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Flawed Poll Shows Oregon Marijuana Legalization ‘Too Close To Call’


oregon measure 91 legalization new approachThere are not that many polls out of Oregon for the marijuana legalization initiative that voters will see on their ballots this November. Oregon Measure 91 would legalize the possession of up to eight ounces of marijuana and the cultivation of four plants. I have seen many polls out of Florida for the medical marijuana initiative there, and a few out of Washington D.C. and Alaska for the marijuana legalization initiatives there. However, for some reason, Oregon polls are few and far between. The latest poll out of Oregon was conducted by Survey USA and KATU News, which found the following:

A SurveyUSA poll conducted for KATU showed that Oregonians back legalizing recreational marijuana, with 44 percent of likely voters supporting it and 40 percent opposed. But the razor-thin margin and wide disparity of support among demographics means turnout could end up deciding whether it passes.

Seniors heavily oppose Measure 91, the poll found, with it trailing by 28 points among those 65 and older. Likely voters age 50-64 support it by a margin of 13 points, and it leads by 11 points among those 35-49.

Sixty-six percent of liberals support Measure 91, while 72 percent who identify as conservative oppose it. The measure is tied 42-42 in the Portland area, but it leads 47-38 throughout the rest of the state.

While this poll technically shows that the initiative is winning, it’s not winning by much. A poll released by SurveyUSA earlier this year found 51% support, which at the time I thought was low. I have seen internal polling for the initiative that put support closer to 57%. Why is this poll so low? There are many reasons why this poll is flawed. For starters, they didn’t poll the actual  language of the initiative, which is significant because voters aren’t going to be voting on generic language.

They asked poll participants if they were ‘certain’ to vote yes or no, and treated everyone else as undecided. The Oregon measure 91 questions only came after a series of questions for a range of other unrelated subjects. SurveyUSA always have sample issues, including the fact that poll participants are not drawn from voter lists, and SurveyUSA tries to sub on-line interviews for cellphone polling. I would love to see a poll conducted by the campaign, that had solid sampling of actual voters, and ask those likely voters how they feel about the actual language of the initiative. Anyone who knows Oregon knows that the ‘tied 42-42 in the Portland area’ is completely inaccurate.


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Okay…so why should people be put in jail for simple possession then, though? You don’t want their lives to be ruined through use so you would rather ruin their lives through a criminal record? Top notch logic, I must say.

  2. bonnieparmenter on

    If we are going to keep using the excuse, alcohol and cigarettes are legal, why nor cocaine, meth and heroin. We are already seeing the studies that marijuana legalization increases the use, not only in adults but minors. We legalized the use, in Oregon, already for medical purposes and that even increased the use over all. I have to interview, employees on a monthly basis that test positive for THC and I hear the excuse, all the time, “It can’t be that harmful” my dad, brother or whomever uses it for their diabetes, cancer or fibromyalgia. We went a little over a year with-out random drug testing and we had an increase in accidents of about 300%. 3 out of five tested were testing positive for THC. It impairs your ability to make good decisions, be alert. I would have to let go anyone who tested positive for alcohol also. Oregon is the 3rd lowest in the nation for children not graduating normally from high school and the lowest for Caucasians. We have one of the highest usages of pot, not only for adults but minors. The law is extremely flawed. If it passes, it is going to make law officer’s jobs harder, and teacher’s and employer’s jobs harder. If you just don’t give a dam, vote yes!!!!

  3. Since you went there. What are the effects of Alcohol on the brain of minors? I’m betting its much of the same. Just as under age drinking is illegal so would be underage pot use. Legal or not, the use among minors would not likely change. So, all a no vote does is make things harder for responsible adults.

  4. bonnieparmenter on

    We, in general, become more conservative, as we grow older. I grew up in the brink of the marijuana revolution in the 60-70’s and saw the aftermath of a
    society on drugs. The users either stopped using or started showing the effects of their use. There was a decline in the use of Marijuana since
    the 80’s, until recently. There is a huge surge in the use. We are already seeing the effects. Oregon has one of the lowest normal
    graduation rates in the nation and are SAT scores have been dropping, as the pot use increases. People need to educate themselves on the side
    effects. There are hundreds of studies, by reputable universities, done on the effects of the use of marijuana and none are positive. Everything
    from increase in schizophrenia to emphysema. The younger you start the more negative effects on your brain and body. One study showed that there
    was a 50% increase in bouts of psychosis in adults who had smoked pot, while a minor, than those who did not.

