Maptalk-Digest Wednesday, December 31 1997 Volume 97 : Number 564
Peter McWilliams bust
From: (David Hadorn)
SENT: Re: Hooked on Dogma; U.S. Drug Warriors Ignore Switzerland's Succe
From: Alan Mason <> (by way of "MAPNews Sr. Editor" <>)
PUB LTE in the LA Times - Joel does it again!
From: Richard Lake <>
SENT Response to 'Too High in California?'
From: Mark Greer <>
[Fwd: Re: HANGING TOGETHER]
From: Donald Christen <>
Subj: Peter McWilliams bust
From: (David Hadorn)
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 11:36:54 +1300 (NZDT)
I'm a little surprised that we haven't seen more outrage expressed on these
lists concerning the first-amendment violating bust of Peter McWilliams.
Reading the details of the bust as posted by Doug Keenan really makes my
blood boil. Anyone who has read (at least) his "Ain't nobody's business if
you do" and Daily Variety ad knows he is one of the movement's most
important writers. The DEA took everything he has without even documenting
the reason! Has this sort of goose-stepping become so commonplace that it
can pass almost without comment? But this is one of our own, and surely we
have to do something to help. Any ideas?
Subj: SENT: Re: Hooked on Dogma; U.S. Drug Warriors Ignore Switzerland's Success With Heroin Addicts
From: Alan Mason <> (by way of "MAPNews Sr. Editor" <>)
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 19:06:48 -0500
To the editor:
Your article entitled "Hooked on Dogma; U.S. Drug Warriors Ignore
Switzerland's Success With Heroin Addicts" shed some much needed light on
the role that politics play in the creation of drug policy in the US.
However, I feel you greately overstated the role that public opinion plays
in the creation of that policy.
When the voters of California approved Proposition 215, the drug warriors
referred to the situation as a "Cheech and Chong show" and made it
perfectly clear that they thought the voters were too stupid to be allowed
to make such decisions. They said that such decisions should be left up to
the "experts" - the same people who have been fighting but never winning
the drug war for at least 25 years, most of whom are from the law
enforcement profession, not the medical or scientific communities.
Politicians from town halls to the White House try to outdo each other over
who can take the hardest line against drug use. Those in the major
political parties who don't go along with the "zero tolerance" party line
are never even given a chance to get on the ballot. Paid lobbyists such as
the PDFA broadcast distortions, half-truths and (by their own admission)
lies in an attempt to manifest their jack-booted vision of a "Drug Free
America" - an America that never existed in the first place. Parents are
told that the War on Drugs is being fought for their children, while the
War on Drugs creates the illegal markets that put drugs into children's
hands in the first place.
The bottom line is that no one in a position to change the current policy
is asking the public what they think - they are telling them what they
should think. Most of what the public thinks it knows about drugs and drug
users is based on self-serving propaganda generated by the drug warriors in
order to keep themselves in a job.
Unfortunately, there is no national initiative process whereby the public
can directly express itself. There is no balancing requirement that $200
million in federal funds be given to groups opposed to our current policy,
as was given to PDFA & Company, so that alternative views of the current
situation and possible solutions can be presented. If the public were
allowed to make a decision after having been told both sides of the story,
a far different picture of public opinion about "the drug problem" would
probably emerge - one that did not support the current "zero tolerance"
approach that is turning our country into the incarceration capitol of the
At 03:11 PM 12/31/97 +0000, you wrote:
>Newshawk: Ethan Nadelmann by way of Keven Zeese
>Source: Washington Post
>Pubdate: Sunday, 21 December 1997
>Section: Outlook, Page C01
>Author: Joshua Wolf Shenk
>Note: Joshua Wolf Shenk writes for U.S. News & World Report.
>Contact: The Washington Post has a webpage letter form at:
>Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street, NW,
>Washington, DC 20071
>HOOKED ON DOGMA; U.S. DRUG WARRIORS IGNORE SWITZERLAND'S SUCCESS WITH
>In 1986, the Swiss city of Zurich designated its Platzspitz park as a
>refuge for drug users, a place where they would be tolerated by police and
>even offered sterile needles and medical care. The goal wasn't to condone
>drug use, but to control its side effects -- mainly the diseases contracted
>by users and spread to the population at large. But, by the early 1990s,
>"Needle Park" bulged with Europe's outcasts. As crime rose in the area and
>a once-charming garden became an eyesore, Zurich ended the experiment.
