HempCon 2011: What do fake orgasms have to do with medical marijuana?

Thumbnail image for HempConGirls.jpg
www.hempcon.com
What does a skeezy beauty pageant, and "hot ass" and "best orgasm" contests have to do with medical marijuana? Nothing. But for some reason all three are events were listed as contests as recently as Tuesday afternoon for the upcoming HempCon convention.

On Monday, I spoke with California-based Bob Reynolds, coordinator for the event, which is set to run September 30 through October 2 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. When I asked about the contests, he sheepishly downplayed the T&A events, saying they were just to amuse people at the show. He noted that they were a hit with the crowds at past HempCon events in Cali. "I do realize that it has nothing to do with medical marijuana," he said. "It's something we can add as entertainment."

CENSORED-hempconbestass.jpg
(We have shielded the ass with a pot leaf. -ed.)
But since my conversation with Reynolds, the hot ass and best orgasm contests have been pulled from the event's website, leaving only the Miss HempCon contest. Don't worry, though: Just to make sure you still get your share of skin, the site is still displaying what look like photos from past Best Ass and Miss HempCon contests.

HempCon is yet another pot convention, not much different from the handful we've had in town over the last year and a half. Expect to see the same type of vendors that appeared at the Colorado Cannabis Convention and KushConII (neither of which claimed to be solely about medical marijuana) -- entrepreneurs selling weed-themed T-shirts, dispensary staffers handing out coupons for free joints, and employees from edible companies offering THC-free samples.

Essentially: if you've been to one, you've been to them all.

The people running the show know this, which is why they also feature bands, speakers and other entertainment in an effort to make the $20 entry more worthwhile. But turning a supposed "medical" marijuana convention into MTV Spring Break 1994?

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www.hempcon.com
I guess that's entertainment, assuming everyone in this scene is a male with the brain function of a nineteen-year-old Boulder frat boy. But the average patient age on the registry in Colorado is 41, and almost a third of the patients are women.

This isn't the first time this issues has been raised in regard to marijuana conventions in Colorado. The majority of the comments on our coverage of the Colorado Cannabis Convention were from readers offended by the blatant sexualizing and commercialization of the industry. Because of that, promoters of KushCon II, held in December of last year, reportedly asked vendors to avoid using bikini models at their booths.

Thumbnail image for hempcongirls.jpeg
www.hempcon.com
Simply taking down the contests doesn't really change my take. If this convention were really geared toward medical-marijuana patients, why alienate such a large percentage of them by pimping women-objectifying sex contests?

Because clearly it's not about medical marijuana.

Yes, sex sells. The alcohol industry has proven that time and time again. But does the medical marijuana industry really need to use the same approach? We already face enough problems getting the general public in this state and around the country to take medical marijuana seriously without events that clearly appeal to the lowest common denominator.

More from our Marijuana archive: "KushConII to take medical marijuana seriously, says MMJ user/cancer patient Cheryl Shuman."

My Voice Nation Help
126 comments
Ean
Ean

Found this little gem when we received some SPAM from from one of the vendors.  Needless to say, we won't be there this weekend.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Fu...

A little video of the finalists from the Hot Ass contest at the recent Hemp Con.NSFW.

Daniel Garza
Daniel Garza

I think true Medical Marijuana supporters in general should boycott this event.  It has nothing to do with what is really happening and is harmful to all the progress the residents of this state have fought so hard for.  As we speak there is a growing movement against the Medical Marijuana industry and shop after shop is getting shut down across the state.  Now is not the time to add fuel to the fire.  Events like this disgrace all those who have devoted so much time and effort so that seriously ill people can have access to this miracle plant. I am so upset that residents would support this event and equally upset that Westword continues to support them. 

Umiumi
Umiumi

Maybe Coloradoans should protest the event by picketing to show their disgust and, in the process, repair some of the damage to the Cause.  

Doc Herbalist
Doc Herbalist

It's cheaper to go to a strip club, have a drink, see much more skin....and spend less than $20 (with change coming your way).

