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Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:35 PM

As Pot Becomes Legal, We've Got to Fight Against Corporate Control of Cannabis


At the Willits, California Food Bank, a 31-year-old cannabis farmer we’ll call Mark was energetically ticking off the community service hours he’d earned for growing our nation’s number-one cash crop. I watched for a few minutes as he passed bags full of apples, cheese and surplus generic sponge cake to a Mendocino County mom. I asked Mark what he thought about the approaching end of federal cannabis prohibition. He acknowledged that it was imminent, but was deeply wary of it. “It’ll be the end of the small farmer,” he told me. “Foks’ll be buying packages of joints made by Coors or Marlboro.”

Why does Mark, like many if not most of today’s American black-market cannabis farmers, dread the aboveground acceptance of his industry? Why did the voters in the Emerald Triangle cannabis farming counties of Mendocino (by 6%) and Humboldt (8%) vote against California’s Proposition 19 in 2010, which would have legalized cannabis?

The answer has as much to do with simple accounting as the more common outsider assumption: that farmers fear the price drops that come when a prohibitionary economy dissolves (though this is certainly part of the story). When, in three generations of farming, your family has never had to pay taxes, record payroll or meet building code, let alone meet a customer (the Emerald Triangle has an entire caste of middlemen and women who broker wholesale deals, so the farmer doesn’t have to leave the farm), the prospect of coming aboveground -- and dealing with the same red tape every other industry does -- can be terrifying.

--snip--

His point is that of course major players are going to enter the fray when we’re talking about what is already a $35-billion-a-year crop in the U.S., greater than the combined value of corn and wheat. Although the end of cannabis prohibition will almost certainly cause short-term wholesale price drops, what Balogh says to jittery farmers like Mark is, “even if your worst, most paranoid fears about modern corporate ethics are correct, there is still a lucrative (and expanding) niche for top-shelf, organically grown cannabis like the Emerald Triangle provides.”

http://www.alternet.org/pot-becomes-legal-weve-got-fight-against-corporate-control-cannabis



As a Craft Brewer, I think that Balogh is correct when he says,

“even if your worst, most paranoid fears about modern corporate ethics are correct, there is still a lucrative (and expanding) niche for top-shelf, organically grown cannabis like the Emerald Triangle provides.”


Craft beer is a market that seems to have no limit. While the big companies make yellow fizzy beer water, thousands of brewers like myself are making small-batch craft beer that sells like wildfire. Small, neigborhood breweries are becoming more and more popular. And it is a collaborative industry, not competitive. (yes, there is competition, but craft brewers are not selfish and secretive. We tend to share and help each other out.)

So yes, we should be wary of big corporations and their role in how cannabis legislation gets written, not allowing them to create a market that only they can compete in.

52 replies, 2766 views

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Arrow 52 replies Author Time Post
Reply As Pot Becomes Legal, We've Got to Fight Against Corporate Control of Cannabis (Original post)
cleanhippie Feb 2013 OP
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #1
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #3
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #10
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #14
DisgustipatedinCA Feb 2013 #48
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #50
DirkGently Feb 2013 #49
MADem Feb 2013 #52
Trajan Feb 2013 #12
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #16
NightWatcher Feb 2013 #2
TeamPooka Feb 2013 #4
kudzu22 Feb 2013 #5
LineLineReply .
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #6
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #7
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #8
eShirl Feb 2013 #9
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #11
Nay Feb 2013 #36
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #39
shanti Feb 2013 #46
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #13
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #17
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #15
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #19
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #21
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #24
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #27
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Feb 2013 #44
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #35
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #18
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #23
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #26
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #28
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #41
randr Feb 2013 #20
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #22
randr Feb 2013 #33
Go Vols Feb 2013 #37
SwankyXomb Feb 2013 #32
limpyhobbler Feb 2013 #25
hedgehog Feb 2013 #29
mucifer Feb 2013 #30
Still Sensible Feb 2013 #31
Drew Richards Feb 2013 #34
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #40
Go Vols Feb 2013 #42
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #43
shanti Feb 2013 #47
me b zola Feb 2013 #38
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #45
patrice Feb 2013 #51

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:42 PM

1. Personally I'd rather marijuana not be legalized, just decriminalized.

Last edited Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:31 PM - Edit history (1)

ETA: I'm also an avid MJ user.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:46 PM

3. Isn't that really just a semantic difference?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:11 PM

10. No, it's an important distinction.

Pot is already decriminalized in California and 13 other states. That means if the cops catch you with an ounce or less, they can't arrest you or charge you with a crime, just a civil infraction and a fine. Oh, and they steal your weed.

