Several States Considering Legislation To Legalize Adult Cannabis Consumption

Washington, DC: Lawmakers in several states are anticipated to debate legislative measures this year that seek to legalize and regulate the adult use and retail distribution of marijuana.

To date, lawmakers in six states – Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont – have either pre-filed or introduced legislation to legalize marijuana consumption for adults.

On Friday, members of Hawaii’s House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony regarding House Bill 699, which seeks to tax and regulate the commercial production, sale, and use of cannabis by those persons age 21 or older. House Chairman, Rep. Joseph Souki, is sponsoring the measure. Nearly six out of ten Hawaii voters believe that cannabis should be “taxed, regulated, and legalized for adults,” according to a statewide poll published earlier this month. Only 39 percent of respondents opposed the idea. You can read NORML’s written testimony to the committee here.

According to a January 2013 New Hampshire poll conducted by the firm Public Policy Polling, 53 percent of respondents favor “changing (state) law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.” Only 37 percent of respondents opposed the plan.

In Vermont, a 2012 survey of respondents in 148 Vermont cities throughout the state reported that one out of two Vermonters support legalization.

On Election Day, 55 percent of voters in Colorado and Washington approved citizens’ ballot initiatives legalizing the adult consumption of marijuana and authorizing the state to license individuals to commercially produce and sell it.

Nationally, nearly six out of ten Americans support legalizing cannabis, according to a just released Public Policy Polling automated telephone survey of 1,325 voters, commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project.

“Calling for an end to marijuana prohibition is no longer a political liability; it is a political opportunity,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “Never in modern history has there been greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with cannabis prohibition and replacing it with a system of legalization and regulation. Politicians who are seeking to amend this failed policy are aligning themselves with the majority. Those who do not are siding with an ever decreasing minority of their constituents.”

50 thoughts

  1. This should come to a head at the federal level soon. There is no way WA and CO can set up business from legal grows all the way to retail outlets without a major response from the feds. What a cool time in history to live!

  2. NY is one of the most liberal states in the country and is strapped for cash too. Why aren’t they on board? I’m not talking about the bill MM bill pending that just allows for Cancer and MS patience but full on legalization like Colorado and Washington.

  3. Canada is more important than Mexico when it come to marijuana. Why? Because most Canadians want marijuana legalized, and they have very little violence problems. They are trying to bring it into reality as I type. When showing a model country, Canada stands far above Mexico. NORML should see what it can do to aid Canada in helping it along in its venture of wanting to legalize marijuana for the entire country. Once Canada approves Legalization, then America will have to move at the Federal Level. If Canada wins, then America Wins. Game over!

  4. The Fed will probably fight this to the bitter end, given the institutionalized paranoia about all things cannabis. However, a surprise epiphany could occur and a few strategic swipes of the pen at the federal level could end this harmful, costly, absurd, counter productive and irrational prohibition overnight.

  5. dman,

    about a month ago Gov Cuomo chastised the NY state legislature. “If you want a raise in pay next year, you will legalize marijuana. Get it done!”

  6. If the epiphany can be construed as politically beneficial to one’s party, you might see movement. Politics is a popularity game. It reminds me of high school in its juvenile nature. Candidates are afraid of straying from their party lines or beliefs and stepping out on a ledge for fear of loosing. If they loose, chances are diminished for their party in the next election. Dem’s tell you they are for it during election cycles only to hem haw over the issue when push comes to shove. Republicans are just f’ing mean. They have no compassion what so ever. Ignoring science and putting their head in the sand, hoping it goes away. Even Right leaning media finds the crappiest stories to run instead of stories of folks that have been helped. Shame on you FOX. They only want to put Cannabis in a negative light. I’m not voting on these party lines next cycle. I’m sick of it.

  7. Remember when this nation actually had leaders? Presidents like FDR, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and JFK who supported the will of the people with the best interests of the nation at heart? All we have had since JFK are accomplished professional liars. The Obamahahaha Administration has accomplished what they want without care to what the people desire. Obamamhahaha still hasn’t brought the troops home; he has promised openness in the Federal Government which you will never see. All that comes out of Washington, DC is just so much stuff that cows make out of grass.