Guest Avacados
Guest Avacados

What does MMJ have to do with fake MMJ conventions? 

Bikesandbeads
Bikesandbeads

I agree that these shows have gone too far. Hemp Con has three shows in San Jose this year. They are seeing declining attendance and the vendors are getting screwed. These shows are a waste of time unless you are young and dumb. There is no reason to associate skin with cannabis. This is not entertainment at all, just a way to exploit women.

Cathy
Cathy

I remember seeing Cheryl Shuman on 7news  when the last KushCon came to Denver. She was an embarrassment to the cause. When the reporter asked her why the event was called the world's "biggest cannabis lifestyle event", she skirted the question and wouldn't admit it was just as much about recreational use as medical use. When the reporter asked Shuman why the promo said it was a family-friendly event, Shuman said (paraphrase), "Well, we're not going to have stripper polies like we do at the LA shows."

Shuman can sit on a high horse and throw stones art her competitiors, but her representation of cannabis issues at her last event in Denver was pretty appalling for a self-professed cannabis "professional."

William Breathes
William Breathes

Thanks for the comments everyone. It's been interesting to see the discussion taking place.

Levi G
Levi G

all these conventions are just ways for cali shit heads to try and make money...im a medical patient and these stoner clichés are just stupid and give legitimate MMJ patients a bad name.

             Levi G.

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

Levi, HEMPCON's Edwin Kwong and his group are not from California, they are from Taiwan. The High Times group is from New York, the KUSH Expo producers are from Florida and KUSHCon group is from California. With all due respect, I've been to all of them and KUSHCon is by far the most professional. Personally I reside in both Colorado and California. 

It's not California people behind this garbage. 

Respectfully,Cheryl ShumanKUSH Magazine

William Breathes
William Breathes

Cheryl,

hempcon is being run by MEGA productions out of California. Their backing money may come from somewhere else, but it's completely accurate to say that Hempcon is Cali-based.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Cheryl, thanks for adding your voice to this conversation. Much appreciated.

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

William,I understand and appreciate your clarification. I live in both Colorado and California. I understand the Colorado market and I understand the California market. I've been working 24/7 to "rebrand" the face of the modern cannabis consumer. As stated in previous posts, Megaproductions came to us for the first HempCon and begged us to help them claiming that they were a professional production company with 100% support behind the activists. 

The First HempCon:http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2... produced it and it was fabulous until Edwin Kwong lied to me and brought his trash in.MegaProductions' Edwin Kwong stole our work and good will for the community including our database and continued to use our Beverly Hills NORML brand and images until we had to put him on legal notice. 

It's disappointing to see you compare KUSHCON to HempCon and lump them in the same "crew". We are as different as night and day. Did you attend any of our speaker panels at KUSHCON?  I'm just wondering? Have you bothered to meet me or anyone at KUSH Magazine to form an honest and sincere opinion of who we are even though our corporate office is in California? If you and I had ever been to lunch or had a discussion and you then made the comparison that's one thing, but I don't feel it's a balanced opinion at this point. If anyone took the time to review Westword's own articles about our event and then look at KUSHCon it's the difference between night and day.... still the same calendar day but vastly different. You are entitled to disagree if you wish, but I've literally "bet my life" on this. Cannabis has saved my life and I refuse to be identified by the negative stereotypes perpetuated by the media and groups like HempCon.I have to laugh when I receive prank calls now from "haters" saying that they wish I would "die already" when I speak out against events/shows like HempCon. I've already faced death living with cancer. These attempts to bully, intimidate, scare me or hurt me don't phase me in the least. My focus is full steam ahead on my mission.

Respectfully,Cheryl ShumanKUSH MagazineKUSHCon Cannabis Conventions.

William Breathes
William Breathes

Cheryl, I'm not blaming the entire state of Cali for this by any stretch of the imagination. I'm sorry you somehow read into my post that way. I"m merely saying that they are a product of mega productions, a California company.

That said, because they are a company based in Cali, it was pretty clear they didn't understand the Colorado industry. Case and point: (and tits and ass contest aside) they are advertising that delivery services will be at the Colorado convention when our state law prohibits such businesses. They could have been from Florida, for all I care -- the point is they were NOT from Colorado and it showed.

Now, beyond that:  That clear ignorance to our cannabis community in Colorado feeds into the longstanding Colorado stereotype of Californians without a clue moving here to cash in on Coloradans. Not saying I follow that line of thought, but plenty of my fellow Coloradans do and it's not an easy thing to overcome. (I know you know that stereotype, because plenty of people have made the same accusations about your KUSH conventions here over the last two years.)

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

William,I respectfully disagree. Do you believe that because HempCon has a California office that the entire state of California deserves to be classified under what he's done to this industry? It's the PEOPLE in this particular group of HempCon not the state of California that are responsible.  If a terrorist came to California to set up shop and planned a terrorist act, would California also be to blame? California Activists would love to have HempCon leave the state, believe me.  HempCon is an embarrassment. Cheryl Shuman

Antonettelouis
Antonettelouis

REALLY??? Does the mmj community  "REALLY" need "THIS" type of representation at this STAGE OF THE GAME??? It SICKENS ME that people are again OUT FOR THEMSELVES  and their "IN THE MOMENT MENTALITY!" $$$GREED AGAIN $$$> the same EXACT REASON it is ILLEGAL to begin with! GREED for ONE SELF with NO REGARD to the sick, dying patients, that are made to suffer,at the hands of Law Enforcement, and get put in jail, because of Federal Law! The IRONY is KILLING ME HERE!  Keep your SLUTTY, STRIPPER, MINDLESS BULLSHIT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, WHERE IT BELONGS! THIS WILL ONLY SERVE TO UNDERMINE ALL THE HARD WORK, TIME AND "PROFESSIONAL"  EFFORT OF THE "REAL" SAVIORS TO THIS CAUSE! YOU WANT NAKED GIRLS? GO TO A STRIP CLUB! WE TAKE 5 STEPS FORWARD, AND THIS TAKES US 50 STEPS BACK! WISE UP! HOW CAN ANY ONE WITH A BRAIN SEE THIS ANY OTHER WAY? YOU TRY TO LEGITIMIZE AN INDUSTRY, WHILE COLORING IT WITH A BACK ALLEY, LOW LIFE, PRESENTATION??? IT DOES NOT WORK!  HEMPCON IS A "CON" ALRIGHT! THE WORD "CARNIE" COMES TO MIND! THE PEOPLE INVOLVED WITH THIS ARE DOING DAMAGE TO A RIGHT & JUST CAUSE!   BOYCOTT HEMPCON!

ZZardozz
ZZardozz

The WHOLE INDUSTRY should tone it down!  Not just the shows.  If they want to do this when we achieve full legalization of cannabis, fine.  But this is medicinal cannabis and should be represented as such.  There should be more about symptom management and less about tie dyes and tattoos and dreadlocks.  Lose the "stoner" image!

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

I completely agree. I've been working 24/7 to "rebrand" the face of the modern cannabis consumer. The TRUTH is that the modern cannabis consumer are your attorney, physician, teacher, sister, brother, neighbor and friend. The media and groups like "HempCon" portray and perpetuate the most negative of images for the general public and media. It makes "coming out of the closet" difficult because a professional person has more to lose than those in the porn and related industries. The "sleaze" will keep people in the closet.  With my work at KUSH Magazine and KUSHCon, we work with some of the top professionals and most respected politicians such as Governor Gary Johnson, Congressman Jared Polis etc. While we don't claim to be perfect, I assure all of you that we are all legal patients and activists working and fighting on the front lines to show the world the GOOD in our industry. We highlight and inspire Cannalebrities like Stephen DeAngelo at Harborside, Joanna LaForce at the Farmacy and others who are so respected in our movement. Support what is right in our movement. We're here 24/7 doing everything we can for positive change.Peace,Cheryl ShumanKUSH MagazineKUSHCon Cannabis Conventions

KT
KT

These events are embarrassing to me as a proponent of marijuana legalization.  They capture the public's eye and legitimate advocacy does not.  Not knowing of the intellectual side, all proponents and users are lumped with the HempCon people into one homogenous mass of seeming idiocy.

