Letter to the Editor in response to Mr. Hughes’ questions on Marijuana legalization

Dear Editor,

There was a recent Letter to the Editor written by Mr. Hughes that I would like to address. The answers given by me, Teri Nehrenz, reflect research conducted by me and in no way reflect the views or opinions of the MLN, it’s employees or owners. As far as I know, they hold no position in the legalization of marijuana either way. I, on the other hand, am a firm supporter in legalizing marijuana for recreational and especially medical use.


“Do individuals build up a tolerance to marijuana?  Do you need more and more of the drug to receive the same effect to the body?  If so will that cause major problems in the future?”


The recent discovery of a cannabinoid receptor system in the human brain has revolutionized research on marijuana and cannabinoids, and definitively proven that marijuana use does not have a dependence or addiction liability (&Marijuana and the Human Brain; March 1995 High Times). Marijuana, it turns out, affects brain chemistry in a qualitatively different way than addictive drugs. Drugs of abuse such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, alcohol and nicotine affect the production of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter which chemically activates switches in the brain that produce extremely pleasurable feelings. Drugs that affect dopamine production produce addiction because the human brain is genetically conditioned to adjust behavior to maximize dopamine production. This chemical process occurs in the middle-brain, in an area called the striatum, which also controls various aspects of motor control and coordination.

Herkenham and his associates have proven that marijuana has no direct effect on dopamine production in the striatum, and that most of the drug effects occur in the relatively new(in evolutionary terms) region of the brain – the frontal cerebral cortex. There is now biological evidence that far from being the gateway to abusive drugs, marijuana is instead the other way to get high – the safe way.

Research into drug tolerance is in its infancy. There are actually three forms of tolerance. Dispositional tolerance is produced by changes in the way the body absorbs a drug. Dynamic tolerance is produced by changes in the brain caused by an adaptive response to the drugs continued presence, specifically in the receptor sites affected by the drug. Behavioral tolerance is produced by familiarity with the environment in which the drug is administered. Familiarity and environment are two alternative terms for what Timothy Leary called set and setting – the subjective emotional/mental factors that the user brings to the drug experience and the objective external factors imposed by their surroundings. Tolerance to any drug can be produced by a combination of these and other mechanisms. Brain receptor sites act as switches in the brain. The brains 39 neurotransmitters, or drugs which mimic them, throw the switches. The basic theory of tolerance is that repeated use of a drug wears out the receptors, and makes it difficult for them to function in the drugs absence. Worn-out receptors were supposed to explain the connection of tolerance to addiction. This phenomenon has been associated with chronic use of benzodiazepines (Valium, Prozac, etc.), for example, but not with cannabinoids.

An alternative hypothesis about how dynamic tolerance to marijuana operates involves receptor down- regulation in which the body adjusts to chronic exposure to a drug by reducing the number of receptor sites available for binding. A 1993 paper published in Brain Research by Angelica Oviedo, John Glowa and Herkenham indicates that tolerance to cannabinoids results from receptor down-regulation. This, as we shall see, is good news. It means that marijuana tolerance is actually the brains mechanism to maintain equilibrium. The conclusions of the researchers: It would seem paradoxical that animals receiving the highest doses of cannabinoids would show the greatest and fastest return to normal levels [of behavior]; however, the receptor down-regulation in these animals was so profound that the behavioral correlate may be due to the great loss of functional binding sites.   In other words, when the rats had had enough, their receptors simply switched off.

As far as marijuana causing major problems in the future, time will tell. Studies vary greatly depending on whether they’re being completed by the pharmaceutical companies or they are independently completed although they all suggest memory loss and some up to a loss of 8 IQ points in those who began smoking marijuana in adolescence. Those same studies reported no IQ loss in people who started smoking marijuana when they were adults.


“Could you explain the term synergistic effect, as related to drug use?”


Being a teacher, I’m sure you know what the term synergy and synergistic effect means: “Synergy can be defined as a combined effect that is greater than the sum of individual effects. The result of a combination is greater than expected because the combined elements enhance one another. It is adding 1 + 1 and getting three.” Marijuana and alcohol will produce a greater level of impairment than either the alcohol or marijuana will produce on their own. Alcohol and cocaine combine to create a compound called cocaethylene. Nearly as psychoactive as cocaine but produces a much longer lasting effect with a much greater toxicity than cocaine alone. Many people mix alcohol with other Opioid drugs which potentiate the effect of the other doubling up on the drug’s effects. Heroin overdose deaths usually involve alcohol as well.


“We have a local young lady, probably, still serving time in prison for killing a number of youths, as they picked up litter along the freeway. One of her drugs of choice was marijuana.”


You raise a good but slightly incomplete point in your description of the “local young lady” Prosecutors said she fell asleep because of the combined effects of the drugs marijuana and ecstasy along with a 24-hour period of having not slept. They presented evidence that Williams had 5.5 nanograms ( .0055 milligrams a milligram is equal to one millionth of a gram) of per milliliter of marijuanas active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, in her blood along with trace amounts of Ecstasy. Nevada state law presumes a person is impaired if they have 2 nanograms of THC in their blood. According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration “Drug abuse continues to be one of the most significant social and economic problems in the United States. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified opiates, cocaine, cannabinoids, amphetamines, and phencyclidines (PCPs) as the most commonly abused illicit drugs.  Alcohol is the most commonly encountered legal substance of abuse. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to liver disease, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, and birth defects.” According to the standards they set for detection of “Drug Abuse Levels” The confirmatory cut off levels for considering marijuana to be a drug she abused would have to have been 15 nanograms or more.

Furthermore, the article about the incident stated, “The crash came as Williams and her roommate drove home after a sleepless overnight visit to a state park 50 miles from Las Vegas. Her white Ford Aerostar, registered to her father in Littlefield, Ariz., ran off the freeway at 75 mph and plowed through the teens.” There was much more to the story than you’ve divulged in your seemingly loaded question. Many factors contributed to that accident, marijuana being only one of several players.


