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2016 SSDP Pacific Regional Conference

Saturday, October 15, 2016
11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Event Type:
tudents for Sensible Drug Policy
Location Details:
UCSC Stevenson Event Center
Santa Cruz, California 95064

Did you know:
• The US prison population has gone up 800% since Nixon started the "War on Drugs?"

• You have limited immunity from possession charges in California if you call the police about an overdose?

• The USA has more people in prison for drug charges than the entire EU has anybody in prison for anything?

• Despite claiming to follow "all applicable state laws," UCSC doesn't recognize a medical cannabis card?


On October 15th, 2016, please join us at the Stevenson Events Center at UCSC for SSDP's Pacific Regional convention, a free day of conversation and workshops about positive and negative drug effects, the drug industry, psychedelic research, the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, harm reduction, overdose prevention, and more.

To sponsor the convention or for other questions, please contact Stacia Cosner at stacia [at]

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international, student-led organization dedicated to drug education and policy reform. The UC Santa Cruz chapter is among the most active chapters in the organization; our missions include ending student overdoses and advocating policy solutions to help treat the drug addiction epidemic in Santa Cruz County. To get involved locally, find us at SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) at UCSC
Added to the calendar on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 7:40AM
by Full program
University of California Santa Cruz, Stevenson College Events Center
Santa Cruz, CA
Saturday, October 15, 2016

10:00am - 11:15am: Breakfast for Registered Attendees
Coffee and bagels will be provided for breakfast.

11:00am - 11:45am: Police Violence is a Public Health Issue
Featuring Dr. Rupa Marya
In her presentation “Reframing the Dialogue: Race and Police Violence”, Dr. Marya uses statistics, personal experiences as a physician in the Bay Area, and theory to illustrate the associations between police brutality and racism, and to argue compellingly for why this issue, in San Francisco and nationally, needs to be addressed by healthcare professionals. In answering the question of whether doctors are supposed to get political, Dr. Marya responds that avoidance of studying racism and police violence, when people are dying, is itself a political act “when the data is rigorous and the correlations are strong.”

12:00pm - 1:00pm: How Green is the Green Rush?
Moderated by Mitchell Colbert, Featuring Valerie Corral, Chris Conrad, Jeffrey Gray, Pat Malo, and Chris Van Hook
The growth of the cannabis industry has been compared to the Gold Rush, earning it the nickname the Green Rush. The history of the Gold Rush is one of racist oppression of minorities and the devastation of the environment for profit alone. California is still paying for the environmental costs of the first Gold Rush, as minority groups are being left out of the profits of this new Green Rush. What are the unintended consequences of the Green Rush? Is it really as environmentally friendly, or corporately responsible, as some companies claim? Furthermore, was it right to compare this industry to the Gold Rush, or is there something better it can aspire to?

12:00pm - 1:00pm: Party Safe: Harm Reduction in Nightlife and Festival Settings
Moderated by Frances Fu, Featuring Irina Alexander, Anthony Carrasco, and Rhana Hashemi
The War on Drugs has made it nearly impossible for students and youth to make safe, informed decisions about drugs - especially in nightlife and festival environments. There is an increasing awareness that students, administrators, and community members can no longer turn a blind eye to drug use. Instead, we must ensure that young people can access evidence-based information and medical attention. Panelists will discuss how harm reduction can replace current policies and practices to ensure that if and when partying does occur, it is as sensible as possible.

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Lunch On Your Own

Walking Distance
Cowell/Stevenson Dining Hall
520 Cowell-Stevenson Road

Stevenson Coffee House
Cowell-Stevenson Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Under 10 Minute Drive
New Leaf Community Markets
1134 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Food Bin
1130 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Woodstock's Pizza Santa Cruz
710 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

2:15pm - 3:15pm: Beyond Legalization: Building an Inclusive Drug Policy Reform Movement

Moderated by Lauren Mendelsohn, Featuring James Anthony, Edgar Diaz, Natalie Ginsberg
The drug policy reform movement is a movement for freedom. Although we all value justice and equity, each of us has grown up in a society that normalizes oppression, which can spill over into our activist communities. Ending the drug war is more about the legalization of drugs and drug users, it is about truly including the voices of people who are impacted by the drug war. Come learn about how you can take your chapter beyond legalization and towards true inclusion in conversations about the cannabis industry, criminal justice reform, and psychedelic science.

