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California: Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Monday, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa became the latest high-profile politician to endorse an initiative on next week’s ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California.

Villaraigosa is considering running for governor in 2018 amid a field that already includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading proponent of Proposition 64.

“I took my time on this measure because I wanted to make sure it included protections for children and public safety,” Villaraigosa said in a statement. “In evaluating the measure in its entirety, I am convinced there are enough safeguards to make it a workable proposition.”

The Proposition 64 campaign welcomed Villaraigosa’s endorsement at a time when a recent poll indicated slightly fewer than half of Latino voters support the measure.

“We’re glad to have it,” said Jason Kinney, a spokesman for the campaign.

California: LA Pastor Says Recreational Pot Could Be Good For People Of Color

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California's measure to legalize recreational marijuana this November has support from some big names, such as Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Napster founder, Sean Parker. Now a Los Angeles pastor has joined the list of people who say they are voting yes on Proposition 64.

Troy Vaughn is the spiritual leader at Inglewood Community Church, a predominantly black worship center on La Brea Ave. Pastor Vaughn has seen the negative impact that drugs have had on communities of color.

"It all stems back historically to the war on drugs" he told Take Two's A Martinez. "So when you take away rights, but you control consumption ... it creates an imbalance."

The American Civil Liberties Union says that although blacks and whites use pot at about the same rate, African Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for possession.

"When we start looking at mass incarceration, and the engine of mass incarceration and the disparities, particularly for people of color, then we have to begin to erase some of those things in order to really correct some of the ills that society has perpetrated on people of color and communities of color," he said.

He leads a congregation of about 100 members, and realizes that not everyone is going to agree with him.

"My wife doesn't necessarily agree with me," he said.

California: Synthetic Marijuana Suspected In Mass LA Overdose

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

In the Skid Row area of Los Angeles 14 people were transported to hospitals Monday after a suspected mass overdose. Health officials said they believe the synthetic marijuana drug known as spice caused the overdoses.

The overdose symptoms include seizures, violent behavior, and altered levels of consciousness.

"We don't have toxicological confirmation, but it's presumably spice, which is a synthetic type of cannabis, or marijuana," Dr. Marc Eckstein, the LAFD medical director and EMS bureau commander, told reporters on the scene. "Because it's synthetic, nobody for sure knows what active ingredients are in there. The strength is variable."

The LAFD on Friday responded to another incident, in which 50 people were evaluated for overdose symptoms and 38 people were transported to a local hospital for suspected overdoses related to spice, according to an LAFD spokesman. He confirmed to ABC News that the drug has become a growing problem for officials.

"The drug use here is very widespread amongst the homeless population here in the Skid Row area," Eckstein told ABC News station KABC-TV. "People would use or smoke spice at their own peril. They're taking their lives into their own hands."

New York: Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo Boasts Strong Attendance

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Trade Show for All Things Cannabis Featured a Presidential Candidate, Pro Athletes, Advocates and Non-Stop Education, Deal-Making & Networking

For three days, the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) at the Javits Center in New York, was a hotbed of business activity when nearly 4,000 attendees (almost double attendance from last year) came to learn, network and build relationships in the country’s fastest growing industry.

CWCBExpo NY, took place June 15-17 at the Javits Center in New York and garnered major media and audience attention, and included a special appearance by Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate.

This year’s CWCBExpo NY increased its attendance with attendees coming from the tri-state area as well as Canada, New England, and the Rust Belt states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“The explosive growth of our audience is testament to the fact that the East Coast is fast becoming a major area of interest and business for the cannabis industry,” said Christine Ianuzzi, show director, CWCBExpo NY. “People came to CWCBExpo NY to learn, network, and discover new business opportunities in the emerging legalized cannabis industry.”

California: L.A. Cannabis Task Force Calls For 9 Proposals To Reform Marijuana Industry

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Coalition of Cannabis Operators Dedicated to an Inclusive Cannabis Industry in Line with State Law

The Los Angeles City Council Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations, and Neighborhoods Committee on Friday heard public comments on Motion 14-0366-S5 for a proposed March 2017 ballot initiative to reform Proposition D.

The Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, a coalition of cannabis operators dedicated to the creation of a fair and vibrant cannabis industry that ensures a safe, lawful, and responsible climate for every entrepreneur, patient, and citizen of Los Angeles, issued a letter to Council and attended Friday's meeting to recommend common-sense proposals to create a transparent and responsible local licensing process.

“The City of Los Angeles needs a new medical cannabis policy, but the city’s proposal as drafted fails the public, business owners and patients — and is inconsistent with state laws," said Ariel Clark, a leading cannabis industry attorney at Clark Neubert and chair of the Task Force.

"Today, the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force proposed nine common sense amendments to the city’s proposal," Clark said. "If done right, reforms to LA’s medical cannabis industry can fund important education, healthcare and law enforcement programs; align city and state laws; reduce crime; and keep hardworking Angelenos on the right side of the law.

California: Marijuana Enforcement Nearly 4 Times More Severe For Blacks

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Black and Latino Boys and Young Men at Particular Risk, Despite Similar Marijuana Use Rates Across Racial Lines

California to Vote on Removing Criminal Penalties and Legal Regulation of Marijuana This November

New data analyses conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU of California find that racial disparities in marijuana policing have persisted, following the reduction of low-level marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction in 2011.

Possession of under an ounce of marijuana is punishable in California by a base fine up to $100 (plus substantial fees).

Despite marijuana usage rates being similar across racial and ethnic lines, data provided by the Los Angeles and Fresno Police Departments show that black and Latino people in those cities were issued marijuana possession citations at higher rates than white people in the years immediately following the penalty change from misdemeanor to infraction.

The data also reveal that marijuana possession enforcement falls mostly on young people. In both cities, the majority of infractions were issued to persons 29 years of age and younger.

California: SpeedWeed Responds To LA City Attorney's Injunction

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LA City Attorney Mike Feuer's office on Friday issued a statement that "SpeedWeed has ceased operations" because the company was allegedly in violation of zoning ordinance Measure D ("Proposition D"). "SpeedWeed is presently open and fully operational," the company responded on Tuesday, in a prepared statement.

"We have been working with the City Attorney on a 'wind down' period to pause operations within the City Limits," the statement reads. "Because of the City-imposed injunction, we are forced to put 40 good people out of work. With a heavy heart, we requested time to give our employees the chance to make new arrangements for work and do what is best for their families and to insure safe access for our members. The City agreed.

"SpeedWeed continues to operate and expand," according to the prepared statement from the company. "This is not end of SpeedWeed in the City of Los Angeles. This is only the first chapter. We intend to have our day in court. Win or lose, it is important that a judge, jury and the Los Angeles voters understand the insidious way Proposition D was drafted, passed and enforced. LA citizens are unaware of the unintended consequences of this unjust, obscure and very dangerous zoning rule.

Colorado: Governor Who Opposed Marijuana Legalization Now Says It's Working Well

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado became the first state in the union to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Many were skeptical about the law, including Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who called legalization reckless at the time. Now, about a year and a half since marijuana was first legally sold in the state, Hickenlooper appears to be acknowledging that legalization is, in fact, working well.

Hickenlooper said in a recent panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles that despite opposing the legalization of marijuana, his job was "to deliver on the will of the people of Colorado. It's beginning to look like it might work."

Hickenlooper told Maria Bartirimo of Fox Business several months ago that legal pot was "not as vexing as we thought it was going to be."

And on "60 Minutes" he predicted that Colorado might "actually create a system that could work" in successfully regulating marijuana.

Despite some issues in the early days of legalization, crime is down, unemployment remains low, and about $100 million in revenue has been brought in by the marijuana industry.

Since Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia have done the same. Maine and California will vote on the issue this November.

California: One In 10 People Say Police Took Cash, Property Without A Conviction

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Two new surveys find overwhelming public opposition in California to laws allowing law enforcement to seize and keep a person’s cash and property without a conviction

California Legislature considers reform to rein in abuse

In a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, a startling 10 percent of adults living in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties said that they had had their property taken by a police officer without being convicted of a crime. Nearly one in five (19 percent) of those living in these three counties also stated that they know someone who had experienced the same.

One of the ways in which law enforcement can legally take property or money from people in the absence of a conviction is through civil asset forfeiture, a highly controversial policy that allows law enforcement officers to seize cash or property that they suspect has been involved in criminal activity, such as drug sales.

While California law offers greater protections, federal forfeiture laws do not require that police arrest or charge a person with a crime, or convict them. If the owner does not file a claim in civil court and prevail in the case, the property is permanently lost, and the majority of the funds go to the same law enforcement agency that seized the cash or property in the first place.

