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May 8, 1997

Medical Marijuana Supporters Challenge Arizona Measure Restricting Physicians' Ability To Prescribe Marijuana

May 8, 1997, Phoenix, AZ:  Medical marijuana proponents in Arizona are challenging a move by the state legislature to indefinitely delay the implementation of a voter-approved medical marijuana law.
A group called The People Have Spoken (TPHS) have taken out a referendum petition from the Secretary of State's office to reverse a law signed by Gov. Fife Symington on April 21 mandating that physicians may only prescribe marijuana after the drug has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (H.R. 2518).  Voters in November overwhelmingly endorsed permitting doctors to prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients if two licensed physicians agree on the use and offer supporting research.
Sam Vagenas, spokesman for TPHS, called the legislature's support of H.R. 2518, "The ultimate act of political arrogance.  ... It is a callous disregard of the will of the voters."
NORML's Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said, "The actions of the Arizona state legislature and Gov. Symington have left activists no choice but to use the referendum process to bring this compassionate reform to the state."
The referendum will block the legislature's recent changes if 56,481 registered voters sign petitions by July 20, placing it on the November 1998 general election ballot.  Because H.R. 2518 failed to receive support from at least two-thirds of the state legislature, it may be taken directly to the electorate as a referendum.
Vagenas explained that TPHS is also preparing an additional referendum that will bar legislators from changing initiatives for two years after they are passed by the voters.
"The politicians have said repeatedly that the people of Arizona are stupid," Vagenas told The Arizona Republic.  "We're going to prove that the people are not so dumb after all."
For more information, please contact Sam Vagenas of The People Have Spoken @ (602) 222-6639.

NORML, Others Testify Against D.C. Effort To Re-Impose
Mandatory Marijuana Penalties

May 8, 1997, Washington, D.C.:  NORML's Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. joined a coalition of criminal justice and drug policy groups yesterday to testify against D.C. Council Bill 12-12, the "Distribution of Marijuana Amendment Act of 1997."  The bill, introduced by interim Council Chair Charlene Drew Jarvis (D), seeks to make the possession of more than one and one-half ounces of marijuana a felony offense and to reinstate mandatory-minimum sentences for various drug offenses.  Backers of the measure claimed that enhanced penalties are necessary to combat an alleged increase in violence associated with marijuana trafficking in the city.
Stroup called the proposal a classic example of "bait and switch."  He noted that the bill would impose mandatory prison terms for all marijuana distribution and possession-with-intent-to distribute offenses regardless of whether any violence was associated with the event.  "If violence is the reason for imposing harsh and unyielding mandatory sentences, the legislation should be targeted at violent offenders," Stroup argued.
Stroup further testified that the Jarvis bill was unnecessary because the U.S. Attorney's office already decides which District drug cases are most serious and should be prosecuted in federal court, and which are less serious and will be prosecuted in Superior Court.  Those prosecuted under federal law are subject to the rigid sentencing guidelines and to all the mandatory penalties adopted by Congress, Stroup explained.  "It [is] disingenuous for [D.C. prosecutors] to suggest that [their] hands [are] tied by the absence of mandatory penalties under D.C. law," he said.
Stroup also argued that passage of the Jarvis bill will increase the number of non-violent offenders sent to prison in the District, and strip judges of their ability to mete out fair sentences that "reflect the individual facts of the case and the culpability of the individual defendant."
NORML was joined by Drug Policy Foundation President Arnold Trebach, Families Against Mandatory Minimums President Julie Stewart, Mary Jane DeFrank of the Washington Capitol area American Civil Liberties Union, and a number of other witnesses.
For more information, please contact R. Keith Stroup, Esq. of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.