>The shapers of American drug policy -- from former czar Bill Bennett to
>Drug Enforcement Agency chief Thomas Constantine -- often cite Needle Park
>as an argument against changing America's hard-line drug policies. But the
>Swiss, aware that dispersing the Needle Park junkies did not eliminate the
>serious harm they were doing to themselves and to society, have continued
>to pursue novel approaches toward solving their country's drug problem. For
>the heroin addicts who would not respond to conventional treatment, the
>government decided to take the radical step of offering heroin itself.
>From 1994 to 1997, in 18 treatment centers around Switzerland, 1,146 male
>and female addicts received injections of pure heroin three times a day.
>Led by Ambros Uchtenhagen, an internationally renowned social scientist,
>the Addiction Research Institute in Zurich kept careful tabs over the
>experiment. The goal was not to offer the drug, in perpetuity, to all
>comers. Rather, the researchers hoped to mitigate the injurious behavior of
>a small group of addicts for whom repeated treatment regimens had failed.
>The success was striking. Heroin maintenance, Uchtenhagen and his
>researchers found, not only improved the lives of addicts but benefited
>society in tangible ways. Before going on heroin maintenance, 59 percent of
>the Swiss addicts in the program were involved in criminal activity.
>Because they no longer needed cash to pay exorbitant prices on the black
>market, by the end of the experiment that number dropped to 10 percent. For
>the same reason -- and also because participants in the program were
>required to undergo counseling -- many addicts climbed out of the
>underworld, found housing and began to work in mainstream jobs. The rate of
>homelessness in the group dropped from 12 percent to near zero.
>The health benefits were also unambiguous: HIV and hepatitis infections
>dropped sharply, and the annual death rate fell by half. Day to day, many
>fewer addicts contracted skin infections and other diseases. A small but
>significant portion of the group even left the program for abstinence
>If the Swiss experiment had failed, you can be sure that American officials
>would trumpet the news, just as they so regularly refer to Needle Park. But
>the actual results are less convenient for advocates of the status quo. And
>so the response has been to ignore it.
>For example, in the past four months, the National Institute on Drug Abuse
>(NIDA), which controls a $ 520 million budget and 85 percent of all
>research on the health effects of drug abuse and addiction, has organized
>two major conferences on heroin without considering the Swiss research.
>The lesson is not that heroin maintainence ought to be embraced here. The
>episode illustrates, however, how discussion of America's drug policy has
>been constricted by the dogma of the drug war. While vigorous research and
>debate is taken for granted in public policy debates about, say, welfare
>policy or affirmative action, such discussion is largely absent from the
>study of drugs. To ignore innovative ideas and approaches -- especially
>complicated, unsettling ones -- is at best unsound. At worst, it will lead
>to outright failure.
>While it is a legitimate social policy goal to eliminate heroin use
>entirely, the American approach of zero-tolerance has proven remarkably
>ineffective. About 600,000 Americans are addicted to the drug. That number
>has increased over the past several decades, despite billions of dollars
>and hundreds of thousands of arrests.
>Meanwhile, these addicts are causing a great deal of harm -- to themselves
>and to the rest of us. Intravenous drug users are now the single biggest
>factor in the spread of HIV. Eighty-five percent of addicts commit some
>kind of crime, ranging from petty burglary to homicide. The financial costs
>of untreated heroin addiction is an estimated $ 20 billion a year,
>according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) panel.
>And yet, for the same reasons that they wouldn't contemplate heroin
>maintenance, American officials have kept tight restrictions on the medical
>treatment with the best track record: methadone maintenance. Only 20
>percent of heroin addicts have access to methadone, a synthetic opiate that
>often removes the craving for heroin. In November, a panel of scientists
>convened by NIH and NIDA urged expanded use of methadone maintenance. This
>treatment regimen, the panel concluded, "is effective in reducing illicit
>opiate drug use, in crime reduction, in enhancing social productivity, and
>in reducing the spread of viral diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis."
