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Marc Emery in Solitary Confinement in American Federal Gulag; Podcast of Prison Phone Call Broke BOP Rules

Canadian "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery hasn't even been formally sentenced yet, but he's already being punished for what he does best: opening his mouth for the cause of marijuana legalization. Emery's wife, Jodie, told Canada's CNews Saturday that Emery is now in solitary confinement for violating prison rules. According to Jodie Emery, she recorded his calls from prison and played them as a podcast on the couple's Cannabis Culture magazine web site. That violated a prison rule that phone calls can only be made between a prisoner and the intended recipient and cannot be directed to a third party. Jodie Emery said Marc had read the prison rules and did not think the podcast would be a violation. Now he will spend at least a week in solitary pending a hearing to determine the full extent of his punishment. Emery, Canada's most famous legalization activist, pleaded guilty May 24 to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, the culmination of a five-year battle between Emery and Canadian and US authorities to extradite and prosecute him for selling pot seeds over the Internet. Two of Emery's employees arrested along with him, Greg Williams and Michelle Rainey, earlier copped pleas and received probationary sentences to be served in Canada. Emery plowed the profits from his business back into the legalization movement, earning the wrath of drug prohibition establishment in both countries. When Emery was busted in 2005, then DEA administrator Karen Tandy gloated in a press release that it was "a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the US and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement." Under federal prison rules, Emery is allowed 300 minutes of phone calls a month and he can communicate via email through a closed computer system called CorrLinks, under which he can log onto a computer and compose a message that is read by prison officials before they send it over the Internet. Emery had used CorrLinks to post numerous dispatches from the gulag, but now, he is denied those privileges and could lose them for up to two months. Emery will remain in the Seattle-area federal detention facility until his formal sentencing September 10. Then he will be transferred to the federal prison at El Reno, Oklahoma, where prison officials will decide where he will be sent to serve his time. Emery's campaign to avoid extradition has now shifted to a campaign to persuade Canadian authorities to allow him to serve his sentence there, as has typically been the case with Canadians convicted of offenses in the US. But the Conservative government has in recent years begun to refuse to accept Canadians imprisoned on drug charges in the US.
Seattle, WA
United States

Marijuana: Canada's "Prince of Plot" Pleads Guilty, Accepts Five-Year Prison Sentence

Canada's most famous marijuana activist is now serving a federal prison sentence in the US. Erstwhile Internet pot seed seller Marc Emery appeared in federal court in Seattle Monday to accept a plea deal that will see him most likely serving five years in prison for his efforts.
Marc and Jodie Emery (courtesy Cannabis Culture)
Emery and two employees, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle in 2005 for allegedly selling pot seeds to customers in the US. After Rainey and Williams were able to plea bargain probationary sentences to be served in Canada, Emery himself accepted a plea bargain to avoid the possibility of losing at trial and serving up to life in prison if he did.

On Monday, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. Under the agreement reached with prosecutors, they will recommend a five-year sentence. But the sentencing judge is not bound by that agreement and, if he orders a harsher sentence, Emery has the right under the plea agreement to renege and go to trial. Formal sentencing is set for August.

Then DEA administrator Karen Tandy hailed Emery's arrest as "a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade, but also the marijuana legalization movement," a move that added fuel to claims by Emery supporters that he was being prosecuted for political reasons.

Emery certainly had been a thorn in the side of prohibitionists everywhere, dating back to battles in the 1980s over whether High Times could be sold in Canada. In the 1990s, Emery emerged as a major force in the legalization movement, with his cafe and BC Marijuana Party headquarters in downtown Vancouver serving as his command center.

Emery made millions selling seeds and plowed most of the proceeds back into the legalization movement, funding marijuana parties and other activism in the US, Canada, and overseas. He remains undaunted by the specter of five years behind bars and is vowing to continue his fight from within the American drug war gulag.

Emery and his supporters are urging the Canadian government to take action to allow him to serve his sentence in his home country, as is usually the case, but has not been the case for some drug suspects under the ruling Conservative government. To find out more about Emery, his case, and the campaign to get him home, visit Cannabis Culture, the magazine he founded and which his wife, Jodie, now manages.