2:15pm - 3:15pm: Started From the Bottom Now We Here: Taking Your Chapter from 0 to 100

Moderated by Oliver Zerrudo, Featuring Begonia Herbert, Rhana Hashemi, Eric Gudz, Lauren Vazquez
Come learn tips and tricks on event planning, campaigning, recruitment, and more from SSDP chapter leaders, alumni and board members.

3:30pm - 4:30pm: Prop 64: The Changing Legal Landscape of Cannabis

Moderated by Jesse Stout, Featuring Chris Conrad, Mikki Norris, and Lauren Vazquez
This November 8th, Californians will have the opportunity to vote on an initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Come learn about how Prop 64 - the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, will change California's legal understanding of cannabis, what challenges remain, and how you can get involved.

3:30pm - 4:30pm: Professional Development

Moderated by Eric Gudz, Featuring Stacia Cosner, Louis Han, and David Hua
As we enter into an era of unprecedented drug policy reforms, there will be many new professional opportunities in the burgeoning marijuana industry and in the realms of harm reduction, drug education, criminal justice, and advocacy. Featuring experts both inside and outside of the drug policy network, this panel will cover how to build your resume and nail that interview, as well as other factors that both you and hiring managers should consider when evaluating a good workplace fit.

4:45pm - 5:45pm: Psychedelics and Entheogens: Cognitive Tools for Healing and Learning

Featuring presentations by Natalie Ginsberg, Larry Norris, Dr. James Fadiman
Healing People, Healing Policies: The Political Implications of Psychedelic Research
The effectiveness of psychedelic therapy has far-reaching implications, as its efficacy challenges the current mental health paradigm, the drug war, and even the military industrial complex. Psychedelic therapy works by encouraging individuals to address the root of their trauma. Thus, psychedelic therapy as a modality forces us to examine the societal and political sources of trauma on a larger scale: social injustice. Psychedelic research, therefore, has the tremendous potential to influence systems and policies to prevent and heal— rather than create and perpetuate— trauma. As Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors said, “We can change policies all day but if the fight to get there was full of trauma, was replicating oppressive dynamics, abusive dynamics, then what is the point?” As people continue to act and vote out of fear, how can we elevate the role of psychedelics in facilitating healing justice, at the intersection of mental health and social justice?"

Beyond productivity: A deeper look at entheogenic education
As the world teeters on the brink of global catastrophe, researchers are studying psychedelics as cognitive tools to enhance productivity. But perhaps highlighting transformative insights about nature, spirit, and community would provide the needed inspiration for a more engaging environmental stewardship. Psychedelics provide an opportunity for profound wonder and awe, which may be a key ingredient in catalyzing an enduring spark for global change. This talk will discuss how psychedelic insights can stimulate social justice movements beyond drug policy, aiming to advocate for a healthier planet, free from run-away consumerism, the military-industrial complex, and extractive globalization.

Microdoses: The facts, the research and the future.
A microdose of a psychedelic is 1/10 to 1/20 of a usual dose.This ultra low dose has no conventional psychedelic effects. It does, however, apparently can alleviate drug resistant depression, anxiety and other medical conditions. It also been used to increases creative output without the negative and addictive effects of prescription cognitive enhancers. We will look at its growing use worldwide, the research studies in process, and some of the unexpected conditions it has​ improved​. "

