WeedMap's Fraud & Securiy Breach Exposed - Upland Joins Total Ban Bandwagon - MAPP meets

 

weedmap_logo.png la_times.pngLOS ANGELES TIMES
EXPOSES WEEDMAPS

Fraudulent Reviews & Lax Security

 

From Volkswagen cheating on emissions tests to the Ponzi schemes of Bernard Madoff, government and media love to take the bows for protecting the public from greedy, unsavory and corrupt businesses but now they seem poised to add marijuana consumers to their list of people they are willing to go to bat for.

 

mag_glass.jpgOn August 24, the LA Times published an expose of Weedmaps, the multi-million dollar marijuana directory service which helps marijuana consumers find marijuana because after almost 20 years of legal medical marijuana, they still cannot go to their neighborhood mega grocery store to purchase this ancient medicinal plant.

 

Note this investigation was undertaken not by some marijuana magazine or even some muckraking crusading alternative news magazine or media outlet, but by the largest daily newspaper in California and the 4th largest in the nation.

 

weedmap_review.jpgThe LA Times article alleges that “a key feature — user reviews of pot businesses — may be tainted by thousands of potentially fraudulent comments” and “a separate analysis looking at the text in reviews estimates that 62% of all dispensary comments on Weedmaps are fake.”

 

The expose gets even better as apparently anyone who ever submitted a review of a dispensary to Weedmaps had their IP address revealed in Weedmaps’ publicly accessible code which made these outside and independent analyses possible.

 

ip.pngThe LA Times noted “An IP address isn’t enough on its own to definitively identify a user, but the string of numbers could be the first clue to unmask marijuana users. It can be enough to match a physical address, hack into someone’s Wi-Fi network or lure them into a cyberattack.”

 

Weedmaps ceased exposing reviewers’ IP addresses in its publicly accessible code two days after the article was published.

 

To read the entire LA Times article, and it’s a doozy, CLICK HERE.

 

upland_seal.jpgUPLAND JUMPS ON THE
TOTAL BAN BANDWAGON

There’s A Couple Flies in the Soup

 

The City of Upland, which has closed 24 mmj dispensaries in the last two years, is rushing faster than a speeding bullet to enact an ordinance banning just about everything marijuana before the November 6 ballot. They are determined to make it as difficult as humanly and technologically possible to obtain marijuana should Prop. 64 pass. The proposed ban is a total and complete ban on all cultivating, dispensing, transporting, distributing, processing, labeling and testing of marijuana.

 

upland_council_meet.jpgOn August 24, Upland's Planning Commission voted 6-1 to send the total ban to the City Council for an expected vote on September 12. It should be noted that the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported that the “meeting brought out about 30 residents, all who spoke in favor of the ban.”

 

dispensary_banned.jpgIf enacted, Upland will be joining several other IE cities, as well as San Bernardino County, in enacting total bans although San Bernardino County’s does allow for indoor and greenhouse cultivation. The ban would become effective 30 days after it is approved thereby meeting the deadline to be in place should voters pass Prop. 64.

 

There is an interesting insertion to the tale that could toss a monkey wrench into Upland’s total ban as there will be two marijuana initiatives on the Upland ballot that could undo portions of their much touted anti-marijuana scheme. There is the statewide Prop. 64 initiative and there is also a local medical marijuana initiative – a little noticed initiative that ballooned into a major tax case.

 

money_mj.jpgThe medical marijuana initiative included a licensing fee of $75,000 for each of the dispensaries that received one of the coveted licenses. The fee was supposed to cover the expenses the city would incur during the licensing process but the city argued that $75,000 is considerably in excess of what its costs would be and therefore it was a tax and not a fee.

 

upland_petition_turn_in.jpgEven though the petitioners had submitted enough signatures to require a special election the city refused to call a special election claiming the $75,000 licensing fee is a tax and state law requires all new taxes to be voted on in a general election setting the election for the November 2016 ballot.

 

The initiative petitioners took the city to court over their refusal to hold a special election and in a March 2016 decision the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled against the city concluding the city erred when it chose to not hold a special election.

 

Howard-Jarvis-4-color-Logo.jpgConcerned that if the decision allowing the $75,000 to be considered a license fee and not a tax, local and national tax avoidance organizations sent out the alarm that it would create a back door in which local government’s could pass or implement a local tax without putting it to the vote of the people as required by state law. Although the city was ready to throw in the towel, they were given a last minute reprieve when the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association agreed to cover the cost for attorney fees. The appeal of the 4th District Court decision is now headed to the California Supreme Court.

 

Since the local initiative will be on Upland’s November 2016 and the California Supreme Court will not be issuing an opinion anytime soon, whatever the court rules will have no effect on whether the initiative will be on the ballot. Along with Prop. 64, it will be on the Upland ballot.

 

vote_booth.jpgThe Upland voters will help decide whether marijuana will be legal in California as well as totally decide if there will be three dispensaries operating in Upland each paying a $75,000 licensing fee or tax depending on what the Supreme Court eventually decides it should be called.

 

If the local medical marijuana initiative passes, it will overturn the City Council’s ban on dispensaries. If Prop. 64 passes, it will overturn the City Council’s ban on indoor marijuana cultivation including greenhouses.

 

MAPP_Logo.jpgPOLICE, POLITICIANS &
PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Subjects of September MAPP meetings

 

For those of you in the Inland Empire and for those of you who want to make a long drive, all the IE MAPP meetings deliver information you can use in a friendly and informal setting where you meet old friends, make new friends, network and recharge.

Each meeting his its own agenda and speaker – check them out and come to all three.

PALM SPRINGS/COACHELLA VALLEY – Sat. Sept. 3 at 12 noon

10 Rules for Dealing with Police – A powerful instructive video where you learn how to:

police.jpgDeal with traffic stops, street stops and police at your door

Know your rights and keep your cool,

Avoid common police tricks

Prevent humiliating searches.

Norm Stamper former Seattle Chief of Police has described this video as “Legally accurate, realistic and entertaining. This film will prepare you for how policing is done in America.”

A discussion on police practices in the IE, particularly relating to marijuana, will follow.

Meeting takes place at the bejeweled Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon in downtown Palm Springs 92262.

 

JOSHUA TREE/YUCCA VALLEY – Sat. Sept. 3 at 3 p.m. - 42nd Assembly Candidate Greg Rodriguez

greg.jpgInvolved with local issues from schools to human rights, Greg served as the District Director for Congressman Raul Ruiz. With a progressive and forward looking campaign, Greg will present his views on how the state legislature should deal with the many issues facing California today including the issues of medical and adult-use marijuana. For more information about Greg Rodriguez CLICK HERE.

Meeting to be held at the fabled Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.

 

RIVERSIDE/WESTERN IE – Wed. Sept. 7  at 7:30 p.m.– With temperatures a little cooler, the meeting returns to its usual location at the THCF Medical Clinic with featured speaker and honored guest Judge James Gray.

judge_gray.jpgJudge Gray is a retired Orange County Superior Court Judge and was the 2012 Libertarian Party’s nominee for Vice-President. Judge Gray will be discussing the Libertarian Party’s answer to the current presidential conundrum with information on their candidate for President, Governor Gary Johnson as well as how the Libertarian Party’s position on marijuana law reform bodes well for marijuana consumers.

Meeting to be held at the THCF Medical Clinic, 647 Main St., Unit 4D, Riverside 92501.

Punch, milk and a delectable assortment of cookies will be served at all three meetings.

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Hmong farmers at MAPP meet - Assemblyman Chad Mayes meet - Palm Springs & Joshua Tree MAPP meets

read_all_about_it_logo.jpg1. Hmong Cannabis Farmers at MAPP meet in San Bernardino Sat. August 3

2. Meet 42nd AD assemblyman Chad Mayes
Saturday August 6 in Yucca Valley

3. Palm Springs & Joshua Tree MAPP meetings

Western IE MAPP meeting to be held in San Bernardino
with Cannabis Social Soiree Before and After Meeting

As detailed in the last blog, the MAPP meeting on Wed. August 3 will be a truly remarkable event in terms of community involvement, consciousness raising and camaraderie. In California, a number of Hmong farms have been targeted for growing medicinal cannabis – most of the raids have been in Siskiyou, Lassen and Trinity Counties but two weeks ago, a Hmong farm was raided in Riverside County.

 

cultivator_pic.jpgWe need to defend our cultivators whether it is approaching retirement age hippy growers in Humboldt County or the Hmong in Riverside County. Whoever the target of law enforcement is when it comes to the cultivation of medical marijuana, it is of monumental concern because it continues to vilify our sources of marijuana while pushing a system down our throats that is unfair, complex, inordinately expensive and allows the banning of cultivation at the whim of local governments.

