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Trump vows to support federal cannabis reform (Newsletter: April 16, 2018)

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State officials react to federal news; ME gov vows another veto; Dispensary sponsors soccer team

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump is prepared to “support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue [of marijuana] once and for all,” according to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who in exchange is lifting the hold he placed on Justice Department nominees over the issue.

Here are some key details:

  • The news was confirmed by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short.
  • Marijuana Moment learned from a source close to the discussions that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not a party to the deal.
  • A bipartisan group of senators, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), are currently crafting legislation that will be “hopefully moving soon.”
  • Gardner says the proposal will be a “universal fix” for issues facing the industry, including banking access and taxes.

See more details, including reaction from congressional Democrats, here.

/ FEDERAL

Former U.S House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke about the potential impact of his support for marijuana law reform, adding that he has never consumed cannabis.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-GA) opposes legalizing marijuana, which he called “nothing more than a gateway drug,” but said will be offering legislation to allow more research on Schedule I substances.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Elinore F. McCance-Katz disputed the notion that legal marijuana access reduces opioid issues.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted, “More than 2 million in jail, mostly black and brown, many for holding a small amount of marijuana. The drug war is a fiscal and moral failure but before moving on, we must stop imprisoning people of color for something that is effectively no longer illegal in fancy towns.” He also tweeted, “This is becoming big business, which is great. But since our standards have changed so quickly justice requires we let the primarily black and Latino people out of prison whose only crime was possession of marijuana.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) invited a conservative survivor of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida to visit California to “experience our awesome cannabis” upon turning 21, but later apologized and deleted the tweet. He also posted a series of other tweets boasting about the state’s “amazing” and “wonderful” legal marijuana.

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a U.S. Senate candidate, criticized opponent U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) for not doing more to defend their state’s marijuana laws from federal interference.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Boehner announced that he’s “evolved” on marijuana, but how does that help the hundreds of thousands of Americans, mostly people of color, whose lives have been ruined because they were locked up for use?”

The U.S. House bill to repeal a law threatening loss of federal funding for states that don’t suspend drivers’ licenses from people with drug convictions got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 12.

North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Scott Donaldson posted a lengthy Twitter thread about his support for marijuana law reform.

/ STATES

The Alaska House of Representatives approved a bill to shield access to past marijuana conviction records.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said marijuana legalization implementation legislation advancing before lawmakers would be an “automatic” veto.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed into law a sweeping criminal justice reform bill that includes expungement for prior marijuana convictions.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D),  gubernatorial candidate, said that the federal “climb down” is a “victory”,  but advocates must “continue pressing for change.”

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) said President Trump has “demonstrated a willingness to go back on his word” and “until there is a formal agreement protecting Washington’s well-regulated marijuana industry, I will continue to stand ready to defend it.”

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R), a gubernatorial candidate, said she “appreciates” the development of an agreement for the federal government to respect state marijuana laws.

California Treasurer John Chiang (D), a gubernatorial candidate, said, “Assuming the White House doesn’t do another of its erratic flip-flops, I plan to work with Congress to forge implementing legislation that will allow California’s multi-billion industry to come out of the shadows.” He also tweeted about the importance of banking access.

Utah Treasurer David Damschen (R) wrote, “We need the federal government to respect the move among states toward varying degrees of legalization and to better harmonize its laws regarding cannabis-related activities, particularly with respect to banking regulation. This is not a ‘red state’ or ‘blue state’ issue. It is one of states’ rights, public safety and humanitarianism.”

Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little (R), a gubernatorial candidate, said during a debate that “we need quality controlled CBD oils” but expressed concern about broader legalization.

The Colorado House approved legislation to allow school officials to administer medical cannabis to students.

The Arizona House rejected legislation to allow employers to use eye-movement-tracking technology as a way to detect impairment by marijuana and other drugs.

The South Carolina House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee will consider a medical cannabis bill on Thursday.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “As we begin the second phase of implementing our program — which will make medical marijuana available in more of our communities — we’re improving the quality of life for thousands of Pennsylvania patients and their families.”

New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon spoke about her support for marijuana legalization. (About 16:15 into the video.)

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who is running again, wouldn’t commit to supporting marijuana legalization when asked.

The New Jersey Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee held a hearing on marijuana legalization.

