The pathetic state of the UN drug policy regime

As you may (or may not) know, the UNODC just had a major event in Vienna with over 1,300 delegates from 127 states, NGOs, and agencies to discuss where we are headed with international drug policy. Missed the coverage on the news? I’m not surprised.

Max Daly has an interesting report on the growing irrelevance of the UNODC: Most Importand UN Drugs Summit For Decades Was Depressing

Echoing the way the century-old drug war has been fought, many speakers just go through the motions, playing drug seizure bingo – relaying meaningless stats about how many tons of drugs they’ve confiscated with how many boats and planes. How drugs is a scourge, a menace, a plague. How we must tackle this head on, otherwise our children will become a generation of drug zombies. […]

So at the end of the meeting in Vienna, the jargon-filled, 45-point statement was nothing like a consensus, as the UN had claimed, but a list of vague pointlessnesses about how drugs are bad, traffickers should get caught and addicts should be helped so they don’t spread disease. There’s no mention of the huge changes in approach adopted in South America, the USA, New Zealand – or in European countries like Portugal and Czech Republic – and no condemnation of the death penalty for drug offences.

Business as usual, even after all that talking.

“It’s just a bland restatement of previous commitments, meaningless platitudes and delusional self-congratulation,” says Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst at the UK-based Transform Drug Policy Foundation. “What we are looking at is the rather desperate last gasps of the War on Drugs as a global framework.”

In the real world, the global War on Drugs as a joint enterprise is unravelling fast. However, within the walls of the United Nations, everything is just fine.

It may be that there will be no international celebration of the end of the war on drugs with pomp and circumstance, but rather the war will get ignored to death over time as it becomes less and less relevant.

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49 Responses to The pathetic state of the UN drug policy regime

  1. Howard says:

    From the article;

    “The security here is airport-strict. I ask why, and the security guy tells me that royalty is paying a visit and that sometimes people threaten to blow up the UN. But he also says that, by entering this UN complex, I’m officially leaving Austria and entering into an “extraterritorial” zone.”

    I suggest we make these meetings “extraterrestrial”. We put all these numbskulls in abandoned space stations and let them continue to hash out their meaningless drivel. And they never get to come back to terra firma. Then we can continue our drug crazed, zombie-esque lives in peace :).

    Great article, by the way.

    • Windy says:

      WE cannot put them into abandoned space stations, because:
      1, WE don’t own a space station anymore, and
      2, WE also don’t have the means anymore to put anyone into space, WE have to hitch a ride with the Russians, something that may be impossible for the immediate future due to the actions of our misbegotten president re: the Ukraine. Perhaps WE could persuade Sir Richard Branson to do it for US?

      • Howard says:

        I feel your pain Windy. Those damn Russians are taking away our status as number one Naked Imperialist Aggressors. How dare they?! Fortunately the current cartoon-in-chief will be gone soon (I’m counting the days). I’m hoping we get someone in there like the former cartoon-in-chief. You know, the “Git ’em, dead or alive” guy. Uh, wait…

        • Windy says:

          I’m hoping we’ll get someone with a brain, a real devotion to honoring the oath of office AND the Constitution, and big enough balls (male or female) to stand up to the buyers of politicians! And Hillary is definitely out of the running, for me, she’s already been bought (lock, stock, and barrel), not to mention she’s a criminal in her own political life. I’d be happy with a real libertarian, but even a libertarian lite like Johnson will be better than ANY dem or rep.

        • primus says:

          I would settle for someone who is not sociopathic.

  2. B. Snow says:

    *Oops* = My Bad it was this one I’m quoting
    (IMO) = The best bit is at the very end…

    Pick a Side in the Drug War
    “Either you are on Kofi Annan’s side – he wants an end to the War on Drugs – or Vladimir Putin’s side – he wants the War on Drugs to be increased to the power of ten. Take your pick”.

    • B. Snow says:

      I’m so glad I managed to beat the “Edit Timer”, when I realized I’d flubbed up an otherwise spiffy quote – I scrambled & after I finished fixing it as best & as quickly I could, I only had 22 seconds left on the clock!

      (Is there a way to actually login & not have that?)