 

hmong_farm_view.jpgThese raids are outrageous no matter who is targeted, but to target the Hmong is monumentally outrageous. The Hmong were firmly on the American side fighting the North Vietnam communists alongside American troops with guns, ammunition and training provided by the U.S. military. 30,000 to 40,000 Hmong perished during that war and when the war was over, the Hmong were seen as traitors and had to flee their mountainous homelands for their lives.

 

hmong_refugees.jpgOver 250,000 came to the United States with almost 100,000 settling in California. As they were farmers in Vietnam, they became farmers in the United States and some of them have farmed cannabis in California. What has happened to the Hmong in Northern California and now Riverside will be the focus of the MAPP meeting this Wed. August 3.

 

At the meeting you will meet Mai Vue who has been working closely with the Hmong community in Trinity, Shasta and Lassen Counties and has made presentations on their behalf before city councils, county boards and community organizations. She never expected to be working here in the Inland Empire until her parent’s farm in Riverside County was raided two weeks ago, but she is now.

 

Mai__Peter__Mai_Lee_and_Peng-1.jpgThe raid of Mai’s parent’s farm has sent shockwaves throughout IE Hmong farmers and they fear who will be targeted next. Mai’s parents, Peter and Mai Lee (pictured her with Mai’s younger brother Peng) will be at the meeting along with several other Hmong farmers. You will have the unique opportunity to hear their stories and to personally meet them.

 

Stefan_Borst-Censullo.pngAlso in attendance will be their attorney Stefan Borst-Censullo discussing their legal conundrum, what is being done to defend them and how this might affect other Hmong farmers and medical marijuana cultivators in general.

 

This is a meeting that is sure to be as inspiring as it is alarming where not only will you hear about a most grievous situation, but be part of a discussion on how to develop a more rational and clearheaded commercial cultivation system in the Inland Empire.

 

In case you didn’t see the correction I sent out to last Wednesday’s newsletter, the date for the meeting is Wed. August 3. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. As this is a cannabis welcoming location, we are for the first time ever having pre-meeting socialization at 7 p.m. and an after-meeting soiree at 9 p.m. so bring some of your finest bud and relax and enjoy while you learn and participate. Light refreshments will be served.

 

DSC04203_(2).JPGThe meeting takes place at 1180 W. Highland Ave, San Bernardino 92405 conveniently located right off the 215 Freeway. Invite your friends and family to join you at the meeting.

 

Send me an email or call me at 760-799-2055 for more information. For a flyer about the meeting CLICK HERE.

 

Look forward to seeing you at this most audacious event.

Meet Assemblyman Chad Mayes

Sat. August 6 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

If you live in the 42nd Assembly District, don’t miss this opportunity

to meet your state assembly member and lobby for medical marijuana issues he will be voting on

 

chad_mayes.jpg42nd District Assemblymember Chad Mayes is holding a Morning Constituent Discussion from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the The Roost at Hawk’s Landing restaurant at 55100 Martinez Trail, Yucca Valley 92284. The stated purpose of the meeting is for constituents to “Share Your Thoughts on Legislative and Community Issues.”

I will be going and I encourage everyone in the 42nd District to attend. There are number of medical marijuana tax issues that will be voted on in the Assembly in August as well as a critical asset forfeiture reform bill. If we do not let Assemblyman Mayes know our positions on these issues, then who will? Please join me at this important meeting for voters in the 42nd District which covers 29 Palms, down 62 to I-10 and then down the Coachella Valley to LaQuinta.

 

They are asking that people planning on coming RSVP at 760-346-6342. I can assure you that you will not be turned away if you do not RSVP, but it will give them an idea on how many people to expect so that adequate seating and whatever refreshment they are providing will be available.

  Palm Springs & Joshua Tree
MAPP Meetings Sat. Aug. 6

Palm Springs/ Coachella Valley MAPP meeting - Saturday, August 6 at 11:30 a.m.

Crystal Fantasy is presenting their monthly Medical Cannabis Education Day with showings and events. Our MAPP meeting is part of the Medical Cannabis Education Day. Topics to be covered will include information on the meeting with Assemblyman Chad Mayes, an analysis of Democratic and Republican conventions and positions on marijuana legalization, the raid on IE Hmong Cannabis farmers and somewhat alarming new research into second hand marijuana smoke.

Meeting to be held at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262.

Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree MAPP meeting - Saturday, August 6 at 3 p.m.

Topics to be covered will include information on the meeting with Assemblyman Chad Mayes, an analysis of Democratic and Republican conventions and positions on marijuana legalization, the raid on IE Hmong Cannabis farmers and somewhat alarming new research into second hand marijuana smoke.

Meeting to be held at the fabled Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252

hmong_meeting_full_page_rev2_2.jpg

 

  

 

 

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The Hmong, Cannabis & Riverside Co. - A Tragic Tale Twice Told

The story of the Hmong people and their tragic role in Vietnam makes the raid last week of a Riverside County Hmong medical marijuana farm a stinging indictment of the never ending American war machine both on foreign and domestic soil.

 

riverside_co_sheriff.jpgThe Riverside raid will be the focus of the Wed. Aug. 6 MAPP meeting at our new meeting location with Hmong family farmers in attendance to tell their story of their flight from Vietnam, their precarious existence as refugees and the resurrection of their lives in the United States and Riverside County.

 

Hmong_people.jpgIn the beginning of the 19th Century the Hmong people moved from China to areas that became Laos, North Vietnam and Thailand. Settling in the mountainous areas of these countries, the Hmong continued their agrarian culture as farmers producing a variety of crops including cannabis which was used for rope, clothing and other textiles.

 

hmong_village_hillside.jpgThe Hmong became embroiled in the CIA’s secret war in Laos as their farms and villages in Northern Laos and North Vietnam were seen as critical by the U.S. military for providing safe passage into North Vietnam to fight the Viet Cong.

 

The Long Cheng airbase in Laos became the focal point of the U.S. effort to defeat the Communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese in Laos. So critical to the American war effort was the help of the Hmong that William Colby, Director of the CIA during the Reagan administration, credited the Hmong with saving the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers as they blocked the North Vietnamese from their efforts to extend the Ho Chi Minh Trail into Laos for several years.

 

Hmong_soldiers.jpgTo fight the Communist Pathet Lao and Communist North Vietnamese, the CIA provided the Hmong with guns, money and training.

 

hmong_opium.jpgDuring this time the American military began to crack down on the use of marijuana by troops in Vietnam which resulted in an increase use of heroin by civilians and soldiers. Opium had become the primary cash crop of the Hmong, so to help them the CIA provided the Hmong with American UH-1 helicopters to transport the opium from their mountainous farms to distribution centers in Laos and South Vietnam.

 

30,000-40,000 Hmong died fighting on behalf of the Americans in Northern Laos. The last American plane and the last U.S. military personnel left Laos in June 1974. In their place, over 40,000 North Vietnamese troops arrived to assist the Communist Pathet Lao in the control Laos.

 

hmong_refugee.jpgAlthough a limited number of high ranking Hmong were evacuated by the United States and many fled to Thailand, thousands were left behind where the Pathet Lao publicly declared in May 1975 their intent to “wipe out” the Hmong people.

 

Beginning in 1976, many Hmong people began their flight from Thailand’s refugee camps to the U.S., France, Australia, French Guyana, and Canada. In 1979 over 10,000 Hmong were resettled in the United States with numbers increasing every year to a peak of 27,000 in 1980. The numbers decreased to under 5,000 per year through the mid-1980s but began increasing again in 1987 exceeding 10,000 in 1988 and leveling out to about 5,000 per year through 1994.

 

hmong_airport.jpgToday over 270,000 Hmong reside in the U.S. with over 90,000 residing in California, 66,000 in Minnesota, 50,000 in Wisconsin and significantly smaller populations in North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado, Georgia, Alaska, Oklahoma and Oregon.

 

hmong_citizen.jpgMany Hmong, especially their children born in the U.S. have become U.S. citizens and have assimilated into American culture. However many Hmong maintain their traditional livelihood as farmers as well as their cultural practices. About 2/3 of Hmong in the U.S. continue to practice the traditional animist Hmong religion and shamanism with the remaining 1/3 adopting Christian and other systems of belief and non-belief.

 

In California some Hmong families have, along with their vegetable farms began producing medicinal marijuana. However although the American government was willing to assist them in the production of opium for their support of the American war in the Vietnam, it now seems the government will arrest them for their production of medicinal marijuana in California.

 

Hmong farms have been raided in Trinity, Siskiyou and Lassen Counties and last week a Hmong Farm was raided in Riverside County by the Riverside County Sheriff’s office Special Investigations Unit.

 

after_1_plants.jpgbefore_plants.jpgThe farm held the recommendations for over 1,500 patients and was growing one hundred plants in each of two greenhouses and one hundred plants in an outdoor grow.