A Maryland judge discussed shifting views on drug policy in a ruling overturning a manslaughter conviction against a man who sold heroin to someone who died of an overdose:

  • “We know that the lines between lawful and unlawful conduct are changing: recent changes in drug laws have transformed marijuana sales from a serious crime to a growth industry, licensed by states and required to pay taxes. There are places in our world where drug use is treated as a public health problem rather than a criminal problem and, as a result, the distribution of even heroin in those places is highly regulated but not absolutely prohibited.”

Oregon regulators temporarily halted hemp processing certificates.

Here’s a look at pending Arizona medical cannabis legislation.

Arkansas companies slated to receive medical cannabis cultivation licenses are appealing a judge’s order that put licensing on hold.

/ LOCAL

A Palisade, Colorado man who won a town trustee election resigned two days later in order to be able to continue operating marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canada’s ruling Liberal Party will consider endorsing decriminalizing all drugs this week. Separately, government officials will track marijuana usage by testing sewage.

Australia’s Green Party is calling for marijuana legalization.

The nephew of Meghan Markle, the fiancee of the UK’s Prince Harry, says he’s developing a new marijuana strain to celebrate the royal wedding called Markle’s Sparkle.

/ ADVOCACY

A report from Data For Progress looks at the gap between public support for policies like marijuana legalization and action on those policies by Democratic members of Congress.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana said that the reported deal for President Trump to support cannabis legislation is “ill-conceived and wrong,” adding, “We hope the president – who doesn’t want to be known as the ‘Pot President’ – will reverse course soon. This reckless plan will not go unanswered.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded, “Legalization may have the unintended outcome of leading to more favorable intentions to use marijuana and might lead abstainers or experimental users to become more frequent users of marijuana via more positive attitudes and willingness towards marijuana use.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine said that people should not use medical cannabis to treat sleep apnea.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board criticized Utah politicians and institutions like the Mormon Church for opposing medical cannabis.

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board cheered a court ruling on medical cannabis homegrow as a blow against state officials’ delays.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is calling on Pennsylvania regulators to allow dried leaf forms of medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS  

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading in CBD company Corix Bioscience over concerns about the accuracy of information it had reported.

Colorado retailers sold more than $112 million worth of marijuana products in February.

David Downs, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle’s marijuana vertical GreenState, is stepping down.

/ CULTURE     

The Las Vegas Lights soccer team reportedly became the first professional sports organization to sign a sponsorship deal with a marijuana dispensary.

Montel Williams and Tommy Chong had a Twitter debate about marijuana use by minors.

Actor Zach Braff tweeted, “Can everyone who’s at the main stage check the ground around them please? I lost two small nuggets of Blue Dream. They’re green with orange hairs. I’m lying down under the hemp trapeze and I’m wearing prayer hands emoji leggings. #Coachella”

WGBH looks at marijuana and running.

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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

Governor signs legal cannabis bill in US territory (Newsletter: Sep. 21, 2018)

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FDA head: marijuana more dangerous than nicotine; NY lawmakers schedule legalization hearing; NJ sheriff’s racist legalization comments caught on tape

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 335 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making the territory the first place in the U.S. to end prohibition without first having a medical cannabis program.

U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that we should be more worried about teens using marijuana than nicotine.

The sheriff of New Jersey’s most populous county was caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization:

  • “Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

Four New York Assembly committees scheduled the first of what will be four separate joint hearings on marijuana legalization this fall.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is facing a potential lawsuit over its role in an investigation into a California marijuana distribution company.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office tweeted, “IS EATING MARIJUANA MORE DANGEROUS THAN SMOKING MARIJUANA? YES! There is high potential for overdose from #marijuana #edibles. #DontDoDrugs”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “We just have to be not so stupid as to impair our own progress. There is no reason for us to be creating wealth in Canada for cannabis companies by importing Canadian weed.”

  • Gaetz also tweeted, “Last week, the @HouseJudiciary passed my bill, the Medical Cannabis Research Act, which will help scientists and researchers study #cannabis and #unlock its medical potential. Congress must continue working across party lines to pass meaningful #CannabisReform”

West Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Richard Ojeda defended himself from attacks by the state’s Republican Party for meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), tweeting, “Yep. I was out there with a congressman who wants to work together to create legislation to protect 2nd Amendment Rights for those who receive a medical cannabis card. Are you guys pro 2nd???”

  • Ojeda also tweeted, “Hemp and medical cannabis combined with the jobs those industries create would be a game changer for our state.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information for commercial purposes.

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said the state should not legalize marijuana but instead expand access to medical cannabis.

Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any final licenses at its Thursday meeting.

