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Pennsylvania lawmakers to vote on cannabis decrim (Newsletter: Oct. 9, 2018)

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Poll: Legal marijuana support continues to increase; Study tracks interesting teen cannabis use attitudes; Missouri medical marijuana ad

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Pew poll found that support for marijuana legalization continues to increase, with Americans now backing ending cannabis prohibition by a margin of 62%-34%.

The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on a marijuana decriminalization bill on Tuesday.

A  study found that teens who don’t use marijuana are becoming increasingly tolerant of their peers who do.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows that border patrol seizures of marijuana are at the lowest point in more than a decade and that only a small minority of its cannabis enforcement actions involve unauthorized immigrants as opposed to U.S. citizens and legal residents.

Several members of Congress expressed frustration with the White House’s position on marijuana:

  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ): “I think it’s despicable. To me this has always been an issue around justice — and restorative justice — and to see that there may be forces in the White House that are working against those issues of justice is just sad, frustrating, and, frankly, against the things that we stand for as a nation, which is truth and justice.”
  • Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA): “Every time I speak to someone in the administration, despite what the president has said, they tell me it isn’t happening. My question is, who is in charge over there? It borders on ridiculous. The president is right on this issue. The gatekeepers need to do their job, not undermine good policy.”
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): “Trump is on all sides of issues, sometimes within a matter of minutes, so people shouldn’t be shocked. It is an illustration of another area where the administration has an incoherent policy framework…. They’re on the wrong side of history. They’re on the wrong side of their own base. They have something that if they actually tried to implement something that is draconian there will be open revolt, and in a way I’d love for them to do that before the November election, they’d lose the Senate. They’d lose more seats in the House.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “When more Americans are arrested for marijuana than for committing violent crimes, it’s clear that the priorities of our justice system are completely out of order. The ‘war on drugs’ has destroyed too many lives. It’s imperative that we legalize marijuana.”

Virginia congressional candidates agreed on marijuana decriminalization during a debate.

Kansas Democratic congressional candidate Alan LaPolice said marijuana should be federally decriminalized.

/ STATES

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo signed a bill allowing medical cannabis home cultivation. The territory’s gubernatorial candidates said they back the legislation.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) is expected this week to name his appointees to the territory’s marijuana regulatory commission, and is urging mayors to name their picks soon as well.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) incorporated a nonprofit that will work to open a safe injection site for illegal drug consumers despite federal threats.

A Missouri medical cannabis campaign released a video ad featuring an Afghanistan veteran who suffers from chronic pain and PTSD.

Colorado gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy.

Here’s a look at where Connecticut gubernatorial candidates stand on legalizing marijuana.

Pennsylvania lieutenant governor candidates debated marijuana legalization.

Massachusetts lawmakers are traveling to Portugal to study its drug decriminalization law.

As a key Florida deadline approaches for school districts to report if they plan to allow students to access medical cannabis on campus, a consulting firm representing several districts is urging its clients not to allow such use, citing concerns with federal law.

Oklahoma has a 12:1 ratio of medical cannabis dispensary license applications to patient applications.

California’s insurance commissioner released an updated list of cannabis insurance agents and brokers. Separately, regulators released a fact sheet on provisional cannabis cultivation licenses.

Michigan regulators added an additional medical cannabis licensing meeting this month.

Here’s a look at marijuana-focused lobbying spending and campaign contributions in New York.

/ LOCAL

A Green Bay, Wisconsin City Council committee voted to delay consideration of a proposed ordinance to lower marijuana possession penalties.

A Goochland County, Virginia supervisor deleted a tweet in which he suggested shooting protesters that smoked marijuana outside the office of Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD).

/ INTERNATIONAL

Welsh political party Plaid Cymru is calling for drug decriminalization.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is directing officers to avoid consuming marijuana for 28 days before shifts.

/ ADVOCACY

Smart Approaches to Marijuana and other prohibitionists are hosting a Capitol Hill briefing on cannabis legalization and opioids on Tuesday.

The president of the Medical Society of the State of New York expressed concerns about marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “in a sample of individuals in treatment for [alcohol use disorder], using cannabis 12x/month or more during treatment is associated with increased rates of physical consequences attributed to alcohol use.”

A study suggested that “social media use was associated with affecting support for marijuana legalization and that more time spent on social media was also associated with supporting marijuana legalization.”

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis filed to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The owners of Colorado dispensary chain Sweet Leaf reached an agreement with regulators that will allow them to sell their licenses following multiple violations.