But decriminalization leaves both the cultivation and the sale of marijuana illegal. That means the black market and all its ills. For instance, right here in my neighborhood, three men were shot and killed a couple of days ago in a black market pot deal gone bad.

Decriminalization also lets the cops continue all their anti-marijuana policing, their raids, their confiscations, all that shit.

So yes, there is an important difference, and no, I don't agree with stopping at decriminalization.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:15 PM

14. Great points! Thanks for that explanation.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:25 PM

48. Forestville?

I'm in Santa Rosa. I'm assuming you're referring to the homicides in Forestville?

In any case, hello neighbor. I rode my bike throu Forestville yesterday, on my way to Healdsburg via Westside Road. It was a beautiful day for a ride.

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Response to DisgustipatedinCA (Reply #48)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:13 PM

50. Yep. Some of my younger friends knew one of the victims.

It was scary to read the headline because I know lots of people involved in the trade.

I'm in Sebastopol, which is turning increasingly grey-haired.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:30 PM

49. A version of decriminalization makes sense. Small sales should be okay as well.


But not agribusiness-sized. The very reasonable concern here is that legal hoops will be raised that make the industry only accessible to the usual suspects -- as the piece suggests, tobacco and alcohol giants would be the obvious blueprints for the types of already-empowered corporate players who would love to be the gatekeepers for pot production.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:25 PM

52. I agree with all your arguments. Legalize it, let the police go after thieves and

rapists and murderers, empty the prisons of the Cheeches and Chongs and all their pals, and treat the crop like tomatoes--maybe "taxed tomatoes" because the legalization of this weed does offer opportunities for deficit reduction, assuming the corporate or "community farm" manufacturers who sell in the stores make a sufficiently convenient, attractive and desirable product.

You can buy 'em in the store, sure, and you can grow 'em in the backyard. Your choice...kinda like buying beer in the corporate case, the hand-made large bottle or keglet, or making it in the basement with your home-brewing kit.

Get rid of the black marketeers and criminals.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:14 PM

12. No ... it's not

Legalization would permit large scale farming by large scale growers, and taxation on all sales

Decriminalization would simply mean the end of arrest and prosecution, but would not allow corporations to farm openly ..

That's how I see it

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Response to Trajan (Reply #12)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:16 PM

16. That seems to be right. Comrade Grumpy has a great explanation just above.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:43 PM

2. He likes to blame the corporations but his problem will be $$$$$

Once the black market is gone for pot, the prices will fall. Sure, the Marlboro pot will suck and be cheap compared to craft brewed pot like his. When something becomes legal the prices fall and that's what's going to hurt along with having to pay taxes on income derived from selling beyond the black market.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:49 PM

4. k+r!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:51 PM

5. I don't see why it will be any different from tobbacco

Machine-rolled and wrapped in cellophane, sold at the convenience store and marketed to children to get 'em started early.

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Response to kudzu22 (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:57 PM

6. .

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:58 PM

7. It'll Be Inevitable...

...due to the marketplace. When weed become legal in more and more places there will be more and more competition to meet the consumer need. There will be mechanization and other factory methods to streamline the growing, harvesting and distribution...to a network of authorized legal dealers. Those who are involved will attempt to protect their network and product from other competitors and will incorporate and thus a new industry will be born.

The game will change from availability to quality...and I could see a large marketplace that, just like the craft beer market, caters to higher end customers. The majority of the market will want the biggest quantities for the lowest price and this is where corporates will step in and fill the bill...and assure both quality and availability.