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Click “click to edit”
        Cntrl +A
        Cntrl +X
        Type any character
        Cntrl +V

        click Save
        click “Delete post”
        Affirm: Yes I’m sure

        Start over.

        I can do that in less than 5 seconds presuming Pete’s webhost and the great Internet are willing to co-operate.

        Log on Garth!

        • Pete says:

          I think I may have managed to figure out how to increase the editing time.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          I do appreciate the time extension Pete. But you know, unless you make the edit window a hole in the wall that whatever length longer than 30 seconds you choose will have only 30 seconds before expiring.

          Just FYI I have no interest in seeing open ended editing because it leads to too much mischief.

        • darkcycle says:

          Agreed, Duncan. Fix it, delete it, or live with it. That’s the way it oughta be.

          Damn, on checking the feature I now see TEN whole MINUTES. If that’s not enough time for your faux pas to be corrected, posterity awaits. Get over it.

  3. Duncan20903 says:


    Gosh, I’ve got an overwhelming case of the munchies but I haven’t got a single human brain in the ‘fridge. Now I’m going to have to go out driving all impaired to get to the local elementary school because I’m craving extra tender.

    The United States of America: Losing generations since the 1920s

  4. jway says:

    Meanwhile, 700,000 people/year are arrested in the U.S. for marijuana-related offenses. And generations of children are spoon-fed the message that legal drugs are “safe” while illegal drugs are “unsafe”, even though we could prevent a lot of the harm that alcohol causes by giving people the right to choose marijuana instead of alcohol.

    And if this isn’t bad enough, when these kids do realize that our government is lying to them about marijuana they conclude that they have been lied to about all illegal drugs and that all illegal drugs are therefore equally “safe”.

    Way to go legislators – your blind support for this failed policy has undermined the safety of generations of American children. These people should NOT be making laws!

  5. claygooding says:

    When you hear the people making their living ignoring an elephant like the marijuana prohibition revolt,which is what this is rapidly becoming,it speaks volumes on the lack of depth in planning and conviction to maintain the WOsD,,by ignoring reform it will go away isn’t working,,threatening people for revolting isn’t working,,only the funding hasn’t ended or we would never hear from these clowns again.

  6. thelbert says:

    when and if they figure out the stupidest things humans do, drug prohibition has got to be up there near the top, that’s why the war on drugs was doomed from the start. the claim that cannabis is not medicine is the fatal flaw, but then the prohibitches couldn’t get their way without lying:

  7. kaptinemo says:

    As the old tech saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out”.

    The garbage input is in the form of the majority of the members of the UNODC. Whose relevancy to their own governments must be minimal, due to their being posted to such an obscure, bureaucratic backwater like the UNODC.

    Considering that even in Developed countries most UN positions are usually filled by politically well-connected but talentless bureaucrats from their own countries, often courtesy of bribes or political favoritism or both, the UN is hardly well-served by such.

    The garbage output should be obvious. Pick any of their public statements of late for proof. It’s all you can expect from such people.

  8. claygooding says:

    Somewhere a very disappointed prohibitionist is staring at his whiskey drink and wondering what could have gone wrong,,,,GOOD.

    Federal Court reverses ban on grow-your-own medical marijuana

    OTTAWA – A Federal Court judge in Vancouver has issued an injunction against the government’s plans to end the practice of growing medical marijuana at home.

    The order came Friday, giving a coalition of people who smoke the drug for medicinal purposes an exemption from new Health Canada rules.

    Federal rules were set to eliminate 30,000 licences for homegrown pot on April 1 in favour of commercial production of what the feds say would be “quality-controlled” marijuana.

    • kaptinemo says:

      Yeah, “quality controlled” like that heavy-metal laced, underground mine-grown shijtwiet that Health Canada was peddling? Compared to that, Ole Miss Schwagg would look like the finest ses.

      In an aside, if our Canadian brother and sister reformers are wondering why Harper acts so arrogantly, they should google:

      Harper Versailles France 2003

      to learn who holds his leash.