6:30pm: The Failure of Marijuana Prohibition: A Cop's Perspective
Featuring LEAP speaker Carl Tennenbaum
Retired Police Sergeant Carl Tennenbaum began his law enforcement career in 1981 and spent 32 years as a street cop in San Francisco, beginning with patrolling the Tenderloin, an inner-city area notorious for rampant addiction, drug dealing, prostitution, and street robberies. In 1987, Carl was recruited into the narcotics unit where he participated in hundreds of investigations and arrests, made undercover buys, and executed countless search warrants. His decades of experience on the force led Sergeant Tennenbaum to the conclusion that the marijuana prohibition and the War on Drugs as a whole was a futile and fruitless pursuit that unfairly targeted those with the least means. This realization, coupled with the tragic death of his partner while pursuing a drug dealer, has galvanized Sergeant Tennenbaum into speaking out against marijuana prohibition and the War on Drugs as speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals who seek a more sensible approach to drug policy.

8:00pm - 11:00pm: Social

Location will be made available at the end of the conference

Speaker Bios

Irina Alexander
Irina Alexander is a Co-Organizer of the SF Psychedelic Society. During festival season, she also volunteers as a Supervisor for the MAPS Zendo psychedelic harm reduction project, a space that helps people navigate challenging psychedelic experiences. Since 2012, Irina has been working full-time in San Francisco as an Outreach Counselor with At The Crossroads, a support organization for unstably-housed young adults. Her roots in social justice grew out of drug policy reform. In the past, she served as the SSDP National Board Chair, worked for the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, volunteered as a Team Leader for HIPS doing outreach with sex workers, and helped work on DC's Good Samaritan Law.

James Anthony
James Anthony has worked exclusively in cannabis law, policy, and consulting since January 2006. Before that he was a zoning prosecutor for the City of Oakland. He is licensed to practice law in California and Hawaii. He has worked with all the major dispensaries in Northern California and has drafted dozens of winning applications for cannabis business licensure. He is currently focused on California local government regulation of supply chain (cultivation and manufacturing), real estate deals where local government welcomes the cannabis industry, and analysis, policy, and local lobbying for an equitable permit process in Oakland and other jurisdictions that will regulate this year.

Anthony Carrasco
Anthony Carrasco is pursuing a degree in Legal Studies and Political Science and a minor degree in Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Anthony serves on the leadership committee of the Berkeley SSDP while pursuing my particular interest in the effects of drug policy on the mentally ill community. His interest in the subject was sparked by my work at an Oakland no-profit which serves the homeless community that suffers from mental illness and drug addiction, work he hopes to continue as an academic and activist.

Mitchell Colbert
Mitchell Colbert is a freelance journalist and the managing editor of The Leaf Online. He has written for AlterNet, Cannabis Now, High Times,, and Burn After Reading Magazine, among others. Mitchell is a former president of San Jose State University's SSDP chapter, where he got his bachelors in political science focusing primarily on the War on Drugs and its impacts on individual freedom. Mitchell was a regional director for 2010's Prop 19 campaign, which almost made California the first state to legalize the adult-use of cannabis. Now, he works at Harborside Health Center, as a wellness consultant, assisting patients with their choices of medicine.

Chris Conrad
Chris Conrad is an internationally respected expert on industrial hemp, marijuana cultivation, processing and religious, personal and medical use who has testified as a court-qualified expert witness hundreds of times in state and federal courts. He has legally grown and processed marijuana in Europe and curated the Hash-Marihuana-Hemp Museum (Amsterdam) and Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum (Oakland). His newest book is The Newbie’s Guide to Cannabis and the Industry. Hemp for Health was among the first to promote CBD and has been translated into six languages. Cannabis Yields and Dosage is based on federal medical and cultivation research. He also wrote Hemp: Lifeline to the Future and, with wife Mikki Norris, Shattered Lives: Portraits From America's Drug War. He has presented to the National Academy of Science, Int. Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, California Assn. of Toxicologists, Uruguayan Ministry of Interior, International Pharmaceutical Academy, etc. He consults with Drug Policy Action. See more at

Valerie Corral
Valerie Corral is the co-founder and Director of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the longest running medical marijuana collective in the US, founded in 1993 in Santa Cruz, California. WAMM serves seriously ill and dying members of the community with organic, lab-tested, non-GMO cannabis grown in their collective garden. During the court proceedings following a 2002 Federal raid on the WAMM garden, Federal Court Judge Jeremy Fogel called WAMM the “gold standard of the medical marijuana movement.” Valerie is also the acting Director of WAMM's sister non-profit hospice team, Raha Kudo, Design for Dying Project, which addresses the many concerns of WAMM's dying members and their families, including bedside care.

