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Month: November 2017

Man who tended to large marijuana grow near Willamette River sent to federal prison

Man who tended to large marijuana grow near Willamette River sent to federal prison

The Columbian / Associated Press

Man who tended to large marijuana grow near Willamette River sent to federal prison

PORTLAND — The only person arrested in connection with an elaborate marijuana grow on a private farm along the Willamette River in Yamhill County was sentenced Tuesday to two years and three months in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Ratcliffe described 44-year-old Manuel Madrigal as playing a limited role tending to the marijuana crop, compared to others who were never caught but set up and cultivated about 6,400 plants found on the property.

Federal prosecutors pursued the case because of the size of the grow operation, and public safety and environmental concerns, as the plants were adjacent to a public recreational area, the Willamette River.

According to the Yamhill County Sheriff’s’ Office, the operation was located in Dayton in June 2016 on wetlands near the Willamette River and was run by a Mexican drug trafficking organization.

The Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team, along with state police, seized over 6,500 plants worth more than $9 million. Oregon State Police SWAT was called on to provide protection for the agencies during the raid.

Authorities arrested Madrigal after officers found him camping out in the gardens in a makeshift living area – “complete with a kitchen” – hidden underneath a tarp, according to the sheriff’s office.

Madrigal pleaded guilty in June to possession with intent to distribute 50 or more marijuana plants.

Officers had placed hidden cameras in the fields, capturing men tending to the plants and squatting at the site. The private landowners were unaware of the marijuana growing but cooperated with the two-month investigation.

Madrigal told authorities he arrived at the operation two weeks before his arrest.

The prosecutor sought a 2 1/2 -year sentence for Madrigal, while defense lawyer Fidel Cassino-DuCloux asked for two years.

Cassino-DuCloux cited Madrigal’s tough childhood, having watched his mother nearly die at the hands of his father, and being whisked away to Mexico by his father without his mother’s consent. The defense lawyer also referenced state law in Oregon, where recreational use of marijuana is legal, in his argument for a lesser sentence.

On July 1, 2015, Oregon became one of a handful of states where anyone 21 and older can possess pot and grow it in their backyard.

“There is a chasm between the state and the federal government,” Cassino-DuCloux argued. “The fight between the state and the federal law is an idiosyncrasy that’s lost on citizens.”

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown didn’t buy that.

“He’s not being charged with a state crime,” Brown said, noting that Madrigal pleaded guilty to a federal offense. The differences between state and federal law don’t warrant leniency, the judge said.

Brown also pointed out that Madrigal had previously been convicted under state law in Illinois of manufacturing and delivery of marijuana, and served 2 1/2- years in prison for that offense. Madrigal’s lawyer countered that the conviction was more than a decade old.

“I apologize I wasn’t more careful to observe the law,” Madrigal told the judge. “I can’t say how sorry I am your honor.”

Madrigal said he’s had a rough time turning 44 behind bars and promised to be an upstanding citizen when he’s released from prison.

Brown fashioned what she called a compromise sentence of two years and three months in prison. She said she believes Madrigal, a college graduate who has taught English and Spanish and is now learning French while in custody, is repentant.

She told him he must not associate with marijuana. “It’s a violent crime to even possess marijuana,” Brown said. “You have to stay miles away from that kind of conduct.”

The judge assured Madrigal that he would hear if the U.S. Congress ever changed the federal law on marijuana, but added, “I don’t see it coming.”

“You simply have to change your approach, or you’re going to end up in your 50s in a federal prison,” the judge said.

Brown recommended Madrigal serve his sentence at a federal prison near San Antonio, Texas, where his family lives.

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Published at Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:18:52 +0000

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Indiana Governor Orders Stores to Stop Selling CBD Products Within 60 Days

Indiana Governor Orders Stores to Stop Selling CBD Products Within 60 Days

According to the Associated Press, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is directing state excise police to resume checking stores for marijuana-derived oils after the state’s attorney general declared them illegal with one limited exception.

Holcomb said in a statement Tuesday that excise police will “perform normal, periodic regulatory spot checks” of cannabidiol, or CBD, products, and says those checks will focus on products that contain THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. The Indianapolis Star reports stores have 60 days to pull the products from their shelves.

The recent opinion from Attorney General Curtis Hill states that substances containing CBD are illegal to possess, make and sell in Indiana under state and federal law.