  9. Duncan20903 says:


    So was there ever any doubt that the prohibitionist parasites and their sycophants thought that their not knowing where the Spicolis buy their pot was more important than making certain that the sick suffer no more than is humanly possible to avoid? For the love of sanity, who the heck would have predicted that 21, 22 and 23 would be Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky? Whoda thunk that it would pass the Kentucky Senate fracking unanimously? The entire Alabama Legislature voted yes. For the people keeping score at home that means that it was unanimous. If it doesn’t get you high then even the inbred have no problem with it.

    Oh well, let’s welcome the pathetic State of Alabama to the club. Well sort of kind of, standing in front of the correct mirror in the House of Mirrors while looking at it from the right angle if you’re a circus contortionist. But I’ll bet the newspapers count them as full blown “medical merrywanna” States, so I guess it can’t hurt?

    This one is from “the modern media has no sense of nuance” category:

    Marijuana Legalization: Alabama To Be Next For Legal Weed In 2014

    What a difference only two months can make! Just this week a medical marijuana bill unanimously passed both the Alabama House and Senate after a toddler with a severe neurological disorder was shown to be helped by medical weed. The governor is expected to sign off on the law, which makes marijuana possession legal for an extract called CBD, or cannabidiol. It’s almost impossible to get high on this drug since it’s low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is what gives that particular feeling.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      I jumped the gun on Georgia. Somebody must have forgotten to pay off Boss Hogg.

    • Tony Aroma says:

      Those Southern states you mentioned, along with Utah, aren’t exactly jumping on the mmj bandwagon. The proposed legislation in those states is mostly worthless and very unlikely to actually benefit any sick people. They are all for CBD-only preparations, and they all rely on either importing the medicine from mmj-legal states or having it manufactured by research institutions which receive federal funding. Surely these legislators are aware that interstate trafficking is one of the things the latest “memo” said was a no-no. And they must also know that any institution that receives federal funding won’t touch mj with a ten-foot hookah. Could it be they DO know these things, and this is just political posturing to try to appease the mmj people? Nah! Our elected representatives would surely never do such a thing.

      And what happens when it turns out CBD-only preparations have limited effectiveness in many cases, as is already known? They’ll say, see we tried and it turned out mj really isn’t effective as medicine.

      • Medical marijuana and ‘the entourage effect’

        CBD-Only Bills: A Whole Plant Cannabis Advocate Testifies in Wisconsin

        Some very good reasons why these CBD only State medical marijuana programs are severely limiting the life saving capacities of the cannabis plant for purely political reasons having only to do with continuing the prohibition of marijuana. Restricting its use severely accomplishes keeping it away from the people that need it the most.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Ummm Tony, my point was that the fantasy of keeping people from choosing to enjoy cannabis was the only thing standing in the way of exo-cannabinoid medicine. It’s got nothing to do with FDA approval, measured dosing, unknown sources, mental illness, “the children”, the “precursor drug” effect, addiction, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

        I thought when I said, “If it doesn’t get you high then even the inbred have no problem with it.” that I was pretty clear. I’ll do my best to avoid being ambiguous in the future. I sure wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was fêting the idiot prohibitionists.

        But frankly old man from my reading I think that it’s THC that has limited medicinal utility and that’s why pure synthetic dronabinol isn’t worthy of even standing in the shadow of whole plant exo-cannabinoid medicine. But that’s just an opinion from another layman and I admit I could be suffering from a mild case of confirmation bias.

        Why can’t the research labs move to Uruguay?

  10. thelbert says:

    this is why i have never kissed a prohibitch:

    • kaptinemo says:

      Given the expressions of those women, I could conclude that they had eternally chaste lips…and thus had no worries to begin with.

      One of the few cases of the ugliness within reflected without. For it takes an ugly sort of soul to want to control others to suit its own neuroses.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Quickly please, pour me a double! I don’t want to take any chances! Who says that a man can’t be driven to drink?

  11. cj says:

    oh my… i think thelbert you’ve cured my inability to find homeless female colleagues attractive. its like Mrs Universe compared to those ladies.

    The ironic thing is, their expressions say to me, more than anything “damn i need a drink.”

  12. Servetus says:

    A Russian news release has the UNODCP orchestrating a drug interdiction campaign in Tajikistan. Tajikistan is a country experiencing a crossroads/balloon-effect emerging from Afghanistan’s opium trade.