Shortly before Emery was extradited last Thursday, Jodie Emery accused the Canadian government of helping the US government try to "silence the most vocal opponent of the drug war." But the US government will find, as so many have before, that nothing you do will make Marc Emery shut up.

Canada: Marc Emery Extradited to United States

Canada's "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery was extradited to the US Thursday morning. He had been imprisoned in Canada for the last 10 days after Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson signed extradition papers. He is now a prisoner in a federal detention facility, where he awaits a court hearing Monday in Seattle.
Marc Emery, on his Farewell Tour last year
Emery faces five years in prison in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors last fall. He and two of his employees, Greg Williams and Michelle Rainey, had been indicted in 2005 by a Seattle grand jury for selling pot seeds over the Internet to customers in the US. Rainey and Williams earlier reached plea agreements that allowed them to serve probationary sentences in Canada.

Emery has been a relentless campaigner for marijuana legalization and, before his arrest, plowed hundreds of thousands of dollars into the movement. The DEA infamously gloated at the time that it had brought down a major legalization advocate, a move that allowed Emery supporters to plausibly argue his arrest was politically motivated.

Emery and his supporters continue to agitate for his freedom, but now, their more immediate goal is to get him transferred to Canada to serve his sentence. That was once a standard practice for Canadians imprisoned south of the border, but the Conservative government has limited its use in recent years.

Emery supporters Thursday demonstrated in downtown Vancouver and blocked traffic. The campaign is calling for global protests Saturday in a Worldwide Rally to Free Marc Emery. For more information about how to help Emery's campaign, visit the magazine he founded, Cannabis Culture.

Canada: "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery Jailed, Ordered Extradited to US

Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson Monday ordered that his country's most famous marijuana legalization advocate be extradited to the US to serve a five-year federal prison sentence. Erstwhile pot seed entrepreneur and Cannabis Culture magazine publisher Marc Emery turned himself in to authorities and is now in custody awaiting imminent extradition to the US.
Marc and Jodie Emery (courtesy Cannabis Culture)
Emery and two employees, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, were arrested in Vancouver in 2005 by Canadian police acting at the behest of US authorities, who had indicted the trio in Seattle for selling pot seeds over the Internet to customers in the US. After Rainey and Williams were offered plea bargains that allowed them to stay in Canada, Emery himself pleaded guilty to one count of marijuana distribution in exchange for a five-year sentence. He had faced up to life in prison for his pot seed sales.

Prior to his arrest in 2005, Emery was becoming an increasingly irritating burr under the saddle of prohibitionists on both sides of the border. He poured much of his pot seed profits into pro-pot political formations, both in Canada and across the border, agitating relentlessly for legalization as he vowed to "overgrow the government" and confronting then US drug czar John Walters when he visited Vancouver.

After Emery's arrest, then DEA administrator Karen Tandy issued a press release calling the bust a "significant blow to the US and Canadian marijuana trade, and to the marijuana legalization movement" and crowed about taking down Emery and his "propagandistic magazine."

But that was five years ago. Since then, Emery has continued to agitate for legalization, Cannabis Culture has continued to publish (albeit only online now), and he has used his own predicament as yet another tool toward his broader goal. He generated thousands of letters and phone calls to Ottawa in his support, as well as appeals from members of Parliament from all major parties.

Even on the steps of the British Columbia Supreme Court, where he turned himself over Monday morning, Emery was still talking. "I think the best thing that could happen to our movement is that the minister decides, foolishly, to extradite me. Canadians will be very, very angry and punish this government," he told reporters.

"If I'm extradited, I've told my supporters that every Conservative member of Parliament is to be hounded endlessly and unmercifully until they are defeated in the next or following elections," he said. "It's to be a life project for them as long as I am incarcerated in the United States or Canada."