U.S.: New Slate of Cannabis Lifestyle Programming Announced

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Studio Releases Three New Original Web Series Including “Get LOUD” Starring Adult Swim’s Black Jesus Star Gerald “Slink” Johnson

PRØHBTD, the cannabis-lifestyle destination and branded content studio, on Tuesday announced their 2016 slate of programming with three new shows and five more in development.

"Get LOUD!" is the first show starring Gerald “Slink” Johnson (Black Jesus/Adult Swim), and all shows are distributed online through the PRØHBTD website and on roku, appleTV, amazon fire and FilmOn, with additional OTT distribution coming soon.

The PRØHBTD destination site features original programming, storytelling and hand-selected products for modern cannabis enthusiasts. “We have a young progressive audience who embrace the trends across every aspect of modern cannabis culture from fashion to music,” said co-founder Drake Sutton-Shearer. “They have been asking us for specific types of programming so we’re responding to their requests by delivering content not previously seen anywhere else.”

PRØHBTD’s shows currently scheduled for release, include:

“Get LOUD!” is an entertainment-travel show starring Gerald “Slink” Johnson of Adult Swim/Black Jesus fame. Hang out with Slink as he travels around the world in the search of the loudest people, place, things and activities—not to mention the cannabis.

California: Tainted Synthetic Marijuana Hits Los Angeles Streets

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck reported Wednesday that fifteen people were hospitalized over the weekend after consuming artificial cannabis. Artificial cannabis is made in a lab, not a greenhouse, and consists of THC-like chemicals applied to plant matter. It can be much stronger than botanical marijuana.

“They are cutting it with something lethal,” Rev. Andy Bales, who runs a local mission, told the Los Angeles Times. “We’ve seen violence and convulsions…. I saw a guy rolling into the street on Friday.”

This is not the first such incident related to synthetic marijuana. Last April synthetic marijuana in New York caused 160 hospitalizations in two weeks, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). It’s “direct proof,” Cuomo said in a statement, that “synthetic drugs are anything but harmless.” The governor’s office compared synthetic cannabis to other drugs like bath salts and PCP. Like bath salt users, people who consume synthetic marijuana report violent behavior, vomiting, seizures and other aggressive symptoms, quite unlike the natural marijuana user's experience.

California: Chong's Choice Cannabis Collection Rolls Out In Dispensaries On 4/20

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Another celebrity-endorsed cannabis brand will hit 25 California medical marijuana dispensaries on 4/20.

Chong’s Choice, "a collection of high grade medical cannabis products hand-selected by the legendary comedian, activist and cannabis enthusiast Tommy Chong," will roll out on April 20, marking the official launch of the brand, which includes a full product assortment.

"Using the highest quality of standards, Tommy Chong meticulously chooses each product and strain offered at Chong’s Choice from premium farmers around California," we are told in a Wednesday media release. "This assortment includes traditional Flower Jars of locally grown, high grade Indica (Chong Daddy Purple), Sativa (My Friend Jack), and Hybrid (Choice OG Kush), along with Oil Cartridges with award-winning THC oil, convenient Disposable Vape Pens and 5-Pack Pre-Rolls, as well as edible THC-Infused Breath Strips."

Alsop included in the "Chong's Choice" line of products are 5-pack pre-rolls, oil cartridges "using award winning cannabis oil and state of the art CO2 extraction methods," and THC strips, available in single-strip mylar bags, as well as multi-strip cartridges.

California: 420 Games Invade Los Angeles March 26

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<.b>Fitness and Activism Converge To Destigmatize Cannabis Use by Responsible Adults

Created to destigmatize cannabis and the people who use it, The 420 Games athletic event has been held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the past two years. This March, The 420 Games will debut in Los Angeles, the first leg of a four-state, six-city tour.

Participants are "Going the Extra Mile for Cannabis” in this 4.20 mile race that is longer than a typical 5k. The course takes runners from the Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach and finishes back at the pier. Tickets can be purchased at www.420Games.org.

In the last 18 months, The 420 Games has acquired nearly 60,000 Facebook fans and features an event series that continues to expand. Recently featured in Newsweek magazine, The 420 Games has announced multiple events in California, Colorado, Seattle and Oregon.

The event series will feature marathons, mountain bike races, and stand-up paddleboard competitions, amongst other contests. Future locales include San Francisco, Boulder, Denver, Portland and Seattle.