Activists Charge Oregon's Largest Newspaper Sides With The DEA In Promoting Marijuana Recriminalization Bill

May 8, 1997, Portland, Oregon:  Drug reform activists fighting to save the state's marijuana decriminalization law have charged The Oregonian with being a willful participant in the "War on Drugs" after the paper ran an editorial endorsing recriminalization that relied almost exclusively on a Drug Enforcement Administration handout.
The May 3 editorial supporting the current legislative effort to recriminalize marijuana in Oregon (H.B. 3643) stated that the "marijuana available today is maybe 60 times as potent as that of the 1960s."  This statement is almost identical to language that appeared in chapter one of a 1994 DEA pamphlet: "Drug Legalization: Myths and Misconceptions."  Ironically, annual evidence gathered from the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Potency Monitoring Project indicates that marijuana potency has remained relatively stable for almost the entire 20+ years it has been measured.  According to a 1995 pamphlet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services entitled Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know, "Most ordinary marijuana has an average of 3 percent THC."  This is virtually the same figure that NIDA reported in 1982 (3.34 percent).
The Oregonian editorial also relied heavily on the 1994 assumptions of Dr. Richard Schwartz of Georgetown University who argued in an unpublished paper that marijuana decriminalization encourages marijuana use.  Schwartz's findings also appeared in the DEA handout.  However, according to the only federal study ever conducted regarding the impact of marijuana recriminalization on use (Monitoring the Future Occasional Paper 13: Marijuana Decriminalization: The Impact on Youth 1975-1980), Schwartz's assumption is incorrect.  The study's conclusions are as follows:
# The data show "absolutely no evidence ... of any increase, relative to the control states, in the proportion of the age group who ever tried marijuana."
# "The degree of disapproval young people hold for marijuana use, to the extent which they believe such use is harmful, and the degree to which they perceive the drug to be available to them ... [was] found to be unaffected by [decriminalization.]"
# There exists no evidence "of an increase in the frequency of use in the marijuana-using segment of the population.  ... In fact, both groups of experimental states showed a small, cumulative net decline in lifetime prevalence as well as in annual and monthly prevalence after decriminalization.
Prior to the May 7 editorial, The Oregonian also printed a quote from Darin Campbell, lobbyist for the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, who falsely implied that Oregon was the only state that maintains marijuana decriminalization.  In reality, 10 of the 11 states that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the l970s continue to remain decriminalized.  These states presently represent one-third of the U.S. population.
"What justifies such bias and misleading sensationalism," asked Portland NORML activist Phil Smith, a former writer for The Oregonian.  "When will The Oregonian stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution?"
For more information, please contact Sandra Burbank of Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse @ (808) 298-1031 or Richard Cowan of The Medical Marijuana Magazine at (213) 512-1527.



© copyright 1997 NORML NORML Home Page comments: norml@natlnorml.org

Regional and other news

Body Count

Seven of the 20 felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts in the most recent week received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance offenses, according to the "Portland" zoned section of
The Oregonian, ("Courts," May 8, 1997, p. 7, 3M P-NE). That makes the body count so far this year 81 out of 176, or 46.02 percent. The count would be eight out of 20 except one woman received 18 months' probation (but no hard time) for possession. At the same time, another woman whose probation was revoked but whose sentence was not specified was included in the count under the assumption "probation revoked" means jail time.

Kitzhaber Spills The Beans At Open-Air Drug Market

On May 8, 1997, D. Paul Stanford, a chief petitioner for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, wrote:
On Tuesday I went to a kiosk just outside the Capitol to get an espresso. As I walked up, who should be the only other person in line but Gov. Kitzhaber. I told him I would like to take this opportunity to urge him to veto HB 3643.

He asked, "Which one is that?"

I said the bill to recriminalize small amounts of marijuana. He told me that we don't have the money and he was going to veto it. I hope he was serious. We should still mount a letter and phone call campaign to his office. We should stress that we don't have the money, to use his words.

If you are an Oregon resident, please contact and urge the Governor to veto this bill if it passes. Call his office at 503-378-3111 and/or the Governor's Citizens' Representative office at 503-378-4863. His Web site is http://www.governor.state.or.us/ and you can send him a message from there asking him to veto HB 3643 to recriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Help us defeat HB 3643, before they turn back the clock on progress in restoring hemp!

D. Paul Stanford

Minnis Calls Kitzhaber 'Cowardly'

On May 3, 1997,
Paul Freedom wrote:
This is interesting, considering Rep. Minnis is leading recrim.