 

The Riverside raid in particular as well as the raids in other countries will be addressed at the Wednesday, August 6 MAPP meeting by Mai Vue, a Hmong medical cannabis activist whose parents operated the farm in Riverside that was raided.

 

Mai’s parents are expected to attend the meeting as well as their attorney Stefan Borst-Censullo who will discuss the legal issues they are facing.

 

Due to the excessive heat expected in August and the lack of air-conditioning in the meeting room of THCF Patient Center, the Wednesday August 6 MAPP meeting will be held at a new location in San Bernardino at 1180 W. Highland Blvd., San Bernardino CA 92405.

 

cannabis_friendly_locale.jpgThis is a cannabis friendly location with smoking permitted in the back patio area and vaporizing permitted indoors. This place is so cannabis friendly that although the meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. as usual there will be pre-meeting socialization at 7 p.m. and immediately following the meeting at 9 p.m. Medical marijuana will not be available for sale, so along with your mmj recommendation, please BYOC (Bring Your Own Cannabis) for your enjoyment and the enjoyment of others.

 

chair_folding.jpgRefreshments will be provided. The only problem is that there is not enough chairs to accommodate everyone expected to attend, so if you are coming and have some chairs you can bring with you, that would be much appreciated. Please send an email to lanny@marijuananews.org and let me know the number of chairs you will be bringing.

 

There will be more information about the Hmong, the raids on their farms and this very special meeting in the next newsletter sent out on Sunday, July 31, but if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me by sending an email to lanny@marijuananews.org or calling me at 760-799-2055.

 

 Like this blog? Then subscribe to Lanny's FREE marijuana email newsletter. To subscribe CLICK HERE.

 

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The New Marijuana Schism Between Democrats & Republicans

difference.jpgMJ_QUESTION_MARK.jpgDEMOCRATS

vs.

REPUBLICANS

The Ganja Divide

 

Along with climate change, income inequality, campaign finance reform, gun control, immigration and reproductive rights, marijuana has become another issue that dramatically separates the Democratic Party from the Republican Party.

 

dnc_convention.jpgrnc_convention.jpgAs the parties prepare for their anointing national conventions, they have busily been hammering out their respective platforms. Marijuana has always been absent from these platforms but with 25 states allowing medical marijuana and four states allowing legal marijuana plus at least four states with legalization initiatives on the 2016 ballots, even for the risk adverse, marijuana is an issue that can no longer be ignored.

 

As a consequence there has been battle royals over including marijuana in both party platforms and whereas the Democrats went for it full tilt boogie, the Republicans decided that discretion is the better part of valor.

 

sanders_supporters.jpgWith 12 state Democratic Parties calling for marijuana law reform and five determined Bernie Sander’s representatives on the 15-member Platform Drafting Committee, it was all but certain that the party would for the first time ever address the marijuana issue in the party’s national platform. The question was how forthright would the platform plank be?

 

Over the objections of the Sander’s delegate members who wanted a full-throated legalization plank, what came out of the Platform Drafting Committee was quasi-milk toast, but it was still pretty direct in its support for ending prohibition.

 

“We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research to be done on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without certainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African-Americans far outstripping arrest rates among white despite similar usage rates.”

 

Supporting decriminalization, additional research and especially the part about allowing legal businesses to exist was a pretty far reaching step for a very first time marijuana plank in the Party’s Platform, but the times they are changing. The Sander’s delegates wouldn’t take milk toast as an answer and planned an end run when the draft platform came before the entire 187 member Platform Committee on Saturday, July 9.

 

david_king.jpgWhen the marijuana plank came up for discussion before the full committee, the Sander’s delegates introduced an amendment that would have removed marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. David King, a lawyer and Sanders delegate from Tennessee, argued that marijuana was added to the act — giving the drug the same legal classification as heroin — during a "craze" to hurt "hippies and blacks."

 

With some committee members arguing the amendment went too far and could undermine efforts by states to decriminalize marijuana, a compromise was offered that did not call for the removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act but rather called for the removal of marijuana from Schedule 1 and then went on with a call for “a reasoned pathway for future legalization.”

 

Rescheduling marijuana out of schedule 1 into another schedule is not the answer especially if it is put in schedule 2 but the word “legalization” was now in the plank and that seemed to satisfy enough Platform Committee members that it passed 81-80.

 

mark_pryor_2.jpgNo surprise that a victory that narrow resulted in a fight breaking out whether the voting was done properly but it all came to a civil conclusion when former Arkansas U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, a high-powered Clinton delegate declared “we withdraw the objection.” Although the opponents of the new plank were not thrilled that the earlier plank had been replaced, they obviously felt it was not worth the effort and expenditure of political capital to try and restore it.

 

The marijuana amendment adopted by the platform committee is much shorter and more direct and now reads:

 

"Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization."

 

dem_mj_2016.jpgObviously the Democrats see having a marijuana plank as something that will bring them far more votes than they would lose so they are not in the least bit concerned about having a pro-marijuana plank in the National Platform. Further the amended plank might be seen as a bone that will satisfy some Bernie Sander’s delegates making them more willing to compromise on what many Clinton Democrats see as far more substantive issues that have polarized the party such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and busting up the “too-big-too-fail” banks..

 

The Democratic Party for the first time ever now has a plank in the party platform actually using the word “legalization,” so where do the Republicans stand on this issue?

 

The answer, unfortunately, is that they don’t stand anywhere – they have avoided it like a mouse avoids a cat. They are so totally flummoxed by the issue that even medical marijuana is still taboo.

 

eric_brakey.jpgAt the GOP Platform Committee meeting on July 11, a platform plank supporting medical marijuana was introduced by Eric Brakey, a legislator and delegate from Maine. So saddled with Cheech and Chong mythology the introduced platform plank only dealt with non-smokeable medical marijuana.

 

repub_mj_platform.pngConsidering that polls show up to 80% of Americans support allowing a doctor to recommend marijuana to their patients, it would seem almost a no-brainer to support the plank, but brains seems to be in short supply. From claiming smoking marijuana causes mental illness to connecting marijuana use with the heroin epidemic, every negative marijuana stereotype abounded. It was reefer madness on steroids with one delegate claiming that young boys from divorced families become mass murderers because they smoke pot.

 

Proponents of the plank stated that opponents misunderstood the scope of the proposal and pointed out that marijuana significantly improved the lives of patients with a variety of debilitating conditions and helps children whose conditions cannot be controlled with any other medication.

 

Alas their reasoned arguments were not to carry the day. The first voice vote was declared to close to call, but a second vote sealed its doom.

 

At least the Republican Platform doesn’t take a position opposing legalization. I guess the Republicans are willing to tolerate marijuana as long it’s kept in the closet.

 

From immigration to climate change, there will be lots of cards being played. Marijuana is a new card, but just how willing and to what extent the Democrats are willing to put it into play remains to be seen.

 

800_lb_gorilla.jpgswep_under_rug_2.jpgWhether the marijuana card is played and/or whether there is a marijuana plank in either party’s platform, cannabis now has a seat at the table. It may not be the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but it can no longer be swept under the rug.

 

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It Was Kind of Like A Gun Show - Only Better - Pics Included

chalice_logo.jpgWe've Come

A Long Way Baby

 

A better example of how far marijuana law reform has come in the last decade would be hard to find then what transpired at the Chalice Cup Festival held this weekend at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville.

 

DSC04122.JPGHundreds of booths selling every kind of marijuana product imaginable – flowers, edibles, hash, tinctures, concentrates – still no suppositories though. Consumption was rampant – people smoking, vaporizing, eating and dabbing everywhere.

 

Every kind of smoking accessory was available as well vendors selling the big stuff – CO2 extractors, resin presses and more. One would think it was all perfectly legal – which it is not of course but it sure seemed to be what with San Bernardino Co. Sheriff officers amiably strolling through the aisles where all this was going on.DSC04126.JPG

 

I spoke with one as he walked past our booth with a big smile on his face waving as he strolled by. I asked him if he was having a good time and he said he most certainly was. I asked if it was OK for him to have a good time here while on duty and he replied it most certainly was and he was looking forward to hearing the Wu Tang Clan in concert that evening.

 

DSC04136.JPGFestivals like the Chalice Cup are technically illegal as no one is licensed by anyone to sell anything. Unlike the food purveyors in their food trucks at the Chalice Cup most of the marijuana sellers at the Chalice Cup are not licensed where they are located and none of them are licensed in San Bernardino County because San Bernardino County doesn’t issue any licenses.

 

DSC04140.JPGIt’s kind of like the Gun Control Act gun show loophole that allows unlicensed dealers to sell any and all kinds of guns to individuals without any background checks or fulfilling any registration requirements. I guess what happens at the Chalice Cup and all the cannabis festivals is a kind of Marijuana Show Loophole from licensing and retailing requirements that would be required just about everywhere else.

