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Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedLife News Network.

Here's what to know about recreational marijuana on the November ballot in Missouri

As Election Day approaches in Missouri, questions about marijuana on the ballot continue to circulate.

Missouri was recently ranked as the 10th most "CBD-obsessed" state by Leafwell, an organization of cannabis scientists and specialists. Leafwell examined Google Trends data of search terms used by people interested in CBD to create its rankings. Missourians were also frequently searching other marijuana-related terms, "THC" and "What is CBD?"

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced in mid-August that a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana use and clear some cannabis-related convictions would be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

What does the amendment propose?

The ballot measure proposes an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would:

Remove state prohibitions on purchasing, possessing, consuming, using, delivering, manufacturing and selling marijuana for personal use for adults over 21;Require a registration card for personal cultivation with prescribed limits;Allow persons with certain marijuana-related non-violent offenses to petition for release from incarceration or parole and probation and have records cleared;Establish a lottery selection process to award licenses and certificates;Issue equally distributed licenses to each congressional district;Impose a 6% tax on the retail price of marijuana to benefit various programs.

When would the law go into effect?

If passed, the amendment would be added to the Missouri Constitution 30 days after the election on Nov. 8, but it could take longer before people are able to legally buy marijuana for recreational use as businesses work through the licensing process.

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State politicians are growing concerned about NY’s legal marijuana rollout

Sparked by a NY Cannabis Insider story from earlier this month, New York’s Legislative Commission on Rural Resources has asked the Office of Cannabis Management for clarification and updates on the state’s rollout of its legal marijuana industry.

The commission, chaired by NY State Senator Rachel May and directed by Mayor Hal McCabe of Homer, sent a letter to Cannabis Control Board Chairwoman Tremaine Wright on Sept. 13 requesting a briefing from OCM to “clear up confusion and enable us to provide accurate information to our constituents.”

NY State Senators Neil Breslin and Michelle Hinchey, along with Assembly Members Carrie Woerner and Donna Lupardo, signed on to the letter requesting information about licensing opportunities and “conflicting timelines and regulations,” as well as clarification around potential supply problems and the enforcement of gray market vendors – all issues that are top-of-mind for those getting into NY’s cannabis industry.

“I am frustrated with the rollout,” McCabe told NY Cannabis Insider. “I think we have an amazing opportunity and that we might be in danger of squandering it.”

Asked about the letter, OCM spokesperson Aaron Ghitelman wrote in an email Wednesday that the agency is “actively reaching out to answer” the commission’s questions “and brief them on our efforts.”

“We are excited to work with the Rural Resources Commission to get their feedback, answer their questions, and make sure every corner of New York benefits from the adult-use cannabis industry we are in the process of creating,” Ghitelman said.

‘News to all of us’

Earlier this month, NY Cannabis Insider published a statement made by OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander at an event in Yonkers: When questioned by an audience member about the anticipated timeline for the marketplace, Alexander responded that applications for non-conditional licenses will open in “the middle of next year.”

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Plans for Marijuana Dispensary in Boston's North End met with opposition

BOSTON - The North End is full of shops and restaurants with a lot of history, and now an aspiring business owner is trying to bring a new industry to the neighborhood.

It's not cannolis...it's cannabis, and a vacant storefront at the corner of Hanover and Commercial Streets is sparking quite a bit of controversy. 

"It's a bad idea, it's a bad location," said restaurant owner Damien DiPaola.

The company Bay State Herbal Solutions has submitted their plan to the city in hopes of winning their approval for the store. 

"I think CBD, THC, whatever gets you through the day is a gift," said a North End resident named Betsy. "Why not? We drink wine, we drink booze."

A virtual community outreach meeting is set for Wednesday night. The problem is many residents and business owners feel like they've been kept in the dark. 

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Legalizing Medical Marijuana would immediately lower prescription Opioid use, study shows

Another study has found that giving people legal access to medical marijuana can help patients reduce their use of opioid painkillers, or cease use altogether, without compromising quality of life.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Substance Use and Misuse on September 27, surveyed registered medical cannabis patients in Florida, asking questions about their consumption habits and how marijuana has affected their use of traditional pharmaceuticals.

Researchers at the firm Emerald Coast Research and Florida State University College of Medicine asked 2,183 patients who were recruited at dispensaries across the Sunshine State to fill out 66-item cross-sectional surveys to learn more about the role of medical cannabis legalization amid the overdose crisis.

Nine in 10 patients (90.6 percent) said that they’ve found marijuana to be “very or extremely helpful in treating their medical condition,” and 88.7 percent said that cannabis was “very or extremely important to their quality of life.”