“What about carbon monoxide, will it create a problem?”  Anything that is smoked, gives off carbon monoxide, the red blood cell will except carbon monoxide, according to studies, 30 times, or 3000% faster than oxygen.


“Will that create problems for the marijuana user?”

A:Yes, of course it will, but isn’t that a personal choice like smoking?


“Does smoking marijuana give off residue, such as tar, with tobacco?”


Yes. It’s most commonly referred to as resin.

Q:  “If so would it be light green instead of light brown?”

A:  I’m assuming this was a sarcastic question that really holds no weight in whether they should legalize marijuana but I’ll be polite and ask you if there was a particular point to that question;  then answer, when it’s smoked it’s brown, when it’s extracted from the plant without burning it  the oil or resin varies from light green to brown, depending on the strain of marijuana.


“Would it cause cancer or emphysema, after all it took over 200 years to determine that tobacco caused cancer?  We should know a few years down the road.”


Hopefully none of us will be around in 200 years to find out, though studies now show that marijuana use hinders cancer growth indicating that’s it’s very beneficial to other diseases and I suppose it would be a matter of a person’s personal preference;  Would they like to pump their bodies full of know poisons to kill cancer, compromise their immune systems, make their hair fall out and a whole list of other side effects OR would they rather try something natural, homeopathic, without serious side effects and proven helpful?  I’m sure most would choose the latter.    According to the American Cancer Society, “More recently, scientists reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells growing in laboratory dishes. Some animal studies also suggest certain cannabinoids may slow growth and reduce spread of some forms of cancer.

There have been some early clinical trials of cannabinoids in treating cancer in humans and more studies are planned. While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease.  Why isn’t this information more public?  Ask the pharmaceutical companies who make hundreds of millions on their chemotherapy drugs?


“Would the expense, in the future, be more that the benefits or income, that was explained in your article?  After all the drug is a depressant and hallucinogen and the most recent studies from Colorado show that more youth are ending up in the emergency rooms because of the drug.  Your research needs to be stated honestly.”


As does yours. Youth are ending up in emergency rooms because of eating “edibles”. There is a huge difference between edible marijuana products that contain concentrated amounts of either THC, CBD or both. There isn’t one case study or report that I have been able to find which states that anyone has ever overdosed from smoking marijuana. Edibles will have to be carefully controlled. Marijuana use has been described in a Chinese medical reference that dates back as far as 2737 B.C. Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 until 1942 and was prescribed for various conditions including labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism. Its use as an intoxicant was also commonplace from the 1850s to the 1930s. A campaign conducted in the 1930s by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics (now the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) sought to portray marijuana as a powerful, addicting substance that would lead users into narcotics addiction. It is still considered a “gateway” drug by some authorities.

There’s a plethora of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. But that’s always been just an assumption. Now new studies validate these findings by providing evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses.

Ashley and W. David Bradford, a daughter-father pair of researchers at the University of Georgia, found that in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety meds.

But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a year. A typical pain medication such as Lortab which is commonly prescribed to patients has over 47 known possible side effects not including their contraindications with other prescribed drugs.

Marijuana has only 10.

With the ability to extract and separate the THC from the CBD scientists can better target the diseases treatable by marijuana without a user having to ‘Get High’ to benefit from it’s use.

Legalizing Marijuana for recreational purposes will create some need for adjustments to be made similar to DUI laws ( and when has our government ever shied away from developing new laws?) Companies will eventually develop some machine that will measure the amount of THC in the blood stream much like they do for alcohol detection and laws will be enforced. I personally don’t see any disadvantages to legalizing marijuana that you don’t already have with alcohol but I do see a ton of benefits including the benefit of income to our city and the reduction of prisoners under the care of “Our tax dollars at work.”

Bottom line is trust, for medical purposes, do you trust the pharmaceutical companies that have killed hundreds of thousands of people with their “clinically proven safe for human consumption” prescription drugs or do you trust in what God has provided in the way of holistic medications?  The argument is a heavy one;  Man or God, who do you trust more?

Alcohol is a man-made and perfectly legal drug that is known to cause: Arthritis from gout, cancer, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, heart disease, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, kidney disease, liver disease, malnutrition, nervous disorders, obesity and psychological disturbances. Marijuana which causes none of these issues by itself is a much safer alternative.

Olympic athletes are also not penalized for having marijuana, up to 150 nanograms, which is ten times higher than the Mental Health Professional’s definition of an addictive level.  They’ve found through athletes, such as 5 time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps, that it hasn’t hurt their performance, stopped them from being motivated or ruined their bodies.

Looking at the financial benefits:  We won’t have to feed and house thousands of prison inmates who are busted for marijuana related charges with our tax dollars; that money can surly be rerouted to more beneficial areas in need of funding.  The tax dollars generated for our community will improve many of the issues that have befallen the city government such as lack of personnel, pay issues, schools, city improvement and redevelopment, recreation center improvements, senior center improvements or functions, YOUTH PROGRAMS…. or anywhere else it’s needed.

If they legalize marijuana and you don’t like it…. Why not make lemonade. Take comfort in the fact that although it’s not benefitting you personally, it can be a great benefit to the city and it’s occupants.

Thank you for your questions, I actually learned a few things in the research of my answers.  I hope the answers help to satisfy some of them or at least help to educate some of the more uninformed and unexposed population on this issue.



  1. Thank you Teri, I couldn’t have said it better myself. So many people have such a strong fear of the unknown that it actually inhibits their ability to make sound judgements. I am positive the recreational marijuana bill will pass in Nevada this year. As a city we will not have the ability to outlaw recreational use in our city.
    The only choice we will have to make is rather or not to allow the sales of recreational marijuana in our city. Voting not to allow the sales of recreational marijuana in our city will in no way stop or lessen the use of it here. The only it will do is keep from putting more people to work here and from Mesquite getting the extra income from sales and most important the much needed tax to go into our coffers.
    To allow Deep Roots to manufacture the product here and then force customers to go to Las Vegas to purchase something that was made here would being shooting ourselves in the foot, plain and simple. Voting against sales of recreational marijuana here would accomplish absolutely nothing and be a huge financial mistake for the city of Mesquite.