Tilray, Inc. completed an acquisition of Chilean company Alef Biotechnology SpA.

A study found that “small community banks in marijuana states are, on average, further from the best practice frontier relative to medium-to-large banks.”

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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.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-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.)

Newsletter

Veterans’ cannabis amendment withdrawn without vote (Newsletter: June 24, 2019)

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Senators ask about marijuana-impaired driving; SBA urges cannabis companies to submit FDA CBD comments; DOJ enforces anti-cannabis bankruptcy rule

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) withdrew his amendment to let military veterans get medical cannabis recommendations from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors without bringing it to a vote on the House floor. While the measure has advanced in Congress before, VA is raising new concerns it could put physicians at risk of Justice Department prosecution.

The Small Business Administration is urging cannabis firms to submit CBD regulation comments to the Food and Drug Administration.

The deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testified at a Senate hearing that “most users of marijuana who have participated in market research we have developed are saying they believe they drive safer when they’re high because they’re very focused and they’re being very cautious.”

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program is increasingly enforcing a ban on bankruptcy protections for marijuana-related businesses and people associated with them.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his plans for criminal justice reform, ending mandatory minimum sentences and private prisons, bail reform, decriminalizing marijuana and expunging records.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The War on Drugs is a war on people, but not all people. It has disproportionately affected Black communities, low-income people, veterans, people living with mental illness. As president, I will fight to reform the criminal justice system like I’ve been doing in the Senate.” He also tweeted that New York’s move to expunge cannabis records “is great news, we can’t talk about decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana without talking about expunging records.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, spoke about how he was ahead of many other politicians in endorsing legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, spoke about her support for ending marijuana prohibition.

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) said that four Republicans who voted against marijuana banking legislation in committee will support the bill on the floor because of an amendment.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “The failed war on drugs must end! The bipartisan vote to pass my amendment is the most significant vote on #marijuana reform policy the House has ever taken.”

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) tweeted a video of himself describing the CBD amendment he attached to a spending bill.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “This week, 267 of my colleagues in the House voted to prevent DOJ from taking action against businesses and individuals in states which have legalized marijuana. We need to continue to respect states’ rights and pass #SAFEBanking.” He also tweeted, “Marijuana industry sales are estimated to reach $23 billion by 2022. We need #SAFEBanking to get cash off our streets and into the banking system.”

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) predicted that “all kinds of big players” will get involved in the marijuana industry following the end of federal prohibition.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and punish states with discriminatory enforcement got three new cosponsors, for a total of 43.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of one.

/ STATES

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed a bill allowing physician assistants to recommend medical cannabis.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) plans to sign a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) intends to sign a bill setting marijuana regulations soon.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) spoke about progress implementing marijuana legalization. Separately, regulators launched a public education campaign urging people to buy marijuana only from licensed businesses. Meanwhile, lawmakers are amending legislation to reduce an extension of the period during which cannabis businesses can operate on provisional permits through 2022 instead of 2025.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor estimated that 65%-70% of the state’s residents support legalizing marijuana after he conducted a statewide listening tour on the issue.

New York lawmakers sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) a bill regulating hemp and CBD. The governor rejected a request from lawmakers to make a procedural move allowing a medical cannabis expansion bill to pass before the end of the session, and he criticized the legislature for failing to include legalization in the budget earlier in the session.

Virginia’s Senate majority leader spoke about his support for decriminalizing marijuana but declined to back legalization. Separately, regulators published frequently asked questions about access to CBD and THC-A medical cannabis oil.

The Rhode Island House minority leader spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, lawmakers approved budget that adds new medical cannabis dispensaries and makes other changes to the program.

A Missouri judge rejected regulators’ request to dismiss a newspaper’s lawsuit seeking to force the publication of the names of medical cannabis business license applicants.

A Montana judge said that a new law complicates a lawsuit challenging regulators’ decision to deny medical cannabis business licenses.

Nebraska regulators are accepting hemp applications.


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

Brooklyn, New York’s borough president said that marijuana decriminalization is “long overdue” but that he hopes lawmakers go further by  legalizing cannabis.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian legislation to expedite marijuana pardons received royal assent.

An Argentinian judge revoked the authorization for eight mothers to grow medical cannabis for their children and instead ordered the government to import cannabis-based medicines from Canada.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on an animal model of multiple sclerosis found that “cannabinoid treatment produces improvements in neurological disability scoring” and “improves behavioral assessments of neuropathic pain.”

