated the city’s ethics code by advocating on behalf of a marijuana business, a volunteer panel determined.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told the Department of Correctional Services to get ready to “free our young people” who are locked up on marijuana possession charges.

New Zealand’s Health Ministry said that edibles won’t be allowed under the country’s medical cannabis program.

French regulators announced that a medical cannabis pilot program will launch in September.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical cannabis use “may have an overall positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night in chronic pain patients” but that “tolerance towards potential sleep-inducing properties of MC may occur with frequent use.”

A study found that “adolescents with any cannabis use history have significantly higher rates of [major depressive disorder]” but that “the directionality between frequency of use and MDD is counter to what was expected.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Texas Democratic Party cheered Austin’s move to end most marijuana arrests.

The American Bar Association is hosting a webinar on what it’s like to be a marijuana lawyer on Friday.

/ BUSINESS

The personal information of more than 30,000 marijuana business customers were exposed via a data leak in the THSuite point-of-sale system.

MedMen’s CEO spoke about the company’s struggles to pay vendors.

Microsoft Advertising Support tweeted that “at this time, drugs and related paraphernalia, including CBD Oil, can’t be advertised, according to our Disallowed Content Policies.”

Cresco Labs announced it entered into an agreement for a $100 million loan that can be extended to $200 million.

/ CULTURE

Musician Neal Young’s U.S. citizenship application was approved despite a delay due to his admission of marijuana consumption.

The professional minor league basketball team the Rochester RazorSharks is partnering with the Rochester, New York NORML chapter.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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.
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Connecticut leaders plan legal cannabis push in 2020 (Newsletter: January 23, 2020)

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Congressman tours dispensary for Bernie Sanders; Mexican marijuana bill circulating; Vermont statewide psychedelics decrim filed

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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 445 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) and top lawmakers are saying that 2020 could be the year the state legalizes marijuana, with the Senate Democratic caucus expected to outline the details of a cannabis plan on Thursday.

Mexican lawmakers are circulating a new draft marijuana legalization bill ahead of the start of a new session next month. The nation’s Supreme Court set a deadline of April 30 to end cannabis prohibition.

Vermont representatives filed a bill to decriminalize psychedelics—such as psilocybin, ayahuasca and peyote—at the state level. Kratom is also included.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) toured a Las Vegas marijuana dispensary as part of a delegation representing the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief of operations and other law enforcement officials were appointed to a new Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration officials are part of a Consumer Brands Association advisory board on CBD products.

Former Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin said that medical cannabis is part of a “multifaceted” approach to prevent suicides by military veterans.

A former Maryland delegate pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of soliciting and accepting bribes from marijuana businesses.

Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) toured a marijuana cultivation facility.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted about discussing hemp at the Virginia Agriculture Growers Association conference.

Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidates discussed marijuana policy during a debate.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted that medical cannabis for military veterans “was a fundamentally recurring theme throughout our 67 county tour.  Vet after Vet, often in tears, describing their anguish and how marijuana was the only thing that made them feel “normal” enough to embrace other therapeutic avenues. Marijuana is truly, truly bipartisan.”

Texas’s agriculture commissioner hosted a public hearing on proposed hemp rules.

South Carolina’s House majority leader called for medical cannabis legalization in his response to Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) State of the State address.

The new chairman of the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee opposes legalizing marijuana.

Key New York senators are expressing concerns about including marijuana legalization in the state budget.

The Idaho Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to take up hemp legislation.

Pending U.S. Virgin Islands marijuana legalization legislation is being amended to remove a requirement that adult-use consumers register with the territory, among other changes.

Michigan regulators issued a health and safety bulletin about the recall of marijuana vaping cartridges that contain vitamin E acetate.

Oklahoma’s interim top medical cannabis regulator was named to the position permanently.

Alaska’s interim top marijuana regulator is proposing that boards that regulate cannabis and alcohol each get their own administrators instead of sharing one.

Massachusetts cannabis regulators will hold a public forum on Thursday to “to enable applicants to discuss their experience with the licensing process and related concerns.”


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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

Austin, Texas’s police chief said the City Council “does not have the authority to direct APD not to enforce a state law” through a marijuana decriminalization proposal up for a vote on Thursday.

The Alexandria, Virginia commonwealth’s attorney said he will continue pursuing marijuana cases until the state decriminalizes it.