 

Of course there is another big difference – gun shows sells things that are specifically made for killing living organisms such as people. Marijuana doesn’t kill anyone – in fact it might make a person less likely to kill someone with a gun. Maybe there should be a requirement that all gun owners must also possess a medical marijuana recommendation.

 

DSC04132_(2).JPGGetting back to reality, marijuana festivals could be in for a rude awakening when California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) goes into effect in 2017. It is problematic whether these festivals can continue as there is no license for a medical marijuana festival nor is there any specific authority for local governments to allow such festivals.

 

Unlike MMRSA, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) initiative specifically allows local governments to permit on-site consumption. Whether that can be so broadly interpreted as to allow for these anything goes marijuana festivals remains to be seen.

 

DSC04158_(2).JPGMost likely either under MMRSA or AUMA, if a local government wants to charge an outrageous fee for a permit to hold a marijuana festival with laissez fair controls on the sales and consumption of marijuana, it is unlikely that the state will intervene to prevent it. This is especially true since the Riverside Decision and the newly acquired undying reverence state government seems to have towards local government authority when it comes to marijuana.

 

Local government may even score a new source of revenue by requiring all the vendors who want to sell marijuana at the licensed festival to obtain temporary licenses. Maybe the state could jump on this money bandwagon too and require all the vendors to obtain a temporary state license as well.

 

DSC04114_(2).JPGIt is interesting to note that there are so many of these festivals going on that for many vendors it is a full time mmj circuit as they go from mj festival to mj festival in their fancy RVs – much like the vendors who are on the Native American art show or gem and mineral show circuits. Although the state and local governments don’t issue licenses to sell rocks at those shows, there will be probably be an annual mj festival license issued by the state. Come on – stranger things have happened.

 

Tens of thousands attended the Chalice Cup and most were under 30 – it was definitely a Millennials party. There was hardly anyone there over 40, let alone my age and I was probably the oldest person there. The only time I saw anyone I suspected of being around my age was at the Wu Tang Clan concert when this elderly gentleman came up to where I was and stood there for a while. I think he might have thought it was the senior citizen section.

 

DSC04141.JPGFor those of us who grew up during the worst excesses of reefer madness, to see and participate in an event like the Chalice Cup is nothing short of one of the most extraordinary experiences of life. If you have not been to one of these events, it definitely has to be added to your bucket list. I think I will contact some of the upcoming marijuana festival sponsors and suggest that they have a discount for Senior Citizens.

 

I have often noted that our meetings are like Senior Citizen meetings with the total lack of any young people. Maybe if more of us went to their events, maybe they would come to ours.

 

DSC04178.JPGIn conclusion on my day at the Chalice Cup, I would like to note that several studies have recently documented that people who use marijuana weigh less, have a lower BMI and a smaller waist than people who do not use marijuana. This was certainly evident in the young people attending the Chalice Cup. Although slightly under one-third of Americans under the age of 30 are considered obese or overweight, I would venture to guess not more than 10% of the people at the Chalice Cup would qualify in either category. They were over-whelmingly a well-proportioned crowd exhibiting all the vim and vigor characteristic of healthy young adult mammals.

 

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Increasing & Decreasing Police Power Over You

bill_of_rights_void.jpgGutting and Strengthening 4th Amendment's

Search and Seizure Provisions

Stop Seizing Property from Innocent People

 

4th_amendment_copy.jpgThe War on Drugs has really been a War on Constitutional Rights as it has significantly expanded the power of police by ominously undermining your fourth amendment rights.

 

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

 

There are two significant 4th Amendment issues that are in play right now. This week the Supreme Court issued a 5-3 ruling significantly increasing the ability of police to stop and search you (not good) while in California you have a chance to roll back the ability of police to seize your property and keep it (very good).

 

Let’s start off with asset forfeiture as that is something you can actually do something about right now.

 

i_want_your_uncle_sam.jpgAsset forfeiture has got to be one of most flagrant violations of your 4th Amendment rights as it allows police to seize and keep assets that they only suspect have been involved in criminal activity. Although you are entitled to protections under criminal law, your property is not.

 

Whereas you need to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to be convicted of a crime, your property needs only to be suspected of a crime to be permanently forfeited to police. As a consequence police can take and keep your money, car, home or other personal items without even charging you with a crime.

 

This activity is called Policing for Profit and totally distorts police law enforcement priorities as they are financially rewarded for catching a drug dealer but not for catching a murderer, rapist or burglar.

 

Although California has passed legislation reforming asset forfeiture law, local law enforcement has gotten around those reforms by joining with federal law enforcement officials in a system called “equitable sharing” in which local police get up to 80% of the value of seized property. Evidentiary laws are far less rigorous at the federal level and thus are seen by local police as a very profitable way to circumvent California’s more stringent state laws.

 

California-asset-seizure_cop.jpgAs a result, state and local law enforcement agencies have increased asset forfeiture seizures by nearly 250% over a 12-year period. Between 2000 and 2013, $696 million of private assets were seized by law enforcement through asset forfeiture laws. In 2014 more property was permanently seized from owners by asset forfeiture than by burglary.

 

holly_mitchell.jpgFortunately we have an opportunity to end this heinous and unfair practice. State Senator Holly Mitchell (D-30th SD) has sponsored SB 443 which would require a conviction in order for seized assets to be retained and requires police to use state asset forfeiture laws instead of federal asset forfeiture laws in most cases.

 

sb_443_conviction_required.jpgSB 443 will bring an end to Policing for Profit in California. The bill has passed the Senate and now awaits a vote on the floor of the Assembly which is expected this week. You can help this bill get passed into law by contacting your state assembly member and asking them to vote Yes on SB 443.

 

It is easy to do – you don’t even have to know who your state assembly member is. Just CLICK HERE to go to an ACLU website where you can easily send a message to your state assembly member. It won’t take you 60 seconds to do it and it will even tell you who your assembly member is.

 

email_elected_official.jpgWith police putting extreme pressure on legislators to vote against SB 443, the vote is expected to be close, so your assembly member’s vote can make the difference. If you are concerned with the 4th amendment right for American citizens “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” then send your assembly member a message to support SB 443 – just CLICK HERE.

 

There’s was a great oped in the OC Register about SB 443 – to read it and learn more CLICK HERE and then if you still haven't sent a message to your state assembly member to Vote YES on SB 443 - do it right now by CLICKING HERE.

 

dorothy_being_searched.jpgUsing an Illegal Search Against You

 

SB443 is a major step in the right direction, unfortunately this week the U.S. Supreme Court took a big step in wrong direction.

 

In a 5 – 3 decision, the court ruled that a police officer’s illegal stop and search of a man on the street did not prevent evidence obtained from the illegal search to be used against him.

 

Writing for the court’s majority, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the stop was a result of a “good-faith mistake” and that the illegal stop was, at worst an “isolated instance of negligence.” Try using that in court as argument why you shouldn’t be convicted of drunk driving because you made “a good-faith mistake” and that the incidence was just an “isolated instance of negligence.”

 

jsutice_sotomayor.jpgDissenting Justice Sonia Sotomayor took strong exception to that reasoning writing that this case allows police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants even if you are doing nothing wrong.

 

The dire constitutional consequences of this decision is succinctly summarized in Justice Sotomayor’s own words.

 

“By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.

 

justice_searched.jpgWe must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are isolated. They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.”

 

Right on Justice Sotomayor. It is interesting to note that the justices supporting the decision were the court’s five men and the three justices dissenting were the court’s three women.

 

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Complex, Unfair, Expensive - Look Who Is Going to Tell You All About It

 

mmrsa.jpgMMRSA Is

Complex, Unfair and Expensive

New Chief of the State Agency Implementing

MMRSA is Coming to Riverside and San Diego

to Speak with YOU!

Be Heard Online and In-Person

 

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) is going to have a major impact on mmj patients. Although it can be made to work, it is unfair, complex beyond all reason and is positively guaranteed to keep the price of marijuana exorbitant – some growers might approve of that!

 

banned_mj.jpgFurther it allows cities and counties to continue banning mmj dispensaries and even ban ALL mmj cultivation by patients.

 

waching_docs.jpgIt cracks down on doctors issuing “excessive” mmj recommendations most likely making recommendations more expensive and harder to obtain.

 

Now the legislature could have made MMRSA much more patient friendly by requiring cities and counties to allow patient cultivation, allowing for large scale cultivation, creating a simpler and less onerous licensing system and so on, but they didn’t.

 

reefer_mad_politico.pngtax_weed.jpgIt’s become obvious that our legislators are no longer besotted by reefer madness views on the dangers of marijuana to our community’s health, but they are sure wedded to the almighty cannabis dollar.

 

This week the legislature passed by a resounding and required 2/3 majority two mmj tax increases.

 

SB 987 puts in a place a 15% excise tax on all mmj sales by licensed distributors. The Senate passed it 27 to 10.

