Weldon Angelos has a lot of catching up to do.
The up-and-coming hip-hop artist and music producer was working with his friend Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur's recording group when he got busted by local cops in his hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah for selling less than an ounce of weed.
At that time, Angelos was 22 and the father of two young boys. He had no priors and was gainfully-employed, yet a federal court found him guilty and sentenced him to 55 years thanks to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Even the presiding judge in Angelos's case expressed regret.
After serving thirteen years, Angelos was released in 2016 when a federal court granted him a reduction in sentence.
Since then, he has been making up for lost time with his family, friends, and community by setting up several projects that occupy most of his waking hours. He's a full time criminal justice reform advocate whose infectious good humor and optimism have helped him rally support from a wide range of politicians, activists, entertainment figures and legal experts as he helps other pot prisoners who've been left behind.
Angelos named several of his music peers who are joining his reform movement, including Ty Dolla $ign, Loon, Baby Bash, as well as NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, and fashion model Jeremy Meeks (otherwise known as the “Hot Felon”).
Angelos first set up the Weldon Project, which is dedicated to funding social change and providing financial assistance to those still serving prison time for cannabis-related offenses.
Shortly after that, he and his music producer Big Hollis launched the cannabis reform advocacy campaign Mission [Green] to raise the bar for awareness, social justice, and social equity. Mission [Green] also provides unique ways for cannabis businesses and consumers to participate in a nationwide campaign to bring relief to those who have been negatively impacted by prohibition.
Garnett is on the board of advisors of Mission [Green] and is the executive producer of a feature documentary being made about Angelos' life.
“Our nation's view of cannabis has evolved, and it is indefensible to incarcerate citizens based on the unduly harsh attitudes of past generations. It's unconscionable to allow some to enrich themselves while simultaneously keeping select individuals in prison for doing the same thing, sometimes for decades,” Angelos told Weedmaps News.
“When I got word I was getting out, I promised them [fellow prisoners] I would not forget about them. I am their representative.”
And he did not forget.
Recently, working through the First Step Act, Angelos led a successful campaign to secure the release of a former Bad Boy Records rapper who'd spent nine years in prison.
And when he's not personally writing court motions for the compassionate release of pot prisoners and rappers like his friend Loon, Angelos is enjoying some of his own cannabis products.
He launched REEForm Cannabis, which is pledging to financially support cannabis prisoners on a monthly basis by transferring a portion of the profits from the company's amazing products straight into the commissaries of those still incarcerated for cannabis offenses.
Angelos explained that the general public assumes prisoners get all the basic essentials, but that's not the case. “Prison feeds you enough to keep you alive, not full. I remember sitting in prison on Christmas Eve and having to choose between getting food and hygiene products or calling my family.”
Now that Angelos is out of prison and can get what he wants, these are his favorites, spoken from the source:
Chemdog Strain | REEForm
“My favorite strain Reeform offers right now is our Chemdog. It's very high potency that inspires creativity, which is why I like it so much. Being in the music industry requires a high-level creativity in order to compete in today's industry. I'm in the process of bringing back to life some unreleased music I had recorded with some of the rap legends of the 90s and early 2000s. I really need my creative juices to be flowing in the process and so the Chemdog is a product I can't live without right now.”
Diamond Infused Blunts | ST IDES
“I'm a blunt smoker, and the best blunt I've smoked is ST IDES' Diamond Infused Blunts, which use high-quality flower infused with pure THCa crystals and are filled into tobacco-free hemp cones.”
Mission Green Dank Tank Bong | Daily High Club
“When I can't get to a blunt, I prefer to use the Mission Green Dank Tank Bong by the Daily High Club where you can smoke your favorite cannabis product while helping a person incarcerated for a cannabis offense.
This scientific glass tank bong features a 14mm male joint as well as a 2-hole diffuser perc for great percolation and milky rips. Designed by the Daily High Club, this piece is a limited run created to support the Mission Green Initiative which is dedicated to securing the release of those serving prison time for a cannabis-related offense.”
GrapeGasm Strain | North Country Pharms
“I'm a sativa lover, but there is one indica that really helps me with anxiety and when I need to take my mind off of the trauma I experienced from my trial and incarceration, which is GrapeGasm from North Country Pharms.”
Graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps