Justice Denied: Trenice Holley of Maryland


Trenice Holley: “I was an opioid addict until I listened to friends who suggested cannabis to help me stop destroying my health. Cannabis planted a seed in me and helped me follow a path to a healthy lifestyle.” 

Trenice Holley, age 29, is an inspiring DJ who goes by the handle, TriggaTre. She is in demand for her talent to spring dance floors into action in Maryland. The demand to keep up her energy and work late nights drove her to seek drugs like Lean, a combination of prescription-strength codeine cough syrup, an opioid, and flavored soda. She was also smoking at least a pack a day of cigarettes and her diet was far from any definition of healthy.

In three months, she was able to wean herself off the opioids with cannabis, but she found it surprising the other positive changes she was motivated to make in her life beyond this. By the end of those three months, she went from one pack a day to zero cravings for nicotine, and she started to really care where her food was coming from. She started following the guidance of holistic doctors online to eat an alkaline, plant-based diet.

Holley had a history of aggressive behavior because of her opioid addiction and frequently was involved in physical conflicts. She remembers being shocked by her own ability now for self-control when she was being provoked to fight one night. She says she didn’t have the same need to react like she did in previous incidents and calmly diffused the situation.

Trenice Holley felt cannabis was what started this positive shift in her life and she was looking forward to successes in her DJ career until one day when she was helping a friend move, driving his belongings from Oregon to Maryland.

Their car was stopped in Maryland after a motorcycle helmet had come loose on the trailer attached. Law enforcement were alerted to an outstanding warrant for the driver, and everything needed to be searched.

Trenice Holley was charged with possession with intent to distribute cannabis. She spent three months in the Montgomery County Jail including a 23 hour lockdown in solitary confinement. In 2017, there were 1,985 overdose deaths involving opioids in Maryland — twice the rate of the national average. There were 0 overdose deaths caused by cannabis in Maryland…ever.


Photo by Tamara Netzel



Cruel Consequences: Portraits of Misguided Law is a portrait exhibit designed to educate communities and erode the stigma of cannabis criminalization. Portrait stories are available to community, advocacy, and industry events to promote awareness and provoke dialogue that encourages viewers to question assumptions and actively engage in undoing the damages of cannabis prohibition. Find them at cruelconsequences.org and on social media at @cruleconsequences.                             


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Emerald contributor since June 2020


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