  2. I am still strongly against the sale of marijuana under any circumstances. Under Federal Law, it is still a banned substance, as confirmed this last week by the Federal Government. No one is thinking clearly what allowing recreational use will do to the children under the age of 6 who come under the influence of this drug through secondary smoke. I WITNESSED THIS SEVERAL YEARS AGO WHEN OUR GRANDDAUGHTER WAS THEN 3YRS OLD AND BEING BABYSAT IN A HOME ONE EVENING WHERE MARIJUANA WAS BEING SMOKED BY FOUR PEOPLE. I went to get her, was in the home only 5 minutes. You could cut the smoke with a saber it was so thick. She had been in it for a few hours before I could get her. SHE FLIPPED OUT ON US FOR SEVERAL HOURS AFTER I GOT HER HOME AND CONTINUED TO FLIP OUT FOR SEVERAL DAYS. The effects were/are long lasting. Not only that, my lungs burned solidly for over two hours. I do not smoke anything, never have, never will an I don’t do ILLEGAL drugs of any kind. But for all of you to deliberately place unprotected children through no choice of their own in that environment because YOU want to legally do drugs is totally irresponsible. If there is a vote on the ballot to legalize, I WILL VOTE NO!!!!!

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      How do you feel about children who are exposed to parents barely able to walk or talk because of the prescription painkilling medications provided to their parents LEGALLY or how about parents who constantly fight and get liquored up? In my youth, I have been to hundreds of parties/places where large groups of marijuana smokers had gathered and I’ve never seen smoke as thick as you’ve described because of something they call ventilation; it’s as easy as opening a window.

      I can further assure you that the effects are not long lasting with most people. The clinically proven effects of marijuana last only a few hours. Marijuana is classified a psychoactive drug but I’ve never seen it cause people to flip out or go crazy as you describe either, more likely it would have made her fall asleep but not before she’d had a snack. Psychoactive doesn’t mean that it causes psychosis, it just means that it is mind altering. The way it alters the mind is by way of a sedative effect far less harmful than taking the prescription valium.

      You would never vote yes? What if your family member, friend or close acquaintance was in extreme constant pain, would you prefer they are prescribed medications that will, destroy thier liver, absolutely became an addiction after just a very short time, cause constipation, mood swings, nodding out (perhaps at the wheel), potentially kill them via overdose because what they’ve taken in the last week isn’t nearly enough and they hurt and need more (which by the way will be the case without doubt because the body does build a tolerance to these “completely legal” prescription painkillers) then could potentially kill them if they try to stop taking it on thier own or..would you perhaps prefer they eat an edible with a high amount of CBD which causes no high but has the pain killing effects naturally and organically without the potential of addiction, side-effects or death that comes with the prior? And they won’t need to spend hundreds/thousands of dollars going to Doctors who push nothing but the truly harmful drugs.

      Marijuana has been used since before Christ for a number of medicinal, religious ceremony and other uses, it’s only been classified a dangerous drug in the last century, about the time industrialists figured hemp was going to ruin thier business of producing man made materials like plastics rather than sustainable/natural products. Hoover was President, plastic had just been invented 23 or so years before as had several other man-made materials. The sustainability, ease of growth and unlimited potential of products that had been or could be made of hemp was a threat to these huge industrialists so out it went and along with it, Marijuana although they are related, as are many cacti,they both have thier own unique properties. Marijuana was classified a drug, so was hemp along with and what the government once used to pay our farmers to grow was no more. It wasn’t because there was any bodily threat from marijuana; it was politics.

      Not to attack you but there are questions regarding your statement that need to be addressed…Responsible parenting is what will control or solve all of your concerns. Why was she left in the home of a smoker to begin with? A babysitting situation with 4 people; also not an ideal situation for a 3 year old. Was it a family friend, didn’t your child know they smoked? Wasn’t the babysitting situation screened so that wouldn’t happen? Forgive me but that wasn’t completely the “smokers'” fault, they WERE irresponsible for doing that in front of a child but…why wasn’t that situation screened better. With 4 people in the home, and I bet it was a teenage situation, how much attention would they have paid to the child even without the marijuana?

      There are real dangers out there in the world but up until about 86 years ago, marijuana was never considered one of them and with the dangers children face today, marijuana should be at the bottom of your list. Pot smokers don’t rob people to get enough money to buy their next bag…Pot smokers don’t “withdrawl” from thier high and seek anyway legal or not to “get a fix”, You won’t see adult marijuana smokers “Pushing” Pot on young children to get them hooked. You won’t find pot smokers selling thier household appliances, jewlery, children’s steroes or anything of the sort to cop thier next bag. You won’t find pot smokers standing on the corners, in the gas stations or travel centers selling “buds” like meth and crack dealers sell their rocks. You won’t find a young girl out on the street selling her body so she can cop her next joint. It’s not that kind of drug and people who indulge in smoking only marijuana aren’t that kind of people.

      Look around, I guarantee there are many people you associate with who have smoked or presently smoke marijuana with out making it obvious or public. People you associate with, know by name or reputation who are perfectly respectable, upstanding citizens. People who work everyday, responsible people who abide by every other law and don’t cause any trouble with thier choice to smoke marijuana. Some perhaps long time smokers and you would never know unless they told you.

      And by the way, our current President is completely in support of legalizing marijuana and publicly stated that it’s effects are no more harmful than alcohol. His daughter smokes it.

    • I call BS on Jan. Marijuana effects are nothing like you describe, exactly the opposite. And absolutely not long lasting.

  3. Thank you Terri for all your research. It helps remove the filters we place on things when we don’t know the facts. Frankly, the whole topic reminds me of the prohibition period. 😉

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      I absolutely agree with you about the topic reminding you of prohibition. That’s exactly it, and we all know what happened with that; don’t we?