Emery is seeking to serve his time in Canada, one of attorneys, Kirk Tousaw, told The Canadian Press. "The United States has already agreed to support Mr. Emery's treaty transfer back to Canada to serve his sentence here," Tousaw said. "We certainly would anticipate the minister of public safety would agree."

Emery, who has been arrested repeatedly for his marijuana activism, said he had no regrets. "I think of myself as a great Canadian -- I've worked my whole life for individual freedom in this country, I've never asked for anything in return," Emery told reporters. "And now I will be possibly handed over to the United States for a five-year sentence for the so-called crime of selling seeds from my desk to consenting adults all over the world and the United States. I'm proud of what I've done, and I have no regrets."

On Tuesday, Vancouver New Democratic Party MP Libby Davies called on Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to "stop the extradition" of Emery by allowing him to serve his sentence in Canada. American officials were agreeable to that approach, she said, but "your government has refused to cooperate." Davies pointedly added that Emery was being extradited to serve time in the US "for actions that are not worthy of prosecution under Canadian laws."

Read the latest update on the Cannabis Culture web site for more info on the continuing campaign to free Marc Emery.

Worldwide No Extradition Protest for Marc Scott Emery!

The extradition order to send marijuana activist Marc Emery to the United States for an expected five-year prison term has been signed by the Canadian Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson.

Cannabis Culture has learned that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada made their decision shortly after Emery turned himself in to Canadian authorities this morning: The Prince of Pot will be handed over to the United States for selling marijuana seeds over the Internet.


"If he sends me away, it will anger millions of Americans and millions of Canadians," he told the press. "I need them to be angry, otherwise we won’t get any change on this drug war."

Marc's lawyer and fellow marijuana activist Kirk Tousaw told Cannabis Culture that in all likelihood, Marc would be sent south across the border by the end of the week where he will eventually appear before a sentencing judge. Marc is expected to be sentenced to five years as part of a plea deal arranged with American prosecutors.

YOU CAN STILL HELP! Please contact Judge Ricardo Martinez in Seattle, Washington and tell him that he should let Marc Emery return home to Canada with a no-prison sentence instead of the 5-year term in the plea deal.

Mail: Honorable Ricardo S. Martinez
U.S. Courthouse
700 Stewart Street, Suite 13134
Seattle, WA

You can also contact Conservative Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews and tell him to allow Marc to sever his time in Canada as part of the Treaty Transfer process.

Office of Public Saftey
Phone: 613-944-4875
Web Contact Form:

You can also call the Minister of Justice's Rob Nicholson and voice your displeasure in his decision.
Telephone: (905) 374-4007
Telephone: (613) 995-1547
Office #2: (905) 353-9590
Office #3: (905) 871-9991
Office #4: (905) 354-0527

Mail: The Honourable Rob Nicholson
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

I've heard that from about a dozen people now, that the voicemail message box is full. I suggest calling the Canadian Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, (613)991-2924 fill up his voicemail and tell him that if Marc Emery applies for a prison transfer from the USA to Canada, that the Minister should approve it right away.

Contact your Member of Parliament in Canada. Call other Canadian Conservative MP's. Call the media, a call in talk show, call your family and friends. Send out text messages. Twitter. Blog.

Be unbashful. Don't be afraid or nervous. People are waking up. More and more people are ready to listen to you and take your concerns seriously.

Join the world wide protest to help liberate Marc Scott Emery from being Extradited to Amerikkka... Protest with us, in person or from home, Anything to Help Get Thousands of People To Call The Justice Minister Rob Nicholson... Monday is Extradition Decision Day...