  8. If this wants to go thru they have to figure out how to regulate illegal alliens in the country if we can get a grip on mexico nd not have them crossin the border all the time we cld sell it instead of them growing it on our soil nd brining it back to mexico to sell it I say Up goes the FENCE its more jobs nd wld make it so we cld control the market better.

  9. For those who skimmed or didn’t bother to read this article or the original HuffPost article: you missed the point.

    I know a LOT of hateful people leap at the chance to say something nasty about the President, but if you READ the HuffPost article, it’s clear that the enforcement war has been waged by US Attorneys… If you’re not really “into” politics, then you probably don’t know that many current SENATORS are former US Attorneys.

    US Attorneys sometimes go on these personal crusades to have something to sell to their constituency when they make a run for office. Just because Obama is President doesn’t make EVERY injustice under the law his fault. Stomping your feet and pouting like petulant children just lets those who understand the complexity of legalization know how POOR your understanding of the issue is. Our current President is fought tooth-and-nail on EVERYTHING he tries to do. If Obama rescheduled cannabis in the CSA, the GOP would jump all over it, the DOPE posters would be everywhere, and he’d have four years of political impotency ahead: no immigration reform, no gun control reform, and yes, even CANNABIS would fall by the wayside if Obama rescheduled imprudently. The 2016 GOP candidate, given the right climate, could win an easy victory if the GOP spends the next four years revitalizing the WAR ON DRUGS for the ulterior motive of winning back the White House.

    They would do it. You know they would do it. They’re on TV right now saying that background checks on gun sales “threatens liberty”.

    Cannabis won’t be immune from GOP hyperbole until national support for legalization is safely above 60% and opposition is below 30%. You may not like it (me neither!) but that’s reality.

    If you REALLY want change, don’t look to Obama. Get up off the couch and start a conversation with someone who doesn’t already know that cannabis is safer than alcohol.

  10. Reas slower, no if the GOP did anything close to what you describe, it would another nail in their coffin, and a big one at that.

    Even 53% of folks that vote Republican think weed should be legal. Fighting it, and that harshly, will get them nowhere except more people will leave their party.

  11. Skunkyfingers, Canada is also important in setting up price and trade because of the excellent bc buds. It will eventually happen. If it isn’t successful in the next 2-3 yrs, it wont happen for probably five years. Its going to be a slow process. There are to many facets to be exploited and profited from by the gov. They will get the max they can, hopefully canada legalizes first and keeps prices fair, setting the market and becoming a leader. This will limit the U.S. Gov from taxing to highands raising prices.

  12. go pa. go do this, contact your local officals,this is a tough state with alot of republicans. We need to keep pushing them. Happy days are here again.

  13. Not only will it be a revenue producer but it will also so every state a lot of money in prison expenses… Do you know how many people are in jail for having, selling, or producing pot? Alcohol is much worse for you yet its prohibition was short lived. We are going on a century of this, why? Because alcoholics are angry and voice their opinion obnoxiously while potheads are happy and just say fuck it.

  14. Governor Tom Corbett and his republicans are still fucking up Pennsylvania.

    Their getting some near-term profits by auctioning off liquor licenses and privatizing the state liquor system. He’s also putting state employees out of their jobs. There is no repeat revenue, no steady revenue stream, yet under one version everyone still had to buy their liquor wholesale from the state anyway, with the state running statewide distribution. If cannabis were legal in Pennsylvania, those state liquor employees could be rolled over into state cannabis employees. The Pennsylvania state store system dates back to the days just after Alcohol Prohibition was lifted. So with that being considered archaic nowadays, that system is perfect for cannabis immediately after Cannabis Prohibition is ended.

    There’s no telling how many jobs Corbett’s privatization of the Volkseigenerbetrieb for liquor (it’s a German term)will create in the private sector. If he does both the liquor system privatization and cannabis regulation taken over by the state (instead of the criminal element) he avoids being the cause of people losing their jobs, good jobs, union jobs.

    Corbett and his type of Republicans will never legalize cannabis unless you leave them no other choice. The state is hurting for money something bad. He’s got some half-baked idea about pension reform so he can screw even the police out of getting their due from their state pensions, not just public employees.

    Keep running the economy into the ground until cannabis is legalized.

