Sunday, May 29Urban Hippie

Author: Andrew Ward

How To Discover and Connect With Discord’s Budding Digital Cannabis Community

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Once primarily catering to gamers, Discord now offers public and private channels for a range of popular topics, including but far from limited to NFTs, politics, school, and cannabis. Discord has corralled just about every possible way a person can connect online. Community members can connect via chat rooms, video calls, and voice chats. Unlike social media apps that have succeeded to varying degrees with multi-chat options, Discord has done so rather successfully so far. The platform has gained users and financial backers. Today, it boasts 150 million active monthly users and $482 million in venture capital funds raised to date, according to Earthweb.  Discord’s cannabis community is not as prominent as enthusiasts may desire. But sources tell High Times that it is changing as

Most Affected: Danny Rodriguez, Two-Time Victim of the Justice System

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Danny Rodriguez’s first sentence, occurring in 1994 at the age of 20, was eventually deemed unconstitutional, but not before robbing him of 12 more years in prison than it should have. Rather than receiving a maximum ten years for the charge, he served 22. After over two decades in prison, Rodriguez was released and became embroiled in a contraband distribution ring, sending items like synthetic cannabis to prisoners across the country. In 2017, his actions landed him in federal prison, where he received a 33 year sentence. Rodriguez told High Times in March that he didn’t think he could get in trouble for an over-the-counter synthetic cannabis. He claimed never to have imagined that he “Would receive a 33-year sentence for something that the Bureau of Prisons gives prisoners 30 days co

Most Affected: Dan Muessig, Sentenced Five to 80 Years

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By the time you read this, Dan Muessig will have been sentenced to between five to 80 years in federal prison.  Sentenced on March 8, 2022, Muessig faces an uncertain length of time in one of the U.S. federal prisons across the country. He finds himself in the predicament over two charges: conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute cannabis. The Feds allege that he and his group moved between 220 and 880 pounds of pot in the Pittsburgh area.  An Early Introduction to Legacy Cannabis Muessig doesn’t deny his involvement in the Orange Box Crew, whose motto was “No Grows Just Bows.” He acknowledges having a history with pot dating back to his early days growing up in the Jewish, urban enclave of Squirrel Hill. Likening his upbringing to the movies Kids meets Go

Most Affected: Humberto Ramirez, Isolated in Prison for Pot

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On November 17, 2020, two weeks after New Jersey citizens voted to legalize adult-use cannabis, Humberto “Berto” Ramirez was sentenced to a mandatory two years in state prison, with a possible maximum of seven years. On February 19, 2019, the then-43-year-old Ramirez, who often goes by “Bert,” was arrested on second-degree drug charges in Middle Township, New Jersey. Police found six pounds of cannabis in his Dodge Charger’s trunk.  For Ramirez, the arrest marked his third cannabis sentence over his lifetime, meaning he’d be obligated to serve a longer sentence despite an otherwise spotless record for roughly 25 years. The ruling has put a strain on all involved, with Ramirez’s health a concern since entering prison. All the while, he and his wife, Brooke Popplewell, fight to ensure the

Most Affected: Luke Scarmazzo, Legal Dispensary Owner

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Luke Scarmazzo was a legal dispensary owner, but he still ended up in prison. Today, the American public stands nearly in unison on medical cannabis legalization, with Pew reporting that 91 percent of Americans support reform. When introducing her federal legalization bill in November 2021, Congresswoman Nancy Mace called the issue one “a supermajority of Americans support.”  That wasn’t the case when Luke Scarmazzo was arrested in 2006 and sentenced to 21.8 years in federal prison with a 20-year mandatory minimum. The public-at-large had not embraced medical pot like it does today. Nor had lawmakers made steps to protect state-legal ventures through directives like the 2013 Cole Memo.  As such, Scarmazzo, a self-described God- and sports-loving young man from the blue-collar tow

Most Affected: Former State Employee Diana Marquez

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In 1978, 18-year-old Diana Marquez and her family moved from Mexico to the U.S., settling in Nebraska. She could barely speak English, using films and TV shows to help teach her. Two years later, she met her eventual husband, Mario, before moving to El Paso, Texas in 1987. She had hoped to use the degree she earned while living in Mexico. However, forced to make ends meet, the duo took whatever jobs they could find, working as meat cutters at a processing plant. “Not many people last long,” she said of the job, “But we had a necessity.”  According to the Feds, Mario also turned to cannabis distribution, netting him a 13-year sentence on cannabis conspiracy charge in 1991. With three children, including an eight-month-old, at the time of the arrest, Marquez turned to the U.S. governme

Most Affected: Daniel Longoria, Joe Cavazos and Travis Longoria Fight for Their Freedom

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This Most Affected installment looks at sentences of those incarcerated for cannabis, and this case deserves your special attention.  Life was difficult for Daniel Longoria and Jose “Joe” Cavazos growing up in the small border town of Brownfield, Texas. The stepbrothers were two of six in a house supported by a mom and stepdad who struggled to make ends meet. “We grew up very poor,” Daniel told High Times.  Courtesy of Daniel Longoria By 15, Daniel had developed a severe drug habit, including a meth addiction. Four years after being kicked out of home, he continued using until a near-fatal overdose at 19. After the grave scare, Daniel committed to changing his life. He contacted his mother, asking her to help him get clean. “I went to her and told her that I wanted to change

Sturdy Hemp Structures Could be the Future Eco-Building

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Hemp could be the building material that accelerates the sustainable industry. The year 2020 marked a devastating time period for myriad reasons. Among the pantheon of pain was the immense damage brought on by natural disasters. In early 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its billion-dollar disaster report, calling 2021 a “historic year of extremes.”  More precisely, the U.S. saw disasters on an unheard-of level that year, witnessing 22 individual billion-dollar weather and climate disasters. From hail to forest fires to hurricanes and beyond, homes, businesses and other important buildings were leveled in the destruction—and numerous lives were lost.  Hemp hasn’t come up much in the rebuilding efforts. However, a late-August op-ed in The Hi

Do Cannabis Companies Face Consequences for Opposing Home Grows?

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Home grows are the grassroots of the cannabis reform movement. Therefore with legalization, many advocates and patients believe it’s essential for individuals to have a right to cultivate their own plants, especially in a regulated market. High Times dives into the pervasiveness of companies that oppose home grows and how it may be harmful to the community as a whole. Luke Zimmerman Esq., a cannabis attorney and Oaksterdam University instructor, said home growing grants each person access to a unique relationship with cannabis. He added, “If everyone has a right to grow a limited amount of cannabis, it will be the final nail in the coffin for shifting the outdated paradigm of cannabis being a gateway drug.” Not widespread but still concerning, cannabis companies have on occasion gone

Most Affected: Edwin Rubis Looks for a Second Chance

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For more than two decades, Edwin Rubis has done all he can think of to demonstrate that he is a changed man. He tells High Times that drug and alcohol addiction pulled him into the illicit cannabis business, which he only entered to settle debts. Federal agents argue otherwise, convicting the long-time Texas native of leading a drug enterprise. Because he fought the charges, a decision he claims not to have fully understood at the time, Rubis is now just a little over halfway through a 40-year sentence. The now-53-year-old’s release date is set for August 2032.  However, he and advocates continue to push for an early release, hoping that his exemplary record and prison community service show he has genuinely been rehabilitated. Rubis is pained to see that he and others remain incarcerat