"Our attendance has doubled from the first event to the second, we expect thousands of people to come run or walk for cannabis respect on March 26th in L.A.," said Jim McAlpine, 420 Games organizer and founder of SnowBomb, a source for ski & snowboard lifestyle and culture. "There is a passion and vibe of camaraderie at these events that is very inspiring to see."

Global: New Website Caters To Mature Marijuana Enthusiasts

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"Our joints never ache" is the slogan... I love that.

The older kids always did have the best weed, and the new website, SeniorStoner.com, believes that still holds true. Designed to appeal to the more mature marijuana user and cannabis curious baby boomer, the site covers all aspects of the marijuana experience, from health and politics, to travel and pop culture.

Seniors are America’s fastest growing demographic and the fastest growing subgroup among marijuana users. It only makes sense that the Baby Boomer generation would be open to marijuana use; after all this is their second “dance” with Mary Jane as they grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, when getting high was the norm.

While in development stages, Senior Stoner publisher Mitch Mandell and editor Cheri Sicard were questioned about the wisdom of branding the new venture with the word “stoner.” The pair emphatically defends the position saying no other word so clearly denotes a person who enjoys marijuana.

“We don’t see the word stoner as a negative,” says Sicard, “in fact we feel using the S-word can do a lot of good towards forcing people to re-examine their preconceived notions and prejudices about marijuana and the people who use it. Let’s face it, Grandma and Grandpa are not who typically come to mind.”

U.S.: Veterans To Gather For Cannabis PTSD Treatment Awareness

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The 2nd Annual Cannaball Run for Vets, supporting cannabis PTSD treatment, will begin on Oct. 17 in L.A.

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Did you know that 20 percent of America’s suicides are committed by Veterans? Did you know that more than 300,000 veterans are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Did you know veterans are typically prescribed a cocktail of six or more psychoactive medications to treat PTSD? Did you know that controlled, supervised use of cannabis has been proven 300 percent more effective at treating PTSD than the medications that are currently being prescribed?

More and more of our nation’s Veterans are opting for one simple plant that is safer and – most importantly – more effective than prescription drugs. Cannabis has become the new answer, and hopefully with your help, the new normal.

For this reason, world-renowned cannabis expert Garyn Angel and his company MagicalButter, alongside the Weed For Warriors Project, are presenting this year’s Cannaball Run for Vets. The 2nd Annual Cannaball Run for Vets for cannabis PTSD treatment, a cross-country education and awareness campaign, will begin on October 17 in Los Angeles, and stop at seven major cities as it heads towards the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., for the culminating Veteran's Day event on November 11.

California: Melissa Etheridge Wows 'Em At Cannabis World Congress

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Keynote speaker Melissa Etheridge on Thursday wowed a full house at the Cannabis World Congress, held Los Angeles Convention Center.

Etheridge, the Grammy-winning rock star who, a decade ago, famously beat breast cancer, told the rapt throng about her health battles, and how using cannabis helped her make it through a brutal regimen of chemotherapy.

"I can't imagine anyone going through chemotherapy without cannabis," Etheridge said, adding that the herb helped not only her physical nausea and pain, but added a spiritual dimension to her relief, as well. "I can't imagine asking anyone to go through that."

According to Etheridge, it was legendary musician Davis Crosby who, upon first learning Melissa had cancer, told her "you must try medical marijuana." Crosby, Etheridge reminded the crowd, is the biological father of her children and a lifelong friend. Once she'd experienced the relief cannabis provided from the effects of harsh chemotherapy, there was no looking back.

Melissa told the crowd how once her struggle with cancer was over, and she got over fears of losing her children, she decided to continue her cannabis use for the balancing effect it has, helping to ameliorate the stresses of everyday life.

"Once we learn to stop being so insane about cannabis, once we no longer have worry about losing our children, our homes and our jobs for choosing this herb, we'll become a better society," Etheridge said.

California: Paige Figi of Coalition for Access Now to Participate at Cannabis World Congress

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The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition on Thursday announced that Paige Figi will be introducing keynote speaker Melissa Etheridge at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo), Thursday, September 17 at 2 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Figi, a mother of three from Colorado, was desperate to find a treatment that would help her then 5-year-old Charlotte, who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, live a better life. For years Figi tried numerous medications and treatments to reduce Charlotte’s seizures, some that lasted hours and required life support.