The opinion said the exception is CBD products that can be used by people with epilepsy who are on a new state registry.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Wed, 29 Nov 2017 14:09:16 +0000

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Cannabis-infused Cooking comes to Chicago with Windy City High

Cannabis-infused Cooking comes to Chicago with Windy City High

Cannabis-infused cuisine is coming to Chicago with Windy City High, described as a “communal dinner experience centered  around culinary exploration and genuine relationships, both new and old”.

The Dec. 4 event comes courtesy of Herbal Notes, a California-based company whose mission is “elevating the cannabis conversation around the dinner table”.

The fine dining pop-up has yet to find a location, but the 6-course cannabis-infused meal, which includes a cannabis cocktail, has garnered thousands of reservation inquiries and has already sold out- Chicagoans seem to have great interest in infusing cannabis with high cuisine.

As Manny Mendoza, the founder and chef of Herbal Notes, told CBS Chicago, “Let’s do more than just get together and smoke weed and get high”. Instead, he wants to reduce the stigma around cannabis use and show people the many medicinal properties of the plant. His cooking focuses on CBD, a non-pschoactive compound found in cannabis, which has been seen to have anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and anti-psychotic properties.

Although Illinois hasn’t legalized recreational cannabis yet, under 10 grams has been decriminalized, and Mendoza is doing everything he can to bring Windy City High to Chicago legally. The focus of the event is on cannabidiol (also known as CBD), which is non-psychoactive.

Guests can also look forward to goodie bags that will help them get started on some cannabis cooking of their own.

For more cannabis-infused cuisine, check out the first episode of Chronic Cooking with Craig Ex and Chef Cody!


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Published at Sun, 26 Nov 2017 01:03:42 +0000

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Seattle pot-shop mural: art or ad appealing to kids?

Seattle pot-shop mural: art or ad appealing to kids?

The Columbian / Associated Press

Seattle pot-shop mural: art or ad appealing to kids?

Hashtag, a Seattle pot store, has an outside wall brightly decorated by the muralist known as Henry, the city’s most prolific painter of playful, slightly psychedelic scenes.

A state Liquor and Cannabis Board officer slapped Hashtag with a violation notice in September, saying the mural and its orange walrus frolicking with a green narwhal were “appealing to children because it has cartoon characters.”

The mural itself has no images or references to marijuana or the store. So Hashtag owners appealed, saying it was allowable art, not a sign. The case has been awaiting a hearing with a judge, at which Hashtag’s lawyer would square off against an assistant attorney general.

This week the LCB reversed itself — after inquiries by The Seattle Times — and dropped its complaint. “After an inside review of the mural on Hashtag, our enforcement team concluded that the mural is not advertising, therefore allowed,” said agency spokesman Brian Smith in an email Tuesday.

That decision illustrates the challenges of LCB officers not only in discerning art from advertising, but in determining whether some art appeals to kids like a pied piper of pot.

Hashtag co-owner Logan Bowers said the state’s “might be appealing to kids” standard is “dangerously vague.”

Hashtag commissioned the mural, Bowers said, and Henry let him see a sketch before he painted it. “But we didn’t exert any creative control,” Bowers said. “It never occurred to us that it might run afoul of the rules because we never considered it advertising.”

State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, pushed for tighter regulation of pot advertising after he got tired of seeing a “Got Weed?” billboard as he crossed the Ballard Bridge daily. Such signs, visible to school buses, are not what he envisioned under Washington’s strict legal-pot regulations.

After being asked about Hashtag’s mural this week, Carlyle said he drove by the store on Stone Way North near Lake Union.

“In the big picture it’s vital that LCB is vigilant and relatively strict about interpretation of advertising appealing to children,” Carlyle said in an email. “But I also freely admit I’m deeply uncomfortable with this one because Henry is culturally relevant art that goes to the soul of our community.”

Ballard artist Ryan Henry Ward has painted more than 180 murals, often with fantastical creatures, on building exteriors, school interiors, garages and even vehicles, primarily in Ballard, according to his website. He describes his “whimsical work” as “primitive images with a dreamlike, surreal quality.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if his Yellow Submarine-esque characters had some appeal to children. And the LCB’s Smith said Hashtag was hit with a violation after someone complained about the mural.

“I can absolutely see both sides” of the argument, Carlyle said. “I’ve got four kids. We all want to be responsible.”

But Carlyle noted that Hashtag’s “signage is small” and it’s hard to tell from the street that it’s even a pot store. “It’s like freedom of speech,” he said of its mural. “You have to err on the side of art.”

Bowers said the store purposefully avoided anything commercial in the mural, “as its purpose is beautification” of what he called a rundown building.