The same Oregon legislature that is voting for recrim is voting to send our doctor-assisted-suicide law back to the voters. The same Rep. John Minnis says the voters were tricked and didn't know what they were voting for.

Here's an excerpt from today's [Salem] Statesman Journal:

Gov. Kitzhaber opposed the initial assisted-suicide ballot measure, but he said Friday that voters passed the measure, and it's up to the Legislature to make it work. He opposes returning it to the ballot.

"The Governor's cowardly," Minnis said.

"If the standard for cowardliness is disagreeing with John Minnis," Kitzhaber said, "then I guess I'm a coward on a whole host of accounts."

Vote No On Prisons For Profit

On May 5
William A.B. House wrote:
Stop the prisons: Vote no May 20!
Stop the prison industry!
Vote no on Measure 49 statewide.

Please tell all your friends to vote no on Measure 49 in the May 20th special election. Measure 49 would create an interstate prison industry and this gives the state an incentive to incarcerate more nonviolent people to use for cheap corporate prison labor.

Put out flyers and be at the polls with pamphlets urging people to vote no on Measure 49!

(Also,) vote no on Measure 20-84 in Lane County

Please tell all your friends to vote no on Measure 20-84, which will raise taxes in Lane County to pay for more jails for nonviolent drug offenders.

Lane County wants to spend almost $1 million to operate 50 more prison beds - I say there's plenty of prisons in Oregon if they would set all nonviolent people free and end the drug war that induces violent crime. (You don't see liquor store owners shooting it out on the street!)

Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Signature Count

Paul Loney, a chief petitioner for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, writes:
"As of 5 May 1997, we have 3,065 signatures counted and stored. Send more."

OCTA Web Site Adds Hemp News And Videos

On May 3, 1997, D. Paul Stanford (stanford@crrh.org), another chief petitioner for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, wrote:
Please take a look at our updated home Web page for Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act and Hemp News - http://www.crrh.org/.

The latest issue of Hemp News is linked from the OCTA home page for those with an Acrobat Reader installed on their Web browser. For those who would like to look at Hemp News one page at a time, use the URL http://www.crrh.orh/hn53-1.pdf and increase the digit from 1 up to 16 for each of the 16 pages. If you would like to print out our e-magazine, one of the oldest on the Internet, use the inner Acrobat print command in the upper left corner, then choose shrink to fit, since our newspaper is printed on 11" x 17" stock in our press runs. We print 20,000 copies per edition, and we offer this service free on-line.

There is also available a hyperlinked index file of the first 37 issues of Hemp News, back to 1992 in text only format.

Home Page - http://www.crrh.org/
Video Page - http://www.crrh.org/video.html
Video, "Reefer Madness," 20-second clip from the 1937 movie - http://www.crrh.org/madness.mov
Video, OCTA wins telepoll - http://www.crrh.org/newspoll.mov
Video, past president of Oregon Medical Association endorses OCTA - http://www.crrh.org/robins.mov
Adobe Acrobat Reader file, Hemp News, Spring 1997 - http://www.crrh.org/hn53-all.pdf

Coming soon - state-approved initiative petitions via the Internet.

Marijuana Is Legal, The Courts Are Illegal

"The Law is not the Problem"

by Leslie Rohde

We have been lied to. Maybe that doesn't surprise you. But the magnitude of the lie, and the extent of its cover-up should. The fact of the law is that manufacturing, possession, and even distribution of controlled substances in Oregon is, with a very few exceptions, entirely legal!

The material presented here may be surprising to most readers, and it may spark some controversy, but the facts given here are easily verified at your county law library. In the following paragraphs, we will examine what Chapter 475 of the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) - the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, actually says. We will find out what source of authority the state of Oregon might claim in the enforcement of the drug laws. We will find out why the law says what it does, and consider some suggestions for what to do about it.

The ORS is a codification, which means a collection and rearrangement in convenient form, of the enactments of the Oregon legislature - an elected body charged with making laws necessary to carry out the requirements of the Oregon and national constitutions. The notion of a constitution is central to our republican form of government. This constitution expresses the sovereign will of the people forming the republic called Oregon, and it grants only certain enumerated powers to the three branches of state government. One of the most basic ideas of our constitutional form of government is that the state may exercise only those powers granted by the people through explicit language in the Constitution. This means that only the laws that are "in pursuance of" the Constitution are legitimate and binding on the citizen. The United States Supreme Court has ruled on this matter with respect to both state and federal laws, and it is well settled that an unconstitutional statute is null and void.