    In case anyone was wondering what the UNODCP spends its massive funding on, apart from site-seeing tours in Vienna for its members, the clear interest China and Russia have in the Tajikistan region gives the countries a drug enforcement means of intervening in Tajikistan’s political economy and affecting its indigenous, agrarian people and culture. It’s neo-colonialism and expansionism using the time-tested, oppressive, sadomoralistic apparatus of drug prohibition.

    Under the kinds of circumstances dictated by the UNODCP, with drug laws that permit the exploitation of weaker countries by greater powers, Czar Yury Fedotov and the UNODCP have absolutely no realpolitik reason to change their present course.

    • jean valjean says:

      thanks servetus for that insight. the drug war is too useful a tool for authoritarians at all levels to relinquish easily.

  13. Duncan20903 says:


    It’s probably a good idea to suppress any possible urge to jump to conclusions for the remainder of this post.

    Most of us recall “the faces of meth” piece of propaganda. The rehabitionists over at “recovery”.borg (scare quotes mine) used software to merge together a number of mugshots and came up with the “average” face of a person arrested for merrywanna possession, DUI, and non-Desoxyn® methamphetamine. I promise it’s a fairly pleasant surprise for the fans of drug law reform.

    Epileptics would be well advised to consider not scrolling any further down than these so called composites.

  14. Duncan20903 says:


    I wonder if foreign countries write as many very weird laws as do American lawmakers. Here’s a couple of laws of which I was unaware until today:

    Federal law bars foreign visitors to the United States from possessing firearms without a hunting permit. (assigned to the “be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits” category)

    Federal law bars possession of a firearm while in the U.S. on a business or tourism visa.

    Does any of this mean that the United States issues hunting visas?

  15. Duncan20903 says:


    Sorry for so darn many consecutive posts but the article quoted below is particularly unique and IMHO fascinating. This one is from the “there’s a first time for everything” category:

    Lawyer: Kent County corrections officers accused of making marijuana butter have medical cards
    March 22, 2014

    KENT COUNTY, MI — An attorney for one of four Kent County corrections officers accused of receiving marijuana and making a “large quantity” of marijuana butter says the men have medical cards and the case is a “witch hunt” over a “hyper-technicality” in the law.

    “This was medical use beginning and end,” said Grand Rapids attorney Bruce Block, who represents Todd VanDoorne.

    VanDoorne and three others – Brian Tennant, Mike Frederick, Tim Bernhardt – are on unpaid leave from the department, where they’ve worked for two decades, following arraignment Friday in 63rd District Court on drug delivery and manufacture charges.

    Sheriff’s officials said the men are linked to a package of marijuana discovered in the mail March 17. An investigation by the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team revealed the suspects were making and in possession of a “large quantity” of marijuana extract called marijuana butter, authorities allege.

    • darkcycle says:

      Okay. Jailing people for drug violations. Making a “huge” amount of green butter. No hypocrisy in the system, it’s all above board. Nothing to see here, move along..

    • That’s so ridiculous. Its like saying eating the roast is ok but you can’t use the drippings in gravy.

    • A Man Duh says:

      It is called Budder, Pallative Patients Love it. Legalize it. Leadership VaacuuM.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I thought it was special because to the best of my knowledge this is the first time that the enemies of freedom have victimized card holding people with badges. Even more significant is the fact that the charges are bogus. Infused edibles are legal under the MMMA without question. I know it’s hard to imagine that LE is telling bald faced lies and I apologize for not pointing that out. I really need to remind myself that most people can’t recite chapter and verse of just about every medicinal cannabis patient protection law ever proposed or implemented. There’s also no reason why everyone should share my obsession with this issue.

      DC, I’m not sure what you would have them do. COs don’t have any powers of arrest in Michigan. It’s almost certainly a significant felony for a CO to open the door and let a prisoner leave unless it’s on the authorized release date or pursuant to a Court order. So short of doing that these guys haven’t got the power to obviate a prisoner’s sentence or conviction. At worst the victims of the absolute prohibition of cannabis are going to see no effect on their lives because these guys are COs in their jail. But wait, I’m not sure that you can fully appreciate the difference it makes to an inmate when they end up under the authority of a pathological asshole. The man with no eyes may have been fictional but he was also a relatively good representation of one variety of such assholes. If you can show me some evidence that any or all of these COs are pathological assholes who abuse the prisoners under color of authority then I’ll call them hypocrites but I won’t do that with the evidence that I have.