    Senator Daylin Leach’s pre-filing needs to get traction real quick. Cannabis prohibition is a government program that is an utter failure, and as such is getting canceled, de-funded as soon as possible. If not, well, why should the investor class pump money into new consumer products, new innovations for which they recoup their investment capital plus profit for the undertaking, all the while spreading the wealth around by creating jobs for people who will pay taxes and spend more in the state’s economy and create a steady cash flow in revenues if the government is still of the mindset that it has money to waste on cannabis prohibition?

    Keep the world economy teetering on the edge of a recession until cannabis is legalized. I want it to be traded in U.S. dollars around the world.

    Unfortunately, world treaties are still an excuse, an impediment when it comes to cannabis, while the U.S. ignores others, as evidenced by manufacturing evidence to go to war and torture and other shit the U.S. does that violates international treaties and conventions. Much of the hashish in Europe comes from Muslim countries. Fact. Legal cannabis is a way for the U.S. NGOs to follow the money trail so make sure it’s not being used to buy stuff to kill westerners, namely Americans. Afghanistan could use the hard currency to build it’s infrastructure, and still have enough opium production to flood Iran with it and with heroin to control them if they get uppity about nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Hey, that’s the way the U.S. operates. Britain controlled China with opium from India. I think that’s the wrong way to go with Iran with heroin, and they’ve got to find a better way.

    Remember, the only way they’ll legalize is if you leave them no choice, so keep running the economy into the ground until they do.

  15. Growing up being taught that to use cannabis would take everything and destroy it, was just another process to deliever bad information. I will say that keeping people scared is a great way to keep the lies going, however…..How is it that “you’ll never be anything if you use cannabis ” turned an average black young adult into a eager young man who would have ambition to later becaome the President of the United States? I believe the United States government is loosing the edge on how we live and is more concerned on how they want us to live , that there no longer focused on where we are….meaning ….”have you ever been in a conversation with someone and been so into what your saying that you turn around and the person you were talking to isnt even there anylonger?” Well I believe this is what has happened to us as ” The People” Regulation? Sure this will be interseting….Even the 2 States that voted on making it legal for 21 and older also created a new “task force”? to regulate. Was there something wrong with the police that were already on the pay roll , or is it that they needed a new sheriff in town? I hope im not mis leading my point, but in the wake of all this its got me thinking if your already guilty of breaking the law before you ever get the new laws in working order that means the old laws were never changed at all.

    I just dont think that going around acting like, because it has became legal that people sholud be violated with new laws that pin point them as violators before any wrong is done. “Pull over… we think up the road , ya see , your going to run the red lite on 22 and watson , ya see , so were going to go ahead and write this ticket , ya see , and search your vehicle, ya see ,”

    I mean Everything i have read and seen, this is the out look i see starting to develope. i know things should be regulated but if that is ever going to happed correctly then both sides need to have an open mind.

    Just because it is legal to have sexual relations with a partner, …..listen nobody wants to drive out and see the both of you in public enjoying it…..even if we like it as well. And to the you Mr President…..How is it your administration wont budge on the old policy of cannabis because it will destroy us as a whole but yet you went from a street child to a lawyer and now the ultimate “The President of the United States” all while using cannabis. Your ambition wasnt taken from you….hard work can exsit with cannabis.
    Looking foward,,,,stepping backwards….
    is only a way of life because of poor management.

    Things can change, we just need a starting point. and letting go of laws we know dont work has got to be the first step……
    Take another look at the
    “CSA” of the 70’s.
    Ignoring this situation is not going to fix it.
    Thanks for reading

  16. @ Read Slower: you are right of course, that MANY legislators are former prosecutors of some sort or another, and are beholden to their law enforcement brethren. They are corrupt to their very core in this manner (and to be sure politicians in general are known to be beholden to something or another), and it’s why even a powerhouse like McConnell had to gingerly tiptoe into hemp legislation.

    OTOH, I believe POTUS and others are VERY close to picking up this issue and running with it. What’s been overlooked is the anecdotally vituperative hatred conservatives in DOJ/DEA have for POTUS and Holder. In any case, if they try to ramp up their drug war hyperbole, the problem they have is the public is no longer reading their local newspaper as their sole source for news. They are using the Internet and social networking to talk with others about issues. And the polls are clear: the public is sick and tired of being lied to, having goons run wild under cover of a badge, having prosecutors using people and their lives as pawns in their own political aspirations and every other corruption that a Prohibitionist is beholden to.