 

It was almost a party line vote with all Democrats supporting it and six of the 10 Republican opposing it.  If the four Republicans who voted for it had followed the party line of no increased taxes and voted against it, it would have failed. This bill now goes to the Assembly.

 

elephant_and_donkey_standing.jpgAB2243 assesses a weight tax of $9.25 per ounce on bud, $2.25 per ounce on leaves and $1.25 on each plant sold. It passed 60 to 12.

 

One Democrat voted no, one Democrat abstained and 10 Republicans out of 28 voted no. This bill now goes to the Senate.

 

Since both bills passed their legislative chamber of origin by the required 2/3rd of the each chambers members for any bill increasing taxes, it is likely that they will also pass by that same margin in the chamber they are now going too. We could hope that in the Senate that one of those four Republicans that broke ranks with the Republican Party line opposing all tax increases gets back in-line and votes against AB2243.

 

Don’t hold your breath for Governor Brown to veto either bill.

 

Although a number of patients feel MMRSA is unconstitutional, a lot of us thought banning collectives under a city’s zoning laws was also unconstitutional. Whether it is or not, no case has been filed and even if one was filed tomorrow it would take a minimum of two most likely three years to reach the Supreme Court.

 

MJ is now all about money and not about reefer madness in the California legislature. As reported in last week’s newsletter, the Assembly Appropriations committee shot down the MJ DUI bill that if a person had 5ng/ml or more THC in their blood that they are presumed to be legally impaired.

 

That 5ng/ml threshold is nonsense and although I am sure law enforcement boogeymen were present predicting blood soaked mayhem on California highways if the mj DUI bill was not passed, our legislators did not buy into it.

 

expensive_mj.jpgWhat they did buy into was getting more money for the state from mmj making an already unaffordable medicine for many unaffordable for even more. Criminals sure like that part.

 

It looks like mmj patients are stuck with a complex and expensive cultivation and distribution system, pricey and multifarious local and state licensing fees, local taxes and now new state taxes. State license fees are not known yet, but they are coming too.

 

I sure wouldn’t want to be the person who has to explain it all to mmj patients, but the state is paying a yearly salary of $150,636 to do just that.

 

lori_ajax.jpgLori Ajax is the new Chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. She was the former Chief Deputy Director of Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Considering that medical marijuana advocates did not want regulatory power placed under the Alcoholic Beverage Control, as originally proposed, it’s kind of ironic that the new Chief comes from the agency they didn’t want.

 

When asked in an April 7 interview with the Los Angeles Times “Is there a legitimate reason for people to get medical marijuana? Ms. Ajax replied:

“Unlike regulating alcohol, I'm not a user of marijuana so I am not familiar with how that affects people or what it does. But from the outreach I've done since I got here, it appears there is a medical need and I'm tasked with doing this and I'm going to do it.”

 

She does seem determined to do it. Ms. Ajax spoke at ASA’s Citizen Lobby Day morning training session and as was reported at the last MAPP meeting by Mitchel, one of the IE patients who attended, she seemed to be “sincere and concerned with patients.” I totally agree - she really does seem to be saying the right things at this stage of the game.

 

She is making a tour throughout the state to meet with patients and hear their concerns and answer their questions about this new agency. She makes no bones about having all the answers – she hasn’t been there two months and actually that is what she was hired to do – come up with the answers.

 

prop_215_state_capitol.jpgThis tour is a good example of her commitment to come up with the best answers possible to a piece of legislation that is totally oblivious of fulfilling the requirements of Prop. 215 which called on the legislature to develop a “plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”

 

Ms. Ajax is coming to Riverside and San Diego this week and you have the exciting opportunity to hear her and provide your input on how MMRSA should be implemented in Riverside.

 

San Diego– Thursday, June 9 – CalTrans Building, Garcia Room

4050 Taylor Street, San Diego, CA 92110

Register here for the 11:15am-12:30pm session

 

Riverside - Friday, June 10 - Riverside County Administrative Center,
Board Chambers, 1st Floor,
4080 Lemon St, Riverside, CA 92501

Register here for the 10:15-11:30am session

 

reserve_seat.jpgAs you can see they are asking people to register to guarantee a seat. When you click on the above link for the meeting you want to attend, it shows the number of seats available dwindling so it might not be a bad idea to reserve a seat. It does ask for your name which some people might be uncomfortable providing. I guess you could put in a fake name, but I am fairly certain that putting in a fake email address could be a problem.

 

The Riverside facility is pretty large – like 500? – and I find it hard to believe that 500 people can be attracted to a marijuana event in which there is no marijuana, so there might very well be seats available but it wouldn’t hurt to make a reservation.

 

Whether you attend or not, the BMMR wants to hear from you with an online survey asking some pretty good questions that should guide them in developing the regulations. So take a couple minutes and take the survey by CLICKING HERE.

 

Sunshine.JPGMedical Marijuana Patient and

Long Long Time MAPP member

Art Exhibit in Morongo Valley

                                Everyone Invited

 

You are cordially invited to attend the Art Show opening of Misty Sunshine on Saturday, June 11 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Covington Park Gallery in Covington Park, 11165 Vale Dr., Morongo Valley 92256. Sunshine will have on display over 45 of her original art works.

 

 

ramons_hideaway.jpgSunshine has been a member of MAPP for over 15 years going back to the time when we were still holding our only monthly meeting at the Cathedral City Library. Sunshine now attends the monthly MAPP meeting in Joshua Tree with her husband and just as long a time member Red. Both Sunshine and Red would look very forward to meeting old friends and making new ones at this very special event.

 

Now for many of you, going up to Morongo Valley is an hour or more drive, but make a day of it and visit the world famous Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve right next door. It is a pristine Desert Willow Oasis and is wonderful to walk through especially on a hot summer day.

 

big_morongo.jpgThe main trail is only .65 miles and is a genuine eco-friendly boardwalk that takes you not just through the Oasis but actually onto and over the Oasis. It is fully handicap and wheelchair accessible. There are more trails to hike for the more adventurous. For more information on Big Morongo Canyon Preserve CLICK HERE.

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Reefer Greed & Sanity at CA Legislature + MAPP Meets

mark_twain.jpg“No man's life, liberty, or property are safe

while the legislature

is in session”

Mark Twain

The great American author might have added medical marijuana to the list of endangerments as can be seen by the raft of bills being considered by the California legislature. From taxes to smoking in an apartment, everything seemed to be on the table and most of it was not palatable to medical marijuana patients.

 

mj_regulation_sign.jpg20 years after California’s landmark Prop. 215 passed, the state legislature finally got around to passing comprehensive legislation known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA). This obnoxious piece of legislation sought to enact statewide regulations for the cultivation, distribution and use of medical marijuana. Replacing for the most part the mostly incongruous SB 420, MMRSA is unfair, expensive and unwieldly. As its implementation in 2017 approaches, mmj patients are going to have to learn to live with it.

 

It would be wholly unrealistic to expect anything good would come from MMRSA and not surprisingly most of the bills introduced in the 2016 legislature showcased just how bad MMRSA was and how the legislature could make it even worse.

 

DSC03971_(2).JPGJumping into the fray were over 150 medical marijuana patients and advocates from throughout California at Americans for Safe Access’s annual Citizen’s Lobby Day in Sacramento. Although ASA’s intrepid multitude were outflanked by law enforcement and their lackeys in the League of California Cities, legislators from both sides of the aisle were lobbied on 14 bills that will affect medical marijuana patients.

 

Some of the bills were fairly innocuous such as AB 26 requiring employees of medical marijuana dispensaries to receive competency education. Others were helpful such as SB 1116 which would allow the Board of Equalization to waive the 10% penalty imposed on dispensaries because they cannot write checks and must pay in cash.

 

15__mmj_tax.jpgHowever, most were neither innocuous nor helpful, but were downright awful. AB 2243 would impose a weight tax on the amount of marijuana purchased and SB 987 would enact a 15% excise tax on marijuana purchases. This would increase the overall tax burden on the legal purchase of medical marijuana to 30% or more.

 

The absolute worst bill for medical and recreational marijuana users was AB 2740, a DUI bill which would place a per se impairment on anyone driving with 5ng/ml or more THC in their blood – a level based on absolutely no scientific evidence and so low as to make it impossible for almost anyone to drive long after all effects have dissipated.

 

I along with four other IE residents attended and with the other 150+ attendees visited our state legislators’ offices. Although all bills were on the table, the main ones lobbied on were the tax bills and the DUI bill.

 

debbielannyvictor.JPGIE residents Debbie Reimers, Victor Michel and myself meet with the Legislative Directors of IE Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-42nd AD), State Senator Jeff Stone (R-28th SD) and State Senator Jean Fuller (R-16th SD). In all three cases we were welcomed warmly and treated with respect. All three staff members were of the opinion that their boss would not support the tax increases, but were far more circumspect regarding the DUI bill and not opining on how their bosses would vote.

