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Drug task force commander out of touch on marijuana regulation, activist says

Thumbnail image for operation sweet leaf.jpg
The Operation Sweet Leaf raids of 25 home grows were more than justified according to North Metro Drug Task Force Commander Jerry Peters. But in addition to talking with us about the busts, Peters also said that allowing adult recreational use of marijuana would constitute a tragic error -- a thesis rejected by Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act proponent Brian Vicente.

Peters documented the damage to homes created by unregulated grows, including mold that could endanger future residents. He also noted that illicit cultivators like those targeted by Operation Sweet Leaf, who allegedly shipped many pounds of product around the region, often run up massive electrical bills and then abandon the property without ponying up, increasing costs for all of us.

Vicente, who heads up the group Sensible Colorado, agrees that these are important issues. "We're not arguing that people should be able to grow marijuana in their homes on a large scale and ship it out of state," he says.

commander jerry peters north metro drug task force.JPG
Commander Jerry Peters.
But he finds less common ground in other statements made by Peters. "There are still people who say, 'Why not make it like alcohol and regulate it? Then you could tax it, and you'd have all these revenues,'" he told us. "But that's just not the case. Look at all the problems we have with alcohol -- and the social cost to us is much, much higher than the revenue it brings in when you factor in traffic fatalities and addiction center visits and everything else."

Legalizing or regulating marijuana would "compound the problem, and I think it's going to make it even worse," Peters continued. "You're going to inundate the state with drugs -- and look at the problems we already have with prescription drugs. That's our second highest abuse problem in this state, and that's strictly regulated. And you can't really regulate marijuana, as we've learned through our medical marijuana program. That's a joke."

Vicente's take?

"I think Peters is the last of his kind -- a law enforcement officer who makes his living off of having marijuana be illegal," he allows. "He's afraid of new approaches about how to regulate a substance that's inarguably safer than alcohol -- and now it looks like he's ready to ban alcohol as well."

Not that Vicente thinks making alcohol illegal is the right thing to do. But he contends that "alcohol is just a far more dangerous substance for the user and for society. It contributes to problems of violence, including domestic violence, that marijuana simply does not. We're talking about apples and oranges here."

Page down to continue reading our interview with Brian Vicente.



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86 comments
hanspy
hanspy

Commander Jerry Peters. is an good example from the brainwashing that your GOV is doing to the police and other agencies ppl. And i gues he isnt a stupid guy.He knows that dope wil keep him and his ppl at work.And as you already know from past cases , an agency wil never work to put itself out of work. They wil fight hard and without any humanity to stay there where they think they must stay. But the USA is already owned by corp's and all kind of agencies and isnt a democratie . Succes USA. But as long ppl like Duane Clarridge and his friends are alive you wil never get peace. Those ppl create an enemy and after that they wont stop til those enemies are all dead.Lucky iam in holland, i smoke my joint peacefully til iam dead.

Reality Check
Reality Check

Alcohol ins't in the Colorado Controlled substance Act because it is actually legal, and no one becomes a drug felon for possessing a case of beer or for brewing over a six pack. Under age drinkers do not lose the ability to get schools grants and or equal access to employment because they were caught with alcohol. 

I30 is full of holes, not to mention the hemp provisions defying hemp as marijuana containing 30% THC by dry weight (all marijuana on planet earth) and allowing hemp to be essentially shut down at the general assembly's whim by 2017 when MJ commerce wouldn't start until 2014 isn't even close to "like alcohol". Alcohol prohibition wasn't repealed in "baby steps" by the states.