      When Dennis Peron dropped by NORML to sell what would become Prop 215 his argument for why people who choose to enjoy cannabis should lend their support to the concept was because people who aren’t fans of cannabis would benefit from this medicine but more importantly their outsider friends and family would observe that they didn’t go insane, turn into bats or start playing the piano at an incredibly high rate of speed. Well you know what? There’s a whole jail full of COs who know these 4 men.

      The really ironic thing is that the assholes arrested these guys not because they were breaking the law but to send the proverbial message. Now those same jackasses are going to get their red rosy rectums handed to them by the Courts, proving once again that some our best friends out there are the idiot prohibitionist parasites themselves. The wholesale stupidity of the typical prohibitionist is just plain mind boggling.

      Just by very pleasant happenstance the Arizona jack booted thugs got their collective ass handed to them for playing the very same, lame game. Don’t forget that the Arizona medicinal cannabis patient protection law is a practical duplicate of Michigan’s law:

      Zander Welton Wins Arizona Medical-Marijuana Extracts Case
      By Ray Stern
      March 22 2014

      Montgomery, a conservative politician who’s taken a hard line on marijuana issues, never threatened the Weltons directly, but warned that anyone caught with marijuana extracts, such as oils, might face felony prosecution whether or not they were qualified patients under the voter-approved 2010 Medical Marijuana Act. In recent weeks, though, he dropped one such criminal case against a patient and lost the narcotics argument in another.

      Judge Katherine Cooper’s ruling suggests Montgomery may have reading comprehension problems. She points out, as New Times noted in an October 10 feature article on the subject, that the 2010 law plainly states that marijuana “and any mixture or preparation thereof” is legal for qualified users.

      • darkcycle says:

        Symbolic irony, Duncan. It’s merely symbolic irony. Please don’t treat me like an imbecile. I worked in Jails, remember?

      • darkcycle says:

        Oh, and as for evidence of sociopathic tendencies in corrections officials, I have only these links, and my own professional impressions of these people (not favorable, although I choose not to share).
        (1,850,000 results, pick one, or a few hundred thousand to review at your leisure, sir.)

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Arguing from the general to the specific, invalid logic. How about if you remember that I speak from direct personal experience?

          If you don’t want to be treated like an imbecile, don’t act like an imbecile. Do you really think that they’re all clones? You’re “reasoning” is equivalent to an idiot prohibitionist saying all potheads are blah, blah, blah. Believe whatever you like. It doesn’t make it true.

        • darkcycle says:

          Really, Duncan, going about your day with a bull dog paper clip attached to your scrotum is not only making you testy (Testes?), it has turned you into a literal minded twit. Of course they’re not “all the same”. Just mostly the same. You do know from whom the majority of the corrections officers ranks are drawn, don’t you? ….THAT’S RIGHT. They’re the washouts who couldn’t become cops.

  16. Windy says:

    OT, two interesting articles:
    The intoxicating effects of alcohol and of marijuana have been widely studied, but their combined effect—getting “cross-faded”—is woefully underexplored scientific territory. Here’s a look at what we know about how pot and booze together affect the brain.

    Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, several articles have circulated suggesting that Marlboro would soon be getting in on the weed selling business. This was all started, it appears by an article in Abril Uno (April 1st in Spanish), a satire publication. These claims–unsurpisingly, given the source–seem to be false. But it does makes one wonder: What would a pack of Marlboro Mary Janes cost?