 

gavel_hammer_mj.jpgWas the lobbying by us and the other attendees successful? Hard to tell but on Friday, the Senate and Assembly Appropriation Committees gavels fell on some of the bills while others were anointed for further consideration.

 

The Appropriate Committees hold these sessions, known as Suspense Hearings, twice during each annual legislative session to decide whether or not bills that have a financial impact of $150,000 or more will proceed to a vote on the floor. Bills sent to the floor for a vote have a chance of moving forward towards adoption. Bills held in committee are dead for the year.

 

hospital_bed.gifIt should come as no surprise that the Committees approved and moved along the legislative process the two bills that would increase taxes on medical marijuana, but they killed the DUI bill. Perhaps they were concerned that if the DUI bill got passed, people would consume less marijuana which would lower the tax money taken in from the two bills that increased taxes.

 

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), the legalization initiative that appears likely to be on the November ballot has similar tax increases and if it passes, the taxes in AUMA would supplant the taxes in these two bills so there would not be an additional tax on medical marijuana. AUMA does toss a bone to mmj patients by eliminating the 8.5% sales tax for mmj patients that have the state issued ID card.

 

cannabis_vs_prescription_pills.jpgMany feel that since no sales tax is assessed on prescription medication that no tax should be imposed on medical marijuana either. Although that seems eminently fair, the problem is that only doctor prescribed medications are free of taxation. Over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen are still taxed. Marijuana is not a “prescribed’ medication – it is a “recommended” medication. State law only exempts “prescribed” medications and that is why OTC medications and marijuana pay sales taxes.

 

dea_reschedule_mj.jpgThis conundrum could be resolved by moving marijuana from CSA Schedule I (no accepted usage) to Schedule II (high potential for abuse, can be prescribed but strictly controlled) as is being advocated by some. If that happened then doctors could write prescriptions and no sales tax would be imposed.

 

pharma_cash_cow.jpgOf course that means only licensed pharmaceutical companies likes Pfizer and Merck could produce and distribute marijuana. This would guarantee continuing high prices plus the requirement to get a doctor’s prescription which would keep the medicine expensive and more difficult to obtain as doctors are kept under the watchful eye of the DEA if they write too many prescriptions for Schedule II drugs.

 

Growing your own will also most likely be prohibited if marijuana is put in schedule II. For those who do cultivate their own, penalties could be significantly higher. Methamphetamines are on Schedule II but you can get way longer fines and jail times for its production then marijuana which is on Schedule I.

 

two_thirds.pngThe one silver lining in the cloud with the usurious excise and weight tax bills is that a 2/3rd’s vote is required for the passage of any tax increases which is a fairly high bar. Republicans are supposed to be opposed to any tax increases. Hopefully they will feel that this opposition would also apply to marijuana, but whether it might be seen as a “sin” tax and hence appropriate for taxation even by Republicans remains to be seen.

 

Other bills passed by Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees include AB 1575 which makes relatively neutral changes to MMRSA’s licensing and regulation requirements and AB 2516 which creates a new “cottage cultivator” license for smaller-scale cultivators.

 

eye_out.jpgThe tax votes are going to be a close so it would be a good idea to undertake a bit of personal responsibility in preventing these taxes from happening by keeping any eye on these newsletters for the appropriate time and method to contact your state legislators.

 

DSC03847.JPGGet Involved

Protect Your Access

Stay Informed

at June MAPP Meetings

 

There could be no better way in the IE for you to affect state and local laws affecting medical marijuana patients and marijuana law reform advocates than to attend one of the three MAPP meetings being held in the first week of June. All three meetings feature presentations, discussions, networking and milk and cookies so take a couple hours and come to one of the meetings below.

 

Riverside/Western IE MAPP meeting – Wednesday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m.

non_violent_offenders.jpgvonya_quales.jpgOn November 4, 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, a law that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors. The savings from reduced incarceration costs will be invested into drug and mental health treatment, programs for at-risk students in K-12 schools, and victim services. Individuals with a prior felony record for many low-level, nonviolent offenses or who are currently serving time may qualify to change their record or their sentence to a misdemeanor. Is it going as planned or is there problems as many police agencies are claiming? Vonya Quarles, Executive Director, Starting Over an organization will address the issue Is Proposition 47 Working? and will present the latest evidence plus provide information on how Starting Over is making Prop. 47 work.

 

The meeting takes place at THCF Patient Center, 647 Main St. Unit 4D, Riverside 92501. Everyone is invited to also attend the Brownie Mary Democratic Club meeting preceding the MAPP meeting at 6 p.m.

 

Palm Springs/ Coachella Valley MAPP meeting - Saturday, June 4 at 12 noon

Crystal Fantasy is presenting a Medical Cannabis Education Day with special showings and events. Our MAPP meeting is part of this special day with information on new research on the therapeutic benefits and uses of marijuana.

 

Meeting to be held at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262. Everyone is invited to also attend the Brownie Mary Democrats meeting preceding the MAPP meeting at 11:30 a.m.

 

Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree MAPP meeting - Saturday, June 4 at 3 p.m.

I will be presenting an illustrated presentation on ASA’s Citizen Lobby Day along with an analysis of the future of state medical marijuana legislation with an in-depth discussion on my meeting with 42nd AD Assemblyman Chad Mayes.

 

Meeting to be held at the fabled Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.

 

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Clinton vs. Trump on Marijuana

clinton.jpgtrump_joint.jpgCLINTON VS. TRUMP

ON MARIJUANA

Is It Tweedledee or Tweedledum?

 

 

It seems all but certain that the Presidential nominees for the Democrats and Republicans will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Not exactly everyone’s favorite candidate but seems like they were the favorites of enough to be in the presumptive position of being their party’s nominee.

 

The position of both of these candidates on marijuana issues is somewhat illuminating and I do mean somewhat. Neither has taken a defining stand and have issued a few issue obscuring statements. The Marijuana Policy Project published a candidates’ guide early this year and if you want to see what they found out about Clinton and Trump CLICK HERE.

 

clinton_trump.jpgThe big question here is how will these two Presidential-Want-A-Bes use this issue to advance their candidacy to the American voter and how will the marijuana issue effect their candidacies.

 

The answer to the above questions lies a lot with the media and what issues they chose to focus on. Will it be Clinton’s email imbroglio or Trump’s four bankruptcies? Maybe the media will actually look into their stance on issues that really matter – don’t hold your breath on that one.

 

college_app_co_wa.jpgIf they do, marijuana has never made it on that list. Even though Colorado and Washington had legalization measures on their ballot in 2012, the question was most notable because of its complete absence. Even though California and at least four other states will most likely have legalization measures up for grabs, it may still be treated as the skeleton in the closet that no one wants to see.

 

war_on_drugs_panel.pngThere has never been an issue of such magnitude and cost in both terms of human lives and dollars spent than the War on Drugs and marijuana prohibition that has been so marginalized, trivialized and ignored. $50 billion a year, millions in prison, thousands dead, constitutional rights trampled and so much more and yet the size of a candidate’s hand gets more coverage – way more coverage.

 

Even if it continues to be treated as the bastard child in the attic by the media and the candidates themselves, the marijuana legalization issue could still play a decisive role in determining who wins the Presidency. The issue of marijuana legalization is a make or break issue for those in favor of ending marijuana prohibition but really isn’t for those opposed to legalization. Proponents will tend to overlook the position of a candidate on many other issues if they are in favor of legalization. Not so much for those opposed to legalization as other issues usually trump marijuana legalization.

 

swing_states.jpegWe are not talking here of large percentages of the voters but in the neighborhood of 2 to 3% at most. In most races 2% is not enough to make a difference but in those all-important swing states 2% can be the different between victory and defeat. Swing states like Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida are too close to call and a shift of 2 to 3% can make turn a winner into a loser and a loser into a winner and the outcome of the Presidential election.

 

Right now neither Clinton nor Trump have a definitive positon on the issue that is going to cement the loyalty of marijuana voters. Whether the candidates issue defining position statements will have to do with the media and with pressure we are capable of exerting on them and the media to make this issue an issue.

 

war_on_drugs_cartoon.jpgThe candidates are aware of the significance of this issue to a small, but significant number of voters, but talking positively about marijuana remains scary because of the ferocious opposition of law enforcement and government agencies whose lifeblood depends on the continuation of the War on Drugs and the $50 billion dollars taxpayers fork over every year to pay their six-figure salaries. So the candidates talk criminal justice reform and other not-quite-so-threatening rhetoric but never get into the specifics of just how criminal justice reform will be achieved.