You might well ask, at this point, where the authority to enact drug control laws is granted in the Oregon constitution. In order to understand the very simple answer to this question, we will first examine precisely what the drug control laws in Oregon actually say - probably not what you have heard!

There is a lot of talk about "recriminalizing" possession of small amounts of marijuana, which presumes that it was previously criminal, but if this is so, then shouldn't the possession penalty statute be listed in the criminal code? Murder is obviously a crime, and it is defined at ORS 163.115 as a felony. Theft is also a crime, and is defined at 164.055 as a felony. Section 161.005 of the ORS lists the precise sections of the ORS that are part of the "Oregon Criminal Code of 1971." That is reasonable, because not every statute in the ORS defines a crime - hence, there is a list which clearly states which statutes define crimes. It should be no surprise that section 163.115 defining murder, and section 164.055 defining theft are both included. But, what about drug possession? Section 475.992, describes the penalties for the Uniform Controlled Substances Act; however, you will not find any section from ORS Chapter 475 in the list of crimes. This means that drug possess is a "quasi-crime" - a legal term invented to describe a civil action that carries a penal sentence. Doesn't this strike you as a little odd?

Next, let us look at who Chapter 475 applies to. The term "person" is defined some 151 times in various contexts within the ORS. In about 93 of these, the notion of a "natural person" (meaning a human being) is included, but in many it is not. So what else is included? Corporations, trusts, partnerships, government agencies, and other things in the category of "artificial persons" or "legal fictions." The term "person" is well understood in legal construction to be ambiguous because it is used to describe such a wide range of both human and artificial entities. Since it is ambiguous, it must be specifically defined, or the statute is "void for vagueness." Many statutes are only about artificial persons, so the natural person (the human one) is intentionally excluded.

As we examine some examples, it is important to understand that the meaning of "includes," established over hundreds of years, is restrictive - that is, unless the statute specifically says so, "includes" is read as "consists of exactly the following list." So how is a thing excluded in statute? Simply by not including it! This very old rule is expressed in Latin as "includio unius est exclusio alterious." With that in mind, look at ORS 558.010(2), which states, "Person includes any public or private corporation." In this case, a natural human person is not included since a human is obviously not a public or private corporation. Obviously, we need to be very careful to understand exactly who or what any particular statute applies to, and we had better not assume that a "person" is one of us humans.

Turning to Chapter 475, we find "person" defined at 475.005(16) as "person includes a government subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust or any other legal entity." Interesting! Compare this to a real crime, murder for example, at ORS 163.005(3). In the case of murder, "Human being means a person who has been born and was alive at the time of the criminal act." Chapter 475 simply does not name the "individual," the "natural person," the "human being," or any other term that in legal construction might refer to you or me!

To understand why 475.005 excludes the human being, we must understand what authority actually enables Chapter 475. This is described at 475.035(4): "The board shall administer ORS 475.005 to 475.285 and 475.940 to 475.995 in accordance with ORS 183.310 to 183.550" where the "board" is defined at 475.005(5) as "the State Board of Pharmacy." So, what does it mean to say that a "state board" shall "administer" statutes that control "artificial" persons? To answer that question we have to understand how "artificial" persons get created. Our system of laws admits to the divine creation of man (male and female), but the artificial person is created by the state. Just as man creates government and thereby controls it, the state controls what it creates - corporations. Corporations are creatures, not of God, and not of man, but of the state. The state can command whatever obedience it might desire of the "persons" it creates, and can "administer" said "persons" with little regard for constitutional protections.

Thus, we have answered the question posed earlier, "What is the constitutional authority to control drugs?" There isn't any. And so far as artificial persons are concerned, none is needed, so Chapter 475 as written is in agreement with the Constitution. What then of the natural person? Chapter 475 does not apply, and for constitutional reasons cannot apply to the natural person.