A study concluded that “long-term administration of pharmaceutical grade CBD is overall cognitively well-tolerated in adults with” treatment-resistant epilepsy.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll showed that U.S. adults favor legalizing marijuana, 63%-34%, that they back medical cannabis 87%-11%, that 26% are interested in purchasing marijuana and that 39% are interested in buying CBD products.

A poll found that 84% of Duval County, Florida voters support decriminalizing marijuana.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board said marijuana should be legal but advertising should be restricted.

/ BUSINESS

Constellation Brands Inc. disclosed that its share of Canopy Growth Corp. quarterly losses amounted to $106 million.

/ CULTURE

Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper took at look at marijuana social equity efforts in California.

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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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Newsletter

House votes to block DOJ enforcement in legal cannabis states (Newsletter: June 21, 2019)

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CBD & DEA amendments approved in House; Veterans & medical marijuana hearing; POTUS candidate pledges drug war commutations

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There are now 1,138 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives voted to pass a measure blocking the Department of Justice from interfering in state and territory marijuana laws—including those legalizing adult use.

The House of Representatives also approved an amendment from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) stripping $5 million from the Drug Enforcement Administration and redirecting it to opioid treatment as well as a separate measure directing the Food and Drug Administration to formulate CBD regulations.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on four bills concerning medical cannabis and military veterans.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, unveiled a plan to grant clemency to 17,000 drug war prisoners if he’s elected president and is pledging to take action on the issue on the very first day of his administration.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, sent a letter pressing federal financial regulators to issue guidance on banking access for hemp businesses.

/ FEDERAL

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted about discussing marijuana while performing chest surgery.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia issued an alert about marijuana-infused candy and kids.

Sen. Kirsten Gilliband (D-NY), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We can’t settle for half-steps on marijuana legalization. If we don’t expunge marijuana records and specifically support the communities who’ve been most hurt by the war on drugs, it’s not true justice.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, tweeted a video of himself speaking about criminal justice reform, noting, “Our criminal justice system is historically unfair. One thing we can do to address it is legalize marijuana and make sure those with minor marijuana offenses—who are overwhelmingly people of color—have their records cleared.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), a presidential candidate, announced that police will limit arrests of students for low-level offenses such as marijuana possession.

The Senate bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of six.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said he’s waiting to see what his lieutenant governor’s report on marijuana legalization, informed by a statewide listening tour on the issue, says before he announces whether his position has evolved. Separately, regulators approved three companies to conduct medical cannabis research.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner hosted a hemp workshop.

New York lawmakers sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) a bill to expand marijuana decriminalization and provide for expungements. The Senate also approved hemp legislation, with Assembly action still pending.

Maine lawmakers sent Gov. Janet Mills (D) a bill setting  marijuana regulations.

New Jersey lawmakers sent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) medical cannabis expansion legislation.

The Delaware Senate voted to approve a bill expanding the decriminalization of marijuana to cover juveniles.

Colorado regulators reported average market rates for marijuana.

Michigan regulators released a marijuana licensing report.

California regulators are conducting a survey to assess interest in a comparable-to-organic cannabis certification program.

Nebraska activists said they’ve already collected nearly 10,000 signatures toward placing a medical cannabis measure on the state’s 2020 ballot.

A Nevada regulator testified during a hearing in a  lawsuit that meals he shared with marijuana business representatives did not affect licensing decisions.

Alaska regulators will discuss marijuana licensing and rules at a meeting scheduled for July 10-12. They are also weighing changes to violation fines.


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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


UK Prime Minister Theresa May fielded a question about medical cannabis access.

Italian regulators posted an application for companies that want to import medical cannabis.

Mexican senators discussed marijuana policy during a hearing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “evidence for the efficacy of cannabis medicine (given as an adjunct to other medication) was found in patients with chronic pain and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis” and that “benefits were also found for appetite stimulation, improvement of nausea, and weight gain in patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS or in palliative care, while that “adverse effects of cannabis medicine are often reported; severe adverse effects were mentioned in single cases only.”

An analysis of wastewater found “a significant increase in consumption in Washington, USA following legalization, and that legal sales appear to have displaced a large portion of the illicit market.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Florida voters support legalizing marijuana, 65%-30% and back legal cannabis sales in their own communities, 61%-34%.

The Detroit News editorial board is calling on Michigan regulators to expand access to medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Google is running a trial program to allow CBD ads.

Canopy Growth Corporation reported annual net revenue growth of 191% to $226.3 million.

