I have met Steve DeAngelo on several occasions. The first was at the 2012 Students for Sensible Drug Policy in Denver, Colorado. Steve had just walked off stage from giving a keynote speech, and since The Weed Blog booth was right by the auditorium, he walked right past Jay Smoker and I. We flagged him down, told him how big of fans we were of his work, and had a long conversation about the future of cannabis. It was a very timely conversation, because later that year Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational cannabis, which was something that we talked about that day, about eight months before Election Day 2012.
Steve DeAngelo is the most recognizable person in the cannabis industry and movement today. I get asked all the time who I think carries that distinction, and I am quick to offer up Steve DeAngelo’s name each and every time I’m asked. My grandmother, who doesn’t know much about cannabis figures and what their role is in the movement and industry, knows exactly who Steve DeAngelo is from his popular TV show ‘Weed Wars’ which aired on the Discovery Channel. She has also seen him on major news networks on TV doing interviews. ‘That guy is everywhere, he must be a big deal,’ my grandmother always says. I always say, ‘yes, he is a very big deal grandma.’
Steve DeAngelo has participated in a three part mini-documentary series, which is being released one video at a time. The video releases are going to lead up to the release of Steve DeAngelo’s new book, The Cannabis Manifesto, which is set to release on September 22nd. I feel confident that The Cannabis Manifesto could become the first book about cannabis to appear on the New York Times best-seller list. But before that happens, I hope that people will take the opportunity to watch Steve’s mini-documentaries to learn more about Mr. DeAngelo.
I watched the first video that was released, and it was full of so much stuff I never knew before, and I think that’s saying a lot considering how much cannabis news and information I consume on a daily basis, and have for a very long time. I feel that if I had never heard these stories before, and seen this side of Steve DeAngelo, then I have to assume that few others have, with the exception of his close friends and family.
Steve DeAngelo has been fighting for cannabis reform for a very, very long time – multiple decades. So hearing his stories about being on the front lines of reform are very interesting to me, and should be to other activists. He’s not recalling stories that he read about in history books or on websites. Steve is giving first hand accounts. Each story is truly inspiring.
The video starts out with Steve DeAngelo describing his first experience with cannabis. I always like hearing about people’s first experiences with cannabis, and to hear about the first experience of someone that is as prominent in the cannabis industry and movement as Steve was quite a treat. He told the story in such a way that it made me feel like I was almost there with him, and brought out memories of my first time. I’d imagine it will have the same effect on other viewers that are cannabis veterans.
Steve then talked about his first experiences with activism. Steve DeAngelo organized the Washington D.C. Smoke-In, and ran it for a decade. The event still occurs to this day, so I thought that was very cool. My first activism experience involved a smoke-in at the Oregon Capital building, so I could very much relate to Steve’s story. Steve then went on to describe how he fought to legalize medical cannabis in D.C. in 1998, and that after Congress voted to not fund implementation of the public policy change, Steve decided to move to California and start an endeavor that has since become the largest medical cannabis dispensary on the planet (Harborside Health Center).
One of my favorite parts about the video, which was also one of the most painful parts of the video to watch, is when Steve describes the burden he has carried with being treated unfairly by non-cannabis consuming members of society. In every measurable way Steve has been successful in his life, and has contributed a lot to society. However, there are many members of society, especially in past decades, who have treated him very unfairly simply and only because he chooses to consume cannabis. I have been there myself, and I think that’s something that everyone can relate to that consumes cannabis.
Steve DeAngelo choked up a couple of times during the mini-documentary. The first time was when he was describing how he has to live his life knowing that it could all go away at anytime. He has taken on the federal government head on, which has meant that since he locked horns with the feds, he has always had to wonder if today is the day that he goes to prison and has everything taken from him via asset forfeiture. That’s a heavy burden to carry, but Steve is willing to do it, and has been willing to do it for quite some time now.
Steve talks about how he was able to convert his dad from someone who was profoundly troubled by his son’s support of something that was federally illegal to his dad becoming one of his biggest supporters. Steve also talked about how High Times founder Tom Forcade taught him about social entrepreneurship, and that business could be used to make positive social change, which is a principle that Steve has incorporated into everything he does.
Mr. DeAngelo talked about how hard it is juggling everything that he does, but that cannabis helps him deal with all of it. That is something that I can directly relate to. Ever since Oregon implemented cannabis legalization, I have been braver about going out to public events and meeting people. The first thing that people tell me about this blog is that we put out so much content, and that we must have a very dedicated staff made up of lots of people. I always love the look on their face when I tell them that The Weed Blog content and tech side of things is ran entirely by just two people (Jay Smoker and I), and has been since we started in January of 2010. And while they have the ‘blown away’ look on their face, I then explain to them that I also have a full time cubicle job and a toddler. I always say that there would be no way to juggle all of that if it weren’t for cannabis. Cannabis regulates my brain in a way that makes it run optimally. So when Steve said that on the video, I could directly relate to what he was talking about.
One of my absolute favorite parts about the video is when Steve is talking about his consumption habits. I have always wanted to know how Steve DeAngelo rolls when it comes to consumption. After all, he runs the largest medical cannabis dispensary on the planet. And on that note I will end this article. Want to know what type of cannabis Steve DeAngelo consumes? Want to hear amazing stories about activism throughout the last handful of decades? Want to see into the world of the most recognizable figure in the cannabis industry and movement? Then click on the link listed below. It will take you to a landing page where you can enter in your e-mail address to receive updates about the next mini-documentaries to be released about Steve DeAngelo, as well as information about the release of his book, The Cannabis Manifesto. The first video is very entertaining, and runs about 13ish minutes in length. So load a bowl, click on this link to go to the landing page, and kick back and watch the first of three mini-documentaries about Steve DeAngelo.