Bring Signs, Posters, flags, flyers... Handbills in car windows at every red light, signs that read Call The Justice Minister for Marc Emery.
Sat, 05/22/2010 - 12:00pm - 4:20pm
360 University Avenue
Toronto, ON M5G 1S4

Marc Emery Will Be Extradited; Headed for Five Years in America's Gulag

As the Canada Press reports:
Marc Emery's lawyer says the self-described “Prince of Pot” has been ordered extradited to the United States. Kirk Tousaw says he received word from the federal justice department shortly after the long time marijuana advocate turned himself into custody today that the minister has decided to sign off on his extradition. Mr. Emery has been out on bail since last fall, when he was released from custody as the minister made the final decision in his case. He made a plea deal with U.S. prosecutors last year, agreeing to plead guilty in connection to his Vancouver-based seed-selling business in return for a sentence of five years in prison. It's not clear when Mr. Emery will be sent to the U.S., but Mr. Tousaw says he expects it will happen within the week.
Emery turned himself in this morning. This was the day Justice Minister Rob Nicholson had to decide whether to okay the extradition, deny it, or postpone a decision. Emery spoke briefly before vanishing into the gulag:
“I think of myself as a great Canadian – I've worked my whole life for individual freedom in this country, I've never asked for anything in return,” Mr. Emery told reporters outside B.C. Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver, with his wife by his side and a throng of supporters carrying “Free Marc” signs. “And now I will be possibly handed over to the United States for a five-year sentence for the so-called crime of selling seeds from my desk. I'm proud of what I've done, and I have no regrets.”
Well, I, for one, can rest easier tonight knowing this dangerous criminal is behind bars.
Vancouver, BC

Canada: Tories Reintroduce Mandatory Minimum Marijuana Bill

Canada's Conservative government this week reintroduced a controversial bill, now called S-10, that would impose mandatory minimum prison sentences on people who grew as few as six marijuana plants or produced any amount of hashish. The bill is part of a broader Conservative "tough on crime" agenda being reintroduced after Prime Minister Stephen Harper suddenly ended the last session of Parliament last winter.

Last year, the bill, then known as C-15, passed the lower house, but had been amended by the Senate to raise the floor for mandatory minimum sentences to 201 plants and exempt aboriginal people from the mandatory minimums. That didn't set well with the Harper government, which has since appointed enough Conservatives to the Senate to give the party a majority as well as the House of Commons. It now plans to shove through its original, hard-line bill.

"All I'll say is I wasn't impressed by the amendments made in the Senate and again we will be introducing it into the Senate. The bill that we will introduce I'm confident will have a much better chance of passing," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told The Canadian Press in an interview Sunday. "They watered down some of the provisions with respect to the penalties. They wanted a separate aboriginal system. And again we want the bill to apply to everybody. And the penalties we were comfortable with."

The bill comes even as for the last two years, a majority of Canadians have voiced support for legalizing marijuana. In previous incarnations, the bill excited furious opposition, not only from pot aficionados, but also among researchers, drug policy groups, public health and harm reduction groups, and within Parliament itself.

"The bill is a disaster for Canada," said activist Jacob Hunter of Why Prohibition, which is organizing opposition. "S-10 will imprison thousands of Canadians for victimless crimes, send people to jail for growing 6 marijuana plants, making any hashish or baked goods, and a host of other offenses," he said.

"There is no evidence that S-10 will work," Hunter said. "Indeed, every scientific study says it will fail. We know that prohibition has never worked, and we know that mandatory minimum sentences only increase the violence in our society."

Canada: Poll Finds Majority Still Want to Legalize Marijuana, But Not Other Drugs

Marijuana legalization continues to garner majority support in Canada, with 53% of respondents to a new Angus-Reid poll saying they supported legalization. That figure is unchanged from the previous Angus-Reid poll on the issue two years ago.

Support for legalization was highest in pot-producing British Columbia (61%), neighboring Alberta (59%), and Canada's most populous province, Ontario (57%). Legalization had less than majority support only in the Atlantic provinces (47%) and the prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (34%).

But while supporting marijuana legalization, Canadians also indicated they support many of the Conservative government's anti-drug proposals. Most non-controversially, 83% supported introducing a National Drug Control Strategy with media campaigns aimed at stopping young people from using drugs. Even the government's draconian mandatory minimum sentence proposal for marijuana growers and drug dealers won 70% support.

What Canadians do not support is scrapping the previous government's marijuana decriminalization proposal or eliminating harm reduction programs, such as needle exchanges and the Vancouver safe injection site. Only 36% of respondents agreed with those measures.