 

The only major party candidate who has really come out strongly and specifically on our side is Bernie Sanders who has introduced a bill in congress to remove marijuana completely from the Controlled Substances Act. Ms. Clinton has only said she supports medical marijuana and that marijuana should be moved from Schedule I to Schedule 2 to in order to facilitate research. Donald Trump has not said anything about removing or rescheduling. The key to ending marijuana prohibition is the complete removal of marijuana from the CSA and only Sanders gets it.

 

bernie.jpgSanders has also stated he would vote for the legalization initiative in Nevada and just last week said "If I were a citizen of California, I would vote to legalize marijuana.”. Unfortunately Sanders doesn’t vote in Nevada or California and they are not betting on him in Nevada to win the Democratic nomination either.

 

bernie_youth_vote.jpgSanders is going to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia with a lot of clout with all the delegates he has accumulated and more importantly the overwhelming support of young voters which the Democratic Party absolutely needs if it is to win the Presidency and especially retake control of the U.S. Senate. I doubt however if he is going to use that clout to push the party and Clinton in more supportive direction on the marijuana issue. Income inequality, campaign finance reform and climate change are at the top of his list and as much as I would like to see marijuana at the top, I cannot in good conscious argue that marijuana law reform is more important than those.

 

From the few statements on marijuana made by both Clinton and Trump, it seems like they will both continue the Obama administration’s essentially hands off policy in states that have enacted recreational and/or medical legalization as long as the states have strong and effective state regulatory programs. With MMRSA and possibly AUMA in place, California will have those strong and unfortunately onerous regulations in place.

 

Federal police agencies have so traumatized Americans over the last 75 years with their reefer madness stories of murder and mayhem that people are understandably cautious in voting for any laws allowing implementation of marijuana distribution. Clinton and Trump are but reflections of this squeamishness, so maybe we shouldn’t be too harsh on them, but they want to be our leaders and they should not be timid about leading on this issue – especially considering that polls show upwards of 55% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

 

We are not the 99% but we are the 2 to 3% and the majority of the 99% now supports us.  We can make the difference in who occupies the oval office come January 2017.

 

johnson_gray.jpgI would be remiss if I did not mention former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and our own Judge Jim Gray who are seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for President. These two are without any doubt stalwarts of ending marijuana prohibition and the War on Drugs. With the dissatisfaction of millions of voters with the choice of either Clinton or Trump, these two are certainly a viable alternative.

 

It is a shame and speaks how rigged our electoral system is that these two do not get the recognition they and the American voter deserve.

 

vote.jpgSpeaking of elections I would like to put in a plug for my candidacy to represent the 42nd Assembly district on the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee – the grassroots of the Democratic Party in Riverside County. The 42nd District runs from Hemet to Beaumont and then down the I-10 Freeway to LaQuinta. If you are a Democrat and live in the 42nd Assembly District, you will find my name in the list of candidates for the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee. You can vote for up to six candidates, but it is perfectly OK to vote for only one and I would sure appreciate being at least one of your votes.

 

For more information about my candidacy and to obtain a flyer to distribute to other voters in the 42nd Assembly District CLICK HERE. Thanks for your help and support.

 

UNGASS.jpgUN Conference

on Drug Policy

Major Accomplishments

or Major Disappointment

on Internet Radio Show

 

The long awaited and much anticipated UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Drugs came in with a bang and went out with a whimper and you can hear all about the bang and the whimper on the newest edition of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense at www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews. Drug law reformers were looking to use this Special Session to develop a new direction using harm reduction protocols and doctors, nurses and social workers for dealing with drugs rather than the criminal justice system with their cops, attorneys and prison guards.

 

The cops won.

 

krawitzz.jpggeringer.jpgWhat lead up to the Special Session, what happened at the Special Session, what were the results of the Special Session and what comes next after the Special Session will be discussed and reviewed by Michael Krawitz, Director and Founder of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access and Dale Gieringer, Director of CaNORML.

 

Krawitz and Gieringer were in attendance at the Special Session participating with hundreds of other NGOs and drug law reform advocates. Hear their eye-witness reports on the ground-level action and interactions as Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense TAKES YOU THERE. To listen to the show now CLICK HERE or go anytime 24/7 to www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews.

 

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Warning: New Taxes & DUI - Is MMJ the New Cash Cow?

the_scream.jpgMARIJUANA CONSUMERS
TAKE IT ON
THE CHIN AGAIN

Taxes, More Taxes
& More Damn Taxes

Making Us Into Criminals Again

 This is not good news as two bills taxing mmj and one imposing a DUI per se on drivers have successfully passed their first committee votes on their way to the Senate and Assembly floors.

 

cash_cow.jpgSenate Bill 987, the Marijuana Value Tax Act sponsored by Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), imposes a special 15 percent statewide tax on medical marijuana sales.

 

This tax would be in addition to any currently existing state and local sales taxes which, depending on the jurisdiction, are between 7.5 and 10%. Some cities and counties (and the number is growing) impose an additional local tax of up to 15% on medical cannabis. If this tax is passed mmj patients would be paying between an additional 25% to 35% in taxes on the purchase of marijuana at the retail level. Ouch!

 

AB 2243 by Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) would impose a medical marijuana cultivation tax similar to the way alcohol is taxed, which depends on the potency of the product. The proposed tax would be $9.25 per ounce on medical marijuana flowers, $2.75 per ounce on leaves, and $1.25 on each immature plant sold to licensed distributors in the state. Double Ouch!

 

dale_testify.jpgDale Gieringer, Director of CaNORML, testified in opposition to both bills at legislative hearings stating "At this time when providers already face burdensome new costs under the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), it is unwise and inappropriate to impose any new state tax on medical marijuana.”

 

McGuire's tax would be collected when sold to consumers, whereas Wood's proposed cultivation tax would be collected at the distributor level. In either case, the tax would be borne by the consumer. If both taxes go into effect, many medical marijuana patients will turn to the criminal market to obtain their marijuana where prices could be half what the retail market would be forced to charge.

 

The Medical Marijuana Regulatory and Safety Act (MMRSA) enacted by the legislature last year to regulate medical marijuana did not include additional taxation on retail sales or cultivation. With the additional fees and other requirements required by MMRSA there is no need or justification for the imposition of any additional taxes or fees on medical marijuana.

 

Since a 2/3 vote is required to approve any new tax, the enactment of these two tax measures is not a fait accompli especially considering that the Republican minority is supposedly opposed to any new taxes – whether that includes taxes on marijuana remains to be seen.

 

driving_car.jpgAdding insult to the injury of new taxes is AB 2740, a bill introduced by Assembly member Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) which would make it illegal for anybody with five ng/mL or more of THC in his or her blood to drive.

 

This an absurd threshold for impairment that has no basis in science. Unlike a litany of scientific studies that show a nexus between an alcohol blood concentration of .08% and impairment, there is not one scientific study that shows any correlation between blood concentrations of THC and impairment. This bill is being pushed by law enforcement as a means to unfairly target marijuana consumers and by anti-marijuana drug warriors as a way to frighten uninformed voters to vote against marijuana legalization.

 

Our roads must be kept safe, but such arbitrary limits are not the answer. It is the same old same old – just as marijuana prohibition laws create hundreds of thousands of criminals but do nothing to make our communities safer, per se marijuana impairment laws criminalize innocent citizens and do nothing to make our highways safer.

 

THC can remain in a person’s system for weeks after its effects have worn off. Regular medical marijuana consumers can have active levels far in excess of the limit established in this bill, without affecting their ability to drive safely and coherently.

 

driving-on-marijuana-stats.jpgStudies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found there is no difference in the accident rate between drivers who use marijuana and drivers who don’t so there is no fire anywhere that needs to be put out. Our state legislators should cool their cop-inspired fever and wait for UC San Diego’s $1.8 million research project to try to find a more accurate way of determining impairment in drivers who have used marijuana.

 

Even though these bills have been vigorously opposed by Americans for Safe Access, CaNORML and a handful of other mmj advocates, every one of these bills have been passed by at least one legislative committee on their way to the floor for a vote. The fact that they have gotten as far as they have once again testifies to the impotence of mmj patients and providers to influence the decisions of our legislators.

ca_stte_capitol.jpgTime for Us to Go to Sacramento

Since mmj patients and providers are not providing any significant funds to ASA, CaNORML or other mmj organizations to effectively lobby our legislators, it is up to us to do the influencing. A most excellent and effective way is on the horizon and that is for you to take a couple days of your valuable time to participate in ASA’s Annual Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, May 23 in Sacramento.

 

Citizen_Lobby_Day_at_Capitol_2015.jpgEvery year hundreds of patients and providers descend on the state capitol during ASA’s Citizen Lobby Day to visit and lobby their elected state legislators to let them know directly that their constituents, the people who vote for them, expect them to protect their access to mmj even if that means defying the all-powerful cops and their puppets in the League of California Cities.