“The findings suggest that some medical cannabis patients decreased opioid use without harming quality of life or health functioning, soon after the legalization of medical cannabis.”

Respondents had a wide range of conditions that qualified them for medical marijuana under Florida’s law, including anxiety, pain, depression, sleep disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most patients said that they’ve used cannabis daily to treat their symptoms.

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Fairfield takes steps to stop Marijuana use at Local Park

FAIRFIELD - A town task force decided to take action after finding evidence of underage drug use at a local park.

Fairfield CARES Community Coalition, a town-created task force aimed at addressing youth drug and alcohol use, recently helped get community watch signs installed at the entrances of the Mary Katona Memorial Open Space.

Catherine Hazlett, the coalition's program director, said this became necessary after nearby residents repeatedly found marijuana and vaping products discarded around the open space.

Hazlett said a parent who lives near Holland Hill Elementary School and takes his children on walks through the open space told Fairfield CARES about it last fall.

 

"We are the local prevention council for the town of Fairfield, and our focus is on substance use prevention and mental health wellness for youth and young adults," she said. "He contacted me and I met him at the park and we walked the area."

That resident had photos of marijuana and tobacco vaping products, as well as pipes to smoke flower marijuana, littered around the property, Hazlett said. Fairfield CARES reached out to school officials at Holland Hill to keep them aware of the situation, Hazlett said. 

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It’s official: Arkansas to vote on Legal Cannabis this fall

‘We’re extremely grateful to the Supreme Court that they agreed with us and felt like it was a complete validation of everything we’ve done’

The Supreme Court of Arkansas has ruled that voters will get their say on whether or not to legalize recreational cannabis in the state come the November elections. The recent decision overturns an earlier ban by Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners.

“The people will decide whether to approve the proposed amendment in November,” Justice Robin Wynne notes in the court’s ruling.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Supreme Court that they agreed with us and felt like it was a complete validation of everything we’ve done,” says Steve Lancaster, an attorney from Responsible Growth Arkansas, which had raised more than $US4 million in support of the measure. “We’re excited and moving on to November.”

In August, the state board rejected the proposed amendment. Despite supporters of the measure submitting more than enough signatures to get the issue on the election ballot, it needed final approval from the board.

Commissioners claimed the ballot’s title didn’t explain the amendment’s true impact to voters. One example listed was a concern that the amendment would eliminate the state’s THC limit established when medical marijuana was approved.

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New Poll sheds light on GOP’s progressing views on Cannabis Legalization

If this poll is any indication of how republicans nationwide view cannabis policy, there could be lots to discuss, and possibly celebrate, when it comes to cannabis legalization in states throughout the country.

With the midterm elections on the horizon, many political issues are taking center stage as November inches closer into view. Cannabis reform and legalization has already entered the conversation in several races, and its legalization will be on the ballot in several states this election.

But where many issues are very polarizing, a new poll suggests that republican voters might actually favor marijuana access and reform more than you might think, in ways that align them closer to democrats than is typically seen in today’s political climate.

The poll, which was conducted on behalf of the National Cannabis Roundtable in late August and surveyed 1,000 Republican voters, found the majority of republicans surveyed support a number of progressive cannabis policies. For one, according to the poll, 3 and 4 of the GOP voters surveyed believe that cannabis companies should have the same rights as any other type of business.

The Fresh Toast had the chance to ask the NCR a few questions about the poll, including whether they think Republican lawmakers with conservative views will start changing their stance on cannabis policy.

“Members of congress are elected to represent the viewpoints of their constituencies and these poll numbers overwhelmingly show that there are more voters in favor of cannabis reform than against,” said Saphira Galoob, executive director, National Cannabis Roundtable.

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‘Let’s Do It Legit’: Drug Arrestees Vie for First New York Pot Licenses

Anytime the police approached the street in the Bronx where Hector Bonilla used to hang out, his friends would toss away their marijuana on the ground, he said.

The police would pin the drugs on whomever was closest, Mr. Bonilla said. That is how he ended up with two convictions for marijuana possession in early 2000, he recalled, for weed he maintains was not his.

Mr. Bonilla, 42, a taxicab driver, said his criminal record haunted him for years and made getting work difficult. “Now, over 20 years later, it’s my free ticket to this,” he said, pointing to a laptop screen.

Mr. Bonilla was applying for a license to open one of New York’s first dispensaries to legally sell recreational cannabis. The four-year licenses are reserved for business owners who have been convicted of marijuana-related offenses in a New York State court, and will allow them to sell cannabis to any adult as early as this year.

