The search to lead a meaningful life leads many to cannabis, and Weldon Angelos, founder of the Weldon Project and Mission Green, is no exception. Weldon Angelos was sentenced 21 years in prison and served 13 years before his release in 2016 and in 2020. Deana Martin, too, went down this path. Her four-year prison term and three-year probationary period began at the close of 2021. Both were charged as first-time, nonviolent cannabis offenders.
Since his release, Weldon used Mission Green to further efforts to secure clemency for other incarcerated individuals tried for non-violent cannabis crimes. Deana Martin is one of them.
Keep reading for her story.
Deana Martin – Mom, Wife, and Business Owner
Deana Martin is a wife, a mother to four adult children based out of Boston, MA, and former business owner of a bakery and catering company in the local area.
In 2015, the Martin’s businesses were not doing well financially. On top of this, Deana’s son suffered his third concussion from high school wrestling, resulting painful migraines and, eventually, leading him to thoughts of suicide. Aware that Keith needed help and of cannabis’s power, Deana’s sister suggested the plant as an option, which had helped her overcome opioid addiction. Deana started her son on a CBD regime and saw a transformation in her son in just 48 hours.
Seeing what cannabis could do for her son, and going through a rough time with the business, Deana had the idea to solve two problems with one solution: start a cannabis delivery company. The idea for Northern Herb, a cannabis delivery company, was planted.
Northern Herb Cannabis Delivery
Northern Herb was a cannabis delivery company that operated in Massachusetts and delivered to almost any address in the state. Sourcing her cannabis from suppliers in California and Oregon in the form of flower, edibles, concentrates, and pre-rolls, Deana was determined to help those around her with the cannabis plant. She did just that, while supporting herself to boot – Northern Herb had a revenue of more than $14 million dollars from 2015-2018.
But there were no taxes reported or paid for Northern Herb or its employees over those 3 years, which led to the investigation and tracking of each purchase through emails, POS systems, and credit card transactions.
Investigation, Arrest, and Sentencing of Deana Martin
On August 2, 2018 federal agents executed search warrants for a Northern Herb warehouse in Hyde Park and at the Martin residence, supported by a round-up of documents acquired by federal agents that spanned all the way back to when the company’s roots first sprouted. Agents seized over $100,000 found at the warehouse and the Martin residence, and cannabis products found at both locations.
Deana was arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. Fortunately, she was released the same day on an unsecured bond and after surrendering her passport. Unfortunately, litigation spanned the next 2 years.
On May 4, 2021 Deana pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and three counts of money laundering. She was ordered to pay back over half a million dollars in restitution fees and was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.
The Judge presiding over Deana’s case seemed to be very impressed with what she was able to accomplish, going so far as to say Deana has, “An incredible business talent – to treat this [sentencing] as a beginning, not an end.”
What Deana Faces as an Incarcerated Woman
Though Deana feels confident that the worst part will be leaving and not seeing her family, she still felt the need to learn martial arts in an attempt to ensure she can defend herself, if necessary. This is a fear that is prevalent to everyone who is sentenced to time in prison, for good reason.
The hardest part is going to be the leaving, not the being. So, it’s the ripping that I dread, not so much the presence. Because I think, once I’m there (prison) I’ll be okay.Deana Martin, as told to WCBV Boston
Women Face Harsher Punishments While In Prison
Across most prisons throughout the US, women experience harsher punishments 2-3 times more often for minor infractions when compared to men. Minor infractions include instances like being sarcastic or cussing at a correctional officer. These minor infractions have resulted in incarcerated women being confined to their cells, loss of communication abilities with family and friends, and even losing “privileges,” like access to commissary.
According to the prison handbook for FPC Alderson, where Deana is being held, any behavior can be deemed an infraction. This is determined by correctional facility staff, with no say from the inmate. An investigation conducted by NPR and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University revealed:
- In Massachusetts (Deana’s home state), 60% of punishments for women resulted in restrictions of where the inmate could go in the prison, and many were confined to their cells. Men received these types of punishments half as often in MA.
- In Iowa, women prisoners are 3x’s more likely than male prisoners to receive punishment for being “disruptive.”
- In Idaho and Rhode Island, women prisoners are more likely than men prisoners to get solitary confinement for disobedience.
These types of harsh punishments lead to female prisoners losing “good conduct credits.” These credits can help prisoners shorten their time in prison, and the loss of these credits typically leads to more time spent in prison. From 2016 to 2018, women in California prisons had over 1,400 years added to their sentences through the revocation of good conduct credits.
Women’s Mental Health While Incarcerated and Post-Release
While Deana seems like a fiercely strong woman, the confines of a prison can be detrimental to anyone’s mental health. Even more, being isolated from friends or family can lead to a host of mental health issues. A report from SAMHSA showed that women on parole are almost twice as likely to experience mental illness compared to women not on parole.
In addition to these types of mental health issues, women are more likely to suffer sexual abuse from a correctional officer. Furthermore, incarcerated women often suffer through forms of physical abuse, verbal abuse, and degradation from other inmates and correctional staff. As a result, many people leave prison with even more mental health issues than what they entered with.
Support Deana Martin with Help from Weldon Angelos and Mission Green
Donate to Mission Green
There are two ways that your donations help Mission Green. One of the most important ways has to do with the fact that prisons do not typically give enough food to their inmates. As Mission Green founder notes, “Prisons only feed you enough to keep you alive, not full.”
- Commissary. The “grocery store” within prisons is where incarcerated people get extra food, hygiene items, and even items that help keep them busy. Donating to Mission Green helps the people Mission Green represents by adding funds to their commissary.
- Clemency. Mission Green advocates on behalf of incarcerated persons for their compassionate release. Donations help with events, seminars, and interviews that educate and inform the public and politicians in our government about cannabis clemency.
Contact the White House About Cannabis Clemency
A powerful way to help Deana and other people incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes is by contacting the White House. You can plea on their behalf through email, phone or mail, though utilizing the White House’s contact form is the quickest and easiest way to show your support. To be clear, they do want every part of the form filled out for proper submission.
In the contact form, there is a section asking what you would like to say. This is the best spot to mention your support of clemency for all persons incarcerated over cannabis crimes. Mission Green also suggests including that clemency for these individuals is not only just, but would be good for public safety and the economy.
Write to Deana to Show Your Support
Deana is currently held at a minimum-security prison in West Virginia, FPC Alderson – the same that Martha Stewart served her time – which is over 700 miles from her home and family in Massachusetts. Your support means even more because of this reason. To ensure Deana receives your letter, be sure to write in blue or black ink on unlined white paper.
Deana Martin #01486-138
FEDERAL PRISON CAMP
GLEN RAY RD. BOX A
ALDERSON, WV 24910
Verano Says Yes to Furthering Mission Green’s Goals
Verano is committed to supporting cannabis clemency initiatives with Mission Green. We believe that those who have been unjustly incarcerated for non-violent cannabis offenses deserve to have their records expunged and be released from prison. At a time when an increasing number of states are legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, it is ever more important to right the wrongs of the War on Drugs.
Because of this belief Verano owned dispensaries, Zen Leaf and MÜV, are matching donations up to $13,000 dollars in-stores on the first Friday of every month in 2022. This ongoing initiative is to commemorate the time Weldon Angelos spent in prison – 13 years – and the efforts he puts towards seeking cannabis clemency for others.