 

Other than throwing money at our elected officials for their re-election campaigns, the absolute most effective action an individual can undertake to convince state assembly members and senators of the merits or demerits of a bill is to visit/lobby them in their offices in Sacramento. They know you will be either voting for or against them and that as activist in your community you will be influencing the vote of many other people in his or her district. They are well aware of this and they do pay attention

 

IE_patients_at_capitol_(2).JPGThanks to Americans for Safe Access (ASA) the opportunity to do this in a united and effective action is made possible by their annual Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento. Every year MAPP has brought 15 or more patients to participate in ASA’s Citizen Lobby Day.

 

This year the Citizen Lobby Day is on Monday, May 23 where you can join with ASA and more than 300 patients, advocates, providers, industry works, and other stakeholders in face-to-face talks with lawmakers and regulators about patients' rights, taxation, and commercial regulation. There will be a continental breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on L Street, right across the street from the State Capitol Building where you will be a part of a special legislative briefing and citizen lobbyist training.

 

Special guest speakers include:lori_ajaz.jpg

Lori Ajax, newly appointed Chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation
An-Chi Tsou, Senior Policy Advisor at the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation
Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access
Don Duncan, California Director of Americans for Safe Access

After the legislative briefing and lobbying training you will receive lobby day materials for your visits to the offices of your state Senator and Assembly member that afternoon. ASA will do all the work to schedule an appointment for you to meet with your State Assembly member and Senator to talk about legislation that affects you, your family, friends and community. 

 

meetng_official.pngResearch shows that an in-person visit from a constituent like you is six times more likely to influence an undecided lawmaker than a visit from a paid lobbyist. That means you have a lot of power to shape the future of medical cannabis in California.

 

In addition to the bills mentioned above, there are over a dozen more medical cannabis bills pending in the State Legislature right now. If you do not talk to your representatives about these bills, they will only hear from medical cannabis opponents, law enforcement, and others who do not have your best interests in mind.

 

hyatt.jpgAfter the California Citizen Lobby Day is finished, participants will have a chance to mingle with lawmakers and each other at a special VIP Reception, while enjoying a panoramic view of the Capitol from the 15th floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The reception is always a highlight of the lobby day.

 

This year’s Citizen’s Lobby Day in Sacramento on Monday, May 23 is going to be an informative, eventful, effective and thoroughly enjoyable. As we have done over the past four years, we have rented a van that will hold up to 15 people for the trip to Sacramento.

 

If you would like to join us for the trip to Sacramento, we will be leaving from the THCF offices in Riverside on Sunday, May 22 at 9 a.m., arriving in Sacramento around 6 p.m. We have reserved rooms at a nearby motel. After checking in, we will go to dinner.

 

After dinner there is an optional Comedy Show at a nearby club that ASA will be participating in and for those who want to attend, we will get you there and back to the motel.

 

On Monday morning, we will go to the Hyatt Regency Hotel where the Legislative briefing is being held in the morning. From there you will go to the State Capitol where appointments will have been made for you to meet in the offices of your state assembly member and state senator.

 

After that we will attend the Closing Reception leaving Sacramento around 7 p.m. and returning to Riverside around 2 a.m. Tuesday, May 24.

 

The cost for the trip is $95 and includes transportation, one night’s lodging and all registration fees. The lodging is based on two people to a room. If you want to have your own room, that would be an additional $35. A continental breakfast is served Monday morning at the legislative briefing, but all other meals are on your own.

 

scholarship.jpgScholarships are available for low-income patients and advocates. These are limited and in order to provide as many scholarships as possible, if you can provide part of the costs, it will allow us to provide more scholarships.

 

If you wish to drive up on your own, but want to stay with us and have your registration paperwork filed and fees paid would be $65 per person based on two people to a room.

 

van_party.pngAsk anyone who has ever gone on this trip before – it is educational, empowering, enlightening and extraordinarily FUN. To reserve your seat in the van and a room or just a room if you are driving up on your own, send an email to lanny@marijuanenws.org and I will send you a reservation and, if requested, scholarship form to fill out and return. Don’t wait too long – only 15 can experience the Sacramento or Bust Party Van.

 

SACRAMENTO TO PHILADELPHIA

Philadelphia is on the other side of the U.S.A. from Sacramento but like Sacramento where decisions are made that affect the entire state of California, decisions made there at the Democratic National Convention July 25 – 28 will affect the entire country and the world.

 

dnc_convention2.jpgI would like to be one of the very very small cogs in that decision making process by being elected as a delegate to the National Convention and represent the interests and well-being of everyone in the 36th Congressional District with special emphasis on improving the health and well-being of the community through the re-introduction of cannabis.

 

And I need your help. Not asking for money – just a bit of your time on Sunday, May 1 for the Bernie Sanders Delegate Selection Caucus in Palm Springs.

 

bernie.jpgYes, I am running as a Bernie Sander Delegate and yes I recognize it isn’t likely that he will get the nomination, but although he may not win, his ideas and policies are certainly winning. Win or lose, he will win delegates at California’s June 7th primary and I would be so proud to be one of those delegates that goes to Philadelphia and votes for him and his ideas about not what will make America great again, but what will keep America great and make it greater.

 

The 36th Congressional District encompasses the area beginning in the west with Beaumont and extending down the entire Coachella Valley with the cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Indio and ending on the eastern edge of Riverside County at the city of Blythe. If you live in the District I hope you might be able to take some time on Sunday, May 1 to come on down beginning at 2 p.m. to Canyon Estates Clubhouse, 2323 South Madrona Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264.

 

Yes you must be a registered Democrat in the 36th District to vote BUT you can register right there at the Caucus Selection if you are not registered to vote and if you are registered as Not Affiliated with Any Party, you can register to join the Democrat Party right there. You can also switch your Party affiliation if you have a mind to do so.

 

sign_waving.pngWhether you live in the 36th Congressional District or not, I can still use your help as I need sign holders and wavers encouraging people to vote for me. Many of the people coming to vote only have one candidate in mind but will be able to vote for more than one. A large showing of supporters for my candidacy promoting the issues of marijuana legalization and ending the War on Drugs will engender a significant number to vote for me as well.

 

For a flyer about my candidacy to email to your friends and print out and distribute, please CLICK HERE. Whether you live in the 36th District or not, I need your help. If you can come out to Palm Springs on Sunday, May 1 beginning at 1:30 p.m. please send me an email at lanny@marijuananews.org. Make my day and help me get to the city of Brotherly Love and the 2016 National Democratic Convention.

 

florida.jpgWHERE THE MAJORITY

DOESN’T RULE

MMJ in Florida on
Internet Radio Show

 

The just released podcast of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense at www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews goes to Florida where it seems the majority doesn’t rule. In 2014 Florida had a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot. Even though it obtained 58% of the vote, Florida law requires an initiative to obtain a super-majority of 60% to become law and it remains medically illegal.

         

As recent polling shows that over 70% of Floridians now support the legalization of Medical Marijuana, the proponents are back at it again and they just might upend Florida politics as usual in the process.

 

The United for Care Campaign is run by People United for Medical Marijuana (PUFMM) – an organization formed by Kim Russell, whose grandmother – ill with glaucoma – would not break the law, despite the medical benefits that marijuana could offer her condition.

 

Kim is still very involved working alongside PUFMM Chairman John Morgan, one of the state’s most influential attorneys and activists for the rights of individuals.

 

ben_pollara.jpgThe show’s guest is Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, the organization working to approve medical marijuana in Florida. A veteran in Florida political affairs and advocacy, Ben has been involved in Democratic politics in Florida since 2002 and serves as a member of Hillary Clinton’s National Finance Committee. Ben is a partner at LSN Partners, a consulting firm in Miami, FL that provides advice and counsel in the areas of government affairs, government procurement, business development, and communications.

 

What happened in 2014 and what was learned to conduct a campaign in 2016 will be discussed. The likelihood of success and the role that a medical marijuana initiative will play in Florida’s Presidential campaign as well as other elective offices in the November election will be examined.

 

News and views rounds out the podcast, so to hear the show right now CLICK HERE or go to www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews any time, any day, any where.

MAY 2016 MAPP MEETINGS

Circle the date on your calendar of the meeting nearest you

Topics and items for discussion announced in next newsletter

Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. Riverside/Western IE MAPP meeting - THCF Patient Center, 647 Main St. Unit 4D, Riverside 92501. The Brownie Mary Democratic Club meeting takes place at 6 p.m. before the MAPP meeting. Everyone is invited to attend both meetings.

 

Saturday, May 7 at 12 noon – Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting - Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262. The Brownie Mary Democratic Club meeting takes place at 11:30 a.m. before the MAPP meeting. Featured speaker is J.R. Roberts, newly elected Palm Springs City Councilman. Everyone is invited to attend both meetings.

 

Saturday, May 7 at 3 p.m. - Morongo Basin/Joshua Tree MAPP meeting at the Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.

 

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