The licensing effort aims to atone for the damage inflicted during the war on drugs, which has been criticized for targeting communities of color and focusing on drug use as a crime and not a public health issue. Despite similar levels of use across races, Black and Latino residents have been swept up on low-level marijuana charges at higher rates than their white peers.

Lawmakers legalized cannabis last year with a focus on social equity, the idea that policy should address past harms and eliminate hurdles that prevent some people from accessing opportunities. There are growing concerns, however, that the licensing process has been more difficult than expected and left eligible applicants without support.

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Some cities are inadvertently supporting illicit Cannabis Sales, according to new Report

Instead of reasonably regulating legal sales, it’s increasingly common for leaders to opt out of legalized sales entirely, with unintended consequences. (Benzinga)

Leafly released a first-of-its-kind report detailing the unintended and harmful consequences that occur when local municipalities choose to opt out of legal and regulated cannabis sales.

The report, developed in partnership with Whitney Economics, a global leader in cannabis and hemp business consulting, data, and economic research, reveals the adverse consequences of opting out and explores why local regulation, not local prohibition is the right way to handle cannabis.

Opting In To Legalized Sales Would Benefit The Entire Community

After legal cannabis is approved in a state, numerous legalization laws enable local municipalities to establish specific regulations within cities and counties. That is, they can choose to sell cannabis or not to sell cannabis.

According to the Leafly report, “instead of reasonably regulating legal sales, it is increasingly common for leaders to opt out of legalized sales entirely, with unintended consequences that effectively create an economic protection zone for illegal street sellers to continue the business.”

Leafly’s Opt-Out Report found that local leaders who choose to opt out of cannabis sales are hurting their communities by:

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Feds to look at public-health impact of Cannabis Legalization in mandated review

OTTAWA - Federal ministers are expected to launch a long-awaited review of the government’s cannabis legislation today.

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The Liberals lifted a century-long prohibition on the recreational use and sale of cannabis in October 2018, with the provision that they review the law three years after to comes into force.

That review is nearly one year overdue.

The legislation dictates that the federal government must investigate the impact of legalization on public health, youth consumption and Indigenous persons and communities.

The review will also look at the cultivation of cannabis in homes.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett must present a report to the House of Commons and Senate within 18 months of the launch of the review.

 

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Council postpones off-sale alcohol license for Cannabis Company

Council members questioned the legal gray area for approving retail on-off sale licenses for Rapid City Cannabis during the council’s Monday night meeting.

The licenses would be for a retail (on-off sale) malt beverage and SD farm wine license and a retail (on-off sale) wine and cider license at 3075 N. Plaza Drive, Suite B. The council voted 8-2 to postpone the item until the Oct. 3 meeting. Council members Bill Evans and Lance Lehmann voted against the postponement.

Council member Pat Jones pulled the item from the consent public hearing items. He said he was against it last week and encouraged his fellow council members to vote against it Monday. Jones said they’ve been told medical cannabis dispensaries will only distribute to those with medical cards and never once has alcohol come into play.

“The idea of let’s go have happy hour at the medical marijuana place, ‘buy two joints and get your first drink free,’ and that concerns me,” he said while holding paper signs with a green plus sign and an image of two pints of beer. “These two things don’t go together. They don’t go together and they shouldn’t go together, and we have to take great concern in the direction we want Rapid City to go with this.”

Jones said this is the first request for a license at a dispensary and the decision the council makes will set the tone for the future.

“I believe we have a responsibility to hold this to what we said and were told it would be — not a bar, not a place to go and get a beer or a glass of wine, which I have nothing against, I’m quite fond of it myself,” Jones said. “But not at a dispensary where we were told it was going to dispense medical marijuana and that’s the only reason it was going to be there.”

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Police Recruits in this city will no longer be disqualified for past Weed use

New Orleans Police Department says that police recruits who have used marijuana within the past year are not automatically disqualified from becoming cops.

This week, the New Orleans Police Department made a change in their policy as a way of attracting new police officers. While historically, NOPD recruits were disqualified if they admitted to using marijuana, on Monday, the department unanimously agreed to relax this policy.

This marks a significant moment, representing just how much the city has changed in a short span of time. A few years ago, the justice system in New Orleans was handing out long prison sentences for marijuana possession.

While the change in the stance of the NOPD is significant, it’s still not a pro-weed organization. NOLA.com explains that the new policy makes it clear that new recruits won’t be disqualified over marijuana use within the past year, but they still must pass a drug test before getting the job. If accepted, officers must not use drugs while in the force.