FYI most MJ arrests are young males of color below 21 so I30 does not really address prohibition and or the drug war. No adult is being arrested in Colorado for an ounce of marijuana which is a petty offense including 18 year olds. Initiative 2o is designed to allow some to profit and invites federal intervention by aiming to allow out of state interests to own MJ businesses in Colorado. Additionally the language isn't legalization as clearly stated by Steve Fox the primary author at the title board hearing.Steve Fox "I mean she made our point better than we have, which is legalization is not what thisis. She said it clearly and they are going to propose an initiative regarding the legalization ofmarijuana. What we are doing is regulating marijuana. It's a significant legal difference and itwould be inaccurate to call it legalization."He also saidSteve Fox "Tomatoes are legal. You can buy them anywhere. Thats legal, tomatoes have beenlegalized. But as you've seen with the medical marijuana system, it is a highly regulated(emphasis added) system by a regulatory agency and that is what we're proposing. I appreciatethat you prefer marijuana over legalization because legalization would be truly misleading as apart of the title."The intention is to regulate like HB1284 which is over regulated compared to alcohol. You do not lose your job, house and or your kids for consuming or brewing alcohol. Initiative 30 is vague and vague language does not create any protections as clearly cited in the appellate court ruling in Beinor. When responsible adults cannot use marijuana without fear of repercussions it isn't legalization its a political stunt. If the "coalition" wants to further the national dialogue they should do it at the expense of the state they actually live in. All the false catch phrases being used and especially "like alcohol" was removed by the title board for being confusing to voters. here is a statement by the title board.Mr. Hobbs (about adding "like alcohol" to the title) "I would be troubled by that...strictly speaking there are some deviations.  It's similar to alcohol but it is not the same." "I agree with you that it may be misleading." response from Dominco.This is a matter of public record and can be heard athttp://www.sos.state.co.us/p... you can either believe random posters on the westword or listen for your self. Its not legalization and it isn't like alcohol, any more questions? Now if you want to support HB1284 for the masses then that is your right to do so. But even under HB1284 you can have more than one ounce, if the language has any merit why distort the truth of the matter? The whole campaign keeps using language they said is misleading and confusing during the title board hearing. That is a fact and nothing any one posts in support can negate that fact.

end prohibition
end prohibition

Matt Cook tries to sway voters, get an earful, and a transfer, Commander Robocop tries to sway voters with baseless claims and gets a "job well done" by his superiors?

Denver MMJ Dispensary Man
Denver MMJ Dispensary Man

Wow. So basically he profiles home grows as all leading to mold problems and abandonment of electricity bills.

This is quite laughable. Inexperienced growers may have mold or mildew problems, it's true. But I also would personally never move in to a place which contained either of the above.

As for the electricity bills, what strain do you know of that grows, start to finish in under a month? They gotta pay their bills at least once. And most home growers aren't looking to ship out of state, nor are they looking to set up a grow, and leave. 

Blatant anti - MMJ and anti - marijuana in general propaganda!

Bob
Bob

The primary purpose of the  North Metro Drug Task Force is the continuation of the  North Metro Drug Task Force

Phillip Barton
Phillip Barton

Peters & Vicente are both out of touch on cannabis use. Peterssays when the cannabis is ship out of state it’s not for medical use. There isnothing in I 30 that will prevent raids in the future.

Gary Rose
Gary Rose

lol wow look at that picture of Jerry Peters , you have got to be kidding me!!! 

the first sign of a tyrannical Government is brain drain because the power gets turned over to guys w/ goatees like this loser

Danny
Danny

To Peters:

By definition of legalization, you are reducing crime. Like when alcohol was prohibited, the black market continued to supply illegal alcohol. Nowadays we have the right to buy alcohol in controlled stores – the ‘crime’ associated with supplying alcohol under prohibition has disappeared. The world wants the same right with cannabis as with alcohol. Not everyone drinks alcohol, but most respect the rights of others to be able to purchase it. Keeping it illegal removes any form of control. States that have legalized marijuana have seen a 9% decrease in road fatalities - it saves lives, do you want safer roads?  Marijuana use has negative impacts to a minority of individuals in the same way most food products exhibit negative impacts to some – for example, peanuts can cause death. The majority of those that consume cannabis do not experience the negative symptoms listed on NIDA – in fact, cannabis oil has been shown to cure cancer. We do not outlaw peanuts or any other food product that has negative consequences for the minority. Without regulation, we cannot place warnings on packaging or receive tax from sales – money will continue to flow into the black market. Cannabis promotes neurogenesis which not only forms new neural connections, but protects against alzheimer’s disease and many other debilitating conditions. Most importantly, it brings pain relief which has proven to be safer and less addictive than other medications legally available.