    I totally supported the use for medical purposes, but it has been greatly abused, like many pharmaceutical drugs. There are states purposing to legalize
    marijuana with low or no THC and high CBD. I personally think this is a better route. I know, personally, to many people who used and abused that
    are seeing extreme negative effects from their use.

    I have done my home work and educated myself on the effects of marijuana use. I read dozens of legitimate studies on the effects of THC on the brain and smoking marijuana on the brain and body. and I chose to vote
    NO on 91.

    Do your
    homework before you vote!!!!

  5. Rusti Mccollum on

    I worked for the school district and DARE was all about turning kids against their parents. That in turn overran our foster system etc…It was crap aimed at arresting parents, teaching kids to turn on their caregivers can have very serious consequences and it was BRAINWASHING..

  6. Rusti Mccollum on

    I’m a card holder I am off 25 different meds and LOST 100 pounds using medical mj..I was on among others 8 vicodin a day, 6 dilaudid , and 3 morphine. among antidepressants , muscle relaxers Seemed like every drug I had , had a side effect they gave me another pill for. I am currently off of all opiates anti depressants..etc. PLEASE vote yes some of us ARE responsible and do benefit from its use..

  7. Rusti Mccollum on

    Well, look at the prohibition on alcohol it created deaths, underground clubs etc.., Prohibition doesn’t alwas work.. history has proven that also..

  8. Rusti Mccollum on

    We voted yes too.. Im a patient i am currently off 25 different meds multiple times a day and lost 100 pounds hiking off the weight from being bedridden on opiates , antidepressants etc. I am now down to my MJ, MY HEART MED AND ESTROGEN.I TAKE GABABETIN . all but one only once a day. I like my mj in capsule for as well as flower..As my hubby sai medical mj gave him his wife and our son their mother back.Because of my story alot of those I know voted yes..

  9. Who is “yelling” about your cigarettes…can you buy them? Yes. Can you legally smoke them? yes. Just not in the faces of others, same with pot. Have you had a major head injury?

  10. Do you even know how it became illegal? Obviously not because our Parents were not there when it happened, as it was not in the 60’s, you Palin-esque dingbat, it happened when our great grandparents, in most cases, were weathering the depression. Look it up. You’d think, as a conservative, you’d not want the Feds interfering in your personal freedoms, but oh…I guess that only applies to those that hurt your pocketbook or violate the Jesus laws, which you don’t seem to “get” either, even if they did exist in real life. And it’s a good thing liberals re-write our history books as your party has F’d them up for good. And let’s not forget whose policies ALWAYS end up being on the right side of history, you dung beetle, like civil rights for instance?

  11. Wow…what a suprise its a right wing douch bag preachin what his daddy taught him. Way to go sport!!

  12. Its just a plant! on

    Your kind is dying out fast. Why dont you go to the nearest bingo hall and preach your crap.

  13. Tiffany Gilmore on

    Those people that smoke that much will still be around if it doesn’t pass, but the people who use it responsibly shouldn’t be punished for those idiots. There are always gonna be bad apples. It’s proven to not be as harmful as cigarettes or alcohol. The government shouldn’t be able to tell me what I can do on that issue, it is a medicine. That’s also another reason some don’t want it legal then pharmaceutical companies will make way less money because we won’t need a lot of their man made medicines that kill people in a daily basis. Just vote yes!!!!!

  14. many hangovers from drinking all night do the same. again, the type of users are the same and the users don’t change habbits because something new is on the market. I use to drink occassionally Bud Light and when they introduced Bud Light Lime I didn’t cosume more than I had before. I take pain medicine now with Marijuana I take less chemically made medications and now in replacement is Marijuana with less side effects, less chemicals, and less intake of medications to control my pain levels.

  15. So a 6 pack of 8 oz beers or liquor drinks at a ball game, in a bar, or at home isn’t the same? Actually you are sending a message to the youth that this nation will no longer try to force artifical medicine down their mouths with far more side effects to lead them back into the hospital. It also teaches them that farming can be profitable again and that we don’t have to tear down our trees to produce paper anymore. 25,000 different reasons other than getting high should be the true push with this, because if Marijuana is legal, than HEMP with no high factor becomes legal to farmers.