>The problem, the panel reported, is a public that refuses to consider
>heroin addiction in a medical context. Drug therapy for addiction is viewed
>with suspicion because it's seen as just another addiction. "It's not the
>zero tolerance option and so it's unpopular," says David C. Lewis, a
>professor of medicine and community health at Brown University. The irony
>is that Americans embrace pharmaceutical treatments for every conceivable
>human ailment, from impotence to depression to hyperactivity to stage
>fright. But drug addicts are regarded as castoffs.
>Even discussing heroin maintenance is strictly taboo -- as was evident at
>the same NIH conference that concluded by lamenting the stigma attached to
>methadone treatment. Before the conference, NIDA assembled a bibliography
>that was supposed to contain every known study of the medical treatment of
>heroin addiction. The Swiss study was not among them. When Lewis made brief
>mention of the study, he was criticized by his colleagues for doing so.
>"Scientists and clinicians -- people I regard as leaders and look to with
>respect -- are concerned that just bringing it up will cause difficulty,"
>Lewis said. "You can't talk about these things in this country without
>causing controversy, which is a great sadness."
>NIDA is a perfect example of the paralysis that permeates the discussion
>about American drug policy. In 1992, the institute was put under the aegis
>of NIH specifically to insulate it from the prejudices of public opinion --
>to evaluate and commission drug-related research based on science, not
>politics. Nevertheless, NIDA gives priority to studies that are likely to
>support government positions and regularly interpret science with obvious
>That makes debate around scientific questions concerning drug issues
>difficult. "If you were at NIDA," says Peter Reuter, the director of the
>University of Maryland's Drug Policy Research Center, "you would say, 'How
>can I seriously argue that [discussing heroin maintenance] would make a
>difference to programs here?' " Worse than not making a difference, it
>could do a great deal of harm, if outraged congressmen moved to slash the
>institute's research budget.
>So public opinion keeps researchers from considering new ideas. But the
>public can't reconsider its biases without being presented with new ideas.
>The cycle is difficult to break, but not impossible. Consider the case of
>medical marijuana. For years, NIDA has stonewalled researchers trying to
>conduct large-scale trials of the plant's utility in treating diseases such
>as glaucoma and chemotherapy-related nausea. Then, California passed an
>initiative legalizing marijuana for medical use and the Clinton
>administration finally instructed NIDA to conduct studies. "It's a case
>where popular politics has really driven science," says Reuter.
>By contrast, Swiss scientists who, like their American counterparts, depend
>on government support, seem more free to conduct research in the addiction
>field, which citizens can then judge on the merits. Indeed, after the
>results of the heroin maintenance experiment were published this summer,
>Swiss voters were asked in a referendum whether the program should
>continue. More than 70 percent said "yes."
>What Swiss voters seem to have realized is that there is a middle ground
>between condoning heroin use and insisting all addicts kick their habits
>immediately. As with nicotine, a drug with a similar addiction profile,
>heroin use is not a simple matter of exercising free will. Dependence is
>fierce and all-consuming; withdrawal wreaks havoc on both the body and
>mind. The pleasure of heroin, writes David Lenson in his book, "On Drugs,"
>takes over the body, "so that in withdrawal, ordinary consciousness is
>received as pain."
>Anja Dobler-Micola, a member of the Swiss research team, says, "We always
>get this question: 'Shouldn't therapy be drug-free?' But is drug freedom
>the first step, or is it the last step?" Addicts in the program, she says,
>"realize how dependent they really are." Freed from the consuming street
>life and required to undergo counseling, they are able to reflect and make
>more rational choices about their future.
>Now, if only Americans could start making rational choices about their drug
> Copyright 1997 The Washington Post
Subj: PUB LTE in the LA Times - Joel does it again!
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 19:12:38 -0500
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield and John W. Black
Source: Los Angeles Times
Pubdate: December 30, 1997
Re "Agents Raid Home of Writer on Medical Use of Marijuana," Dec. 18:
Makes you wonder what the Drug Enforcement Administration is really up to,
when they begin raiding people's homes simply for writing about a view the
It certainly doesn't seem obvious that Peter McWilliams was some sort of
international drug dealer -- he smokes marijuana for medicinal relief and
he's writing a book about his experience.