Stacia Cosner
Stacia Cosner found her SSDP family in 2006 after getting arrested for less than a gram of cannabis at the University of Maryland. Since then, she has been involved with SSDP as a chapter member, chapter leader, board member, intern, outreach coordinator, interim executive director, and has been honored to serve as deputy director since 2013. She’s very proud of the hell she raised as a student activist at UMD, eventually leading to the adoption of a 911 Good Samaritan policy that covers alcohol and other drugs. Stacia has played softball for more than 20 years, and currently plays 2nd base for the Harborside Hammers.

Edgar Diaz
Edgar Diaz is a third year law student and the president of LSSDP's Willamette University College of Law Chapter in Salem, Oregon. He is currently a law clerk for Oregon Cannabusiness Compliance Counsel, LLC working on medical and recreational cannabis issues. Edgar is also the Chief Legal Researcher for Portland NORML's Legislative Committee working on cannabis consumer protection issues. Through LSSDP, the chapter has worked and is currently working to help reduce prison sentences for marijuana convictions. Edgar also has a B.A. in United States History from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. James Fadiman
James Fadiman, PhD, has been researching the effects of psychedelics for most of his career. He has taught at San Francisco State, Brandeis University, Stanford, and is the cofounder of Sophia University in Palo Alto. He has written 10 books, which include a novel set in the 60s, a self-help book, a psychology textbook and others. ​He has been a management consultant, and has sat on the boards of​ profit and nonprofit corporations, and​ taught goal setting seminars on three continents. He is the author of The Psychedelic Explorers Guide: safe, therapeutic, and sacred journeys.

Frances Fu
Frances first got involved with SSDP in 2011, when she co-founded the Northwestern University chapter as a freshman. Since then, harm reduction has been a guiding principle behind all of her professional and personal pursuits, and she strives to educate people about the War on Drugs in a holistic manner. In the drug policy world, Frances has served on SSDP’s Board of Directors, and has worked with cannabis law and industry organizations to research cannabis policy in various states, and write and review applications for cannabis cultivation centers and dispensary licenses. On campus, she was involved with Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE), Alpha Chi Omega sorority and and has served as the President of the Panhellenic Association.

Natalie Ginsberg
Natalie earned her Master's in Social Work from Columbia University in 2014, and her Bachelor's in History from Yale University in 2011. At Columbia, Natalie served as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical cannabis in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York's racist marijuana arrests. Natalie has also worked as a court-mandated therapist for individuals arrested for prostitution and drug-related offenses, and as a guidance counselor at a Bronx middle school. Natalie's clinical work with trauma survivors spurred her interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy, which she believes can ease a wide variety of both mental and physical ailments by addressing the source of individuals' difficulties, rather than their symptoms. Through her work at MAPS, Natalie advocates for research to provide just alternatives to both the war on drugs and the current mental health paradigm.

Jeffrey Gray
Jeff Gray is director of SC Laboratories in the areas of business development and negotiation, accounting, human resources, and financial planning. Founded in 2010, SC Labs is one of the earliest cannabis testing labs in California, and a long time advocate of patient education. Jeff also works for Envirocann, a third party certification organization, focused on the Quality Assurance and Quality Control of cannabis production and products. Jeff has eight years experience as a representative and public speaker for the Social Security Administration. Jeff sees serving his community as a necessary balance to his professional life. Jeff holds a degree in Business Management from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Eric Gudz
Prior to reigniting the SSDP chapter network at the University of California – Davis in 2014, Eric served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, dedicated to missions at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Kandahar, Afghanistan. Specializing in intelligence synthesis targeting, strategic forecasting, and local civic engagement, Eric dedicated himself succeeding in a crucial nexus using well-tailored, interpersonal engagement. Post deployment, Eric led a medical rehabilitation unit, giving him an eye-opening view of the ineffectiveness of our drug policies in treating our soldiers. Concluding his service honorably in 2013, Eric has been passionately involved in leading efforts to end to the war on drugs ever since, especially when it concerns students’ rights, disadvantaged communities, and barriers to cannabis for combat veterans. Eric is the Chief Operating Officer for Integrate Cal, a Benefit Corporation focused on community development strategies for emerging cannabis entities. Eric holds a Master’s of Science in Transportation, Technology, and Policy from the University of California Davis, and he holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Conservation Biology and Ecology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