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

KT-I hope and pray that people don't lump our hard work at KUSHCon in to the trash that HempCon is dragging in :(

Please say it isn't so!

Best,Cheryl ShumanKUSH MagazineKUSHCon Cannabis Conventions

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON AND TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW THAT THEY ARE DESTROYING OUR INDUSTRY!!!!! HEMPCon is the worst event that has ever tried to take over the cannabis movement! I know this first hand why?????? Personal experience with the organizer of Mega Events Mr. Edwin Kwong. I was the new Executive Director of Beverly Hills NORML with Edwin Kwong of Mega Events contacted me in desperation three weeks before his first event in Los Angeles. He begged us to help him bring in activists to the event and PROMISED me that it would be a classy respectful event that supported the Activist. I made the biggest mistake in my career by trusting and believing him. In less than three weeks, we jumped in to action, brought in the most respected speakers in the activist movement, sold nearly every booth for the event AND organized all of the media for television, newspapers and magazines. From the attendance, media and speakers it was a huge success, however to my HORROR, I mean seriously true HORROR it turned in to one of the most embarrassing and humiliating events in my life. I could literally write a book about how NASTY this ONE man and his "group" turned in to.  I have no fear of being sued my Mr. Kwong or anyone in his organization because he knows more than ever that he RIPPED off not only the activists but the entire community. Edwin Kwong is a Liar and a Con Artist who has zero, absolutely zero respect for patients or activists or anything we've done. He and his sick slimy group have attempted to turn us in to a joke so that he can make MONEY AND PROFIT OFF OF THE SICK and DYING!!!!!   I could literally write a book about this, but you get my drift. To William Breathes, you know at KUSHCON we ordered a dress code and 90% of the attendees honored it. At the end of the day we cannot order someone attending to honor our dress code, we can only enforce the dress code to our booth vendors. We at KUSHCON and KUSH Magazine would NEVER stoop to the level of pure TRASH that Hempcon does. Edwin Kwong has stooped to the lowest levels in California attempting to capitalize off of the KUSH brand by adding our name to his events. He knows clearly that he is deceiving people. DO NOT BE FOOLED!!!! Look at the link at the bottom of the article and read a bit more about the difference and quality of a KUSHCON event vs. this trash at Hempcon.... The proof is easy to see. I invited anyone that wants additional information to call me directly at my office 818.223.8011. I'm seriously considering a national boycott of this crap!!! Anyone that wants on board to stand up for quality and patients rights as well as the business owners in the cannabis industry that are true role models and agents for social change, please feel free to contact me.

Edwin Kwong, HEMPCON and your trashy group. Shame on you. Karma will catch up with you. California has nearly run you out of the state, haven't you scammed enough people already?

For anyone who thinks this post is unprofessional for someone in my position, so be it! Someone who really knows the truth about these people first hand needs to speak up. KUSHCON is NOT in the same category as this pornographic BS. period.

Cheryl ShumanDirector of Celebrity, Media & Public RelationsKUSH Magazine

kushmag
kushmag

cheryl clearly has issues.  arent you known in Hollywood for lying????? because thats where i know you from on TmZ.  its also funny that you are apart of kushcon and youre talking about hempcon.  i am not saying that you are write or wrong i just don't agree with slander.  also weren't you just at the harvest fest with naked women all around you?  can someone say hypocrite?   just saying. 

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

Hey "kushmag" aka REALLY HEMPCON! LOL Should I post Edwin Kwong's personal information so that people can speak to you directly?  :)

Everyone "kushmag" is really Edwin Kwong, the man hiding behind a fake name.  Isn't it interesting??? hmmmm?

