Pictured, from left: Mary Bailey, Steve DeAngelo, Jim Belushi and Andrew DeAngelo.
Industry icon Steve DeAngelo launches fundraising effort with infused dinner at Jim Belushi’s Brentwood home.
Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk – and success — hanging on this perfect moonlit SoCal night. The assembled: a who’s-who of Los Angeles’ local cannabis businesses, are pleasantly buzzing from Hosted chef Alex Goldman’s subtly elevating multi-course infused meal, most relieved they decided to take the hosts up on their round-trip Uber offer.
The occasion is a launch fundraiser for the non-profit “Last Prisoner Project,” conceived of by longtime pot activist and reformer Steve DeAngelo, the self-declared “Father of the Cannabis Industry” who has made it his mission to make sure the burgeoning industry doesn’t lose its righteous, political heritage.
“It was brown and black people who first brought hemp to this country,” the wizened, pig-tailed DeAngelo explains. “And then it was championed by those with HIV, those that society chooses to forget.”
DeAngelo’s vow is, “We will not rest and we will not stop until the last cannabis prisoner is set free.”
Indeed, just as the cannabis industry gets ready to explode onto the mainstream – even the Greek Theater was getting into the act with a “Weed Mayhem” all-day takeover on Saturday – the harsh realization is that many individuals are still languishing in jails across the country, let alone around the world, for doing exactly what these latter-day cannabis capitalists are trying to do… make a living from the sacred plant.
Published: July 15, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News