Basic rational change sometimes requires dragging the establishment along, kicking and screaming

Interesting article from the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips: Analysis: How Vermont could change the marijuana legalization game

But up until now, change has mostly come from the voters — sometimes in spite of lawmakers’ wishes. That balance could be shifting toward legislators, at least in one state: Vermont. In the next few weeks, Vermont could become the first state legislature to legalize marijuana. […]

But unlike Colorado and Washington, which legalized marijuana in a matter of months after voters approve it, Vermont would wait more than a year after the bill’s passage before residents could walk into a store and buy a joint.

If Shumlin signs the bill this summer, Vermont residents won’t be able to buy marijuana legally until January 2018. For the first few years, the state will also limit the number of marijuana licenses for selling and growing marijuana. In addition, public schools in Vermont would receive state-mandated drug education programs about marijuana a full semester before it’s legal.

The slow, methodical approach to legalization is the main difference between Vermont and other states that legalized it via ballot initiatives, […]

No, the big difference is that legislators are finally starting to catch up with the public. The reason that most marijuana legalization has come from ballot initiatives is because the politicians aren’t doing their job. And fine, if Vermont wants to painfully draw out the legalization procedure despite any evidence that such caution is warranted, go ahead. At least it’s better than the status quo which has also existed for decades without any evidence.

In the article, the usual players (Kleiman, Sabet) were brought out to push the boogieman of big, unregulated, marijuana. And I will say this again — I’m not really interested in what someone has to say about how to legalize marijuana, when they weren’t interested in legalizing marijuana at all until it became a certainty.

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48 Responses to Basic rational change sometimes requires dragging the establishment along, kicking and screaming

  1. Jean Valjean says:

    When we start to see corporatists like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz lose a primary because of their opposition to the public will on cannabis reform, we will witness a landslide of time-serving Washington politicians seeing the light.

  2. strayan says:

    I’m not really interested in what someone has to say about how to legalize marijuana, when they weren’t interested in legalizing marijuana at all until it became a certainty.

    Part of the fun is sitting back and watching these brats fight for relevance in a post prohibtion world.

    • Uncle Albert's Nephew says:

      It might not be so much fun if those guys manage to do for legal herb what the religious right has done for legal abortion in the red states with the TRAP laws.

  3. Will says:

    “The reason that most marijuana legalization has come from ballot initiatives is because the politicians aren’t doing their job.” [Pete]

    Exactly right. And even at times when a “rogue” legislator decides to craft legislation that is aligned with what people want, another legislator — who happens to chair the committee where the bill has to come up for a vote — can simply shelve the bill if he or she doesn’t like the contents and allow it to “die in committee”. This has happened many, many times at various strata of national and local levels. This has happened even when citizens have called, written, sent flowers, made death threats, etc. to a committee chair who has vowed to not let certain legislation see the light of day and be voted on.

    I remember a few years ago when a local politician in south Texas was quoted as saying that even if 100% of his constituents demanded cannabis become legal he would not vote “yes” on any legalization bill. Somewhere along the way the concept that he represented the wishes of his constituents was lost on him, unapologetically so.

  4. n.t.greene says:

    Well, at least Bernie Sanders is pushing for declassifying it at the federal level?

  5. Tony Aroma says:

    Will they still be arresting people for possession until the dispensaries open in January 2018?

  6. Servetus says:

    It would be wonderful if representative government worked. I can’t remember the last time it did. Maybe if Vermont’s government does its job and legalizes marijuana, the inspiration will spread to other state governments. Far better than waiting for the torches and pitchforks to show up at one’s capitol building. Even though government doesn’t work very well, that shouldn’t be an objection to getting things done, unless the government actually is an impediment. This doesn’t appear to be the case for Vermont.

    The problem is the Vermont plan doesn’t scoop the political competition in California, where legalization is expected to happen by 2017, as opposed to 2018. Why do that? Timing is everything. Think in terms of the Holocaust. Would it have been statesman-like to set a future activation date that continued the state-sanctioned murder of innocent citizens until that date? Waiting until 2018 increases the finite probability something stupid and deadly will happen in the process of continuing Vermont’s marijuana smuggling laws. It’s a probability factor in the enforcement of Vermont’s other drug laws as well. Drug laws reform in these categories need to activate upon passage.