He noted that Henry painted a mural on the side of a bar that depicts two walruses holding beers and it has been uncontroversial. It’s flimsy logic, he said, to ban images that might appeal to kids. “Is a child going to walk by, see a fish on the side of a building and then conclude he’s going to smoke marijuana? Do children pound hard liquor if the grocery store looks too nice?”

The Hashtag violation follows stricter advertising regulations mandated by the state Legislature. The new rules took effect in July. They don’t allow stores to have sign-spinners, inflatable advertising, signs that depict marijuana or a store’s products, or signs with movie or cartoon images that appeal to children.

“Several stores will need to revise their signs,” Smith said.

Advertising rules are the most commonly violated, according to Smith. The LCB has issued 178 such warnings or violation notices since 2015, with 32 of those coming since the new rules took effect in July.

An LCB official has contacted Hashtag’s owners to let them know “we would be rescinding the violation notice,” Smith said, and the attorney general’s office would follow up in writing.

“I’m pleased they dropped the violation,” Bowers said, “as I think it’s obvious that artwork should not be censored or regulated by the LCB or any state agency.”

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Published at Fri, 24 Nov 2017 18:22:10 +0000

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Is Legalization Worth a Trudeau Government?

Is Legalization Worth a Trudeau Government?

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have finally made another inch toward cannabis legalization. Including room for “craft producers” by allowing “low-risk offenders” to participate in the industry.

Of course, this all depends on what they mean by “low-risk offenders.”

When I spoke to Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, he said “No one should be excluded from the legal market because of past cannabis use. There should be an expedited record suspension process for anyone with a record due to use/possession.”

He was silent on trafficking charges.

Meanwhile, Justin’s Liberals have given the provinces a bunch of responsibilities, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means going back on their promise of helping out dispensaries by ensuring they won’t be prosecuted for victimless crimes.

And while Alberta’s NDP thinks legalization means more funding for law enforcement, Ontario and Quebec have established their intent to protect the LP-conglomerate and public sector unions by the continued criminalization of all dispensaries and activists who have openly disobeyed unjust laws.

That is, the civil disobedience that has led us to this point.

But pardon me, I’m supposed to neglect and ignore the hard work of all these activists and praise Trudeau for his forward, progressive thinking on cannabis.

As if it were anything but a campaign ploy to get elected.

And was it worth it?

While it’s nice not to have Harper the Drug Warrior in the PMO, you gotta take the bad with the good.

As I’ve written about before, Harper was such a staunch critic of cannabis that he made the civil disobedience of the cannabis culture look like a crusade on par with the civil rights movement.

And he had a masters degree in economics. One of his first acts as Prime Minister was to cut the GST.

Trudeau, on the other hand, believes you (not him or his cronies) should pay your “fair share” and that the economy grows “from the heart outwards.”

With Justin at the helm and promising legalization, anyone “jumping the gun” by growing or opening a dispensary is cast off as a profiteer and opportunist, a mere petty criminal that should wait and be patient for the federal government to give its okay.

And never-mind that a true liberal would have decriminalized right away. Only fascists believe that “might makes right” and that the state dictates morality.

As Mussolini said, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

So was it worth it? Was Justin’s big government legalization worth:

  1. a $10 million taxpayer-funded pay-out to Omar Khadr
  2. higher taxes on the middle and lower classes, while closing the “loopholes” that wouldn’t affect multimillionaires like Liberal Finance Minister Morneau.
  3. So-called “modest deficits” that have impoverished future generations (the same one Justin wants to protect from the “scourge” of cannabis) with no plans to balance the federal budget
  4. Approving pipelines when he said he wouldn’t
  5. Straight-up lying about electoral reform, which many people based their vote on
  6. Reducing his weekly parliamentary sittings from five days to four (wish I could take every Friday off) and only appearing one day a week to answer questions.
  7. Private use of jets for family vacations which has emitted as much C02 as ONE average Canadian per year
  8. Spending his vacation on Aga Khan’s private island. The federal government provides tens of millions of dollars in funding to the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada every year.
  9. Defending mass-murderer Fidel Castro, calling him a “remarkable leader.”
  10. Cash-for-access with Chinese billionaires 
  11. Or the icing on the cake — welcoming back Canadian members of ISIS and offering them a taxpayer-funded “reintegration program.”

Or as one MP put it, “Two Canadians leave for Iraq, one with the Canadian Armed Forces, the other to join ISIS. The Liberals cut support for the soldier and create a new program to welcome the terrorist.”

So was it worth it?