New York City’s City Council speaker tweeted, “Albany must legalize and regulate marijuana and provide justice to the communities that have been and continue to be harmed by decades of misguided drug laws.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said he supports releasing people who are incarcerated for possessing small amounts of marijuana. He also moved the National Commission on Marijuana from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health following a leak of its draft report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the mother of an American-Israeli tourist jailed on marijuana charges and told her that “everything will be okay,” hinting at a possible pardon.

Dutch lawmakers and other leaders issued a manifesto calling for major drug policy reforms.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “unlike [medical marijuana laws], which are associated with fewer fatal crashes, cities experienced a relative increase in fatal crashes involving young male drivers following marijuana decriminalization.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance raised concerned about a lack of specificity in equity provisions in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) marijuana legalization budget proposal.

The Drug Policy Alliance published a report warning against moves to ramp up punishments for fentanyl.

The legislative director of Concerned Women for America wrote a white paper criticizing federal marijuana reform legislation.

South Carolina medical cannabis supporters held a rally.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Holdings Inc. is reportedly struggling to pay owed sums to vendors.

The CEO of Powerplant Global Strategies, a cannabis-focused PR firm, endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) for president even though he opposes legalizing marijuana.

Canopy Growth Corporation named a Constellation Brands, Inc. director as the chair of its board.

Investor Peter Thiel discussed his involvement with Atai Life Sciences AG, a company developing psychedelic medicines.

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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.
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NY gov puts legal cannabis in budget proposal (Newsletter: January 22, 2020)

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Feds want help IDing marijuana studies; Lawmakers caution against changing cannabis banking bill; NM gov’s State of the State: ‘high time’ to legalize

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,081 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) included marijuana legalization in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal he submitted to the legislature.

  • “I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues that without the budget can often languish, and I suggest that we get it done in the budget.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) told lawmakers in her State of the State speech that it’s “high time” to legalize marijuana.

  • “This is the fact: recreational cannabis can be the next frontier of our economic expansion. We can get in on the ground floor or we can try to play catch up—I know which one I prefer. And I know which one New Mexicans prefer.”

The lead sponsors of a House-passed marijuana banking bill—Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Denny Heck (D-WA) and Warren Davidson (R-OH)—sent a letter cautioning Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) against making broad cannabis policy changes they say are unrelated to the legislation.

A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is asking for the public’s help in identifying studies on the benefits of medical cannabis for people suffering from migraine headaches and acute pain.

/ FEDERAL

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 Regional Tribal Operations Committee is scheduled to discuss tribal cannabis programs on February 13.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, reiterated his pledge to end the war on drugs, “legalize marijuana in every state in the union” and expunge past records.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) decried barriers to marijuana research in an e-newsletter.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Adam Schleifer tweeted, “In Congress, I’ll support removing marijuana from Schedule I; creating unified federal financial framework, health and safety studies and regulation, and revenue-raising taxation of marijuana.”

/ STATES

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner said the state will continue to operate its hemp program under the provisions of the prior 2014 Farm Bill instead of newer federal rules. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved a hemp testing and transportation bill.

Texas’s agriculture commissioner will hold a public hearing on proposed hemp regulations on Wednesday.

Supporters of a proposed Florida marijuana legalization ballot measure filed briefs urging the state Supreme Court to approve its language.

The New York Senate unanimously passed a hemp and CBD bill.

The Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee approved legislation to prohibit labor peace agreements for marijuana businesses. Separately, regulators sent a memo about marijuana businesses’ access to financial services.

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committee held hearings on legislation to amend medical cannabis regulations.

California’s Veterinary Medical Board will discuss medical cannabis use by animals at a meeting later this month.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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 Detroit, Michigan City Council voted to extend a moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses.

Austin, Texas City Council members are working to build support for an expected Thursday vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s government is moving to repeal a law banning marijuana vaporizers.

The European Food Safety Authority warned that eating hemp foods can cause elevated THC levels.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “92.3% [of] respondents found that cannabis positively impacted upon their physical and/or mental wellbeing and 56.4% reported that they used less of other substances which are known to be more harmful as a result.”

A study concluded that “individuals with high pain are more likely to consume cannabis multiple times a day, but this use may not be related to better health.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 58%-38%.

/ BUSINESS

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Renewable Technologies Solution, Inc., Green Acres Pharms LLC, SMRB LLC and individuals behind the companies for an alleged scheme to defraud investors.

Akerna completed its acquisition of a majority interest in solo sciences inc.

From The Earth, an American marijuana retailer, is seeking to trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

/ CULTURE

Actor Tom Hanks and Dr. Mehmet Oz decried false claims that they’ve endorsed CBD products.

Musician David Crosby said he still smokes marijuana every night.

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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.
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