  7. Mr_Alex says:

    Kevin Sabet loses

  8. Spirit Wave says:

    “For the first few years, the state will also limit the number of marijuana licenses for selling and growing marijuana.”

    I agree that textured prohibition is better than outright prohibition, but that lawful limit is the only possible source towards “Big Marijuana” (i.e. cannabis monopoly, effectively speaking).

    With a plant that can be professionally grown in literally any state, there’s no way to lock up supply (e.g. via patent, etc.) to form monopolistic problems, so the only way is favoritism by law.

    It’s the exact same problem causing healthcare products (especially pharmaceuticals) and services to be outrageously severely price fixed.

    Of course, any similar price fixing in the cannabis market will simply contribute to the black market.

    “Spin to protect the children!” might as well become humanity’s mantra and foolish judicial base.

    Judicial regulations don’t really regulate. They inevitably discriminate on behalf of our effectively governing oligarchy leveraging those regulations too often with conflicts of interest against public safety.

    The natural regulation from responsible flexibility (i.e. conclusively objectively, so fairly, so justly implemented unalienable right to liberty) doesn’t discriminate, but does provide judicial leverage where it can only be just — in dealing with obvious harm (not risk).

    Risk is subjective (so unfair, so unjust). In a good nation, risk management is purely an education matter.

    In our nation, the whole judicial mess is brutal complexity without true basics (like a house without a foundation) — so chaos disguised as national integrity.

  9. Pingback: Lawful Monopoly | Spirit Wave Journal

  10. Jean Valjean says:

    Independent article about how Britain has lost its way on cannabis reform (ignore the typical stock photos of cannabis consumers):

    ‘”Unlike other nations which are introducing evidence-based reform, the UK is paralysed about its cannabis policy because it’s based not on reducing harm but on appeasing readers of tabloid newspapers.
    “UK drugs policy actually causes far more harm than cannabis does. Thank heavens the police are taking an intelligent approach, something that our government seems incapable of.”‘

  11. Freeman says:

    After watching Colorado struggle with how to regulate edibles, Vermont won’t be legalizing those at all.

    Because smoking an herb is so much healthier than cooking and ingesting it? Maureen Dowd strikes again. Score one for Big Stupid.

    Lawmakers also resisted marijuana advocates’ lobbying to allow people to grow marijuana plants in their own homes.

    Ooh, those burly brave lawmakers somehow managed to resist Big Marijuana’s strong-arm lobbying, deftly avoiding the horrors of allowing allegedly free people to engage in *gasp* gardening. Big Stupid scores again.

    Without lawmakers’ input at both the state and federal level, Kleiman envisioned a not-too-distant future where the cannabis industry has an undue amount of power to shape legalization.

    Said the charlatan desperate to hold on to the undue amount of power to shape legalization he’s enjoyed while making himself filthy rich in the process by overcharging for ridiculously sloppy work product known to be unreliable.

    At least it’s better than the status quo which has also existed for decades without any evidence.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Pete. It can be frustrating knowing we’re capable of running full-speed ahead and clearing reasonable hurdles while watching the process lamely stumble around for years now, but these faltering baby steps are far better than lying there and taking it like we have been forced to do up until recently, and experience tells us that we really can’t expect very much very quickly from our political processes. Charlatans gonna charlate no matter what, and will have no problem finding other hapless victims to trip up and then pretend to teach to walk when mj legalization is no longer a pressing political issue.

    And I will say this again — I’m not really interested in what someone has to say about how to legalize marijuana, when they weren’t interested in legalizing marijuana at all until it became a certainty.

    And I hope you keep on saying it again and again and again, and we’ll all join you in the chorus. Big Stupid is hard to defend against, but I’ve found using it’s own words against it pretty effective. I’m not interested in creating a facebook account just so I can post a comment at the article Pete linked to, but I’d be happy to see someone leave a comment there questioning why the guy who said emphatically just a couple of years before it happened in WA and CO: “There’s one problem with legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis at the state level: It can’t be done … any grower or seller paying [state] taxes on marijuana sales or filing pot-related [state] regulatory paperwork would be confessing, in writing, to multiple federal crimes. And that won’t happen.” Why does this so-called “expert” keep showing up in these news articles presented as the go-to authority on how to legalize cannabis at the state level?