  16. Agree!! 68 years old here and I’m voting with the Willie Nelson’s and Bob Dylan’s of the world . A No vote is aligning yourself with the pharmaceuticals, who want to relieve your every ache and pain with their warehouse of pills.

  17. Whatever you say buddy……Maybe you should go outside with the rest of the scumbags who still smoke cigarettes, and continue to kill yourself slowly but surely. Jackass

  18. Although I mad many comments I am not against it becoming legal, but it does piss me off that people want to make this legal and yell about my cigarettes. I really do not care if cigs are worse than pot but one thing is for sure, cigs do not make me drive 25 mph in a 55 mph zone. And trust me there are PLENTY of people in eugene that shoul not drive period because of this.

  19. guess the 1960’s are repeating all over again it started with pot, which then became acid users. Guess this is one reason the Liberal party is rewriting the history books. lol They do not want to remember what their parents did and why it became Illegal!

  20. guess your pretty dumb yourself, he did not say there was no effect he said and I quote “a lot of people have one drink to RELAX” Relax is the effect.

  21. That D-A-R-E stuff was bogus. All that ever did for me, was create a ton of curiosity about drugs, and yeah I inhaled.
    I was born in 1960, I am happy that cannabis is being recognized for the medical benefits, and for the recreational relaxation it can provide.
    I hope to see Oregon’s measure pass :-)

  22. I have a medical cannabis cert in Washington that allows me to have up to 24 ounces of cannabis and grow 15 plants.
    And you are whining about 8 oz.? Recreational cannabis is what it is. Not many folks are going to load up bowls of this and smoke out like they did on the ditch weed of the 70’s and 80’s. I know, I inhales a few joints of that stuff.
    Alcohol is worse than cannabis- really. The CDC states that alcohol caused 88,000 thousand deaths in the USA between 2006 and 2010, @ 22,000 thousand a year. 400,000 deaths a year are attributed to tobacco use. The Government already taxes and regulates alcohol and tobacco….
    Cannabis is safer, it can be taxed and regulated and it does create jobs.

  23. There is a common misconception that people who are for marijuana legalization say that it’s 100 percent safe. This causes the reefer madness believers to about lose there shit. I can only speak for myself when I say that of course pot is not 100 percent safe. Smoking anything is bad for you….obviously. I’m for legalization because it makes sense. There are so many products out there that are legal and consumed everyday that are just as harmful, and in a lot of cases more so than marijuana. Alcohol, tobacco, artificial sweeteners, fast food etc. Nobody is screaming “WHAT IF MY CHILD GETS A HOLD OF A BIG MAC!” If I’m allowed to make the choice to drink, smoke, and eat shitty food as an adult, then why shouldn’t I be able to make the choice to smoke a plant without the bullshit stigma that goes along with it. I have already voted YES ON 91, and I encourage all of you who are wavering to really think about it before jumping on the mom’s against legalization bandwagon.

  24. You are wrong, it is not legal to have an ounce of marijuana or any for that matter. Decriminalization is not the same as legalization. You are right in that 8 oz. is a lot of pot, but so what. In my opinion, the reason why the measure allows for 8 oz. at home is because it also allows adults to grow up to 4 plants for personal use. If you have good yields for your plants, then you might get 8 oz. out of it. It wouldn’t make any sense to allow you to grow 4 plants, but then arrest you when you harvest. As for your alcohol comment, it’s about as ignorant as you can get. If people who have a beer after work are just unwinding, and don’t feel any effects from it, then why have it? Further more, I would rather have 20 stoned drivers on the road then any drunk drivers. You should actually do a little research on the effects of alcohol and driving vs. smoking marijuana and driving. After you have done that, then maybe you could post an informed comment. It is you who needs to wake up.

  25. I saw a poll last weekend that had it passing 61%-34% with the rest undecided, but 61% is a landslide that can’t be overcome. Wish I could remember where I saw the poll, and no I don’t smoke it, but I voted for it because I am tired of our paternal government running our lives. Isn’t it ironic that “conservatives” who claim to want less government and fewer regulation seem only to mean where business is concerned but where your bed partners or wombs or recreational choices are concerned they want to ride you like you are a rented mule. I am just giving the republicans what they claim to want, more personal freedom and government off our backs.