Now – imagine if you responsibly enjoyed wine and had your right to indulge taken away because the minority abused alcohol. You would still be able to easily get it on the black market, but would this be a fair system?

Jaded
Jaded

Nice job vicente

Unbelievable
Unbelievable

Gotta love Crazy Kathleen Chippi taking every chance she can to divide the pro-marijuana movement.  Kathleen, is the FBI paying you for your divisive work, or are you just that ego-driven and stupid?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

**** Vote NO on I30 ! ****

No New Taxes !!

Regulate Marijuana Like Oregano !!

Really? Unbelievable?
Really? Unbelievable?

Gotta love those crazy cointelpro arguments! He sure gives Kathleen a lot of credit. Who has the million dollar budget? Certainly not poor Nederland hippie Kathleen! She didn't just spend over $1 million to try get an initiative on the ballot that hands all control over cannabis in Colorado to the police with unlimited funding for marijuana "regulation", did she?

But Sensible, SAFER, and NORML did. What a waste of $1 million! If Kathleen would have had their budget, I'd wager things would be a little bit different now. We could have totally bought off the general assembly and written any law we wanted. I'd bet we'd have the governor's and AG's office in our pocket too -- for REAL legalization.

There would be more educated people in Colorado, at least, and the cops certainly would not have an unlimited funding source.

How do you exactly see that having more cops with more funding and more prohibition laws to enforce will result in them going after fewer pot smokers?

Jaded
Jaded

You profit from prohibition. Go vote with the prohibitionists then go fuck yourself drug dealer!

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Thanks for mentioning the 1 million verses Kathleen.  I'm feeling the power.  hahahaha

1 million dollar joke is what this is--and to the person who wanted proof--there is this website that is for the sec of states office where you can confirm the amount--but be careful, it's embarrassing when it comes to local support. $250 from Colorado donations and *880,000 from Peter Lewis, Progressive Car Insurance founder--you know probably the reason for the DUI marijauna shout out in the language.

And, so far, aside from 1 person,  correcting 1 thing Scooby said--NOT A SINGLE claim I have made has been challenged in this forum.  No case law, no language in I30 to prove me wrong.........nada. 

Who can find me the law where it says you will not lose your job, house, kids, gov aid, freedom, driving privileges if this passes? 

Show me where the law PROTECTS a person if this passes?  Cause they couldn't show us in 1997 with A20 and now the courts have ruled we have no rights to USE mmj or we will lose our jobs, houses, kids, gov, aid, driving privileges and freedom. 

In the long run if this passes, it will also be in the courts, screwing up otherwise law abiding citizens lives.  I'm paying out the ass to correct A20 in the courts.  Who is going to pay for the fix on I30?  Who is going to be harmed this time?

Unbelievable
Unbelievable

BTW, that "HE" you refer to (me) is a SHE *wink*.  Just thought I'd make that correction in the name of fighting gender bias in the 21st century.

Unbelievable
Unbelievable

Hi, I see you saying things like "But Sensible, SAFER, and NORML did. What a waste of $1 million!"Could you please point us in the direction of this information?Unfortunately, I can't respond to the rest of your comment, because despite my comment being only 2 sentences about one person's behavior, you have managed to put a whole lot of words and ideas in my mouth to argue against. 

OneBrownBagofSchwag
OneBrownBagofSchwag

I"m surprised Kathleen Chippi doesn't have a million dollars since she used to charge $60 and up for an eighth of weed back when she herself was a greedy dispensary owner.

Jaded
Jaded

You're right, kathleen fights progress in marijuana laws for free. The CTI initiative has zero chance of making the ballot. Attacking I30 as a marijuana supporter makes no sense. Chippi is sending the message that marijuana prohibition for rec users is better than I30 and that is nonsense. Stoners against reasonable marijuana regulation are a prohibitionist's best friend.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Greedy Criminals who "risk their freedom everyday" by engaging in the willful violation of numerous Federal Felony Drug laws ... all for personal pecuniary gain.

Fact.