    • NorCalNative says:

      Freeman, nice comment and analysis. I have access to a complete line of cannabis products and returned to smoking as my method of consumption.

      Rapid relief is key for sure, but there was also something missing in vaping. I just seem to enjoy the combustion “high” better.

      I just renewed my Prop 215 letter for the 17th year and I told the “pot doc” I quit vaping and returned to combustion. His reply? He mentioned the small protective effect based on Donald Tashkin’s work.

      There is a very small metabolic cost for this protection however that may be of concern to some users.

      Eliminating suffering when one is in pain is really kind of friendly when it happens in seconds or minutes compared to a quarter-hour to an hour or more.

      Edibles can be a great option once you learn how to dose. My tolerance level is so high that a euphoric dose of edibles costs me around $25. Too dang much money for one dose. I’ve also struggled finding consistency from the edible products.

      I’ve been playing at Medical School (The Medical Cannabis Institute) and have spent over a month’s income to purchase online courses. My decision to return to smoking as my primary consumption is an evidence-based decision. Not saying this is the best way for anyone but me, but smoking is a really awesome option for folks that don’t like waiting on oral forms.

      On Dowd, nubes should be required to eat edibles made from somebody’s vapor poo. You can get a buzz off eating vaped weed, but because most of the THC has been removed already there’s little chance of an Emergency Room run.

      I doubt I’m telling you anything you don’t already know, just wanted to chime in with the idea that cannabis smoke may be offensive to some, but it’s an excellent and mostly safe way to consume cannabis.

      I need to add that the terpenes found in cannabis are a big deal for every aspect of the experience, recreational, inspirational, or medicinal. Smoking is the best way to access terpenes.

      I think Vermont’s ideas suck and agree with your points other than a minor quibble over smoke. Any legalization that doesn’t allow home cultivation is just wrong-headed, period. And, if Big Weed is considered an evil then why not push production onto locals and community gardens?

      My main beef with the Klieman’s and Sabet’s of the world is they whine about daily users as some sort of problem. If one replaces a handful of Big Pharma meds that were daily pills with cannabis, then doesn’t it make sense to use cannabis daily?

      • Jean Valjean says:

        Klieman and Sabet don’t have a case so they have to just make stuff up, like demonizing edibles (heaven forbid that your dog should eat them!), or the daily user who MUST be an addict. Nice touch pointing out the contradiction between the fear of Big Marijuana on the one hand and the ban on home cultivation on the other. Our “reality based” guru seems to be lacking in any sense of logic when he tries to hold those two ideas at once.

      • tensity1 says:

        I was just reading an article about vaporizing temperatures and the effects on the high. My takeaway was that the majority of the terpenes and cannabinoids could be accessed with a vaporization temperature of 220 C/428 F (the temperature that activates THCV, with the other primary cannabinoids having lower temperatures). Thing is, this could be getting into combustion territory, since all I’ve found about plant material combustion says it to be just under 400 F. The other takeaway is that with lower temperatures, the less intense the effect (due to access of fewer terpenes and cannabinoids). I like all methods, though my preferred is a huge bong rip.

        No homegrow provisions suck. Although I’ll mostly be buying from stores once it becomes legal in my state later this year (Nevada), it’s satisfying to grow your own plants, whether tomatoes, peppers, roses, or cannabis. Not only that, I’d like specific genetics, ones that I know will work best for me. I wasn’t too impressed with my trip last year to Colorado–I checked out the wares at four different dispensaries, and all of the herb seemed to be the same genetics with minor differences, middling overall. Then again, it was a border town which could probably get away with mostly selling generic mids to tourists.

        Thing is, the Nevada initiative only allows homegrow if there is no dispensary within 25 miles–it mimics the current medical law, and was probably put in to assuage concerns of the pot-worriers back before the legalization tide really turned in the past year or two. There hasn’t been much said about how soon some of the existing medical dispensaries will be allowed to convert to recreational (if at all). So, when the initiative goes into effect soon after passage, technically there will be dispensaries within probably 90%+ of the population, but in practice those are only medical ones. What then? Hopefully the lawmakers and courts won’t be asshats and will allow recreational homegrow until rec dispensaries come online or just pass laws allowing homegrow, but I’m not exactly holding my breath. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if the powers that be go the asshat route–I’m growing for personal use either way–but it’d be nice to see less stupidity and dickishness from the authoritarians.