While support for freeing the weed remains strong in Canada, support for legalizing other drugs, which was never very high, is declining. Only 6% supported legalizing ecstasy, 5% supported legalizing crack, powder cocaine or heroin, and only 4% supported legalizing methamphetamine. All of those figures represent a drop of a least three percentage points from the previous Angus-Reid poll on the issue in May 2008.

Declining support for drug legalization and support for government anti-drug measures may be a consequence of Canadians' fears that the country has a drug problem. Some 42% of respondents think Canada "has a serious drug problem that affects the whole country," while 40% said the problem is limited to certain locales and populations, and only 11% said Canada did not have a serious drug problem.

Feature: The Clock is Ticking on Canadian "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery's Extradition

Canadian "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery's battle to avoid being extradited to the US to serve a five-year federal prison sentence for selling pot seeds over the Internet continues as the clock ticks down toward May 10 -- the date by which Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is to decide whether to okay his extradition or not. Emery and his supporters are fighting to the bitter end, and they're picking up some significant support along the way.
Marc and Jodie Emery (courtesy Cannabis Culture)
Last month, members of all three major English speaking political parties, including the ruling Conservatives, handed in 12,000 signatures on petitions to parliament demanding he not be extradited and addressed the House of Commons on the issue. Shortly thereafter, the French speaking Bloc Quebecois announced it, too, was joining the cause of keeping Emery in Canada.

Emery was Canada's best known marijuana legalization advocate and a leading funder of marijuana reform groups there and in other countries when he was arrested in Vancouver on a US warrant for marijuana seed-selling after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle. He faced up to life in prison under the US charges.

Emery, his supporters, and other marijuana reformers have argued that he was arrested for political reasons -- for his support of the legalization cause -- and the gleeful words of then DEA administrator Karen Tandy provided valuable ammunition for the claim. Emery's arrest was "a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the US and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement," Tandy said in a statement the day of the bust.

"His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery's illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on," Tandy gloated.

For four years, he and his employees and fellow indictees, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, negotiated with federal prosecutors, before Rainey and Williams struck plea deals that allowed them to simply remain in Canada. Then, last September, Emery himself agreed to a plea bargain that would see him serve five years in US prison.

Emery was detained in Canada on September 28 and was jailed until mid-November before he was released pending the justice minister's decision on whether to approve his removal to the United States. Since then, the campaign to block his extradition has gone all out. Even in prison, Emery did podcasts -- "potcasts," the magazine calls them -- and since his release, he has been as media-friendly as ever. He has used his Cannabis Culture magazine as a bully pulpit and established a No Extradition! web site to further the cause.

The high point of the campaign so far came on March 12 when three members of parliament, Conservative MP Scott Reid, New Democratic MP Libby Davies, and Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh stood before parliament in Ottawa to deliver the petitions. All three told the Commons that extraditing Emery for what is considered a non-serious offense in Canada was unfair.

MP Reid, a Conservative leader in the House, reminded the Commons that the Extradition Act specifies that the justice minister "shall refuse to surrender a person when that surrender could involve unjust or undue or oppressive actions by the country to which he is being extradited."

Reid pointed out that Health Canada used to refer medical marijuana patients to Emery's seed bank. He also noted that Canadian courts had found that $200 fines were appropriate for seed sellers, while Emery faced up to life for the same offense in the US.

"It appears to me that we have assisted a foreign government arresting a man for doing something that we wouldn't arrest him for doing in Canada," said MP Dosanjh. "As a former premier and a former attorney-general, I sense a certain degree of unfairness in the process. Countries don't usually extradite people to countries where they could face inordinate penalties."

"Many dedicated individuals have collected approximately 12,000 petitions reflecting a strong belief that Mr. Emery or any Canadian should not face harsh punishment in the US for selling cannabis seeds on the Internet when it is not worthy of prosecution in Canada," said MP Davies. "The petitioners call on Parliament to make it clear to the Minister of Justice that such an extradition should be opposed. I am very pleased to present this; I think it is a very strong reflection of Canadians' views on this matter and we hope that the Parliament of Canada will act on this, and certainly the Minister of Justice will take this into account."