S&P Global Ratings published an analysis projecting “slow but substantial growth of legal cannabis over the next decade.”

/ CULTURE

Rapper Ice Cube said it is “cool to be on the right side of history” in supporting marijuana legalization before it was popular.

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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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Newsletter

House passes tribal cannabis protection amendment (Newsletter: June 20, 2019)

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Committee debates small marijuana biz issues; Senator gets FDA to admit psychedelic benefits; Studies examine dispensary impact on youth cannabis use

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives debated amendments to protect state and territory marijuana laws, as well as those of Indian tribes, from federal interference. Both passed in voice votes, but a roll call vote was requested on the first measure, likely to occur on Thursday.

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on opportunities and challenges for small marijuana businesses.

In a letter to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health acknowledged that studies have shown medical benefits of psychedelic drugs but that the federal government doesn’t currently have any plans to reschedule substances like psilocybin, MDMA and LSD.

Three separate new studies published this month examine the impact of nearby marijuana dispensaries on youth cannabis use in Los Angeles—with differing findings.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration is extending the deadline to comment on CBD regulations to July 16.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and concerns about racial disparities in prohibition enforcement.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) tweeted, “It is not safe to walk around with duffel bags full of cash – but that’s what’s happening right now. The SAFE Banking Act is a common-sense bill that will allow the marijuana industry to use banks. The Federal gov’t must recognize legitimate businesses.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is a racial justice issue and all low-level offenses should be expunged. As the $1 billion in state revenue in Colorado shows, it’s also about creating jobs and economic growth.”

The House bill to force the Department of Justice to license more growers of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 11.

/ STATES

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill letting regulators deny marijuana business licenses based on supply and demand.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill on certifying marijuana testing facilities.

New York lawmakers failed to reach a deal of marijuana legalization legislation, but a backup plan to expand decriminalization and provide for record expungements is still under consideration.

Massachusetts’s secretary of state warned about marijuana-related fraud cases and charged one company with securities violations. Separately, agriculture regulators are cracking down on CBD products. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved a hemp bill.

Ohio’s House speaker said that lawmakers will not vote on a hemp bill before the summer break.

California lawmakers are putting a bill to allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs on hold until next year.

Michigan regulators released updated guidance for marijuana testing facilities.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats held a press conference about marijuana reform.


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 Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council Public Safety Committee approved a measure to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority.

New York City’s Council speaker said he is “disappointed our outdated marijuana laws will remain on the books for now but the fight to end them is NOT over.”

The Clark County, Nevada Commission voted to spend more than $6.1 million raised from marijuana business license fees to add hundreds of beds for homeless families with children.

Denver, Colorado hired a cannabis process navigator to “help the industry navigate the rules, to fortify and expand trust and transparency between the cannabis industry and Denver’s marijuana regulatory agencies, and serve as a point-of-contact between marijuana businesses and the City of Denver.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate gave final approval to a bill to expedite pardons for cannabis possession convictions.

French lawmakers are filing a marijuana legalization bill that gives the government a monopoly on production and sales.

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office ordered that electricity be cut off to a region of the country in an attempt to disrupt marijuana cultivation.

Thai regulators are developing medical cannabis rules.

/ ADVOCACY

A representative from prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana will debate a pro-legalization Pennsylvania senator on July 8.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis-exposed hospitalized patients with [acute pancreatitis] had lower age-adjusted, mortality, morbidity, and hospitalization-cost than non–cannabis-exposed patients.”

A study of rats found that hemp extract “improves semen parameters by reducing plasma prolactin and enhancing plasma anti-oxidant status” and that “its pro-fertility potential might be associated with its deficiency in the widely known gonadotoxic phytocannabinoids.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll funded by the AAA Foundation surveyed Americans’ attitudes about driving under the influence of marijuana.

The New York Times editorial board endorsed a Queens district attorney candidate who has pledged to stop prosecuting low-level marijuana and drug cases.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. and Acreage Holdings Inc. shareholders both voted to approve the former company’s planned acquisition of the latter in the event of U.S. federal marijuana legalization.

Thrive Market is ceasing to sell CBD and hemp products at the demand of its merchant processor.

Shoppers Drug Mart and TruTrace Technologies are partnering to use blockchain technology to track marijuana products.

Quiznos launched a “Magic Mushroom Melt” sandwich in Denver.

/ CULTURE

Musician Willie Nelson joked about how he is the chief tester of his brand Willie’s Reserve’s marijuana products.

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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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