  12. Freeman says:

    Thanks for the kind words, NCN.

    I doubt I’m telling you anything you don’t already know, just wanted to chime in with the idea that cannabis smoke may be offensive to some, but it’s an excellent and mostly safe way to consume cannabis.

    I completely agree. I still smoke it myself. Did not intend to disparage that method of ingestion, I was just questioning the rationale behind prohibiting edibles. Don’t care for ’em myself but I don’t see that as a good reason to limit choices for everyone else.

    My main beef with the Klieman’s and Sabet’s of the world is they whine about daily users as some sort of problem. If one replaces a handful of Big Pharma meds that were daily pills with cannabis, then doesn’t it make sense to use cannabis daily?

    Again, I agree completely. From my comment a couple of days ago:

    If you can’t articulate why daily or near-daily cannabis use indicates a “Disorder” on the mountainous scale of a “real and rising problem” while allowing that the same frequency of (and much more widespread) caffeine use (even among *gasp* children) is a molehill which can be safely ignored, then you’re going to naturally be met with incredulity when you try to make that point.

  13. SwingLow says:

    “A new mother is facing a chemical endangerment of a child charge after her baby boy tested positive for marijuana following his birth March 6 at Decatur-Morgan Hospital Parkway campus, authorities said.

    Sandra Louise Terry, 23, 1115 10th Ave. S.E., Decatur, turned herself in Friday morning at the Decatur Police Department.”

    • NorCalNative says:

      Malcolm, dig the stealthy chameleonics. You rock dude.

      Becoming a mommy can be a difficult time for some women. Cannabis has a long history of aiding women with morning sickness and stress during pregnancy.

      I’ve read cases where women are able to get relief often from one puff. Any possible harm to the fetus must be balanced by what’s best for the mother during the course of the pregnancy.

      We need to take care of our moms and kids better. Cannabis is NOT for everyone, but when it’s useful, it may be one of the most family-friendly things out there.

      Cynicism is kind of like a muscle you can work out to make it bigger. I keep trying to kill mine, but shit like this from Alabama is the kind of stuff that can ruin families.

      It’s possible the lady was smoking two joints before she smoked two joints, and then got pissed off because it was cheap Mex and smoked two more, but somehow I doubt it.

    • darkcycle says:
      The practice of removing infants from their mothers over positive drug tests is far, far more destructive to the child than a drug using mom. Particularly absent any indication of problem use, as is usually the case. And this policy is commonly applied to the poor, who don’t know their Pediatrician or have a scheduled birth at a private hospital. No, it’s public hospital admissions where the birthing mother is a walk in or an ambulance ride. It’s a destructive practice. Research has shown this without doubt: interrupted early bonding of an infant and mother is a prelude to attachment disorder, and other, more serious emotional and developmental problems later on. They KNOW THIS. They STILL continue the destructive practice because, you know, “What about the CHILLUNS???”
      Nothing….and I mean NOTHING, about the prohibitionists, makes me more teeth-grindingly, fist-through-the-drywall angry than that hypocritical and clearly destructive policy. Cannabis use presents no documented risk whatsoever….but THIS. There is no hell hot enough.

      • tensity1 says:

        You and me, both. It’s a bunch of bullshit that makes me want to beat the stupid out of assholes pursuing destructive policy under the guise of concern and safety. Then again, if it’s a guise of concern and safety, that denotes it is intentional bullshit instead of ignorance, which will then require a righteous beatdown to get rid of the evil inside their black little hearts.


      • Freeman says:

        It’s comments like this that have me wishing for the return of the thumbs-up. Your comment says it all dc and I have nothing to add but I feel that anger.

  14. Jean Valjean says:

    I’m hoping in the coming weeks we are going to learn a lot more about the nexus of corrupt politicians, bankers and drug-traffickers now being revealed by the Panama Papers leak. Bernie Sanders is looking more and more like the only alternative to this business as usual criminal activity perpetrated by insiders like Hillary Clinton. Maybe she’ll be in handcuffs by November?