So why then are there so many "natural persons" in prison on drug charges? As noted in the title of this article, the law is not the problem, so it must obviously follow that new law is not the solution. While the many proposals for reformation of the law are well intended, they are in my view off point, as new law can only serve to cloud and complicate what is a very simple matter at law. We are being tricked and defrauded of our life, liberty, and property without any valid force of law. Period. The scam is perpetrated by procedural tricks that trap the citizen into arguing the wrong issue.

The real problem is that the judiciary in this state has violated its oath of office and is in open rebellion against the people of Oregon, all in the name of revenue collection for a growing welfare/police state. Clearly, where the law is certain and the protection it affords routinely denied by the very individuals sworn to uphold it, the rule of law ceases to be the remedy. This issue is not about drugs, it is about the law, and about making our servants obey the law, because until they do, we are all in grave danger.

The only hope for the people of Oregon is that we regain control of the courts of this state and enforce our rightful supremacy over government, or in our lifetime we shall certainly see the end of that great experiment in America begun some 220 years ago.

Leslie Ernst, Rohde, Civil Rights Prosecutor
503-645-7208 in Portland

'Jailbirds Smoking A Joint In The Joint?'

SAN FRANCISCO (AP, May 2, 1997) - Jailbirds smoking a joint in the joint?

Sure, says Sheriff Mike Hennessey, if they're terminally ill and need to smoke marijuana for medical purposes.

"If it eases their pain and helps their health and their appetites, which allows them to live longer, then we should be doing it," said Hennessey, who oversees San Francisco's seven jails

Hennessey made his comments Thursday, a day after a federal ruling that jail doctors can recommend marijuana treatment, but can't prescribe or purchase it. The state legalized the medicinal use of marijuana when citizens overwhelmingly passed Proposition 215 last November.

No inmates have requested pot yet, but Hennessey said it's just a matter of time. Of the 55,000 people jailed each year, many have AIDS or other serious illnesses that qualify for marijuana treatment.

How the drug would be purchased, who would pay for it and what form of ingestion would be allowed are questions he has not yet answered.

'Smoke Screen' In Playboy

The June 1997 issue of Playboy magazine features an article on medical marijuana by Dr. Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar of Harvard University Medical School. The magazine has posted excerpts from the article online at http://www.playboy.com/magazine/current/english/forum/feature.html. In several pages, the article discusses "what Gen. McCaffrey will learn" when the Institute of Medicine, at his behest, begins its $1 million book report on medical marijuana.

Canadian Constitutional Challenge Continues

Pot-smoking driver said safer than one who talks on phone
A psychiatrist at the trial of a London hemp shop owner says he tried marijuana once: 'I just felt silly.'

The London Free Press [Ontario], Thursday, May 8, 1997
By Michelle Shephard
Free Press Reporter

A driver talking on a cellular phone is more of a menace on the roads than one who has just smoked a marijuana joint, an expert witness testified at a London trial Wednesday.

Heinz Lehmann, who said he has been practising psychiatry since 1937, said, "I would rather get in a cab and have him smoke a marijuana cigarette than use a cellular phone."

Lehmann was testifying as an expert witness at the trial of London hemp store proprietor Chris Clay on charges of possessing and trafficking in cannabis sativa seeds and seedlings.

Lehmann, who has a lengthy resumé of experience in New York, Ontario and Quebec, is a professor at McGill University in Montreal. He said he is an advocate of the legalization of cannabis.

FINDINGS DEBATED: He testified two of the major - but often debated - findings in his studies were that marijuana is not addictive and does not inflict mental damage or create a psychiatric illness.

"I've never had an opportunity to treat someone with a marijuana addiction," Lehmann said, indicating he has treated nearly 20,000 patients in his lengthy career.

Alcohol, nicotine, tranquillizers, cocaine and opiates (such as morphine or heroine) were some of the substances he cited as addictive.

Under questioning of defence lawyer Paul Burstein, Lehmann also discussed study findings that quashed theories of a tolerance developing from marijuana use and the gateway theory - that marijuana use will lead to other drug experimentation.

Lehmann said there was no evidence showing marijuana promotes criminal or aggressive behavior or decreases a person's motivation.