Show your face Edwin and face the music that you've created.

Cheryl ShumanKUSH Magazine

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

LOL KUSHMag eh... well isn't it interesting that once again someone from "HEMPCON" is pretending to be someone from KUSH Magazine LOL :) You guys really crack me up..... and for the record, I was not at Harvest Cup.   Does anyone take an anonymous comment seriously..... Obviously you don't have the guts to show your face or name. I do, because I know what I'm saying is true. :)   I say BRING IT!!!!!

Cheryl ShumanKUSH Magazinethe REAL KUSH MagazineNot an imposter :)

Garey Roorda
Garey Roorda

I agree with the writer, I love looking at women, let alone hot half naked women. But seriously when this isnt just a thing that people look down on you for using, its something they report to the cops or to college administrators and usually ends up in legal action. But we want to be taken seriously when asking legislation to change these laws? Grow up people...yes we all who smoke, have smoked and will never give up on smoking, we all know its safer than anything out in the medical world, recreational drug use world, or even in the general world. But nothing is going to change if we keep that kind of alcohol related theme of partying, smoking and women mentality...it needs to be introduced in a respective manner that others will be able to see, that the united states wont just be flushed down the toilet because we legalized weed. I hope people will start to understand this before choosing to make this a belittling subject cause they wanted to get a couple more bucks at their conventions

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

Garey,I completely agree with you. I have friends who are Playboy Playmates, but when they come to support me speaking at KUSHCON, they came dressed in a classic designer suit and were quite frankly very impressive and articulate. The bottom line is that a woman can be "sexy" without exposing her nipples, vagina or otherwise in people's faces. There's "class" and "trash". 

Am I wrong? 

I would truly love some insight on what would "work" best......

This is some of the work I did with KUSHCON :) "KushConII to take medical marijuana seriously, says MMJ user/cancer patient Cheryl Shuman."

Thanks for your time.

Best,Cheryl ShumanKUSH MagazineKUSHCon Cannabis Conventions

alternative rx
alternative rx

I agree, I'm a woman, in the medical cannabis industry and I resent these types of "entertainment", as it's these types of themes that feed into the negative stereotype of  cannabis.  While I have to admit that while not all our coop members are legitimately ill patients, most are and we are doing a service by being able to provide high quality meds for these people.  Many people who actually need medical cannabis are intimidated by the industry because of the image they see portrayed in the media.  I know I was, as I didn't want to be associated with this, but decided to opt for change rather than avoidance. Topless women smoking very large joints is not the image I want to see protrayed.  A lot of us are trying to change this to legitimize it and this only works against us .  I've also had booth's at  festivals like Hemp Con, etc and I won't do them again, as it's an outlay of a lot of money and time for very little in return.

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

Alternative RX, I appreciate your viewpoint. Might I ask, "in an ideal world" what would the best cannabis expo/convention consist of and look like? I would truly love your feedback.

Thanks for your time.Cheryl Shuman

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

HEMPisnotPOT
HEMPisnotPOT

You know what really irks me??The fact that this idiotic convention is using the term HEMP in their name, despite the fact that it is clearly just a stoner/college kid convention. As a firm supporter of Industrial Hemp (REAL hemp, the non-smokable plant/fiber used for paper/textiles/rope/etc, this aggravates me very much!! The Hemp industry is having a hard enough time differentiating themselves from the MARIJUANA/narcotic group andbeing classfied as an industrial fiber, and then along come morons like Hempcon to piss on it's name even more... *sigh*

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

"HEMPisnotPOT"Amen my friend. I had the honor of speaking on stage with a number of other activists at the 20th anniversary of the Seattle Hempfest. Vivian McPeak, John Davis, Sharon Whitson and the other hard working activists put on an AMAZING show that is changing policy and allowing us all to socialize with a POSITIVE message about both hemp and cannabis. Don't you agree?  