But none of the traditional pharmaceuticals and treatments were reliable or successful in reducing and helping Charlotte’s life-limiting condition. Looking for a final result, she researched alternative therapies, discovering a type of hemp oil that had no major side effects or psychotropic effects.

Figi started giving Charlotte a natural, therapeutic hemp oil with low THC and high CBD (cannabidiol), reducing her daughter’s epileptic symptoms and seizures from hundreds per week to less than three per month.

Finding the impact this type of therapeutic hemp had on Charlotte; the product now carries her name, Charlotte’s Web™ Oil. Figi co-founded the Realm of Caring 501c3 to assist families with similar disorders.

U.S.: Miley Cyrus Passes Around Lit Joint Backstage At Video Music Awards

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Miley Cyrus doesn't mind anyone knowing she enjoys marijuana. In fact, the 22-year-old entertainer came backstage at the Video Music Awards with a lit joint and passed it around to photographers.

"I've been doing this shit for awhile," Cyrus said, reports Mesfin Fekadu of the Associated Press. "Because you're all my friends, and my song is kinda, sorta about the love of marijuana and the love of humankind, I brought a little joint if anyone would like any. Anyone?"

Cyrus, who flashed one of her breasts during the show, sang a song, "Dooo It!" which included the lyrics, "Loving what you sing, and loving smoking weed." She ate what were supposed to be marijuana brownies during one skit with Snoop Dogg, and lit up with a group of friends in another. She held up a selfie stick and told the group of people behind her, "Everyone say marijuana!"

Pot is popular among MTV's target audience, but these antics predictably came under criticism from an organization which ran anti-cigarette smoking ads during the VMAs. That organization, the Truth Initiative, has complained to MTV's parent company about the multiple references to cannabis during the show, claiming it would "send the wrong message" to young viewers.

California: Sports Pain Management Panel Slated for Cannabis World Congress In LA

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“Sports Pain Management and Cannabis” will be a high level panel presented at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) in Los Angeles. Taking place September 16-18, 2015, CWCBExpo in LA covers the entire spectrum of legalized and medical marijuana.

Many professional sports players, especially among the high impact sport of football, are citing marijuana and cannabinoids as effective medicine for pain relief and stress reduction. This important panel at CWCBExpo in LA is being presented by Coalition for Access Now 501C4 and moderated by Geoff Whaling, its founding member and board treasurer, at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 17, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The medical research community has been severely restricted in their attempts to access a natural plant product that has overwhelming anecdotal evidence supporting this therapy.

“The ‘Sports Pain Management and Cannabis’ panel will further demonstrate, using real life examples, what the true potential is to help millions of Americans, beginning with just one drop of CBD hemp oil,” said Whaling. “The advancement of industrial hemp and therapeutic hemp oils will not only provide safe access for many families, but will also serve to boost the American economy by utilizing our valuable agricultural resources and farmers.”

Sharing first-hand knowledge and medical expertise the “Sports Pain Management and Cannabis” panel features a well-rounded line-up of speakers including:

California: Cannabis World Congress In L.A. Boasts Women Grow Sponsored Education

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Women Grow, a professional networking organization for women leaders in the cannabis industry, is partnering with the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) in Los Angeles to produce 15 business-focused educational sessions at the September event.

CWCBExpo in LA will take place September 16-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The Women Grow tracks at CWCBExpo in LA will feature leading industry experts from the Women Grow Speaker's Bureau. These women and men will draw on experience to share entrepreneurial insight with the next generation of industry professionals.

Topics include "Upcoming States for New Licenses;" "Future Billion-Dollar Segments: Pets & Skin Care;" "New Technology for Efficient Grows;" "What Women Want From the Cannabis Industry;" and "Capitalizing on the Senior Market While a Providing a Service."

"Women Grow's ongoing partnership with CWCBExpo is an exciting opportunity for us to educate and inspire the next generation of cannabis industry leaders," said Jazmin Hupp, cofounder and CEO of Women Grow. "By offering expert-led educational programming that focus on the topics that matter to new entrepreneurs, we are setting the stage for the industry's long-term success."

Women Grow's national leadership team will be in attendance at CWCBExpo in LA, according to Hupp. They will network with attendees and share insights on investment, cultivation, retailing, brand marketing, advocacy, and more.

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