Has a crony-capitalist cannabis legalization been worth having a Trudeau government in power?

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Published at Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:58:52 +0000

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Police Arrest Elderly Couple for Hibiscus Plant Mistaken for Marijuana, Couple Sues

Police Arrest Elderly Couple for Hibiscus Plant Mistaken for Marijuana, Couple Sues

A Pennsylvania couple is suing their local police department and Nationwide Insurance Co. after they were arrested when an insurance agent mistook their hibiscus plants for marijuana, reports the Associated Press.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday by 69-year-old Edward Cramer and his 66-year-old wife, Audrey, claims that an insurance agent showed up at their home in Buffalo Township on October 5th to investigate a fallen tree. According to the Cramers, the agent took photos of their flowering hibiscus plant and sent the images to police.

Two days later on October 7th police arrived up at their home brandishing assault rifles. Believing the hibiscus plant to be marijuana, police arrested the couple and held them for several hours inside a police cruiser. This is despite the Cramers telling the officers multiple times that the plants were hibiscus, not marjijuana.

According to the lawsuit the Cramers are seeking monetary and compensatory damages and court costs. Neither Buffalo Township police nor Nationwide provided comment.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Tue, 21 Nov 2017 09:46:10 +0000

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Hemp Bombs CBD Capsules and Oil: A Perfect Match To Relax!

Hemp Bombs CBD Capsules and Oil: A Perfect Match To Relax!

Friday, November 17th, 2017

CBD Capsules

Recently I had the oppritunity to try out some products from a very reliable company called Hemp Bombs. They offer a range of quality CBD products like edibles and vape E-liquids. Today I will be reviewing some of there “CBD Capsules” and there “CBD Oil”.

I love the pair that these two make! Low in sugar, easy on the stomach, and great tasting. If you would like to improve your quality of life in any way, this would be a great start!

 From Hemp Bombs

All of Hemp Bombs products are sourced from European Hemp with the highest growing standards, free of pesticides, chemicals, and contaminants. The CBD is extracted via supercritical CO2, widely acknowledged as the premier extraction process. Hemp Bombs then has independent lab tests for all of its products, adding another layer of quality control. Hemp Bombs is a consumer-focused and eco-friendly brand with a great selection of CBD products. See how Hemp Bombs can benefit you today.

CBD Oil

What Is CBD?

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a compound that is derived from Cannabis, or Hemp. To be legally compliant, CBD is sourced from the stalks of low-THC, Industrial Hemp. CBD has been found to have many therapeutic effects for its users because of the way it interacts with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, with CB1 and CB2 receptors. Some of the reported benefits are better sleep, pain relief, and overall improvement in mood.

So What Did I Think?

 CBD Capsules

Well let me first start off by saying I don’t take pills. I have a very sensitive stomach. Any multivitamin or pain reliever I swallow is usually a battle. So I avoid taking pills all together usually.

However, Hemp Bombs CBD Capsules  are very gentle on my stomach, I can notice when I am digesting them because I will start to feel more comfortable and relaxed. Some mornings I will have a bit of anxiety, thinking of things I need to do that day can sometimes contribute to these feelings. CBD really helps subside this feeling and helps me start my day off on the right foot.

Also the feeling last throughout the day, although it is different. It is a more subtle feeling. I would say the CBD Capsules really helps enhance your mood. I just feel like things are a little easier to deal with, stress isn’t so “stressful”

I have yet to try them out when I am totally stressing out. Now that I think about it, I have not been stressed much at all ever since I started regularly taking CBD. However I would like to see how they effect someone that is having a “melt down”. I bet these green babies would help quite a bit!

CBD Oil

As for the CBD Oil, I felt it was a great complement to the CBD Capsules. I like to use the CBD Oil at night before bed. It has a very pleasing peppermint flavor, so using  it after you have brushed your teeth is no big deal. If you are the type of person that suffers from restless legs, or insomnia, I really recommend CBD products before bed. I LOVE the quality of sleep I get now. For the past few years I have not be dreaming or remembering my dreams.

Now I dream every night! It’s awesome! Also, If a couple of nights after large meals I had alot of bloating and discomfort. I tried using CBD Oil to help with digestion. On both instances within 15 mins I was feeling great again!

So Give It A Try

So there are many uses for CBD products to help improve your quality of life in many ways. If you are new to the world of medical cannabis and hemp products you can’t got wrong with hemp bombs! I recommend the CBD Capsules for the day and the CBD Oil for the night, the perfect match to relax!