Florida regulators are asking an appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling allowing a man to grow his own medical cannabis.

West Virginia lawmakers are asking the state attorney general for an update on his legal opinion about providing banking services to medical cannabis businesses.

A Utah billboard urging people to support the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure is being temporarily taken down while the advertising company reviews election laws concerning anonymous political ads.

A Missouri medical cannabis ballot initiative campaign is raising money to place its first ad on TV.

Maryland regulators have been forced to repeatedly override medical cannabis rules in recent weeks due to problems with the state’s track-and-trace software.

Alaska regulators will meet on October 16 and 17 to consider marijuana establishment license applications and related rules.

Arkansas’s hemp research program is experiencing delays.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney tweeted a video of a talk he gave at a marijuana event.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s incoming government will approve medical cannabis regulations, a top health official said.

/ ADVOCACY

A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that “black people were 2.9 times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Louisiana,11 despite evidence that black people and white people use marijuana at similar rates.”

The Marijuana Policy Project published a voter guide for New Hampshire’s general election.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A federal survey found that Americans aged 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke marijuana on a monthly basis than teens aged 12 to 17.

A review concluded that “cannabinoid drugs were associated with modest increases in experimental pain threshold and tolerance, no reduction in the intensity of ongoing experimental pain, reduced perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli, and no reduction of mechanical hyperalgesia.”

A study found that MDMA “enhances acute prosocial behaviors” in octopuses.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Mexico voters support legalizing marijuana, 60%-32%.

/ BUSINESS

Bloom Automation is building robots to harvest marijuana.

The Associated Press looks at growing interest in marijuana stocks on Wall Street.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dax Shepard defended his wife Kristen Bell’s marijuana use.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Congressman want feds to “buy American’ cannabis (Newsletter: Sep. 20, 2018)

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OH & NM gov candidates clash on marijuana; PETA says getting lobsters high isn’t “humane”; CA gov vetoes bill letting cannabiz write off expenses

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 332 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is questioning why the federal government approved a deal to import marijuana products from Canada for a research study instead of granting more licenses to domestic cannabis cultivators.

  • “What happened to ‘buy American, hire American?'”

Gubernatorial candidates in Ohio and New Mexico clashed on marijuana legalization during debates.

A Maine restaurant is getting lots of press for its supposedly “humane” practice of blowing marijuana smoke on lobsters before boiling them. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is not buying it:

  • “It is highly unlikely that getting a lobster high would make a lick of difference when it comes to the full-blown agony of being boiled or steamed alive.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted again from a Department of Justice marijuana meeting.

A provision of a House-passed opioids bill, which is not in the Senate version, would give the U.S. attorney general the power to create a new category of scheduling for synthetic drugs.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and her Democratic challenger debated marijuana research restrictions.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) tweeted about an upcoming event to help people clear their misdemeanor marijuana convictions and outstanding summons warrants.

North Dakota congressional candidates said they will vote against the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure but believe that the federal government should not interfere with state cannabis laws.

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Mimi Methvin tweeted about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement.

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed bills clarifying that marijuana distributors can transport products to other distributors and that labs can test home-grown cannabis. He also vetoed a bill that would have allowed marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses under the state’s personal income tax law.

Staffers for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders are expected to meet on Thursday to hammer out details of a marijuana legalization bill that could be introduced and voted on soon.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tweeted, “We want to hear from communities across the state as we work to draft legislation on a regulated marijuana program in New York.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana.

An Oregon advisory committee is urging regulators to rescind purchasing restrictions on medical cannabis.

A Montana judge indicated he may overturn regulators’ decision to strip licenses from two medical cannabis businesses.

Guam senators are set to consider three medical cannabis expansion bills next month.

Massachusetts regulators are accepting public comment about the state’s medical cannabis program.

Here’s a look at the looming launch of California’s marijuana track-and-trace system.

Alaska marijuana businesses are criticizing regulatory hurdles and delays.

/ LOCAL

Minneapolis, Minnesota’s mayor tweeted, “A majority (56%!) of Minnesotans understand that marijuana legalization is a huge opportunity to improve our criminal justice system while increasing important resources for social services & drug treatment.”

New York’s City Council speaker tweeted, “New York is about to enter the 21st century when it comes to marijuana. I 100% support the full legalization of marijuana – always have & always will. From decreasing number of arrests to creating jobs & revenue, it’s a no-brainer.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The chief minister of Australia’s Capital Territory said he’s “favourably disposed towards” legalizing marijuana.