Guest
Guest

 Dispensary criminals? What a load. These places are owned and operated by local business owners who have sunk their livelihoods into their trendsetting businesses and risk their freedom every day to provide medicine for CO patients.

You're a fucking joke. Grow up.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Behold puerile cries of another propaganda shill for the greedy, for-profit, big $$ dispensary criminals.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

I have been unemployed for a year and 1/2 and when I ran the store I never took a paycheck and I'm a greedy dispensary owner?  yeah, from someone who here admits to never having been there.  

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Hey bag of swag--I'm laughing at YOU!...my mmj did not come from Cali vacuum packed rejects--it came  from the ONLY constitutionally protected sources permitted--PATIENTS and caregivers, you idiot.  The PATIENTS got the money instead of the black bags of cash Josh Stanley was mixed up in from Cali cartels.  THE PATIENTS benefited.

So was I wrong to abide by the constitution? 

Was I wrong to pay patients what they said they needed? 

Are you saying the patients grew swag and overcharged me? 

Somehow I pay patients too much and then rip them off? 

Which one is it?  Are you saying I should have ripped off the Colorado patients who supplied me?  Told them to fuck off since some anonymous loser on the westword blog said I was paying too much for their swag weed which forced me to charge too much which somehow turned me into a greedy dispensary owner? 

And did you even read the goddamn link you posted above---One Brown Mouse got rave reviews and it also said that when you became a patient you paid less.  Or didn't you read it?   And didn't you read in later posts I closed along with hb1284 and began working alone on fighting for ALL patients rights w/o the help of any of the "industry".  It's been a year and 1/2 and do you think anyone besides the MMC applicants who contributed nothing to fight for patient rights and the I30 entourage from out of state agrees with you? 

OneBrownBagofSchwag
OneBrownBagofSchwag

who is sniveling, troll? I'm just pointing out that Chippi sold shitty expensive weed and watching you hypocritically defend a "greedy, big $$$" dispensary owner with arguments you normally would dismiss like an asshole from other people. can you say "owned"?

OneBrownBagofSchwag > ass hotay.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

So grow your own, you snivelling simpleton.

OneBrownBagofSchwag
OneBrownBagofSchwag

I didn't need to shop there to see the shitty weed she was selling to other people and to know she was charging way too much for it.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

So you admit you have no idea what you're yammering about, eh stoner?

OneBrownBagofSchwag
OneBrownBagofSchwag

Nobody is forcing anyone to shop at dispensaries -- yet you get your panties in a wad almost daily here in the Westword comment section over them.

OneBrownBagofSchwag
OneBrownBagofSchwag

Nobody forced me to shop there, and I never did shop there because they had shitty overpriced weed. But it's hysterically hypocritical to see that argument in her defense coming from a troll who calls all dispensary owners greedy.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

So who forced you to patronize that store, eh numbnuts?

OneBrownBagofSchwag
OneBrownBagofSchwag

anyone who ever came to see you regrets buying your overpriced garbage weed that you were paying way too much to third party growers for because you can't grow shit worth smoking yourself.

Joe Friday
Joe Friday

http://blogs.westword.com/late...

One Brown Mouse/Cannabis Healing Arts Owner: Kathleen ChippiRaw marijuana price range: $13-$16 per gram, occasionally $18 per gram.

$18 per gram is $63+ per eighth

just the facts ma'am

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

"Greedy dispensary owner"??  Careful--what you spew comes off to obvious as know nothing trolling.  Clearly you were never in the establishment.  It sounds like you must have been frequenting dispensaries who were selling unconstitutional rejected Cali BUDS.  Anyone who ever came to see me knows your full of shit and anyone who has paid attention to anything I have posted in the last 2 years knows you do not know me. 

Where is your challenge to ANYTHING I have said about the language? 

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Show me 1 statistic of how many people over the age of 21 go to jail for 1 ounce of pot in Colorado?  Careful, Josh Kappel said 11,000 --until a few of us called him out--then he cited NORML.  NORML is NOT quality evidence and it came from 2004 and it said 7,000.