    • darkcycle says:

      I dunno..there’s something funny about this “leak”. Here’s part of a post I shared on Facebook (it is good for something, and there are lots of couchmates there, too):
      “…the justice department is looking at the Panama papers? That actually says a lot about this “leak”, the implications, and just who may be behind it.
      Interesting to note that the justice department is looking at people implicated by the leak, and not starting an international manhunt for the LEAKERS. That is quite a departure from the current protocol for investigating “leaks”, don’t you think? And the fact that no U.S. corporations are directly implicated seems quite convenient. As well as the leaking parties being linked to U.S. moneyed interests, also interesting. This has an odd smell, if you ask me.”
      Here’s the Fortune piece that caught my eye….very connected to power these “leakers” are. Not a Snowden or a Manning to be found…

    • tensity1 says:

      Not only that, but I’m looking forward to the possible release of the client list in the DC Madam case from a decade ago. The lawyer for the madam said there are implications for the current presidential election.

      • NotTheOnlyOne says:

        “The footnote to the pleading I filed today says this: If I do not get the right to file my request to modify the restraining order and if I do not get an expedited hearing, I’m going to publicly release those records and see what happens. If they want to hold me in contempt of court for violating an order they will not give me a hearing on, I think they lose the right to enforce that order.”

        –Mid March, 2016, Montgomery Blair Sibley, the late madam Deborah Palfrey’s colorful attorney.

      • Jean Valjean says:

        “The lawyer for the madam said there are implications for the current presidential election.”

        For Ted Cruz, apparently.

  15. Senators held a hearing to remind you that ‘good people don’t smoke marijuana’ (yes, really)

    Well, that clears it up. You can tell a good person from a bad one by whether he smokes pot or not.

    These are the guys that need to be dragged kicking and screaming -to support the public.

    BTW there are an awful lot of bad people in the US according to this. You guys get it now? Really cleared it all up for me.

  16. Mr_Alex says:

    Can someone explain what a RICO charge is, I have heard from a Straight Inc survivor that there is going to be another attempt to have Betty and Melvin Sembler charged for the Horrors at Straight Inc, if that happens that means Kevin Sabet and the Prohibition Movement are in for a huge blow

  17. “Feds Using Forfeiture to Their Advantage”

    The Justice Department recently announced that it is resuming the “equitable sharing” part of its civil asset forfeiture program, thus ending one of the major criminal justice reform victories of the Obama administration.

  18. I smell Grassley and Lynch.

  19. Am I mistaken to assume dispensaries will be held to the same standards as pharmacies that dispense norco if marijuana goes schedule 2? That means prescriptions from doctors in quadruple to the DEA with special DEA issued #’s(or whatever it is) and hand routed doctors prescriptions monthly – for medical pot?? Or whatever other torture the DEA might invent?

    • DdC says:

      Dispensaries are competition to the politicians gravy train. Why on earth would they let them stay open? Good test run for the Bearcats when the people protest.

      Is The DEA Legalizing THC? 03/02/11
      So, in other words, if a pharmaceutical product contains THC extracted from the marijuana plant, that would be a legal commodity. But if you or I possessed THC extracted from the marijuana plant, that would remain an illegal commodity.

    • DdC says:

      What they say…

      “At DEA, our mission is to fight drug trafficking in order to make drug abuse the most expensive, unpleasant, risky, and disreputable form of recreation a person could have.”
      – Donnie Marshall,
      xAdministrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

      What they Mean and Do…

      At DEAth, our mission is to steal, lie, divert, stall and arbitrarily and capriciously fight drug Pot trafficking possession in order to make drug abuse Pot use the most expensive, unpleasant, risky, deadly, terrorizing, traumatizing, PTSD causing and disreputable form of recreation health care or alternative to the more harmful legal substances, a person could have.

  20. This looks like a possible salvo below the bow. I need some input – am I looking at this wrong? Schedule 2 puts medical marijuana more firmly in the grasp of the drug war gang.

    • How about Mom and Pop shops?

    • DdC says:

      Schedule 2 puts medical marijuana more firmly in the grasp of the drug war gang.

      Oh b b b but thththaaat would be Fascism!