"I am convinced (decreased motivation) is not due to excess marijuana use . . . but excess marijuana use is a consequence of a personality disorder," he told the court.

Lehmann laughed when asked whether he has smoked marijuana and admitted to once trying it in Puerto Rico when it was legal.

"I had to be taught to inhale which was quite an ordeal . . . and then I just felt silly," he said.

Lehmann also referred to a report where adolescents were studied - those who experimented with marijuana and those who didn't - since they were children.

The study showed the majority of 18-year-olds who had smoked marijuana had better social skills and were better adapted.

Witness Eric Single, a preventive medicine and biostatistics professor at the University of Toronto, testified about the societal costs of substance abuse. Referring to a study he worked on concerning the costs in Canada in 1992 (the report was released in 1995) he said of the total cost of all substance abuse was $18.45 billion. Illicit drugs - compared to high alcohol and tobacco cost - reached a total of $1.37 billion.

Single also said a Health Canada opinion poll stated that 69.1 per cent of Canadians object to the current cannabis laws of imprisonment upon conviction.

The trial continues Monday.

An Observer Reports On The Constitutional Challenge

On May 8, 1997, Michael Foster wrote:
I just returned from a road trip of southwestern Ontario and managed to spend the day Monday and Tuesday A.M. observing Chris Clay's trial. I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Haans, who posted a full account of Monday's proceedings.... I also met Mr. and Mrs. Clay, my candidates for 'parents of the year.' Despite their initial misgivings of Chris' activities, they researched the subject in order to find out why he was so passionate about this issue. They rapidly understood and are now fully supportive, informed parents. When I told them that they should be very proud of their son, they emphatically responded 'We are!' Bravo, folks! We should all be as lucky as Chris in this respect.

Chris could not have asked for better legal representation than Alan Young and Paul Burstein. Their strategy has been very clearly laid out and their arguments are logical and concise. The same can not be said regarding the capabilities of the prosecution. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who had trouble staying focused during the cross-examination of Dr. Patricia Erickson. It was plodding, pointless and ultimately undermined the prosecution's cause as they tried in vain to undermine her testimony. I guess Chris couldn't have asked for better prosecutors either!

Day 2 opened with some marvelous testimony from Dr. Diane Riley, Assistant Professor of the Department of Behavioural Science, University of Toronto and Policy Analyst at the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy. She testified that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and expressed great concern that many people mix their pot with tobacco. Marijuana expands some of the bronchial tubes leaving the lungs far more vulnerable to the negative effects of the tobacco smoke. She also spoke very highly of waterpipes as a means of harm reduction to the marijuana smoker. The 'dirty delivery' system of smoking cigarettes or joints is more damaging to the body than the nicotine or THC themselves. Once again, the expert testimony was followed by the prosecution's vain attempts to undermine witness credibility.

The afternoon was to feature testimony from Professor Marie Andree Bertrand, retired Professor of Criminology at the University of Montreal, President of the International Anti-Prohibitionist League and former member of the LeDain Commission as well as Eugene Oscapella, lawyer and founding member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy. Unfortunately, I had to depart at lunchtime and missed their testimony. Apparently Eugene did manage to tell the court of the underhanded way in which Bill C-8 wormed it's way through the legislature. I'm glad this worked it's way onto the record as it has been a sore point with me for some time.

Upon entering the courthouse on day 2, I was required to share an elevator with two uniformed London Police officers. They looked at my hemp vest, embroidered with black cannabis leaves, and one of them jokingly remarked "I'll bet that's hemp!" When I smiled and answered that it was, he wished us luck concerning the trial and said that he was tired of having to lay pot charges. Pleasantly surprised, I wished them both well as they left the elevator.

I have to confess that I approached this trial with some degree of pessimism. I left the courtroom considerably more optimistic. The testimony is tremendous, the prosecution is lame and the judge is listening! The importance of this case and why the individual's right to consume marijuana must be decided in a court of law instead of the more expected parliamentary setting was well explained by Mr. Young in his opening statements. Keep your fingers crossed, folks. Something good may well come out of this trial!

Anyone able to attend these proceedings should do so.



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