    With public support for Congress down in the teens, Prohibitionists and those who support and enforce it are really in their way out. But I agree with you that rescheduling to Schedule II is a poor fix. The next con that comes along can simply reverse the scheduling and of it right back on to Schedule I. There’s not a single Republican leader who can be trusted to keep a rescheduled cannabis under Schedule II, III, or IV.

    No, this will come down to congressional and date law reform, and thankfully, these cowardly sorts who are in elected office are actually beginning to lead for the first time that I can remember in my adult life.

    History will no doubt condemn supporters of Prohibition just like those who supported slavery and every other social construct that results in death and suffering. Most Prohibitionists are too mired in their hatred and bigotry to see that. Yet another example of history continuing to rhyme away…

    Prohibition is nearly dead. But the fight is most difficult just before victory. We must all fight on, and fight harder than ever. The other side hates non-Prohibitionists as bad as they hate our president, if not worse. They will fight to the bitter end and beyond. It’s what hateful people do.

  17. David, the police don’t care about pot or marijuana. Most of them have smoked it before becoming police and know there isn’t anything to the War on Drug, other than corrupt money flowing in their direction. They hate it, and they can’t stand it. Being full of shit is a terrible burden, don’t the police have enough stress? How many more cops are going to kill themselves when they cannot stand the bullshit anymore? Either you become a complete and total asshole, or you go crazy, what a shitty job…

  18. @Mark,

    Actually no. What Cuomo is trying to do is close the loophole to keep police from making marijuana arrests during a stop and frisk, by tricking victims into emptying their pockets, therefore putting their weed into “public view” thereby changing what would be a $100 fine into a misdemeanor. He would do this by allowing up to 15 grams in public view to be a violation. Even if this passes it is still a felony to grow or sell Marijuana in NY and that is wrong.

  19. When I was 33 some “hippy” friends turned me on to mother nature. At 74, I still have my tokes every day. I grow my own in Colorado. It’s easy, fun and satisfying to grow my own. Marijuana is a weed that needs very little TLC while the buds form and spread. As they grow I locate and remove the males from the garden. Nutritious soils include Miracle-Gro and Scott’s. A 1000-watt grow-light set cost me about $600 in 2010. Electricity costs about $50 per month for the four-month growth period. The yield from my 12 plants has been huge but I have never weighed it. There are always plenty of ounces to share with others who can’t afford commercial weed. Grow your own!

  20. I’ve been wanting to experience the excitement of growing my own buds for decades. In Florida, a GOP police state, it is out of the question. I’m thinking of moving to Colorado, as many more people are also. I cannot find any current info on the net as to the availability and sources for obtaining cannabis now in Colorado. Any opinions on the cost and ease presently?

  21. I say end the pursecution to law abiding citizens who live in New York state, that, despite every known criminal who will be out of business for legalization of cannibus! DROP THE ROCKERFELLER LAWS!!!

  22. This is a step in the right direction. It’s good to see states defying the Feds, be it on cannabis, guns, or Obamacare. The Feds, along with their bootlicker lapdogs in the establishment media, have been stirring up irrational paranoia for too long and the people are no longer buying into it. It’s always some imaginary boogieman, be it weed, guns, “terrorism,” global “warming” and other such fictional nonsense. The states need to re-claim their sovereignty and put the Feds back into their place, with the very limited authority granted to them by the Constitution. Once we get reefer legal everywhere, then we need to do the same with commercialized hemp. It’s a huge cash crop, anybody can grow it, and it can help create American jobs and stimulate the economy. We never should have made either one of them illegal in the first place, prohibition of any sort is never a good idea.

  23. It’s nice to see weed beginning to become more and more socially acceptable. Perhaps when it’s made legal everywhere it’ll put the drug testing industry out of business and no one will ever have to have their privacy violated with Nazi piss tests in the workplace. What a wonderful world that would be!