  4. lestate68 says:

    Sounds like Jan should find a new babysitter. The letter from Teri was very accurate, based on facts and presented as a scientific response to those (i.e. the Government) who oppose anything based on facts. I should also point out that Jan talked about an experience several years ago. If so, how did these people obtain an illegal substance? What if the “babysitter” was falling down drunk (alcohol is legal) or the room was filled from second hand smoke (cigarettes are also legal)? The law against marijuana is nothing different then the prohibition years. The only people who benefit are the criminals who supply the forbidden substance. When we ever learn!!!!

  5. Ruth Pacheco says:

    Thank you very much Terri for this interesting article & I totally agree with everything you have said! I hope some day soon we can get relief from our chronic pain w/o poisoning our bodies with “legal” drugs. The people in Washington need to wake up!!! Make marijuana legal, they did alcohol which is a very very lethal product in all ways!!

  6. Medicinal, ok, but recreational? NO!
    Teri: How would you, as a teacher, like a classroom full of HIGH students?

    It’s all about the money $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    Earmark all monies, if passed, to law enforcement as it will be needed.
    Look at Colorado.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Do you presently have a classroom full of alcoholics or pill poppers?

      OK, let’s take a look at Colorado then…

      According to an article from the Denver Post, “Crime is up,” said Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson, ” but I don’t know if you can relate it to marijuana.”

      Since 2012, the year when Colorado voters passed recreational marijuana legalization, the number of crimes in Denver has grown by about 44 percent, according to annual figures the city reported to the National Incident Based Reporting System. In the past, police have argued that system potentially overcounts crimes and have preferred instead to cite the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, which shows a 3.5 percent increase over the same span. Both of those increases are tempered when taking population growth into account.

      But, regardless of the counting system, marijuana’s contribution to the measurement is small.”

      Beginning in 2012, Denver, CO city safety officials began tracking crimes that they believe are marijuana-related. In that first year, the city counted 223 offenses, 172 of which were connected to the marijuana industry, which at the time encompassed only medical marijuana businesses. Last year, the city counted 251 marijuana-related offenses, including 183 connected to the medical and recreational marijuana industry. (The numbers are for more serious offenses and do not include petty citations for violations such as public marijuana consumption, nor do they include crimes committed by juveniles.)

      That means, in any given year, marijuana-related crimes in Denver make up less than 1 percent of all offenses counted in the Uniform Crime Report and less than a half-percent of all NIBRS offenses.

      Another source, the Huffington Post has a report that reads:

      How goes Colorado’s experience with legal marijuana? Spend some time on social media or on numerous blogs and you’ll read headlines like “Revenue Up, Crime Down!” or “Youth Use Declining After Legalization.” In this short blog series, I will tackle different topics that have been the subject of myth and misinformation.

      First up: crime.

      Lately legalization advocates have been cheering numbers that show a decline in crime. There are literally hundreds of articles that have been written with this narrative. But an honest look at the statistics shows an increase — not decrease — in Denver crime rates.

      Crime is tracked through two reporting mechanisms: the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which examines about 35 types of crime, and the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). The FBI UCR only captures about 50 percent of all crimes in Denver, so the NIBRS is generally regarded as more credible. The Denver Police Department (DPD) uses NIBRS categories to examine an array of crime statistics, since it is the more detailed and comprehensive source of numbers.

      The Denver Police statistics show that summing across all crime types — about 35 in all — the crime rate is up almost 7 percent compared with the same period last year. Interestingly, crimes such as public drunkenness are up 237 percent, and drug violations are up 20 percent.

      So why are advocates claiming a crime drop? Easy: They blended part of the FBI data with part of the DPD/NIBRS data to cook up numbers they wished to see. When one picks the Part I data from UCR and uses DPD/NIBRS property-crime numbers only while studiously avoiding the DPD/NIBRS data on all other crimes, one can indeed manufacture the appearance of a decline. As one can see here, even when using the FBI UCR numbers — in their entirety — crime has risen.

      A report commissioned by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals puts it nicely:

      When a closer look at the data is undertaken, a different picture — something other than “crime is down” — appears to emerge. …
      [L]egalization proponents should not infer causality regarding the downward trend observable when isolating just the UCR’s Part I crime index.
      When I asked the president of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association, Ernie Martinez, about these statistics, he urged me to look at the crimes that have been happening in connection to marijuana — even after legalization:

      Across the Front Range, we are experiencing more and more butane explosions due to hash extraction methods, calls for service on strong smells, and calls to ER’s on adverse effects after either ingestion or smoked use. Black-market continues to exist unabated, availability of black market marijuana is ever present and cheaper than legalized MJ. Medical marijuana registrants continue to rise due to many factors such as more quantity allowed and more plants allowed, all due to Physician recommendations.
      So if crime is up, can we blame legal pot? We do not know whether legalization has anything to do with it. But we do know that reputable news organizations should stop relying on the Big Marijuana lobby for statistics. They wouldn’t blindly trust coal-industry statistics on the environmental effects of strip mining, and they should bring similar skepticism to propaganda claims disseminated by this new industry.

      Follow Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D. on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kevinsabet

      So you have two reports, one seemingly from those who still advocate legalization and one from those who don’t. Either way, rising crime statistics are extremely low in Colorado compared to other places where marijuana is still not legal. Bottom line there is, depending on the source, your going to find numbers to support your argument that crime in CO is certainly up but you can’t find many that attribute those numbers to marijuana.

      Really take a look at the type of complaints lodged, “Strong smells” and yes, ER visits because of edibles and I’ve already stated that those need to be controlled carefully and probably still only prescribed medically unless they really find a way to exactly regulate the THC content but I still maintain the argument that it’s highly improbable that anyone is able to smoke themselves to the point of overdose. If there was a problem due to smoking it that caused a trip to the ER, there was more than likely other drugs involved or at least a laced bowl or joint of marijuana.

      Actual crimes caused because someone smoked pot? You can find all the reports and they’ll all very close to saying that the increase in crime has very little to do with the legalization with the exception of DUI with marijuana being a contributing factor only because there wasn’t a category for marijuana specifically, it was a blanket “Under the Influence” charge, now their beginning to distinguish the difference between marijuana and alcohol/other substances, you know, for statistics sake.

