RocaNews - 🌊 It's 4:20 Somewhere

June 22, 2022

Did you know that the ZIP in "ZIP code" is an acronym? It stands for "zone improvement plan," which the USPS implemented in 1963 to speed up its service. 4 people have their own ZIP code: The President, First Lady, Smokey the Bear, and Santa Claus. Still waiting for Santa to send back my Flat Stanley.

In today's edition:

  • Weed cafes in Cali
  • Story of Rasputin, Pt. II
  • Movie-themed Treasure Hunt
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 Key Stories

Weed Lounges Open in California 

Several California cities are permitting “weed cafes” and lounges for recreational marijuana use

  • California legalized marijuana use in 2016. While local governments can’t prevent the growth, use, or transport of the drug, they can prevent its sale
  • Some municipalities have chosen to allow sales: In cities such as West Hollywood, Palm Springs, and San Francisco, cannabis lounges now offer on-site marijuana products. Local officials say the lounges will help the industry compete with illegal drug sales
  • Nonetheless, 62% of cities and towns in California prohibit the sale of weed
Dig Deeper
  • Amsterdam, one of the most liberal cities in the world, is known for its 160+ "coffeeshops", in which patrons can buy weed, psychedelics, and other drugs

Israel's Governing Coalition Collapses

Israel’s governing coalition collapsed on Monday, setting the stage for the 5th election in 3 years

  • Israel’s government is ruled by coalitions, which are formed from the 10+ parties that hold seats in Israel’s parliament. If a coalition loses its parliamentary majority, an election must be held within 5 months
  • The current coalition, which incorporated parties from across Israel’s political spectrum, recently lost its parliamentary majority amid internal disputes
  • The collapse opens the door for the return of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s former leader of 15 years. Elections may be held as soon as October
Dig Deeper
  • The current coalition pulled support from Israel's far-right, center, left, and Arab-Israeli parties. It was seen primarily as a compromise coalition to remove Netanyahu, who is currently facing corruption charges

988 Crisis Hotline Set to Launch

“988,” the US’ new mental health crisis hotline, is set to launch next month

  • 988 seeks to improve crisis intervention “in the same way that 911 spurred the growth of emergency medical services,” one organization stated. 988 will connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • The service will be available through phone, text message, and online chat
  • The new hotline, which was approved by the federal government in 2020 and granted $282M in funding, is expected to help 6-12M Americans in its first year

US Ban on Xinjiang Imports Begins 

The US implemented a ban on goods from Xinjiang, a region of China where many Uyghurs reside

  • The US accuses China of forcing the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority group, into concentration camps, forced labor, and more. Many human rights activists claim that China’s policies constitute genocide
  • The ban affects all products from the region unless companies present “clear and convincing evidence” that goods were not produced through forced labor
  • China denies all allegations of forced labor, stating the ban is “an escalation of the [US’] suppression of China under the guise of human rights”
Dig Deeper
  • Human Rights organizations claim that China has detained 1M+ Uyghurs in "re-education camps" throughout the region. Activists also claim that China has forced Uyghurs to work, sterilized women, and killed others
popcorn Popcorn
  • There will be Brooks: US golfer Brooks Koepka has become the latest big-name golfer to leave the PGA Tour to join the Saudi LIV Tour
  • How Nobel of you: Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov auctioned off his Nobel Peace medal for $103.5M to support Ukrainian refugees
  • A farewell to Gronk: Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski is retiring for the 2nd time from the NFL

  • Florida ̶m̶a̶n̶ teens throw party: Florida teens broke into an $8M mansion to host a party and boxing match. They posted vids on social media
  • 7th inning Jell-O: Arkansas and Ole Miss fans have bought over $46,000 worth of Jell-O shots through 4 days of the College World Series
  • New phoenix, who dis? Japan has brought back the "toki" bird from extinction to a wild population of roughly 480 today

finger What do you think?

Today's Poll:
Better summer shoes: Crocs or Birkenstocks? 

Today's Question:

Looking back on it now, what was the most bizarre part of the early months of Covid? Do you miss any aspect of it?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

 Roca Wrap

Today's Wrap is part 2 of a 3 part series on the story of Rasputin, the Siberian peasant who has now become a well-known prophet across Imperial Russia. 