New Orleans is currently facing a low number of police officers and high levels of crime rate. This crisis was prompted by the pandemic, where the department reported having under 1,000 cops for the first time in decades. In the case of crime, homicides have soared 141% over the past years.

New Orleans currently has the nation’s highest level of homicides, with 52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

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Congressman says ending Cannabis testing could help solve Labour Disputes

Removing mandatory drug tests for railroad workers would encourage more people to apply for positions and offer employees more security

A congressman from Oregon claims that ending cannabis testing might help resolve the increase in disputes between railroad workers and their employees, which could have ramifications for the entire U.S.

Representative Earl Blumenauer discussed the issue with Washington Journal on Sept. 15, a clip of which was posted by C-SPAN, noting the railroad worker deal is “welcome news” and the “situation that the workers faced was really intolerable.”

While a temporary deal between unions and railway companies has been reached, workers reportedly remain upset over their work conditions. Over the years, employees argue they have been losing benefits and job security, resulting in a tense environment that has led to issues in the supply chain.

Blumenauer said that removing mandatory drug tests could be a part of the solution. Doing so would encourage more people to apply for these positions and would give some job security to their employees.

 

“A lot of these shortcomings in terms of the supply chain are that people do not qualify for the jobs because they’ve used marijuana sometime in the last six weeks, which doesn’t affect their ability to do their job, but it throws them out of the consideration,” he said.

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BUSINESS Denver City Council considers changes to Marijuana Rules in effort to bolster Delivery

Currently, only one in 20 Denver dispensaries offer delivery services.

DENVER - Denver City Council will consider a proposal Monday to drastically cut license fees for marijuana delivery services and extend -- forever -- a requirement that delivery company owners come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

The current "social equity" mandate is set to end in 2024, but the city aims to call the bluff of dispensaries waiting until then to establish their own delivery services rather than rely upon the existing businesses. 

 

"It is easy to see that Denver preventing stores from doing their own delivery so social equity businesses have the first crack at this business type is resulting in the industry choosing profit over supporting more equitable access to the industry," Department of Excise and Licenses spokesperson Eric Escudero said.

He said only one in 20 Denver dispensaries offer delivery services. That's compared to 80% of stores in Aurora, where the dispensaries can do their own delivery.

Denver delivery driver Michael Diaz-Rivera, owner of Better Days Delivery, said his company would likely not make it without city council intervention. He currently averages about five orders a day, but needs more than a dozen to break even.


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Quebec ban on homegrown Cannabis Plants unconstitutional, lawyer tells Supreme Court

It's up to province to regulate how cannabis is consumed, says lawyer for Quebec.

In front of a packed courtroom in Quebec City, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments Thursday on the constitutionality of a Quebec law that forbids people from growing cannabis plants for personal use.

Janick Murray-Hall is challenging the ban on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and that it directly contradicts the federal Cannabis Act. Passed in 2018, the federal law makes it legal for Canadians to cultivate up to four plants for personal use.

"We seem to be putting aside the existence of this right to grow," Murray-Hall's lawyer Maxime Guérin told the nine Supreme Court justices.

"There's an opposition between the federal position and the provincial position."

Guérin argued that the Quebec ban goes against the federal government's objective to decriminalize cannabis consumption at home.

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Nevada district Judge rules Cannabis can no longer be Classified as a Schedule 1 Drug

With medical cannabis programs deeply entrenched in the state of Nevada, cannabis’ designation appears to fly in the face of well-established known medicinal uses of the drug. (Benzinga)

A Nevada judge has ruled on a closely-followed lawsuit that could have precedent setting influence on a federal level. He determined that the Nevada Board of Pharmacy can no longer list cannabis as a schedule one drug. It was a clear victory for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada, which filed the lawsuit back in April 2022.

On Wednesday, District Judge Joe Hardy Jr. sided with the ACLU’s argument that marijuana has an accepted medical use, because voters amended the state constitution in 2000 to legalize medical marijuana. He ordered the Board of Pharmacy to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs, although the timeline for such action is unclear.

The original basis for the lawsuit alleged that despite the passage of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act and the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, the state — specifically Nevada State Board of Pharmacy — failed to comport with the will of Nevada voters, the state Constitution and revised statutes.

Instead of removing cannabis and cannabis derivatives from its list of controlled substances (NAC 453.510), the Board has continued to regulate them as Schedule 1 substances — similar to that of hardcore drugs with no medicinal benefit.