  17. Irie says:

    Hi Couch mates, haven’t commented for quite a while, but have enjoyed, agreed with your in sites on this wasteful war, and enjoyed ya’alls sense of humor!
    Well now I have something I’d like to share, a bit of a small sense of victory, at least for my children.
    I have always been honest when talking to my kids about drugs (they are at present 16 and 12). I have told them heroin, alcohol, meth, prescription pills (when not prescribed for them, and even then they can refuse to take if not in pain) can be addictive and deadly. Marijuana on the other hand will never kill anyone and can be used for medical and recreational purposes (but not until they are of legal age, 21, that it is not good for the developing/growing brain such as theirs.)
    Well, just yesterday, my daughter, the 12-year-old shared with me that in her present health class she is in the learning of the dangers of drugs. She told me of the tales and movies they are showing to instill the fear factors of sharing of drugs, and I did agree, again that heroin, meth, alcohol, and the like is very dangerous. I did ask her what was said about marijuana, she told me of course they included it with the “scourge and doom” of the other drugs. But she also told me (and I was so proud of her), that she asked the teacher if anyone had ever died of Marijuana, anyone, was there ever a recorded death, from anywhere…..all she got was crickets, teacher didn’t even respond to her, she then mentioned she had heard that Marijuana never killed anyone, once again she was ignored, by the teacher, but her classmates were listening!! She also went on to say it is not good for kids their age because of their present state of development, especially brain. Am so proud of her, she listened when I equipped her with the right and correct knowledge!! She totally whipped her teacher, as he couldn’t even respond to her!!

    P.S. My daughter intends on being a lawyer as her career, I think she will do will in rebuttal class!!

  18. ezrydn says:

    I don’t know if this has been posted but vets should be happy to hear it.

    Howard sent it to me from Washington. The gov is only 50 years late on this one. And they’ll find out what we’ve all known during that time. It’s sure nice to NOT have “episodes” any longer. If you don’t have PTSD, you have no clue. Plus, one good hit per day (yeah, One Hit!) is all it takes! I have it just before bedtime. That way, I don’t have to contend with “gooks in the wire.”

  19. Duncan20903 says:

    Have you heard about the latest research? Scientists have conclusively proven that men are different from women! This one is from the “whoda puck woulda thunk it” category:

    When we consider the brewing scandal that indicts the FDA approval process as an utter fraud it’s genuine stupidity to continue to genuflect at the altar of FDA approval. People just have no clue about how many FDA approved deaths and FDA approved significant and often chronic, life changing injuries there are from taking various FDA approved pills, potions and powders as directed every year. Which scandal am I talking about? No, it’s not the FDA approved 6 figure death toll from the Vioxx fraud, or the FDA approved felony conviction of Perdue Pharmaceuticals for illegally promoting the use of FDA approved Oxycontin®, or the $77 million fine handed CVS for promoting the manufacture of street meth, or even all the trench coat wearing dirty old men who were chasing after an FDA approved erection who then suffered FDA approved deaths from taking Viagra. I’m talking about the new Ambien scandal.

    It’s not to be confused with the old Ambien scandal caused by FDA approved sleep driving. This one is how our worshiped by the ignorant public scientific researchers are just now discovering that men are different from women. Are we really such schmucks that we’re going to continue taking as gospel the work product of people who couldn’t tell that men and women are different until the fracking year 2014? Maybe so. Like H.L Mencken didn’t say, nobody ever went broke from underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

    I’m all for research. But cannabis has a 5000 year track record for safety so there’s no rational excuse to deprive the sick of something that helps prevent them from suffering any more than is humanly possible to avoid.

    This game has been perpetuated for too long. There are sick people suffering who simply can’t wait. There isn’t any reason why we should believe that those calling for more “research” aren’t just crying wolf. Cannabis is not a new medicine. FDA approval does not magically convey medicinal utility to a substance. Every NEW substance approved for use in human medicine by the FDA had exactly the same medicinal utility on the day before approval as it did the day after.

    It’s time to quit making lame excuses. The sick are more important than people’s irrational fears, hysterical rhetoric, or worries about corporate profit.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Sorry everyone, I didn’t link above because that’s my latest piece of boilerplate. But the new Ambien® thing really has bent my brain. For people that can walk on water according to their press releases, why are the research scientists so often all wet? Why yes, I do think it might be a good idea to send them to work stoned to the bejeezus-belt. It certainly couldn’t make their work product any less valuable. Then again, neither would sending them to work drunk.

      Here’s some Ambien® trivia, other brand names include: Intermezzo, Stilnox, Stilnoct, Sublinox, Hypnogen and Zolsana. I can’t decide which one is my favorite between Sublinox and Hypnogen.

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