Grigory Rasputin was born a peasant boy in Siberia in 1869. After leaving his village for unknown reasons in 1897, though, he traveled the world and became known to many as a prophet. 
It’s widely believed that Rasputin had ties to the Khlyst religious sect, which thought sinful behavior was the key to reaching God. Claiming to possess healing powers and fortune-telling abilities, Rasputin achieved recognition as a holy man and built a large following across Imperial Russia. 
By 1903, he had made it to St. Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Empire. Alternate religious movements such as mysticism were increasingly popular amongst St. Petersburg’s aristocracy, and Rasputin was warmly welcomed.  
Rasputin continued to travel but visited St. Petersburg often and solidified his reputation there as one of the most prominent mystics in Russian society. Then 5 years later, he received the request that would forever change his life: Come to the palace of Tsar Nicholas Romanov and his wife Tsarina Alexandra.
The royal couple’s baby boy Alexei – the sole heir to the Russian throne – had been diagnosed with hemophilia, a condition in which blood doesn't clot properly, leading to excessive and possibly fatal bleeding after injury.
The royal couple wanted to hide Alexis’ condition from the public, but he was seemingly getting sicker. They were desperate to heal him and had lost all faith in doctors.
Enter Rasputin.
Rasputin first met the royal couple in 1906 through mutual connections. It is unclear when Rasputin initially learned of Alexei's hemophilia, but in 1907, Alexandra summoned him to heal Alexei after he suffered an internal hemorrhage. Alexei stopped bleeding the next day.
It was a miracle, thought Alexandra. She became convinced of Rasputin’s healing powers and grew increasingly dependent on him.
Rasputin’s alleged healing powers continue to be debated today. A popular theory posits Rasputin stopped Alexia’s bleeding after ending the doctor’s prescription of aspirin, a blood-thinning agent – but that remains unproven.
From the healing of Alexei on, Rasputin had the ear of the couple, and of the tsarina in particular.
Alexandra came to believe that without Rasputin, Alexei would die. The couple’s faith in Rasputin brought him considerable clout and open access to the royal palace and family. In addition to caring for Alexis, Rasputin began counseling the royal couple.
Rasputin’s influence steadily grew over time – eventually making him one of the most influential figures governing the Russian empire. That influence would earn him many enemies, though, who within a few years would take their revenge…

If you have thoughts, let us know at!
Future Wrap ideas or requests? Let us know!

 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

At a restaurant, are you a booth or no booth person?
Booth: 85.7%
No booth: 14.3%

Yesterday's Question:

Do you believe in ghosts?  

Katie from Florida: "Growing up, my mom always had crazy dreams. She would see someone in the bathroom down the hall getting ready, sometimes there would be someone just standing over her while she slept, and sometimes, a really dark energy would almost try to pull her out of bed and I guess out of existence (like a dementor). The craziest part is, when my parents moved to a new house, THE DREAMS STOPPED."

Jake from Utah: "I’ve been left on read enough times to know for a fact that they are real."

Lindsay from Los Angeles: "Hard to reconcile ghosts with science, but if spacetime can act as waves then perhaps there’s some energy/artifact in the 4th dimension from this that can manifest itself in the 3rd dimension."

 RocaNews Shoutout: 

Thanks to Roca Rider Zoe who referred 10+ friends to The Current! As a thank you, we're shouting out an Instagram page important to Zoe: Meilybox, the art page of Emily Beall.

Zoe shared with us: "[Emily] is a tattoo apprentice in Milwaukee and about to start tattooing! Here’s her taking account.
Today's Clue (Day 1 of 3):

A martyr and a thief, an unlikely friendship
Each newsletter this week contains a clue about a movie-related landmark in the United States. Thursday's newsletter will contain a bonus clue, which is automatically unlocked by referring 2 people to this newsletter. In total there will be 4 clues about 1 landmark.

Prizes include $500 for 1st place and 2 movie tix for each of the next 4 to get it right!

You get one guess, which you submit by replying to a newsletter with a Google street view screenshot.


 Final Thoughts

Huge welcome to all of our new subscribers. We are thrilled to welcome you aboard and hope you find our newsletter non-alarmist, non-partisan, and enjoyable.

Best of luck in the Movie Treasure Hunt. Channel your inner Nic Cage. 

- Max and Max

PS - Roca is looking for great brands to partner with! If you're interested, let us know here. 

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