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Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:13:01 +0000

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Southeast Washington county to vote on pot production ban

Southeast Washington county to vote on pot production ban

The Columbian / Associated Press

Southeast Washington county to vote on pot production ban

PROSSER — Officials in a southeast Washington county will consider an emergency ordinance to ban new marijuana production and processing for six months.

The Tri-City Herald reports Benton County commissioners will vote Tuesday on the ordinance in Prosser.

Like a current retail ban, it would only affect new operators. It would not apply to the 47 cannabis producers and 35 processors with physical addresses in Benton County.

Benton County planning manager Jerrod MacPherson says the ban would end after six months unless the county commission acts to extend it or make it permanent.

Benton County has struggled with the unexpected consequences of recreational marijuana for much of the year.

Washington voters approved Initiative 502 in 2012. It passed statewide by 56 percent to 44 percent. Benton County voters rejected the measure.

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Published at Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:28:56 +0000

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MJBizCon cannabis industry conference speakers optimistic about the future

MJBizCon cannabis industry conference speakers optimistic about the future

LAS VEGAS — New Jersey recreational marijuana legalization may be a highlight of 2018; it’s possible but unlikely the Trump administration will crack down on the U.S. cannabis industry; and major mainstream corporations are “not going to miss out” on the business opportunities presented by the burgeoning marijuana trade.

Those are just a few of the highlights from four keynote speakers on the opening day of the sixth MJBizCon, which began Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Some of the presentations conveyed negative overtones, but the general theme was unbridled optimism.

“There are many unicorns to come, and unicorns are those billion-dollar companies,” Jeanne Sullivan — a veteran of the dot-com boom and bust era — told thousands of MJBizCon attendees.

“They are out on this floor. It is your job to find them this week and to talk to them.”

Sullivan singled out companies in the sectors of cannabis testing, regulatory compliance, data analytics and well-established brands that will likely come to dominate future markets as the marijuana industry comes into its own on a national and global scale.

But those are far from the only opportunities, a point driven home by former Apple and Tesla executive George Blankenship, another of the keynote speakers.

Rather, he focused on innovation as the key to reshaping the marijuana business.

“Sooner or later, you’re going to be able to say, ‘Alexa, send me an eighth of flower,’” Blankenship said.

He noted that before the first iPhone launched in 2007, the vast majority of companies dominating the cellphone industry are firms that have lost their market share, such as Nokia and Motorola, to more innovative firms like Apple.

“What we focused on was what we could do, not what we couldn’t do,” Blankenship said while talking about how Tesla entered the Texas automotive market despite immense logistical hurdles.

“I suggest you think about that as you’re defining the rest of your industry. You should be looking around at what’s possible . that could turn into something special.”

That kind of reinvention could be key to survival down the line for many companies already in the marijuana business as well, given some of the points driven home by Sullivan and Marijuana Business Daily vice president of editorial Chris Walsh.

Both speakers predicted that major mainstream companies are going to play a big role in the future of the cannabis trade.

“These companies are not going to miss out,” Sullivan said, referring to the industry entrances of Scotts Miracle-Gro, liquor distributor Constellation Brands and Netflix.

Sullivan said that her advice to those in the marijuana space is to position themselves as best they can for potential acquisition down the road by larger corporations such as those and others from the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

That will enable them to get the most bang for their buck when they find buyers and are able to cash out.

Because, Sullivan said, the bottom line is that “cannabis is here to stay.”

As icing on the cake, the final speaker of the morning — longtime White House correspondent Kenneth T. Walsh of U.S. News & World Report — offered a prediction that vehemently anti-marijuana Attorney General Jeff Sessions probably won’t be let off the proverbial leash by President Donald Trump.

“One thing that politicians do is they keep track of the polls, and the polls are very consistently showing that America has had a tidal shift on marijuana. Most Americans favor legalization,” Kenneth Walsh said.

“Trump is following the polls. Trump is also watching what his people want him to do. If he (gets the sense) one way or the other that they want a clampdown on marijuana or they don’t, I think that’s the direction he’ll go in.”

The journalist cautioned, however, that Sessions is still very anti-cannabis and noted it’s possible Trump could decide to lump cannabis in with other culture-war topics he’s engaged in.

“He’s fully capable of being tough on marijuana if he feels his core constituency wants it that way, but I also think he’s capable of changing that if he feels his core constituency is not with him on that,” Walsh said.

“It’s not high up on his priority list. I don’t think it will be, unless his base openly demands it.”

Information from: Marijuana Business Daily

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Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:08:35 +0000

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