      Have you checked out Mesquite’s numbers recently? Crime is up as much as 240% in just 180 days and marijuana isn’t the culprit, what do you suppose that stems from?

      • Or could it be that the increase in non marijuana related crime is do the fact that police have more time to dedicate to real crime instead of harassing pot smokers for minor possession? People being high in marijuana will cause them the sit around the house and chill, not jump up and do anything.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Oh and by the way, trust me, if they aren’t already high in your class, legalizing marijuana won’t make a difference. It will be no different that smoking cigarettes or drinking…those who do, do and those who don’t, still won’t.

      • Amy Marshall says:

        Well researched and great points, Teri—As one of your friends, and quite a fan, I appreciate the time it took to research this subject!

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Let’s take a look at your report:
      In Colorado:
      Fatalities Involving Operators Testing Positive for Marijuana………………………………. 9
      Fatalities Involving Operators Testing Positive for Marijuana…………………………….. 10
      Percent of All Fatalities With Operators Testing Positive for Marijuana……………… 10
      Average Marijuana-Related Fatalities Pre and Post-Medical
      Marijuana Commercialization Year (2009)……………………………………………………. 11
      Operators Involved in Fatalities Testing Positive for Marijuana (2)…………….. 11 & 12
      Percent of Operators Testing Positive for Marijuana of Total Operators
      Involved in Fatalities ……………………………………………………………………………………. 12
      Average Operators Testing Positive for Marijuana Pre and Post-Medical
      Marijuana Commercialization Year (2009)……………………………………………………. 13
      DUID Blood Tests Confirmed THC…………………………………………………………………….. 14
      Larimer Sheriff’s Department Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
      (DUID) Report……………………………………………………………………………………………… 14

      The numbers listed in this report are relatively low for an area where marijuana is legal.

      Let’s look at the number of drunk driving incidents:
      According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 33,561 people died in traffic crashes in 2012 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,076 people who were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). Among the people killed in these drunk driving crashes, 65% were drivers (6,688), 27% were motor vehicle occupants (2,824), and 8% were non-occupants (810).
      Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began recording alcohol-related statistics in 1982, the number of persons under 21, killed in drunk driving crashes decreased 79% from the record high of 5,215 in 1982 to 1,072 in 2013. These fatalities account for 11% of the drunk driving fatalities in the U.S.
      For every 100,000 Americans under the age of 21, 1.3 people were killed in drunk driving fatalities in 2012. The rate of under 21 drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 population has declined 46% over the past decade.

      Let’s look at Colorado specifically: First number is Colorado’s totals, the second number is the national average.

      2014 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatality Data Colorado National
      Total Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities 160 9,967
      Percent of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities of Total Fatalities 32.8 30.5
      Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities 26 1,052
      Percent of Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities of Total Under 21 Fatalities 40 24.8
      2014 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100,000 Population
      Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K population 3 3.1
      Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K population 1.8 1.2
      2005-2014 % Change in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K Pop
      10-year Change in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K pop -31.9 -31.5
      10-year Change in Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K pop -27.6 -47.9
      Percent of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Involving high BAC drivers (.15+)*
      BAC=.15+ 72 71.6
      Percent of Drivers in Fatal Crashes Involving Repeat Offenders
      BAC .08-.14 8.3 27
      BAC .15+ 91.7 73
      2013 and 2014 12-20 Year Old Alcohol Consumption
      Past Month Alcohol Consumption 27 22.8
      Binge Drinking in Past 30-days 15.9 14
      2014 Arrest Data
      Under 18: Driving under the influence 253 5,449
      Total: Driving under the influence 27,874 872,184
      Under 18: Liquor laws 1,966 41,528
      Total: Liquor laws 12,641 249,970
      Under 18: Drunkenness 52 5,119
      Total: Drunkenness 271 328,466

      The numbers are still far greater for what’s already legal and I still haven’t found any evidence to 100% support that fact that marijuana has contributed in any way to the downfall, crime rate increase, or financial disaster of any state where it’s presently legal. There are two sides to the coin and for every report that states it’s been horrible, you’ll find one to counter that claim.

      The numbers people are all bent out of shape about that are directly contributed to the legalization of marijuana are very low compared to other contributing factors.

      Please let’s just stop providing three hots and a cot to the hundreds of thousands of incarcerated individuals in the US who are in jail for a substance less harmful and far more beneficial than tobacco and liquor.

    • A class room full of high students. Are you serious right now? Like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana will have STRICT enforcement of purchase my minors. And unlike tobacco and alcohol, it be available only in certain stores and dispensaries, not EVERY retail establishment in the city. Quit letting your fear of the unknown and ignorance of the facts run away with you. It is my personal opinion that all of you only have 5-10 years left to debate this issue anyway, before all states and the federal government figure out hos absolutely ridiculous how much time effort and money they spend on this non issue.

  7. http://dailysignal.com/2014/08/20/7-harmful-side-effects-pot-legalization-caused-colorado/

    “Legalizing is a Terrible idea”
    Search for Colorado and other legal states on MJ and find it all seems to come down to the MONEY.
    Follow the $$$$$$$$$$$$.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Well, yes. The school system in Colorado has benefitted greatly from the funds raised and given to them specifically from the sale of Marijuana. How many schools in Colorado are in trouble or need of funding now like they are in other states and ours in particular? Teachers spend fortunes, thier own money, on school supplies just so their students can get through the year with a decent amount of materials, not a desired amount.

      Of course a lot of the motivation is money but wouldn’t you rather see our students thriving because the school no longer has to worry about funding? Wouldn’t you rather sports and other extracirricular activities not be cancelled or paid for and played only by the individuals whos parents can afford the costly uniforms and equipment because the schools can no longer afford to fund such programs? Wouldn’t you rather see students with some vocational courses that can give them a fighting chance in the job market?
      Here’s a thought… Just maybe our firemen, policemen and city workers can alleviate all the complaints by those who feel they aren’t doing an effective enough job because they’re understaffed by hiring more staff WITHOUT having to raise your tax dollars to do it.