      That can’t happen heeeeere. Not in the land of the free, shipping with orders over $40. The plan hasn’t changed. If push ever came to shove and they just had to utilize the plant. They would give it too fat pharma. S#2 also keeps Hemp outlawed, a priority for the fossil fools. If only on the market a few years and if it takes too much profit from the white powders. They can always shelve it.

      The FDA still hasn’t tested smoking whole plant samples. Sativex is still being tested, but I’m not sure if they imported their own or use the Mississippi Schwag Farm supplies. I read they imported some and store it in Kansas.

      This is what Incremental Retardation does. If Obama doesn’t remove completely then fat pharma will have the monopoly, as Codex Alimentarius demands. Any product that claims to treat, cure, prevent or mitigate a disease is considered a drug and must go through strict regulatory reviews. LEO will have their forfeiture and bloated budgets. Koch and Whackenhut will have their prison profits. Pure logic states that profit over people puts more value in caging the poor than letting them work minimum wage or worse take profits in welfare.

      If states are allowed to decide the laws of physics politically, then they’re all screwed anyway. Move to a Civilized place. If the Sheep ever grow up and act like adults. Maybe they’ll come out from hiding under their beds petrified of the Pot Monster.

  21. DdC says:

    In 1998, Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., an advocate of stringent drug laws, slipped into a House bill an amendment denying federal financial aid for college to anyone who had been convicted of either selling or possessing drugs. No congressional committee voted on the amendment. But it passed as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, first enacted in 1965 to create federal financial aid for college students.

    College Kids Caught With Drugs
    May Not Get Kicked Off Financial Aid Anymore

    Obama Should Plan To Decide
    Whether To Reschedule the DEA By Mid-Year
    They can work removing lead from the water.

    DEA Plans To Decide
    Whether To Reschedule Marijuana By Mid-Year

    Grassassley & DiFi fight, lie and screech
    to keep $1 Billion in the hands of their boss, El Chapo.

    Colorado Marijuana Sales
    Reached Nearly $1 Billion Last Year

    Eric Holder could have brought Justice and he CHOKED.

    Eric Holder Says
    It’s Ridiculous To Treat Weed Like Heroin,
    But He Can’t Do Anything About It Now

    Four and twenty years ago,

    How Smoking Pot Made Graham Nash A Better Songwriter

    Teach your parents well…

  22. Mr_Alex says:

    I have a question, if Betty and Melvin Sembler are done via a RICO charge does that mean Kevin Sabet’s Project SAM can also be done via a RICO charge as well, if somehow the Semblers are found guilty via the RICO charge, is prison likely for them and will it bring closure to the Straight Inc survivors, also will it deal a huge blow to the Prohibitionist movement as well?

    • Servetus says:

      In the U.S. we also have what are called “continuing criminal enterprise” or CCE statutes that might apply to the Sembler’s rehab racket. Whether racketeering influence (RI) is involved in the drug rehab business would require a more thorough investigation, possibly by Congress.

    • Uncle Albert's Nephew says:

      It depends on whether it’s a civil or criminal RICO case. If it’s a Straight survivor suing that’s civil so no jail time, just treble damages.

      • Mr_Alex says:

        I seriously hope Betty and Mel Sembler are thrown in jail for the horrors at Straight Inc, thats the goal of many Straight Inc survivors, even if that happens, it will bring closure to many Straight Inc Survivors, as for Kevin Sabet and Patrick Kennedy, tick tock goes the clock, his affiliation with the Semblers will collapse the whole of Project SAM should it be discovered as a Melvin and Betty Sembler entity.

        Time is running out for the Prohibs as the Survivors of Straight Inc are fighting back

  23. Good Morning America (how are ya) says:

    Back from a 2500 mile in 72 hours haul to score CBD tinctures for a stage three cancer patient.
    How fucked up that you have to trek halfway across the country to get some medicine to potentially save a person’s life when it should be available locally.
    A big hat tip and a hug to the Caregivers for Life.
    A big thumbs down to the dispensaries in corporate cash-in mode with laughable $50 1/8 of the same smoke you can get locally. Sorry if I am rambling, I am a little tired.

    “Every great and true and real thing eventually devolves into some disingenuous spectacle selling tickets to itself. It bummed us out then and it bums us out to this day” Roc Scully

  24. The main difference between Vermont and other states is slow and deliberate approach to legalization.

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