Georgia’s government halted plans to legalize medical cannabis cultivation following protests from the Orthodox Church.

Colombia saw a record level of coca production last year.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Cannabis Industry Association released a report making the case that marijuana reform is a winning issue for whichever candidates or political parties fully embrace it first. (Disclosure: I worked with NCIA to compile the report.)

Opponents of Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure held a press conference.

The vice president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police published an op-ed urging lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

The Nevada Resort Association is urging Las Vegas officials to delay consideration of a proposal to allow marijuana consumption lounges.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Long Island and New York City residents support legalizing marijuana, 50% – 40%.

A poll asked Great Britain adults whether they think it is acceptable for CEOs to use marijuana and other drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray Inc. stock took a metaphorical roller coaster ride on Wednesday.

Canopy Rivers Corp. is going public.

The Financial Times looks at the impact of marijuana legalization on property values.

/ CULTURE

Musician Macy Gray spoke about her involvement in the marijuana industry.

Former NBA player Matt Barnes said he smoked marijuana before every game.

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Is psilocybin next for drug reformers after cannabis legalization? (Newsletter: Sep. 19, 2018)

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O’Rourke gives fiery speech on marijuana & Botham Jean; CA gov can’t stop dissing cannabis consumers; Trump admin organizing anti-drug meeting at UN

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, delivered fired up comments about marijuana, Botham Jean’s killing by police and the racially discriminatory drug war.

Activists in Denver, Colorado and Oregon took steps this month toward qualifying ballot measures allowing psilocybin use.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has a history of saying mean-spirited and inaccurate things about people who use cannabis, took a dig at marijuana consumers in an unrelated comment about fighting back against climate change.

  • “We either do nothing and smoke marijuana because it’s legalized, or we put our shoulder to the plow and do everything we can.”

/ FEDERAL

The Trump administration is organizing a drug policy event outside of this month’s United Nations General Assembly, according to leaked documents.

The Department of Justice convened a meeting in Denver for U.S. attorneys to discuss marijuana policy.

Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT) said she’s undecided on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure, while her Democratic challenger supports it.

Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and his Democratic opponent are taking differing positions on rescheduling marijuana.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) discussed marijuana policy while sampling CBD-infused beer.

The U.S. Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of five.

The U.S. House bill to protect federal employees from getting fired for state-legal marijuana use got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.

/ STATES

Here’s an advance look at the details of New Jersey’s soon-to-be-filed marijuana legalization bill. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) supports a higher tax rate than is proposed in the bill, but said he’s “not ruling anything out.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke about his support for expanding marijuana research.

Utah’s lieutenant governor asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to remove a medical cannabis initiative from the state’s ballot.

California’s treasurer tweeted, “We’re exploring a public cannabis bank so biz don’t have to operate purely in cash. Carrying around thousands of dollars paints a target on legal biz & increases violence in communities. Until DC takes action, CA will lead on legalized cannabis.”

A Missouri appeals court affirmed a judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit that one medical cannabis campaign filed seeking to remove a competing measure from the ballot.

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

Illinois Democratic attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul said he supports legalizing marijuana but wants to regulate edibles.

Alaska regulators certified changes to rules on marijuana advertising and promotions.

Massachusetts regulators will consider granting marijuana retail, cultivation and manufacturing licenses on Thursday.

Here’s a look at where New York is on the path to legalizing marijuana.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney spoke at a marijuana industry event, saying he wants cannabis entrepreneurs to “be successful and legal.”

The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City Council adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The South African government and lawmakers reacted to a court ruling overturning the prohibition on using and growing marijuana for personal use.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the death sentence of a man convicted of selling medical cannabis oil should be reviewed.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study “demonstrated rapid and durable improvement in social anxiety symptoms in autistic adults following MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.”

A majority of participants in a trial on CBD’s effects on severe epilepsy are seeing improvement in seizures.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Maryland residents support legalizing marijuana, 62% – 33%.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. addressed reports that it is in talks with the Coca-Cola Company about making CBD beverages together.

/ CULTURE

Actress Kristen Bell said she likes to vaporize marijuana and watch 60 Minutes.

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted, “Coca-Cola is supposedly considering cannabis-infused drinks. Just a reminder: there are still people in prison because of marijuana. Let’s address that first.”

Maine restaurant Charlotte Grill thinks it’s more “humane” to blow marijuana smoke into a box of lobsters before boiling them to death.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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