  26. Medford here, the lack of yard signs is no indication (I said indica LOL) it is actually polling better in Jackson County than Portland.

  27. I voted for it on Saturday. Marijuana is not for everyone, I for example might take one puff if it is offered to me every 5 years or so, but I am an adult and can make up my own mind, so if you don’t like weed don’t smoke it. If your parenting style is so weak your kids don’t get the right message then too bad, but you have no right to impose your beliefs on the majority (or even minority) and I would bet anything I own your kids have or will try it anyway and eventually have (EGADS) a mind of their own. It is like abortion; don’t like them? Don’t have one. The only people I know that are strongly against this measure are religious fanatics who want their theocratic crap served in all areas of our lives, and those that profit enormously from grass being illegal. And neither is a legitimate reason for prohibition.

  28. Allison Wunderland on

    I’m 66 yrs old, Oregon resident. I paid $263 for 8 grams of legal, taxed WA pot. Shortly thereafter, I purchased 7 grams on the “People’s Free Market” for $50. Medical growers in OR and WA supply a lot of the “Free Market” stuff and a colleague got four gallon baggies of bud from his “gardener” for free. Colleague gave 10 grams to me. Pot needs to be like beer and wine — lawful to produce for private consumption without license, permit, or other restriction. (Currently a FELONY to transfer pot in WA w/o a license.)

    Whether OR decides to legalize or not, it’s still out there and readily accessible. Nobody gets “busted” any more for simple possession, unless they’re being stupid. Not difficult not to be stupid.

    Speaking of “stupid” — how’s that “prohibition thing” working out on the War on Drugs?

  29. Good point. I could really, really use a part-time job and have a background in herbal medicine. We know Oregon is a Cannabis state anyway. Why shouldn’t these types of employment be out in the open and above board?

  30. Thanks for the info on this Johnny and for your contributions to CC newspaper. Unfortunately, I don’t think the education campaign ‘Yes on 91’ is going to sway enough people to make this a slam dunk. I think if they don’t engage in a serious get-out-the-vote campaign among supporters, especially the youngest segements, this thing could tank, even if by a very narrow margin. It all depends on who votes for it and puts that ballot in the box. The aggressive opposition is certainly going to show up. I am also dubious at the 42-42 tie in Portland. Get supporters to fill out their ballots and put them in the box!

  31. I’m 22 yrs old and grew up in Oregon.The thing that gets me the most is a lot of marijuana sold on the streets is laced with some other drugs, sometimes much harder drugs. I am voting Yes on 91 because I will be assured that the marijuana I purchase at a dispensary will be legal and safe.

  32. Lets make history and help Oregon! Yes on 91! Gather in the streets and cheer it friends! It is time for Change!

  33. There so many reasons to vote yes, Colorado added 10,000 jobs the first year, We need the Jobs, no more money wasted on arrests
    and convictions, and increased revenue for the State. 91 will make sure cannabis will stay out of our youth’s hands, and 91 is written to hurt the black market, voting yes.

  34. Way to make your position weaker. You can interview police and medical personal about alcohol and it terrifies them. Pot, not at all. Focus your energy on banning that if you want to ban something. But really, if you want to impose your will on consenting adults to begin with you are going to be forever disappointed as it ultimately doesn’t work. Yes on 91.

  35. Your argument is flawed. There are people who have one drink to relax, but there are others who drink until they are face down in their own puke. For people who smoke cannabis, there are just as many people who take one or two hits to relax after a long day of work. Not everyone smokes multiple bowls of weed and then hit the road in search of White Castle burgers.

  36. I’m ok with my kids knowing it’s ok to smoke, since they are grown and although they don’t smoke, they also don’t think its a crime to smoke a little weed on special occasions. Any time the words Maybe, the latest study, could be, might, qualifiers are used as a reader discard the writing as nonsense, you simply don’t know. The sin-semilla pot of the 70’s and 80’s was the same as it is today, which proves, you just don’t know. LEGALIZE, GO VOTE, TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED.