Show me data from Colorado--and don't spend too much time looking---0 people over 21 are arrested for 1 ounce of pot alone.   It is a petty offense to have 2 ounces--no arrests.  But you bring up another FLAW in I30--the ONLY people who do get arrested for 1 ounce or less are MINORS and I30 offers them NO PROTECTION. 

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

I do understand how prohibition works which is why we are having this argument.  I say I30 language does NOT legalize anything or end prohibition and that many people will be harmed by believing it does.  You say I am full of shit and a prohibitionist.  Yet you have no evidence that I30 does what you think it will--but only because you were misled by the proponents.  Or you read it and do not understand it.  My point is DO NO HARM. 

Duh
Duh

how is that any different from the situation we are in now? (it's not)

people still go to jail every day in this state over less than two ounces of marijuana, which was decriminalized.

OneBrownBagofSchwag
OneBrownBagofSchwag

"We are worried people will think they have a right to smoke, fail their piss test at work, and then lose their job and get 0 unemployment?"

so again, your objections are based on other people's ignorance of the law and aren't going to win over anyone.that would be like saying you don't want alcohol legal because someone might think it's okay to drive drunk or show up to work after a few drinks.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

My my, you really are a potty-mouthed pig-ignorant stoner, aren't you ?

PS: You ARE a criminal for growing and using marijuana, albiet as delusional as Chris Bartkowicz and Pierre Werner.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

**** Vote NO on I30 ****

NO New Taxes !!

NO More Jack-booted Regulations enFORCED by goons with "badges and guns!"

Legalize Marijuana Like Oregano !!

Jaded
Jaded

You vote with the prohibitionists. Fuck you chippi! I would be a criminal for growing and using medical marijuana if everyone voted the same as you did on A20. Fuck you chippi! You are an enemy to medical marijuana patients and recreational marijuana users.

Jaded
Jaded

What's your point? Keep it illegal because people can find it if they want? It's still a crime moron. Don't you understand how prohibition works?

GUEST
GUEST

Some of the people supposedly involved in this are in their early twenties, who go to college, who volunteer their time to help people, who are good people themselves, and like Mrs. Chippi is saying, their lives could potentially be ruined over this. Good people that could be forced to be mixed in with real criminals in prison, over marijuana. It kinda blows my mind.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

I have yet to meet an adult in the state of Colorado who is having a hard time finding recreational pot. 

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Jaded is such an appropriate name.  It looks like I've touched a nerve.  Again, debate something I've said.  Like this geat quote form the proponents.  Shouldn't you be hating on them?  The TRUE prohibitionists.............who are not LEGALIZING and spent 2 hours arguing NOT to have the title board use the word legalization or legalize.

"I mean she made our point better than we have, which is LEGALIZATION is NOT what THIS (I30) is.  She said it clearly and they are going to propose an initiative regarding the legalization of marijuana.  What we are doing is regulating marijuana.  It's a significant legal difference and IT WOULD BE INNACCURATE TO CALL IT LEGALIZATION."  Steve Fox (speaking on behalf of Brian Vicente at the Title Board hearing for I30).  Mason was there and was in full agreement.

This was in response to Laura Kriho having to explain what real legalization would be to the tile board.  The quote sounds so much better when you listen to the audio--all 2 1/2 hours of it.  Many cherry quotes throughout on permanent state record. You can find it at the sec of state website--1 hour, 21 minutes, 48 seconds in.  Wake up.

Jaded
Jaded

OMG. Well then, FUCK YOU Kathleen Chippi! If it were up to people like you there wouldn't even be a medical marijuana program. You're standing on the same side of the prohibitionists. If it weren't for A20 100,000 medical marijuana patients would still be considered crimimals by state and local government. A20 is a good thing for many people and I30 will be as well. Fucking hypocritical for you to not support the laws then benefit from them. Now I see why you have been ostracized by many in the pro marijuana movement. Kathleen Chippi, you are worse than Walsh, Suthers, Matt Cook, Jeff Sweetin, and every other prohibitionist. If A20 depended on your vote for success I and 100,000 other medical marijuana patients would still be considered criminal so again I say FUCK YOU KATHLEEN CHIPPI.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

"I know who you are and even supported your lawsuit." 

yet you hide behind your user name so I can't even say that statement has merit.  If you had faith in what you say you should have no trouble standing behind it. 