      Maybe you’d just rather the local dealers and the big cartels profit and benefit from the sale of marijuana. By all means let’s not put the money for this so-called “horrible drug” (total sarcasm there, I know it’s not) to good use. Let’s just raise everybody’s taxes to do all of these things instead.

      Unless you have a better idea on how to fix the economy of Mesquite right now, Marijuana seems to be quite the answer to many people’s prayers and not just so they can “Get high”, but hey if that’s what they want… it is a free country and thier personal choice.

      Do you preach anything against alcohol? Have you seen the crime rates and death statistics on liquor, and have you seen all the money collected from the sale of it? More importantly, can you name one good thing the sale of alcohol and the money colllected from it has done for anyone other than the bureaucrats?

      People want improvements, they want sufficient coverage for emergency personnel and police coverage, good schools, a safe community, state of the art equipment, recreational centers, senior centers and sufficient staff to support and maintain them, pretty parks and streets….where DO you think the money for all of this comes from? Your TAX dollars…so what you are saying is…You’d rather thay raise taxes to compensate before you’ll vote for an alternative solution that you really don’t know too much about but are adamantly against because you don’t personally agree that everybody has the right to choose for themselves to partake in something that is less harmful than the tobacco and alcohol presently on the market and legal? That makes no sense to me but you do have the right to your opinion, I just hope there are more who support the legalization than those who don’t or you’re not going to be a happy camper when your tax dollars go up and up to support the ever growing demand for more and better!

    • Yes indeed MONEY. Big $$$. Every issue or debate in this town comes down to a lack of sufficient funding. Every one. In November I am sure Nevada will legalize the use of recreational marijuana. If Mesquite, allows just one dispensary (Deep Roots), to sell recreational marijuana in just ONE location, all of our money issues will be a thing of the past.

  8. I suppose it should be legalized. But from my own experience I regret smoking so much as a kid. Marijuana kept me from maturing emotionally, intellectually and I suspect it still has had slight effect on my cognitive abilities some 40 yrs. later.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Just playing devil’s advocate, this is not a personal attack but does contain recent research that refutes your statement. I’m actually impressed with your passive/aggressive approach.

      So what your saying is that smoking marijuana 40 years ago has turned you into a emotionally immature, slightly dumbed down version of yourself who still has problems figuring things out? I suppose I would be more likely to believe that statement if it contained something other than the top three “effects of marijuana on the teen brain” in nearly every study you can google. It was a good try, though, I don’t know how one can say, with one hundred percent certainty, that your lack ofcognitive skills, intellectual and emotional marturity had anything to do with smoking pot. Were you part of a study, did a mental health professional make that diagnosis? Are you a clinician? How do you know that marijuana had those effects on you and that you weren’t just “that way” to begin with?

      Try taking a look at this more recent study:
      “Scientists Found Someting Strange When They Looked at the Brains of Stoners” from the science section of the Buisness Insider.

      If you were to peek inside the brain of someone who regularly smoked marijuana, you would find that it didn’t look quite like the brain of someone who didn’t smoke.

      First, you might notice that a critical part of the brain that helps us process emotions and make decisions appeared smaller than in the brains of the nonsmoker.

      But you would see something else, too: that the connections passing through that region of the brain were stronger and thicker.

      Thankfully, you don’t have to go excavating brains anytime soon. A group of researchers has done the hard work for you. In a recent study, scientists used a combination of MRI-based brain scans to get one of the first comprehensive, three-dimensional pictures of the brains of adults who have smoked weed at least four times a week, often multiple times a day, for years.

      Compared with people who don’t use, long-term, heavy marijuana smokers tend to have a smaller orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a brain region critical for processing emotions and making decisions. But they also have more cross-brain connections that scientists think smokers may develop as a means of compensating for the difference in size.

      Unlike previous research, which has looked mainly at short-term smokers or simply at young or older users, this study is one of the first to look at pot’s long-term effects on men and women between 20 and 40 years old who had smoked almost daily for between two and 30 years. The researchers looked at the brains of 110 people — 62 who didn’t smoke and 48 who did — using three different types of MRI scans.

      In the smokers, these increased brain connections appeared to help them counteract the behavioral problems commonly associated with weed use, like trouble maintaining relationships or staying motivated enough to find or keep a job.

      The approximate location of the orbitofrontal cortex, highlighted in green.Wikimedia Commons

      But while new connections blossom throughout the brain during the first few years of regular use, they eventually recede. Researchers saw a significant drop-off in new brain links after about six years of regular use.

      So does smoking weed every day for a decade shrink your brain and make you dumber? Not quite.

      The regular smokers did have lower IQ scores overall when compared to the people who didn’t smoke, but there’s no way to know yet whether or how that might be linked to smaller orbitofrontal cortices or marijuana use in general.

      “We cannot honestly say that that is what’s happening here,” says Francesca Filbey, the lead study author and professor of neuropsychology at the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas.

      For starters, this study — the first ever to look at the long-term effects of weed smoking in heavy adult users across a wide age range — did not show that pot smoking caused certain regions of the brain to shrink. In fact, other studies suggest that having smaller orbitofrontal cortices in the first place could make someone more likely to start smoking. One recent study, for example, found that children as young as 12 who had smaller orbitofrontal cortices were significantly more likely to start smoking weed by the time they hit their 16th birthday.

      In other words, it could be that people with naturally smaller versions of this region may simply be more likely to smoke, and the weed might not be shrinking that section of the brain at all. There is also no clear evidence linking the brain differences the researchers found with any particular behaviors.

      In addition, all three things the researchers studied — drug-use habits, brain development, and IQ scores — are shaped by a variety of factors. Both the environment we grow up in and the specific combination of genes we inherit from our parents affect behavior and intelligence.

      The age when someone starts smoking pot can also be a key clue to how the brain will be different from a non-user’s brain and how often someone smokes thereafter. Picking up the habit while young seems to be especially influential.