  37. The biggest reason in didn’t pass the last time was the Pot Growers in Southern Oregon…they didn’t want all that legalization and bureaucracy. This time around…after watching the Colorado and Washington …most of them a getting with the program

  38. Graduated in ’65 too. It seems that from the class ’64, on down, it was primarily an Alchohol culture…the class of ’66 and all afterward, has been primarily a drug culture…and in the late 60s, we’re talking about Acid on down. 1965 was an interesting cut-off period for Boomers. “Whatever happened to the Class of ’65″…great book. Tremendous changes in our Society since the ’60s. It’s our Generation who started it all…and it’s our responsibility to see it through.

  39. In Oregon, if you’re an OMMP card holder, you can grow up to 12 plants…6 mature and 6 immature…and can have up to 24oz in your possession. And if you’re a caregiver…you can carry theirs too.

  40. I am a mother to young children here in Oregon. I wasn’t born here, but I don’t believe we are brought into fear that it will send the wrong message, I think it’s more like another thing on the shelves they can get their hands on. Legal or illegal, kids will get it if they want it. People that says it’s going to be more accessible have only been high at parties

  41. what I see here is that those who have the OMMP card HOLDER and grower that also holds the OMMP Certificate our afford of not having medical Marijuana for there used for pain control!!! first and for all its going to be illegal to price gouging would put the medical marijuana losing there license to dispensary. and find would be very heavy onto the business owner would be forced to closed down his or her doors. there will be a price set control by OLCC and the Oregon Department of revenue just whats happind in both states of Washington and Colorado. at this very moment every city in Oregon is voting about tax laws and the right to dispense and collect the tax. also there our those towns and city that voted to HOLD Back tell May 15, 2015. six months after the November 4, 2014 out come. 8 oz of pot is really NOT that much (1) one plant a lone could produce in a indoor environment could produce a few pounds per cycle depend on its height and age!!!

  42. haveakidthatitsbeentoomuch on

    This measure is bullshit-8oz of pot ok????? Come on- pot is not what you all smoked in the 70s and 80s, it can be addictive, it will send a message to younger kids that pot is ok. The argument of alcohol, prohibition always comes up and pot isn’t the same, edibles aren’t the same, people smoke pot to get high where a lot of people have one drink to relax not get smashed, how do you check for impaired driving with pot smokers. The proponents of this measure have dollar signs in their eyes when they say that pot is harmless, it’s about the money people and not about pot being harmless. Already in Oregon, you can have an ounce legally….. why do we need to legalize 8 oz??????? Wake up to what is going on in Washington and Colorado.

  43. I am not so surprised that Portland is not giving overwhelming support, in the 60% range. My daughter, who lives in the area, pointed out her vegan Portland-PC young mothers are bought into the fear that legal cannabis will send the “wrong message” to their children as they grow up. They do not see the social libertarianism aspect like they do with gay rights, or their liberalism when it comes to racial diversity. Somehow, the fact that a cop on the beat can stop you, search you, impound your vehicle, and ticket or even arrest you, sends an OK message is something I don’t understand, but certainly we see in polls women strongly trailing men when it comes to legalization. Too bad that they don’t understand the racial aspect of the war on drugs, and the only way to change it is to legalize.

  44. Hey I am 61 and voting I have yet to see one pro measure 91 in SW Oregon, Total failure to get out the message. Not all seniors are voting no!!!

  45. Please vote yes. There are so many people out there suffering from anxiety and other things that you cannot get an OMMP card for. I luckily have access to the dispensaries, and am able to manage my agoraphobia and panic attacks with edibles. I am no longer on addictive and debilitating psychiatric medication. This will help so many people it will be a good thing. It will be no worse than alcohol. It just needs to be regulated, and it will be. Chill out and end prohibition.

  46. I’m in the 50-64 range, the baby boomers. We vote! Not like the old folks yet. In this measure it’s clear if my fellow boomers can Care About Something and turnout and MAIL YOUR BALLOTS BACK, OREGON WILL BE THE NEXT STATE TO TREAT IT MORE LIKE BEER.
    Intelligently we’ll Legalize, Regulate And Tax Oregons number one cash crop. Vote Yes to SAVE $10’s of millions of OUR Tax Dollars in putting farmers in prison @ a taxpayer cost of $45, 000/Yr and going up in Our For Profit Prisons.
    Vote YES on Measure 91, if you want the State to Make $10’s of millions every year on Consumption Taxes, just like cigarette’s & alcohol, Only Safer.
    Vote YES on Measure 91 if you believe American’s have a “Basic Right of Consumption” of any food, beverage, or what we can grow in our own soil, or not. Let’s just stop destroying our families (foster kids of many growers, wholesalers, etc. especially under federal law”

  47. the biggest divide for pot is not among Democrats/Republicans, Young/Old, White/Black or Smokers/Non Smokers. Its the voters from all walks of life VS the politicians in both parties where the real divide is. You got majority support for legalizing pot among the general public and not a single politician in office that supports legalizing pot.

