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 their daughter doesn’t experience too drastic of a change in her everyday life. Despite their best efforts, his absence is unavoidable.
Popplewell told High Times that Ramirez is “an exceptional spouse” who takes great responsibility to his family, career, or community.
“I owed my nursing career to him,” she said, noting that Ramirez was the sole father driving their daughter, Lilyanna, and the other girls to dance practice and recitals until she earned her degree in 2014.
Overall, they say they lived a quiet life and enjoyed it. The most excitement typically came during the annual family trip to Florida. Ramirez worked two jobs, construction and driving trucks for a local furniture company. Popplewell said her husband never called off of work or missed any of their daughter’s recitals. Over time, the family bought a home in Del Haven, just 10 minutes from where the arrest would occur.
At the same time, she reported that he’s gone into six-figures worth of student loan debts, ensuring that his two oldest daughters from a …
Author: Andrew Ward / High Times