      “The earlier the use — especially during adolescence, when the brain is developing — the greater the effects,” Filbey says. Of her study participants, those who started using the earliest had the most pronounced differences in brain development in terms of the size of the orbitofrontal cortex and the connections between parts of that region of the brain.

      Other studies in people have shown similar links between weed and smaller prefrontal cortex regions, but only research in animals has suggested that marijuana may kill brain cells or reduce their size.

      Scientists still don’t know whether giving up weed can reverse its changes to the brain (if the noted differences are indeed caused by pot in the first place — still an open question) or whether the alterations are also present in recreational or short-term users. But as legal marijuana becomes a reality in the US, researchers are scrambling to find out.o an

      I have many years of personal experience smoking weed and I believe my emotional stability is strong as are my intellect and congitive skills. I never took an IQ test before I began smoking marijuana but have since. I’ve consistently scored over 140 on any given test and I’ve done many since. I do beleive that IQ tests aren’t based on what you know but rather what your potential is or your “cognitive ability”. I can’t say that it’s harmed or it hasn’t harmed my abilities but I’m happy with who I am and the abilities, talents and motivation I have. As far as long or short term memory loss… I can still memorize a 100 page script with no problems, and in most cases, easier than those who haven’t smoked marijuana can but I am a scatter brain as far as misplacing things. I “run” around with something in my hand, mostly lighters or my cell phone, and where it gets set down and when is anyone’s guess. That could be attributed to smoking pot but then again, my grandmother never smoked or drank anything stronger than coffee in her life and she once set a bag of penny nails in the refridgerator; it took her days to find it. I believe my ‘scatter’ is at least partially genetic.

    • I don’t think it was the pot, sorry. Way too many “POTHEADS” from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s turned out to be financial genius’ and corporate leaders, founding some of the largest privately owned businesses we have ever seen. Better look for another reason.

  9. Is Teri high?

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Let’s first not take my arguments for legalization out of context and please don’t forget my former statements that marijuana legalization would have to be controlled much like tobacco and alcohol. Meaning that it’s available legally to anyone OVER the age of 21 and I’m not promoting for anyone under the age of 18. It is a drug and should be regulated but my opinion is that anyone over the age of 18 has the mental growth and hopefully the sound enough judgement to make an informed decision about what they put into their bodies. Until then, unfortunately the government is the only one who decides what chemical and drugs (poison) they get shot up with if they want to attend public schools.
      Unless it’s medically warranted.

      Really, after all of the research, statistics and studies I’ve come up with all you can ask is, “Is Teri High?” You can’t come up with a response that has a bit more substance than that?
      Well, since you asked.
      I’ve had personal experience with Marijuana for 40 years, since I was 13 years old.
      When I finished high school with a 4.0 GPA was I high?
      When I completed an entrance exam for the Cleveland Police Force and scored in the top 100 out of 2,478 was I high?
      When I worked full time, was raising three children while completing a vocational program in Medical Assisting with an overall 98.6% test score, graduating highest in a class of 27 and achieving a 100% score in 8 out of 14 classes at ESI Institute in Cleveland Ohio was I high?
      When I completed a college diploma course in Residential Planning with a 4.0 GPA in 2007 was I high?
      When I further completed two more years of graphic arts and web design with a 3.6 GPA was I high?
      The answer to all of those questions is probably, yes. I won’t lie and give a definitive yes or no to that question because the answer will entirely depend on a number of factors at those particular times in my life. Some of it happened nearly 28 years ago and I just didn’t feel the need to store every detail in the micofiche section of my brain for instant recall purposes. I can, however, in all honesty, say probably yes. What I can tell you is that there were times when I held certain jobs in the past 10 years that drug tested randomly, and then the answer would have been no. I tried prescription sleeping medication at one of those times and it caused me to sleep walk, cut up an entire watermelon, have a conversation with my husband and stepson and absolutely no recall of that, not the slightest hint that I ever did that. Since sleepwalking and playing with knives to me is far more dangerous than weed, so guess what?
      As I said I have 40 years’ worth of experience with marijuana personally. I am not promoting legalization because I’ve seen the drug destroy lives, I haven’t, not even once, but I can guarantee I’ve seen more than my fair share of lives destroyed by seemingly harmless, legal drugs. My own son died four years ago because he became addicted to seemingly harmless drugs prescribed at first by a doctor after a car accident after 6 months of that prescription written by a doctor, Josh just couldn’t stop. The withdrawal from pain medication is horrible and dangerous. Eventually he took too much and just didn’t wake up. There were a lot of lives devastated and destroyed by a seemingly harmless drug and he didn’t like weed, never smoked it after initially trying it. I truly wish he had.
      Since you’ve indulged me so far perhaps you won’t mind indulging me a bit longer.
      In 40 years I have come across hundreds, possibly even thousands of marijuana smokers both young and old. Many of them hold political and/or other high ranking positions but most are just average “Joes” who work every day, except for those who are already retired, raise families with ‘good’ kids, own their own homes, cars, motorcycles and other toys of interest. Marijuana has done nothing to negatively impact their lives or mine.
      What Teri is, is a person who would like to see Marijuana legalized for a number of reasons which by the way don’t really affect me one way or another in Nevada; I live in Arizona. I would like to see people make an informed decision based on information and knowledge gained by research and those who actually know the drug, not just from hearsay, fear and ignorance.
      And on a more personal note:
      I’ve never been an unhealthy person but I suffered constantly from migraines, 4 or 5 a week, which landed me in the hospital with shots of Demerol and Compazine the Demerol for pain and the Compazine to stop me from violently throwing up. Couldn’t take pills, I’d throw them up and they didn’t have drugs such as Imitrex at the time. They couldn’t prescribe a preventive medication (at the time the preventive measures were blood pressure medications) because my blood pressure is normally on the low side and the medication would have left me feeling completely lethargic and unable to function so I suffered. When I was old enough to know better and do a little research on my own, and under the unofficial advice of a doctor friend of mine, I began smoking marijuana more than ever before. It had been a casual “party” thing before but as with all things, they change. No more trips to the ER, no more hyper emesis, no more debilitating migraines. By the way, I smoke before I go to bed at night because my migraines, 99% of the time, wake me in the middle of the night out of a dead sleep.
      It’s been 25 years since I was unofficially prescribed weed and I still suffer from migraines but only a few a year rather than several a week as before. Am I high? You bet, high and healthy. The only other major medical condition I have ever undergone is a C-section with my third child and sport/work related injuries (bad knees and carpal tunnel) and I am 53 years old, never take anything stronger than Advil for pain unless there’s an injury that requires Percocet and ONLY if things are horribly painful…I even stay away from antibiotics, using garlic for infection control and immune system strength. I don’t drink alcohol at all and haven’t in I can’t think of how long…not because I ever had an issue with it, I never had the proclivity for it and I sort of like my liver.