"I used to respect you but your inappropriate and irrational behavior has changed that."

I would love to understand what irrational behavior I have displayed by questioning grey language?  What is the problem with questioning the language that, if this passes, we will all be living under?  Especially when that language offers NO PROTECTIONs for users who could lose their jobs, houses, kids, gov. aid, freedom?

"Your persistence in attacking an initiative that would give adults legal access to marijuana is ludicrous."

And, if the language protects from the problems I have stated  then why are you not citing it and correcting me? 

And have you not heard?  My problems with the language is that it does NOT do what they say it will do.  Your attempt's (and NORMLS) to call supporters of legalization prohibitionists is pathetic.  

I am for real legalization, and I am arguing with the The Profit Prohibitionists Proponents Mason Tvert  and Brian Vicente and Steve Fox (speaking on behalf of Brian)--the people who said on record with the title board  "I mean she made our point better than we have, which is Legalization is NOT hat this is.  She said it clearly and they are going to propose an initiative regarding the legalization of marijuana.  What we are doing is regulating marijuana.  It's a significant legal difference and IT WOULD BE INNACCURATE TO CALL IT LEGALIZATION." 

This was in response to Laura Kriho having to explain what real legalization would be to the tile board.  The quote sounds so much better when you listen to the audio.  You can find it at the sec of state website--1 hour, 21 minutes, 48 seconds in--

So do you see how pathetic it is to call me or others prohibitionists when we are all on record complaining that I30 does NOT legalize?  We are worried people will think they have a right to smoke, fail their piss test at work, and then lose their job and get 0 unemployment?  These proponents said "It seemed important to us that ....employers MAY PLACE RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF MARIJUANA by EMPLOYEES"

say that again so you get it--your employer can still fire you for use at home and no unemployment for you.

Again, as with A20, the state (Dan Dominico, AG's Office) says it "I just want to raise the fact that EVEN IF THIS PASSES we're NOT TECNICALLY PERMITTING a person 21 or older to CONSUME or POSSESS limited amounts of marijuana.  We're just saying the state won't prosecute you."

Again, listen to the audio at the sec of states website.  June 15, 2011 Title Board Hearing.  WARNING:  What you hear from the proponents could cause mild to severe heart palpitations and you just might realize your being misled. 

How will I vote?  I will vote the same way I did on A20 and everything else I vote on--I vote to cause NO HARM so I never vote for unclear language that provides no standing in the court of law. 

Jaded
Jaded

Kathleen Chippi, of course I know you are not CTI, and that you are not Laura Kriho but I can argue that in the past you have been tied to CTI/Kriho as much as Vicente/SensibleCO is tied to Tvert/Safer and that asically, you Chippi and Kriho are one in the same as far as marijuana law policy regulation whatever the fuck you want to call it is concerned.  I know who you are and even supported your lawsuit.  I used to respect you but your inappropriate and irrational behavior has changed that.  Your persistence in attacking an initiative that would give adults legal access to marijuana is ludicrous.

I'll ask again, when the regulate marijuana like alcohol initiative is the only pro marijuana measure on the ballot, will you vote yes or are you voting no with the prohibitionists?

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Jaded---I am not CTI--at least know who your talking about before you spew. 

I'm a cannabis activist AGAINST BAD LAWS that will require many people going to court and many lives ruined. 

"Stoners against reasonable marijuana regulation are a prohibitionist's best friend." 

And if losing your house, kids, job, gov aid, freedom is "reasonable" and I think it is NOT who is the STONER?

Chippi is sending the message that "I30 will cause more unintended harm than good, just like we're experiencing with A20 BECAUSE if you actually read the language and understand the many nuances of different laws, you will understand I30 DOES NOT LEGALIZE ANYTHING or come close to ending prohibition."

Or you can listen to any of the Title Board Hearings where Mason and Brian Say they ARE NOT LEGALIZING marijuana themselves. 

Or is it too hard to realize that the REAL Stoners AGAINST LEGALIZATION (an end to prohibition) are the Mason and Brian who are the proponents of this language?

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