Could the DEA have something else to protect other than the people from
their own decisions?
JOEL W. JOHNSON, San Jose
Copyright Los Angeles Times
Subj: SENT Response to 'Too High in California?'
From: Mark Greer <>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 06:33:46 -0800
>From: (Jay Dearien)
>Subject: Response to "Too High in California?"
>Date: Wed, 31 Dec 97 02:22:36 +0000
>In response to:
>December 8, 1997
>Vol. 150 No. 24
>"Too High in California?"
>I appreciated your coverage of the backlash against Proposition 215
>(Medical Marijuana) in California -- namely Federal agencies making trouble
>for organizations set up to distribute the now-legal cannabis plant. I
>hope that you will continue coverage of this issue so that Americans can
>know to what lengths the Federals are willing to go in order to control
>peoples' lives despite a continually eroding legal and moral foundation for
>their various activities.
>Since my family is from California, and we continue to be hard-hit by
>glaucoma, I applaud Proposition 215 as a decisive step in the right
>direction. I'm horrified at the prospect of this law's reversal, and at
>the Federal Government's attempts to bully the several States in the name
>of Drug War hysteria. Prozac has been handed out like candy for everything
>from PMS to poor concentration, with no similar reaction. Cannabis hemp
>has been known literally for millenia to be a medically safe and effective
>substance for a range of ailments, and if over-zealous officials are
>allowed to continue to invade the doctor-patient relationship and the lives
>of private individuals, we will not get any of the benefits which laws like
>Proposition 215 are intended to provide.
>Please keep us all informed. Sincerely,
> -- Jay Dearien, Tokyo, Japan
> Jay Dearien http://www2.gol.com/users/jdearien
> "There is no theoretical limit to the prodigies of chutzpah"
Media Awareness Project (MAP) inc.
Subj: [Fwd: Re: HANGING TOGETHER]
From: Donald Christen <>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 20:10:45 -0700
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RGIVENS SAID ENOUGH FOR US ALL, THANKS NO REPLY
BUT THANKS RGIVENS, I HAVE FORWARDED THAT POST
TO THE PRESS UP HERE.
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Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 20:38:36 EST
From: (Scott Imler)
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Re: HANGING TOGETHER
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To R. Givens and AMMO,
Well I guess I must have really struck a nerve. In ONE posting I'm
a loser, thick head(ed), pontificating, chicken little, dissemble(r),
poor man, stooge for the narcs, backstabbing, punk, and foolishly
As regards thick headed and poor: definitely guilty. But really
The fact is, most clubs are sick and tired of having to explain
excesses of Peron and his Market st. circus. Most clubs have made superhuman
efforts against great odds in order to establish and maintain services to those
seriously ill and disabled Californians for whom 215 was and is intended,
considerably greater risk than Dennis in his uber-friendly political
Most clubs also know of the rampant abuses at Market st., past and PRESENT, and
resent the hell out being dragged through the mud with Peron for our
Spin what will, it won't change the facts. Dennis should retire to
"ranch" and let the rest of the state get on with the business of implementing
My specific responses to Givens/AMMO name-calling follows.
>>"We've had to pay a high price all along for the circus-like atmosphere in
>San Francisco," said Scott Imler, director of the Los Angeles Cannabis
>Resource Center in West Hollywood. "Dennis goes marching off on his way of
>folly, making [bad] law every step of the way, and everybody else has to
>just lump it. It's incredibly frustrating to all of us."
> --Scott Imler to the Los Angeles Times December 28, 1997.
>by R. Givens WROTE:
>Here's a big fact that Mr. Imler and his fellow losers better get through
>their thick heads. If Dan Lungren succeeds in closing the San Francisco
>Cannabis Club, it will mean the end of ALL of the clubs.
Maybe. Maybe not. We'll see.
>If Imler had bothered to read the court decision before pontificating to
>the press, he would realize that Peron's methods of running the San
>Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club were NOT the issue of this decision. The
>**WAY** the club is run was not a factor. Although some of Dan Lungren's
>accusations against Peron's club were mentioned, they are NOT the basis for
Imler did read the decision and so did his lawyers. Injunctions are person and
fact specific. The appeals court decision had EVERYTHING to do with *HOW* Peron
ran his operation. That's why he was "enjoined" in the first place.