If we've seen anything about corporates...when they write legislation they do so to expand their markets and not restrict them. One other "benefit" from a corporate market...the elimination of the black one and the smuggling and violence associated with it.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:04 PM

8. I think you have it just right. I do take exception to one comment, though.

just like the craft beer market, caters to higher end customers.


I would say that craft-beer drinkers are more discerning in the love of beer. Income levels have nothing to do with it. There are those that simply want to quaff massive quantities of beer, up and down the income brackets, and the corporate beer fills that market.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:10 PM

9. and don't forget the niche market for grow-your-own kits

just like how we have brew-your-own kits like Mr. Beer

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Response to eShirl (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:13 PM

11. Indeed. Home growing is as easy as home brewing.

Anyone can do it.

I wonder if I will be able to get starter plants when I go to the garden store to plant my veggie garden?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:05 PM

36. Well, that's the thing. If it's legal, it's easy as pie to grow your own; most prospective consumers

will indeed grow their own. Pot is totally usable after it's dried. It's hard to compare it with tobacco, because tobacco is trickier to grow and process.


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Response to Nay (Reply #36)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 09:33 PM

39. Many, many pot smokers will not grown their own...

for various reasons:

No space

Landlord doesn't allow

Lack of interest

They'll have to cadge some off their buddy who does grow, or go down to the pot shop.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #39)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:19 PM

46. landlord doesn't allow it?

in my city, a law was passed that very tightly regulates growing your own. AND if you want to do so, you pay an arm and a leg, way more than the value, which essentially nullifies any reason to grow.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:14 PM

13. Maybe Better Said...

...Mass Consumption Vs. Boutique Market. Generally the better quality costs more and to those who prefer more potency or a specific "brand" will be willing to pay more. I wasn't alluding to income levels, just one's personal preference.

Cheers...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:17 PM

17. I like that. Well done!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:15 PM

15. Northern California weed already has a model: the wine industry.

Yeah, there is mass-produced corporate wine, like Gallo or "Two Buck" Chuck, but there are also all kinds of boutique producers. Believe me, pot conoisseurs will patronize the boutique producers.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:28 PM

19. I don't want to patronize boutique producers. I want to BE a producer and be able to

sell to friends and neighbors. The liquor model would make that highly illegal.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #19)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:27 PM

21. That would make you a business, and with any business, one needs permits.

The liquor model allows for anyone to produce and sell beer and spirits. One simply need to obtain the appropriate permits. And pay the taxes. Don't forget about the taxes.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #21)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:32 PM

24. Yeah. Anyone with the MILLIONS of dollars it takes to set up a winery, brewery, or distillery,

and millions more for the permits.

I own a small business. I already know about taxes.

The REASON for such rigorous requirements for liquor permits is to avoid poisoning by methanol. If I grow pot, the worst that can happen is my strain doesn't have enough of the desired ingredients like cannabidiols or THC, depending on the market. I should be able to grow cannabis and sell it like I can grow tomatoes and sell them. Anything else is not true legalization.

Not surprised, really, to see that YOU support the market being in the hands of a corporate power structure with a near monopoly, though.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #24)


Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #24)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:32 PM

44. I think it's already heading that way in AZ. Not there yet, but I see it coming. It's going to be

 

sold by the guys who had a cool million to put up for the big operation. It should be legal for everyone to grow. Poor people who benefit from it shouldn't be put in the position of being forced to BUY it at high prices when they can grow it themselves.

EVERYTHING doesn't need to be regulated.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #19)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:00 PM

35. I agree that there needs to be personal, non-commercial home cultivation allowed.

And the liquor model does not prohibit that; just think of home brewed beer.

In any case, it's all in the way the law is written. Colorado has it; Washington does not.

In Washington, organizers thought they had to make concessions to foes to win, and they did so on home cultivation and per se limits for drugged driving. Funny thing, though; Colorado organizers didn't make those concessions, and won with the same percentage of the vote. There are lessons to be learned there.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:26 PM

18. Setting up a craft brewery is still a multi-million-dollar proposition.

I want to see Grandma allowed to grow some high quality cannabis and be able to sell it to whoever she wants to. This is where the liquor model gets a big fail when applied to cannabis.