Regards,Cheryl ShumanKUSH MagazineKUSHCon Cannabis Conventions

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

Missgadget
Missgadget

Great article, thank you.  It is good to know that there are guys that think it is lame too.  I am a female small green business owner and the over-sexualization of some of these events (notably hempcon) is a major turn off and embarrassment to the industry.  I have vended at several big shows and have had many shady dudes try to sell (pimp?) me their hot models to rep my business, handing me cards with lude photos on them.  (one guy actually used the word "classy" to describe the buds&jugs mag he was repping)  really?  um... I like to think that I am hot enough to sell my own product thank you. So now I have to compete with hired strippers? Products should get your attention and sell because it is a good product that works  well.  I personally appreciate everyone who helps to move the tide of public opinion at these events against the sleeze factor.

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

Missgadget :)Great post! I agree! You've inspired me. Seriously, why don't we start a new type of modeling agency and promotional spokesmodels for these events that are just classier and properly trained and clothed???? I think it could actually be not only good for the cannabis community but put a positive light on us as business people, patients and activists showing our willingness to CHANGE the way things have been. Your thoughts? 

I'm inspired and ready to go.....

Best,Cheryl ShumanKUSH MagazineKUSHCon Cannabis Conventions

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

Danrcurtis420
Danrcurtis420

I can see your point. Butt then again, that pot leaf covering the girls booty is just good clean fun. And not all of those women are feeling alienated.

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

Danrcurtis420,Seriously, don't you consider it to show both men and women in this movement as less than a class act?

I'm just sayin....

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

William Breathes
William Breathes

we added the pot leaf to the picture to make things a bit more SFW.

Baakpon
Baakpon

why does enjoying your body or anothers equate to "pimping out women" and "objectifying" women come on dude. WTF. If you dont like it dont go. If you do then go. ANd most importantly of all just keep your mouth shut if your going to try to impose your morality on others... now go f off m8 and smoke a doob.... and try to enjoy your sexuality the bodies of hot guys and girls before your dead.

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

Hochenedel John
Hochenedel John

Are you completely stupid? Tits and ass have no more place in this convention than they have in a homebuilders convention. It has nothing to do with "legislating morality". Legislating morality is how marijuana got to be illegal in the first place. If you want tits and ass, go to your local strip club. If you want marijuana too, smoke a joint before you go. But sex has no place in a convention to promote the legalization of the plant that nature gave us.

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

Baakpon
Baakpon

look dude. I didnt say legislating morality. I said imposing morality. As in dont! I dont really gaf about you wanting it to be legalized. It's evil that such a law would exist. We dont need to legalize it we need to stop making evil laws. We need to stop "legislating" morality sure i agree. We also need to stop whining when other people dont think and act like we do. And before you call me a hypocrit let me explain something for your benefit(not that i think youll understand it). I am speaking my mind about something. I am in oppisition to you trying to reduce human choice and sexuality by equating any display of it that you dont approve of to degradation and you moral equivilant of "sin". That is not the same thing as saying that someone else's actions degrade them(as you are). Even worse you are saying that other peoples actions can degrade you which is just not true. There is no sense in saying that something like human bodies dont belong in a convention. Or that only human bodies covered in a prescribed manner do. If i can stand speaking on such a low level i might continue this conversation later but atm i cant put up with it for at least a few min...

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

Lol
Lol

"And before you call me a hypocrit let me explain something for your benefit(not that i think youll understand it). I am speaking my mind about something."

kettle, meet the pot.

Ene562
Ene562

Since when did medical marijuana turn into a sex industry, this is distasteful and  in no way represents the medical marijuana community. And people wonder why this leaves a bad taste in peoples mouth about marijuana. Females should put a little more thought in how they display themselves...pathetic call for attention..no appealing or sexy. But bet they get mad if you call them a ho..or hoochie..lol Call em like I see em..

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

Ene565, Ditto and an Amen!-Cheryl Shuman :)KUSH MagazineKUSHCon Cannabis Conventions

cherylshuman
cherylshuman

BOYCOTT HEMPCON SPREAD THE WORD IT'S DESTROYING OUR MOVEMENT!  

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