>From what I know, the narcs will have a mighty slim
>chance of nailing the club for diverting MMJ to non-medical recipients.
Then you obviously don't know shit.
>Since the raid last year, a strict admissions policy has been in place and
>quite a few narcs have had their applications rejected. A picture ID system
>was installed and there are very few fakers.
Really? Which narcs told you they had been turned away?
>All of this caution appears
>to be a wasted effort because as far as the court is concerned it is
>irrelevant whether you are selling marijuana in a night club or a medical
Cautious operation of a "club" is not wasted effort regarless of the eventual
outcome. Anything worth doing is worth doing right for its own sake.
say Peron is virtuously strict then say that caution is wasted. Which is it?
> The SF CBC is approved and supported by virtually every local politician
>from the Mayor and District Attorney to the Board of Supervisors and the
>Police Chief, so Peron's operation satisfies local officials. There is NO
>local objection to the club outside the narcotics squad. Dennis Peron has
ROCK SOLID support from his community!
You might better check that again. Embarrassed silence is not rock solid
support. While its is probably true that Dennis has several politicians in
his pocket, literally, I doubt they're terribly satisfied with Lungren's
impending invasion of their city and their growing inability to justify
why they've have allowed Dennis to fuck up so monumentally with nary a
>There is overwhelming support (78% favorable). It is extremely
>unlikely that anyone could win election here who is foolish enough
>to oppose MMJ and Peron's club.
You're deluding yourself.
>Can Scott Imler claim the same degree of community and political backing
>for HIS "properly run (?)" club in West Hollywood????
A higher degree, I'd bet. Our community and political support is based on
transparency, performance, accountability, and trust. Our support comes
from two years of a very public struggle to develop and refine our program,
stave off bankruptcy and busts, mend and improve relations with law
enforcement, and establish a permanent home for our club.
You seem to suggest shame for doing the job "properly" or for being in
West Hollywood. What's that about?
>And what about the
>rest of the Chicken Little's running clubs, have they made the political
>connections on the local scene that prevent official interference. If not,
>they ought think twice before criticising their betters.
"Better" is in the eye of the beholder.
Maybe you should BETTER inform yourself since you don't run a club and
don't know what you're talking about.
Clubs don't get established without community and political support. If they
do, they don't last long. Ask the lady in Thousand Oaks, who beat back a city
council attempt to close her club only to be evicted by her strip-mall
>(To digress for a moment: Why does Imler dissemble by calling his operation
>the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center or the LACBC when it's really a
>pint-sized operation in West Hollywood?)
Hardly a digression, but what do you know about our "pint sized" operation?
The Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center is the legal name of our non-profit
corporation. The LACBC is a project of same. What's dissembling about that?
Since we serve patients throughout southern California, I guess we could have
been the Southern California Cannabis Resource Center but the Los Angeles
County Sheriff and LAPD are really all we can handle, for now.
> In any event, the atmosphere of the San Francisco club or the so-called
>diversion of marijuana has little to do with the court decision, so it
>won't matter how low key Mr. Imler's club is, Lungren will nail the doors
>shut and drag him to court once he's finished off the real resistance here
>in San Francisco!
The "real resistance"? HA. The only thing Dennis has ever resisted is doing
the right thing. Peron's diversion of marijuana for non-medical purposes has
everything to do with this court decision and the nuisance abatement injunction
that preceeded it.
If Lungren nails the door and drags me to court at least we'll have a MEDICAL
marijuana trial for once.
>It puzzles me why Scott Imler constantly plays the stooge for the narcs in
>these matters. Doesn't this poor man realize that he's sowing the seeds for
>his own destruction by constantly attacking Peron in the media???
If seeds for destruction were sewn, they were sewn during the four
years that I sat in silence, like everyone else, tacitly empowering Peron
to the current ruin.
What this "poor man" realizes is that Dennis Peron and Dan Lungren are two
sides of the same bad penny. Both wrap themselves in the "will of the voters"
and the "best interests" of patients and neither one represents either. The
ideological mudball fights rages on while the patients and the voters take in
the behind. . . without so much as a kiss.