  10. I Looked at Marijuana from an investment point of view. I looked for Clinical Studies. It was difficult to find any recent Quantifiable / Qualifiable research. The reason for this seems to be that it requires approval from 3 agencies to study it. FDA,DEA,NIDA.
    The information I have found was:
    It’s a Schedule One Drug.
    One Plant contains more than 400 Chemical Compounds.
    Included in the 400 are 70 Active Cannabinoids. Most over the counter drugs have one active chemical in them.
    With the Lack of Good Research and the variables in the make up of the plant and the legal questions that surround it.
    I conclude the risk far outweighs the reward until more info is available.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      All government run agencies who outlawed it in the first place and any drug requires those agencies to study it and deem it a drug to begin with. Please don’t tell people there isn’t enough unquantifiable Qualifiable research done… Aren’t doctors and research scientists Qualifiable? There is a ton of research out there from many different agencies, doctors, independents, both pro and con.

      But let’s take a look at what you’ve said.

      There are 483 different identifiable chemical constituents known to exist in cannabis. The most distinctive and specific class of compounds are the cannabinoids (66 known), that are only known to exist in the cannabis plant and they are natural products or byproducts of marijuana.
      Other constituents of the cannabis plant are: nitrogenous compounds (27 known), amino acids (18), proteins (3), glycoproteins (6), enzymes (2), sugars and related compounds (34), hydrocarbons (50), simple alcohols (7), aldehydes (13), ketones (13), simple acids (21), fatty acids (22), simple esters (12), lactones (1), steroids (11), terpenes (120), non-cannabinoid phenols (25), flavonoids (21), vitamins (1) [Vitamin A], pigments (2), and elements (9);
      All naturally occurring but you think this is harmful, proteins and vitamines? Ok

      Let’s take a look at the healthiest food on the planet…Fresh fruits and vegetables…nothing wrong there huh? All FDA Approved by the way.

      Pesticide residues, crop contaminants (aflatoxins, patulin, ochratoxin, etc.) naturally occurring toxic substances and heavy metals are the major contaminants found in fruit and vegetables. Pesticides are used in management of pests and diseases in Agricultural and Horticultural crops. Heavy metals are present in the irrigation water and other manures. Infested seeds, irrigation water and soil act as the source of the fungal toxins.
      Pesticides can leave adverse effects on the nervous system. Some harmful pesticides can cause several hazardous diseases like cancer, liver, kidney, and lung damage. Certain pesticides can also cause loss of weight and appetite, irritability, insomnia, behavioural disorder and dermatological problems. The pesticide residue found in fruit and vegetables include residues of both banned (Aldrin, Chlordane, Endrin, Heptachlor, Ethyl Paration, etc.) and restricted pesticides for use in India (DDT,
      Endosulfan, etc.). Heavy metals also cause adverse effect in human metabolic system, skin diseases, heart problems, etc.
      The Environmental Working Group recently also came out with its list of pesticide-laden produce, calling it the 2015 Dirty Dozen list. To add to this body of research, Consumer Reports’ report on green beans and other high-risk produce (in terms of pesticides)—including peaches, tangerines, plums (from Chile, but not America), apples (from America, but not New Zealand), green beans, bell peppers, hot peppers, and sweet potatoes—makes it easier for you to make smarter choices while shopping for produce. (Be empowered by this knowledge; don’t shy away from eating produce, since eating more veggies has consistently been shown to help you live longer.

      You say medications only contain one active chemical…we’ll go two here but it’s not so much the active chemical you need worry about. The active ingredient causes the addiction and the inert ingredients will screw you up elsewhere.

      Over the counter Advil contains: Ibuprofen, colloidal silicon dioxide, cornstarch, acetylated monoglycerides, croscarmellose sodium and methylparaben, according to Drugs.com. They also include povidone, pregelatinized starch, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium benzoate and sodium lauryl sulfate. Stearic acid, synthetic iron oxide, sucrose, titanium dioxide and propylparaben make up the remaining ingredients.

      Prescription Pain Medication

      Each VICODIN HP Tablet contains:
      Hydrocodone Bitartrate 10 mg
      Acetaminophen 660 mg
      In addition each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, pregelatinized starch, and stearic acid (stearic acid is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in nature following palmitic acid.[9] The triglyceride derived from three molecules of stearic acid is called stearin. It is a waxy solid and its chemical formula is C17H35CO2H. ) Wait a minute, didn’t the FDA deem triglycerides and fatty acids bad for you? But they’ll intentionally put it in things that are supposed to be good for you just so the pharmaceutical companies can make a buck? I’m confused…and more than a bit leery of double standards.

      I think I’ll stick with my tried and true method all the same.

    • How about the thousands of years that people have been smoking it? I believe without a single report of a death caused by an overdose. I will take that compared to the hundreds of thousand of deaths caused by the so called safe drugs CREATED by big pharm in a lab somewhere. Every day I see ads on TV from lawyers encouraging people to sue big pharm for the damages and deaths caused by the poison they pay doctors to prescribe to us all. I have yet to see one ad telling people to sue mother earth for the natural herb that she provides for us to help cure or control so many different ailments.

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