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Juan Vaz and his wife were watching a movie with their kids one evening when an eight-man SWAT team kicked in their door and raided their home.

Uruguayan authorities found out Vaz was growing cannabis in his home. According to Vaz, the judge hearing his case said he was "worse than a drug dealer" and sentenced him to two years and four months in prison.


Juan Vaz stands before the prison near Montevideo where he spent the first six months of his prison term.

Vaz was only growing cannabis for personal use, but it was still against the law, so he had no choice but to do the time.

In prison, he had time to reflect on what was important to him and what he would do when he was released. Giving up was not an option.

"I'm 40 years old and can deal with this. But if I were 20 years old, what would have happened to me? The next convicted grower could be in his twenties, and his life will get shattered. I believe that's what motivated me to get out of jail with strength, eager to make things better." — Juan Vaz

While he was in prison, Vaz began his plot to change the rule that landed him there.

He studied a combination of botany and law so he could "unravel all that legal slang" that kept a lot of people from grasping what was at stake.

And when he was released, IT WAS TOTALLY ON.

According to Time magazine's Uki Goni, "Vaz emerged determined to see the law changed in Uruguay, and went from being a computer programmer to a near full-time marijuana activist."

The problem with the law, said Vaz, isn't just that it didn't make sense — it's that it made their country even more dangerous:

"In Uruguay, smoking and having a small amount of weed was allowed, but there was no legal way to purchase that amount. Even if buying from a drug dealer wasn't punished, self-growing it had taken me to jail. This was illogical. Because with the amount you were allowed to carry with you, the law itself forced you to buy it from a drug dealer. Then, the law seemed to support drug trafficking."

Vaz and his allies pounded the pavement until change was in sight.

After years of organizing, marching, and educating, they found support in the supreme court, and the legislature finally decided to reconsider the law.

In 2013, the Uruguayan senate met cheers as it passed a bill to legalize and regulate the production, sale, and use of cannabis.

And since then, guess who built the largest cannabis production business in Uruguay — none other than Juan Vaz!

But the story's conclusion doesn't have quite the finality Vaz was expecting from the outset.

"When we started working on legalization, it was like a mountain that we had to climb. And when we finally got to the top, we would hug each other. We would plant the flag and smoke a joint. ...

When we finally got to the top of the mountain with our idea on our backs, we looked down and saw a valley and another mountain, another valley and another mountain, and another valley with another mountain.

And we realized that we need to keep going." — Juan Vaz



The war on drugs has been a violent failure. Maybe it's time we chalk it up to a bad idea and take a step into the future with Uruguay?

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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via UNSW

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Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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