Louis Han
Entrepreneur Relations Manager at The Arcview Group. Founded The Kindest Club, a cannabis delivery service that served over 300 patients in the bay area. Santa Clara law school graduate. First generation Asian American.

Richard Hartnell
Richard Hartnell is the chapter president of SSDP at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a co-coordinator of the 2016 Pacific Regional Conference. After spending his 20s traveling the world as a circus performer, he re-entered academia to study psychedelic science. He is now a double major with highest honors in cognitive science and neuroscience, and thus appreciative that the conference will soon successfully conclude and allow him to return to research and finish applying to every grad school (after chilling super hard at night with all the visiting SSDPeople).

Rhana Hashemi
In a world where drugs were readily available and even promoted through popular culture and media, I was struck by the silence of adults and educators that I felt were cheating the majority of my peers out of their full potential to grow up healthy and successful. When I came to understand that the conditions which troubled me were one of the consequences of our drug war, I became committed to reforming drug education so my younger counterparts who said "yes" "maybe" or "sometimes” to drugs would not have to rely solely on their mistakes and those of their peers as “education”. When it comes to drug education for young people, I believe we can move beyond imparting drug information and begin to challenge decades-old constructs of how youth have been treated in educational settings. It’s time educators focused on positive youth development and empowerment as a means to reducing the harms associated with substance use.

Begonia Herbert
Begonia Herbert first got involved in drug policy reform as a young girl tabling with her father for MAPS. In 2015 she founded the Berkeley City College chapter of SSDP and currently serves as President of the chapter. An active member of her community, she's served in a number of other leadership roles on her campus including Vice President of Public Relations for her campus student government and as President of the Civic Engagment Club.

David Hua
CEO, Co-Founder of @GetMeadow. Dim Sum Connoisseur. Amateur Charcuterie Maker. Passionate about Startups.

Pat Malo
Born and raised in Santa Cruz Ca, Pat Malo joined the medical cannabis movement in 2003 when his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After his father’s passing 2005 Pat continued his work as a caregiver, cultivating medicine for family members. A founding member of two local cannabis organizations (Cannabis Advocates Alliance and Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz), Pat served on the counties Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4). He is also active in county transportation politics and is currently working on the campaign of progressive Santa Cruz city council candidate Drew Glover

Lauren Mendelsohn
Lauren Mendelsohn, J.D., is the Chair of SSDP’s Board of Directors. She is a recent graduate of the University of California - Irvine Law School, where she founded a chapter in 2013. While at UCI Law, Mendelsohn organized a drug policy symposium and helped establish the county’s first needle exchange program. Prior to law school, Mendelsohn was involved with SSDP as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, an experience that inspired her to pursue a career fighting for justice. Mendelsohn currently works as a legal intern for Heather Burke, a cannabis criminal defense attorney in Northern California.