By definition, a Schedule 1 drug is classified as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. With medical cannabis programs deeply entrenched in the state of Nevada, cannabis’ designation appears to fly in the face of well-established known medicinal uses of the drug. This is the exact contradiction that the ACLU sought to force a ruling on:

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Pardoning those convicted of Marijuana offenses the right thing to do

The following editorial appeared in the Uniontown Herald-Standard. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Tribune-Democrat.

The United States reached a milestone at the end of August that may have escaped many people’s attention.

According to a Gallup poll, more Americans admitted to smoking marijuana than puffing on cigarettes. Gallup reported that 16% of Americans say they currently use marijuana, while just 11% say they smoke cigarettes.

This is quite a sea change for anyone who remembers when offices, restaurants and shopping centers would routinely have a fog of cigarette smoke hanging over them, while, at the same time, marijuana was demonized as a drug favored by glassy-eyed stoners and outlaw rock musicians.

Some of this shift can be credited to baby boomers reaching the heights of political and economic power over the past couple of decades, and generations even more tolerant of marijuana following them.

It also undoubtedly is a result of a better understanding of just how addictive and harmful tobacco is, while marijuana has been shown to ease pain and nausea and is less addictive. Marijuana also does not seem to have the same destructive impact on the lungs and heart that cigarettes do.

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Marijuana Black Markets flourish despite Legalization

Despite 19 states and Washington, D.C., legalizing marijuana for recreational use, farms and sellers of the drug operating off the books continue to thrive.

Marijuana remains strictly illegal at the federal level despite increasingly vocal pushes by congressional Democrats (and a smattering of Republicans) to take it off the prohibited list of drugs. That has led to states putting in place their own "legalized" marijuana programs.

What started out in the 1990s as state ballot initiatives limited to marijuana for medicinal use eventually spread to its legality for everyday enjoyment, including in some of the most populous states, such as California, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.

But that doesn't mean all is going according to plan in states that have legalized marijuana.

Oregon, for example, has decriminalized marijuana use. Still, southern Oregon has become a hub for an illegal marijuana market, reportedly overwhelming law enforcement agencies.

Earlier this month, the Oregon State Police Southwest Region Drug Enforcement Section seized over 3,000 illegal marijuana plants and several hundred more pounds hanging or drying in Jackson County, which straddles Oregon's state line with California.

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Did Marijuana Legalization lead to increased use in Colorado? A new study has a novel answer

The study, by a former University of Colorado graduate student, looked at data on twins to answer a longstanding question.

In the decade since Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 legalizing adult use of marijuana in state law, a slew of studies have tried to estimate the impact.

They’ve looked broadly and more narrowly, and have concluded — depending on how you might read them — that legalization either did or did not lead to an increase in cannabis use.

But a new study, conducted by a former Ph.D. student in Colorado, takes perhaps the most novel approach yet and comes to the conclusion that legalization may, in fact, lead to people using marijuana more frequently.

The student, Stephanie Zellers, was studying neuroscience at the University of Colorado before she followed her adviser to finish up her doctorate at the University of Minnesota. She was interested in studying the effects of substance use on the brain, but a lot of studies on the brain work the same way: you have to crack open the craniums of lab animals. That didn’t sit well with Zellers.

So she went looking for a different method, and she found it in a massive dataset on the lives of twins born in Colorado or Minnesota.

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US Court of Appeals: Federal Scheduling of Cannabis “Irrational,” but not Unconstitutional

The federal government’s decision to classify cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance without accepted medical utility is arguably “irrational,” but it is not unconstitutional, according to a ruling recently handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Defendants in the case argued that marijuana’s scheduling in the US Controlled Substances Act has no rational basis because cannabis does not meet the statutory criteria for inclusion on Schedule I.

(Under the law, Schedule I substances – by definition – meet three specific criteria: “A high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and “a lack of accepted safety for use … under medical supervision.”)

Judges for the US Court of Appeals rejected the defendants’ argument, opining, “[T]he Act’s scheduling criteria are largely irrelevant to our constitutional review because the rational basis test asks only whether Congress could have any conceivable basis for including marijuana on the strictest schedule.

Because there are other plausible considerations that could have motivated Congress’s scheduling of marijuana, we conclude that its classification does not violate the [plaintiffs’] due process or equal protection rights.”

Judges acknowledged that the defendants “convincingly argue[d] that it is irrational for the government to maintain that marijuana has no accepted medical use.” However, they ruled that this argument alone is insufficient to compel the Court to determine that cannabis’ Schedule I status is unconstitutional.

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