  24. I live in the emerald triangle. We have seen the influx of unskilled people move into our county to reap the profits of black market weed in the name of medicine. The environmental destruction from road building, rural residential development, and water diversions has had a huge impact on federally listed salmon and steelhead habitat. I pray for the day when prohibition ends so hopefully prices drop and the impact of the free rush subsides. It was music to my ears when I heard that folks in a nearby town were selling a pound of weed for $100… Hope this is the beginning of the for these people looking to make a quick buck. The ironic turn is that the back to the lander hippies that came here in the 70s actually drove the stake into the environment by making weed famous in mendo ….they’ll never admit it …. But there was a price to pay foe their laziness and free ride from fed prohibition of weed.

  25. I live in the emerald triangle. We have seen the influx of unskilled people move into our county to reap the profits of black market weed in the name of medicine. The environmental destruction from road building, rural residential development, and water diversions has had a huge impact on federally listed salmon and steelhead habitat. I pray for the day when prohibition ends so hopefully prices drop and the impact of the green rush subsides. It was music to my ears when I heard that folks in a nearby town were selling a pound of weed for $100… Hope this is the beginning of the for these people looking to make a quick buck. The ironic turn is that the back to the lander hippies that came here in the 70s actually drove the stake into the environment by making weed famous in mendo ….they’ll never admit it …. But there was a price to pay for their laziness and free ride from fed prohibition of weed.

  26. The money at stake for large corporations is enormous. How many Police and DEA jobs would be lost without 2200 arrests per day? The revenue from fines….not to mention big alcohol lost profits, big pharma or private prisons–These are the largest enemies to legalization via lobbying.


  28. i am a liberal with some conservative ideas, but jumping on President Obama on the grass issue would backfire and put an agenda to be seized by a republican base trying to figure out a way to undo Obama..So if we haven’t had a real president since JFK as one poster put, then what about x presidents? now for whatever he was Jimmy Carter WAS an honest man..If peanut, were to approve hemp, or grass in some way or Bill Clinton (who gave us the FMLA) employers HATE by the way, would it help the purpose??? Long live all you guys and gals you are real people supporting a good cause. God Bless ALL of you….

  29. I am very excited at the change’s taking place. We need so bad to have something we can make money off of to bring this country back. But it’s not just money. It’s a functional government we need. My hope is that once every one has been smoking a few years that we will start making decisions that help one another rather than how much money you can make off of it and worst yet power. When you are a stoner power is the last thing on your mind. You want peace and happiness for every one. Every adult should try the experience once. It could make you a better person. The next thing to boot is OIL! BioMass is the way to go and has been for over 100 years. Peace 🙂

  30. I’m glad to see more states are getting on board. The truth is finally coming out. I can’t wait till Texas gets on board.


  31. If there are 800,000 arrests every year for simple cannabis possession, why can’t all these people get together and do something about it like voting and making their voices be heard. The problem is the shame that society is placing in all of these individuals, the shame of getting their lives destroyed and labeling them as drug addicts. So many decent people hide in the shadows thinking that as long as they do not get caught, it will be fine. There is much more shame in using alcohol or tobacco that most politicians proudly admit. It is time to come out of the shadows and right all of the lies and big money interests that continue to destroy lives and make money in the process.

  32. I agree with a lot of what Freedom says, especially the part about needing a functional government. The problem we have is we have a largely schizophrenic/split personality government. Take Colorado for instance. It’s great that they made weed legal, but then they turn around and try and pass commie gun control laws. Supposedly Cuomo in NY wants to make weed legal but yet him and the dem-o-rat legislature just passed a very draconian gun control law. The problem we have is that the democrats support weed legalization but attack the 2nd Amendment, while the republicans support the 2nd Amendment while attacking cannabis users. Both of them are guilty in one way or another of attacking our freedoms. We need to be pro-gun AND pro-weed. At least now there are some republicans who are starting to come on board in support of medical marijuana and commercial hemp, so that’s good. Now they just need to support legalization of recreational use, while the democrats need to pull their heads out of their asses and stop attacking gun owners. It’s as though the democrats are paranoid about gun owners and the republicans are paranoid about pot smokers. Both are irrational fears with no evidence to back them up. Anybody who has ever purchased a firearm knows that when you do, you have to fill out a form at the gun shop you are buying it from. One of the questions it asks is “Are you a habitual user of marijuana?” It doesn’t ask anything about hard drugs or prescription meds, just marijuana. Do I sense maybe a little hostility towards pot smokers? It’s as though they think that anyone who smokes weed can’t be trusted with a gun, which is a total load of crap. Most pot smokers I know are really mellow, they’re ordinary everyday people who work, pay their taxes, and raise their families. When you look at all these mass school shootings, such as Columbine, etc. you will find that pretty much every single shooter was taking chemical anti-depressants, which ARE very dangerous. Weed had nothing to do with it, but rather legal pharmaceutical drugs. I find this very interesting. So I say legalize weed, legailze guns, legalize FREEDOM!