"My prospects are getting better," said an ever optimistic Emery. "There have been more than 50,000 communications -- phone calls, letters, emails -- to the justice minister, and we have members of all four major political parties, including the governing party, presenting petitions urging the minister not to extradite. We also have the last three mayors of Vancouver agreeing to sign a statement urging the government not to extradite."

Support is palpable in his adopted hometown, Emery said. "I can't go 50 feet in this city without people stopping me on the street," he said from his downtown Vancouver building. "I have lots of support in this province and throughout the country. I enjoy a lot of positive affirmation. For me, this has been excellent -- I've been giving interviews all over the world, and the movie 'Prince of Pot' is being translated into Mongolian! The national TV network there has permission to do two documentaries on pot, and I'm in both of them."

Now, all eyes turn toward Justice Minister Nicholson. A month from now, he will decide whether to extradite Emery or not -- or he may punt. The minister has the option of applying for an extension on his decision.

There is precedent for the minister to seek an extension, said attorney Kirk Tousaw, who has worked on Emery's case. "Renee Boje was committed for extradition, and the decision sat on the desk of three different justice ministers for five years," he pointed out. "Renee was a US citizen who committed offenses in America, so she seemed like a much more reasonable prospect for extradition than Marc, who has never gone to America or committed any crimes there."

In the meantime, the campaign to keep Emery in Canada continues to gather support and argue the position that his was a politically motivated prosecution. "If the minister believes the prosecution to be politically motivated, he is prohibited from extraditing," said attorney Kirk Tousaw, who has worked on Emery's case. "I don't know if he will take that position. The minister may need a lot of time to consider his options."

The calculations may be as much political as legal, Tousaw said. "This is a minority Conservative government that is attempting to pass unpopular mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, and there will be an election sometime this year or early next year," he argued. "I think that extraditing Marc Emery will be politically costly to the Conservative Party. I'm not sure they can afford to do it if they want to form a majority government."

"The government does want to extradite me," said Emery, "but the public pressure not to do it is substantial. There is nothing to be gaining by extraditing me, and it will piss off a couple of million voters in the next election."

A month from now, we will know whether the Conservative government is willing to sacrifice the gadfly Emery on the altar of the drug war, or whether it is too concerned about the potential backlash to either reject extradition or postpone the decision.

Canada: Half Support Marijuana Decriminalization, Poll Finds

An EKOS Research Associates poll has found that half of all Canadians support marijuana decriminalization, while only 30% oppose it, with 20% apparently uncertain or without strong views on the matter. That's a 5% increase in support since EKSOS last polled on the issue a decade ago.
The numbers are lower than those reported in recent Angus Reid polls on marijuana legalization. In those polls, support for legalization was 55% in July 2007, 51% in October 2007, and 53% in May 2008.

A notable aspect of the EKOS poll is the high number of undecideds. While opposition to decriminalization has been declining (down from 37% in 2000), uncertainty has also been increasing, up from 16% in 2000. Optimistically one hopes the new undecideds are former opponents.

Also notable about the EKOS poll is the political context. Canada is six years into Conservative rule, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week released a Youtube video in which he said he rejected marijuana legalization.

In the EKOS poll, the Conservatives were the only party with less than majority support for decriminalization at 39%. Some 63% of left-leaning New Democratic Party voters supported decrim, as did 59% of Green Party members, 58% of the Bloc Quebecois, and 53% of the main opposition party, the Liberals.

Regionally, support for decrim was strongest in British Columbia (54%), Ontario (53%), and Quebec (51%). Support was lowest in the prairie provinces of Alberta (45%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (45%).

Support for decriminalization was also strong among young people (58% for under-25s), and, while declining with age, was still above 50% for every age group except the over-65s. Among seniors, support declined to only 38%.

Harper and the Conservatives have been pushing a harder line on crime, drug offenses, and marijuana offenses in particular. This poll is only the latest indicator that the Conservative push may not be in line with public opinion.

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