Homegrown cannabis is NOT like bathtub gin - it won't ever poison anyone.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:32 PM

23. Unless you intend to be a larger brewpub and restaurant, millions are not needed.

Here in Washington and down in Oregon, there are literally hundreds of breweries that are only worth a few hundred thousand. Initial start-up can be obtained much cheaper that you may imagine. It depends on what you are trying to do.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:34 PM

26. I shouldn't have to spend hundreds of thousands to set up a commercial pot farm so I can

grow enough for myself and some neighbors and friends.

But your support for corporate monopolies in spite of their being no compelling safety needs is duly noted.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #26)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:41 PM

28. I have no idea why you are getting so angry.

Chill dude.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #26)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 09:37 PM

41. Whoa! The discussion was about averting corporate control, not home grows.

We're talking about commercial marijuana cultivation and sales and different models for them.

I doubt that anybody in this discussion wants to outlaw personal grows, but that's a whole different issue.

See my reply to you above.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:20 PM

20. Here in Colorado

we have a additional problem with industrial hemp.
It has come to the attention of the anti Medicinal crowd that planting fields of hemp will impact medicinal growers by the enormous amounts of pollen the hemp fields will add to the environment. A big push to plant large acreages will make it very difficult for people to grow their own cloned to perfection herb.

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Response to randr (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:29 PM

22. I would think that most commercial cannabis operations would be indoors...

in highly controlled environments. Wouldn't that prevent most of the inadvertent pollination from outdoor hemp?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #22)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 06:56 PM

33. Even indoor cultivation will require pollen screens and special clothing

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #22)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:31 PM

37. me too

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Response to randr (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 05:52 PM

32. Coming soon ...

Monsanto sues indy pot growers over GMO pollen.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:33 PM

25. It's a real concern. I really want it to be fully legal, but anyone should be able to grow it and

sell it.

I think it should be regulated the same way we regulate tomatoes.

But with an age restriction like 18+ or 21+.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #25)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:48 PM

29. I'm with you. I don't smoke, don't do pills, confine my use of alcohol to

Christmas fruit cakes, but I'm with you. I'm also for 100% amnesty for anyone ever convicted of any offense buying, selling or using marijuana!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:50 PM

30. I really want Hospice doctors to be able to prescribe it for patients.

I'm a hospice nurse and it makes me so angry that this is not a legal option for my patients. I don't believe it cures cancer. I don't believe it helps everyone. But, it should be at least a medication that a doctor could prescribe and if it doesn't help that patient, the doctor can order a different med. That's what we do in hospice. I don't understand why marijuana has to be considered more powerful than fentanyl or oxycodone. I also believe it should be available for pediatric hospice.

As far as corporations are concerned it would need to be best to regulate it if a doctor orders it because they would have to have proper dosing.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 04:54 PM

31. I don't think you can have it both ways

If it is legal, companies will evolve/emerge to service the market. As has been mentioned up thread, you would surely have niche growers, probably similar to microbreweries. It would be logical to expect the tobacco companies to launch MJ divisions. OTOH, depending on how it is ultimately regulated, it could be liquor companies with new divisions. It's not impossible for entirely new companies to spring up, but given that tobacco/liquor companies already have infrastructure and distribution mechanisms, it gives them a big advantage. Devising some hybrid to exclude corporate participation is unrealistic IMO.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 07:26 PM

34. Sadly its already too late... The fda has already given the patent rights

To 3 pharmacutical corporations for the 3 active canibinoids in maryjane.. Now they have rights to license and even sue if you try to sell dope and not pay them a cut...

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Response to Drew Richards (Reply #34)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 09:35 PM

40. Got a link to that info?

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Response to Go Vols (Reply #42)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 09:39 PM

43. Great, thanks. Its news to me!

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Response to Drew Richards (Reply #34)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:22 PM

47. i was worried that something

like this would happen....

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:36 PM

38. Can you imagine Monsanto getting involved?

Yes, there are pitfalls to be aware of and guard against. Its good for you to post this thread to keep these thoughts in mind as we go forward.

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Response to me b zola (Reply #38)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:13 PM

45. Thanks!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:15 PM

51. KICK

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