  33. First off,I want to thank everybody for thier contributions and concern and committment to the cause.Very informative and entertaining read.I have been diagnosed with chronic pain from a neck injury in 1984. I fractured C3 vertabrae.Reconstructed vertebrae and C2,3,4 vertabrae have been fused together. I have been taking hydrocodone 5mg 500 acteminophen for the winter months when its cold and damp.I am sure my liver is damaged and the addiction and withdrawls are very serious and a path I don’t want to gdown.It’s proven that MMJ i very effective for relief of chronic pain. Iam a hard workni.g taax paying parent that obeys the law and with random Drug testing,smoki is not an.option for me.Decriminalize the use and user is the first step towards maki.g change and progress. Education and awareness is what I strive to do. Take action and make things happen. I emailed our congressmen today in North Carolina. You have to do your part

  34. Rick D – I really feel for you man. This is why all drug testing should be outlawed, it is oppressive. I take it that you’re in a situation where you’re suffering chronic pain, but because you have a job that does random drug testing, you cannot smoke weed to help alleviate your pain, and so you are forced to take liver-damaging chemical medication. If that ain’t being oppressed I don’t know what is. I had a job some years back where two people I worked with were migraine headache sufferers. I used to toke with them outside of work. They both told me that weed works way better for their migraines than the chemical meds they were prescribed. Fortunately, the place where we worked didn’t drug test, so we were free to do whatever we wanted on our own time. This is the way it should be everywhere, this is AMERICA, not Amerika! We need to go back to being the land of the free and home of the brave, not the land of the fee and home of the slave! Therefore, if we legalize weed everywhere, we should be able to put the parasitic drug testing profiteers out of business once and for all.

  35. it just kills me that their are people who think this legalization issue is obamas fault. he is but a pawn in all of this. its big buisness that has the most influence. the ‘crystal palace’ i call it. these , buisness elite, stand to loose money and power over cannabis and hemp. their buisnesses have shaped this country and their money has influenced much. i could vison obama getting in office and being coached on how to handle these things…i didnt vote for him, i didnt agree he belonged in that position. money and greed…THATS what keeps cannabis illegal. damm shame too.. money making and people pleasing are two of the best terms i can think of. how happy many would be if they had the choice to reap the benefits of consuming cannabis…who needs drugs?….how many people that did consume cannabis thru their life and have been forced to quit are feeling as healthy as they did while consuming?? be friggen honest!!!

  36. By god it is time people we need to end this fail war it is totally based on false and mis-informed data. This is the best medicine for me and I have tried everything else, nothing comes even close, i know there is others like myself out there, this is a matter of choice and freedom.

  37. How can the feds hold the only patent on canabanoids and then deam it illegal? U.S. Patent # 6630507 Now how can you steal money and property prosacuting americans for something you hold the patent for?? they don’t have the patent on Cocaine and Heroin do they??

  38. Bhonze: New Orleans would be awesome if they did legalize marijuana in the city limits. I’m sick of all the boozers in the French Quarter. New Orleans needs mellower people who want to chill out. To Mayor Landrieu’s credit, he downgraded marijuana to be a municipal non-arrestable offense. But he can go much further. New Orleans s a beacon for progress in medieval Louisiana.

  39. All I have to say is UTAH better change soon! OR I’ll be forced into moving to COLORADO. I have Many Medical diseases and problems which would qualify me for Medical Marijuana in a state where Medical Marijuana is Legal. But I’m tired of Waiting, and I have tried pleading with UTAH officials, But NO Luck!!!

  40. 6 out of 10 people want it legalized and 8 out of 10 smoke it. I’m sure the fast food industry is all for pot being legal. Every medical prescription issued will equal 3 happy meals. Can you say “super size me… and I want large fries with that please”.

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