>Imler's accusations of laxness against the SFCBC are baseless (unless you
>think a less than 1% unqualified rate is a serious matter). I'm willing
>to bet that Dan Lungren cannot make a case for distribution to unauthorized
>customers since the passage of 215 because the Club has scrupulously
>followed the guidelines provided by the local District Attorney and other
>City officials here since reopening after the injunction was lifted.
You are criminally misinformed. The last bit of oversight by the SF District
Attorney was "I don't care what Peron does as long as he does it quietly."
You call those guidelines?
>The disunity foolishly promoted by Scott Imler and the AMR reminds me of
>Ben Franklin's admonition to the patriots, "We shall all hang together or
>we shall all hang separately." The revolutionaries wisely decided to "hang
>together" and avoided King George's hangman. Wisdom dictates a unified
>front against Lungren and our enemies, not half-assed endorsements of narco
I'll gladly hang alone before I'll betray the community and the electorate
supported us through good times and bad. And I'll hang alone before I crawl
into bed with Peron and his ilk who threaten everything patients and their
families have spent seven years working on. Dennis does not OWN medical
marijuana and he has no right to destroy it, at least not without objection.
>Before anybody joins Imler and the AMR in using Dennis Peron and the SF CBC
>as a scapegoats for the problems 215 faces, they better realize that
>Peron's fall will bring down everyone else including THEMSELVES.
Dennis is not a scapegoat, he's just a clown. If his fall begets ours, so
At least I'll go to my cell with a clear conscience, knowing we did our
to keep faith with the voters and implement 215 responsibly.
>They should also realize that Peron has been the target deflecting law
>enforcement attention from their clubs because he runs the most prominent
>operation in the state and has been very vocal in promoting MMJ and very
>active in opposing Lungren et al.
Deflecting attention? Quite the contrary. The attention Peron brings to all
clubs is horrible and consistently negative. Additionally, unlike many clubs,
Peron's operation remains absolutely unscrutinized by local authorities --
and isn't that what you really mean?
Frankly, San Francisco officials should be ashamed of themselves for allowing
Peron to run amok as he has. If med mar does crash and burn statewide,
we have Peron, San Francisco, and everyone's raging denial and
silence to thank for it, including mine.
> Peron is being attacked because he is
>the most effective spokesman in the state, but after Peron falls Lungren
>will mop the decks with punk operations like Imler's club.
Peron is being attacked because he gave Lungren every good reason he
needed to attack him. While he deserves credit for helping the
legitmate patients he has, the patients and voters deserve to be represented
with honor and integrity. That is Peron's failure. He has served his own
at the expense of those he presumed to represent.
>One last thing. Besides Dennis Peron, who else is defending the cannabis
>clubs in court?? Scott Imler???
Besides Dennis Peron, which other clubs have been abated as a public nuisance
and enjoined from operating because of "widespread, indiscriminate sales of
marijuana to thousands of individuals, many of whom were not patients"?
Dennis is not defending cannabis clubs in court. He is defending himself and
his market st. empire. Dennis is the only reason the "cannabis clubs" are
in court in the first place. None of the others have been enjoined, yet.
A cannabis club's only defense, if it has one at all, is that services are
ONLY to a legitmate and verified patient-base. Without that, you can't
And, I don't care what you may think, or what Dennis has told you, Peron
service only legitimate, verified patients.
Other clubs defend themselves every single day, with every call to a doctor's
office to verify "written or oral recommendation or approval." They defend
themselves because they are damn sure that no one else will.
>Peron has taken a courageous stand and I encourage everyone to stand fast
>behind him in this battle. A victory is still possible if we raise enough
>hell before the Supreme Court rules.
Lemmings on the march. Go for it.
>AMERICAN MEDICAL MARIJUANA ORGANIZATION (AMMO)
>Defending The Rights Of Medical Marijuana Patients
> Board of Directors:
>--Steve Kubby <>,
>--Ed Rosenthal <>
>--Carl E. Olsen <>
>--Laura Kriho <>
End of Maptalk-Digest V97 #564
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