Mikki Norris
A cannabis reform activist since 1989, Mikki Norris is best known for her book, Shattered Lives: Portraits from America’s Drug War (1998) based on the photo exhibit, Human Rights and the Drug War (, which puts a human face on the prisoners and victims of US drug policies. In 1993, Norris and her husband and partner, Chris Conrad lived in Amsterdam while curating and designing the Hash, Marihuana, and Hemp Museum. They were grassroots petition drive coordinators for Prop. 215. She has worked as a political consultant on several initiative campaigns, and now is working on Prop. 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. As Director of the Cannabis Consumers Campaign, Norris asks people to come out of the closet to end the stigma and stand up for our equal rights. Norris was managing editor and publisher of the West Coast Leaf newspaper (2008-2013), and is co-founder of

Larry Norris
Larry Norris, PhD candidate, is the co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization Entheogenic Research, Integration, and Education (ERIE; ERIE is dedicated to providing education and integration services to individuals interested in the topic of entheogens/psychedelics. ERIE is in the process of designing a co-working integration hub in San Francisco to house these services. Larry has taught at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is currently a Lecturer at John F. Kennedy University. He is a dedicated advocate for cognitive liberty and is fascinated by the educational aspects of the inner experience.

Jesse Stout
Jesse Stout, based in San Francisco, is Of Counsel to Greenbridge Corporate Counsel. He has special expertise in cannabis policy, regulation, and legislation. Jesse is a co-founder of the SSDP chapters at Brown University and UC-Hastings Law. He served on the SSDP Board of Directors, including as Treasurer, and currently serves on the SSDP Board of Advisors. After law school, Jesse served as the policy director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, an activist law office dedicated to advancing the civil and human rights of formerly incarcerated people. Before law school, Jesse served as the executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, leading the organization’s successful efforts to pass state laws protecting seriously ill Rhode Islanders’ right to safely access cannabis.

Carl Tennenbaum
Retired Police Sergeant Carl Tennenbaum began his law enforcement career in 1981 and spent 32 years as a street cop in San Francisco. His first six years were spent walking a beat in the Tenderloin District, a blighted inner city area notorious for rampant addiction, drug dealing, prostitution, and street robberies.

In 1987, he was recruited into the narcotics unit, which added 80 new officers in response to the crack epidemic. During his time in this unit, Carl participated in hundreds of investigations and arrests, made undercover buys, and secured and executed search warrants.

“It was also during those three years in the narcotics unit, and continually until my retirement in 2013, that I realized how futile, ineffective, and dangerous the entire War on Drugs has been. My team of officers and I took on the appearance of a marauding army. We used any and all excuses to arrest the same people over and over. Most of our arrests were of people of color, and many of them were addicted to drugs and down on their luck.”

The shift in Carl’s perspective about the drug war came after the tragic death of his partner.
“In 1989, my partner was struck and killed by a delivery van while in pursuit of a fleeing crack dealer. It was a defining moment for me and solidified, painfully, just how pointless our drug enforcement actions are.”

Chris Van Hook
Chris Van Hook is a nationally recognized expert on agricultural regulations, organic farming and cannabis. He is both a USDA Accredited Organic Certifier and a California cannabis compliance attorney. He is the Program Director of the Clean Green Certification Program, a Nationally-recognized cannabis certification program based on the USDA National Organic Program. In addition to organic methods of cultivation, the program includes sustainability requirements such as having a legal source of water and a carbon reduction program. Chris is now certifying both medical and adult-use cannabis in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, with new states added to the program as regulations develop. He has also been a lobbyist in the fields of aquaculture, agriculture, and environmental industries.

Lauren Vazquez
Lauren Vazquez is the Fired Up Lawyer. She is a cannabis business attorney and social entrepreneur who has worked for over a decade to end cannabis prohibition and advance alternatives to the failed war on drugs. Lauren has practiced cannabis business law since 2009 and entered private practice in 2011. She has advised numerous cannabis companies and organizations. Lauren is a Professor at Oaksterdam University and previously served as the National Deputy Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. She is currently an Outreach Associate for the Prop 64 Campaign.

Oliver Zerrudo
Oliver Zerrudo is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, and SSDP’s California Campus Coordinator. Oliver is excited to join the fight against drug prohibition and drug war militarization, as he sees it as the perfect praxis of social justice and political theory. Oliver seeks to learn more about the intersections of drug policy, prison policy, and state militarization efforts. Oliver is a Filipino Bay Area student, who aims to one day settle back in his homeland of the Philippines without the fear of narco-violence.
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