  48. I got out of school in ’65. I think your observation of the times and the current poles echoes mine. As one of the 65+ group, I know a lot of us are in support. Yet those of us who are, no longer want to participate with the voting system at all. Thinking that if we legalize it in Oregon, the Fed will come into our homes and lives as they do since our passing the medical use and grow laws. Hard to argue but I’m pushing everyone I can, in every age group to vote. It’s not that hard to do it in Oergon, we just stick it in the mail.

  49. The 13 point statistical polling difference between those supporting legalization in the age group 50-64 (+13%) and those 65 and older (-28%) is telling. I recall when I was in high school during the late 60’s early 70’s there was a very noticeable generational divide regarding pot use among those students just a few grades older than myself (I graduated HS in ’71) and older students who seemed to enjoy alcohol a little too much, sans pot. Interestingly, this seems to be reflected in this polling example 40+ years later. This poll example also shows the 50-64 age group supports legalization at a slightly higher percentage margin than the younger demographic polling example among those 34-50. This is due in part in my thinking to the D.A.R.E. brain-washing which occurred following Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” campaign in the 80’s during that younger age groups formative school years. And absent among those in the 50-64 age group who were exposed to pot use during the height of the hippie/ anti-war movements of the late 60’s and early 70’s. This poll example reflects my personal recollection of that time.

  50. Good point. Every poll so far has shown the measure leading. As Johnny points out, they did not include leaners but only asked if persons were certain to vote one way or the other.

    Like everybody else, I do not believe those figures for Portland, I suspect they got a bad sample.

  51. Actually, I don’t mind seeing this poll made public. I think it will help motivate supporters to vote and not assume that the election is in the bag. Especially with all the talk of legalization being inevitable.

  52. I haven’t really seen any ads for Measure 91 yet. Are there going to be any? TV? Radio? Print? We better hurry up before the anti-91 people start airing them.

  53. You better hope that this is flawed poll, because if it isn’t, then beam me up Scotty, because I no longer want anything to do with these horrible creatures on this planet who want to cage me like an animal for a miracle plant.

  54. How could Measure 91 be tied (42-42) in Portland, and leading by 9 points (47-38) in the rest of the state??? It doesnt make sense!

  55. This poll is a disappointment, though it does show the measure leading. And I too was astonished to see support in the Portland area lower than support in the rest of the state, when I would have expected to see the exact opposite. This measure needs to pass in Portland overwhelmingly to have any chance of passing in the entire state. So do we now have hipsters against legalization? WTF?!?

    You’re right to criticize some of the poll’s methods, Johnny, and SUSA does have a slight republican lean, or “house effect”, but it is also the only recent data that is available. So in the absence of other recent data that suggests otherwise, this is all we have to go off of right now. I too would like to see some internal polling from the yes on 91 campaign, but I wonder: I’d be surprised if they haven’t already done their own internal polling, and one would think that if they had internal polling that showed the measure over 50%, they would have released it by now.

    So what this poll tells me is that, like the rest of the country, we’re dealing with a likely electorate that is more right-leaning than in presidential years. Thus, I believe that the best strategy at this point is for the campaign to continue with advertising and outreach — the Rick Steeves tour is an excellent idea — and to continue highlighting the many endorsements they’ve received. In an environment where education and public services are being slashed, one would think that voters would be looking at any source of additional revenue that doesn’t raise their taxes, so that is an argument that could be made to help increase support on the right, where support is lagging. But above all, their focus must be on voter outreach and voter turnout. If they have a “ground game” like the Obama campaign had, that gets young, progressive voters to mail in their ballots in large numbers, then we’ll win. On the other hand, if the electorate is older and more right-leaning, the results will not be good.

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