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Steve DeAngelo Weighs In On Sean Parker’s California Marijuana Legalization Initiative


steve deangelo harborside health center inside man morgan spurlockSteve DeAngelo is a very high profile activist in California, and at a national level. With the recent filing of a new marijuana legalization initiative, commonly referred to in the mainstream media as the ‘Sean Parker initiative,’ Steve DeAngelo released the following statement:

California is roaring toward legalization efforts in 2016, and the field of initiatives submitted to the state is getting crowded. On Monday billionaire philanthropist Sean Parker, a known disrupter in the music and technology space, announced that he is backing initiative language filed Monday.

Executive Director of Harborside Health Centers and author of a new book, The Cannabis Manifesto, Steve DeAngelo responded with this statement:

“If the initiative filed today by proponents associated with Sean Parker were the only cannabis reform initiative on the ballot, I would vote for it. However, I think California can do better— and the language also filed today by longtime activist and cannabis attorney George Mull is closer to the mark. It is much shorter and easily understood, firmly closes the door to Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol, and mandates more appropriate penalties for cannabis infractions. I continue to believe our best strategy for victory in November is bringing the entire cannabis community together behind one initiative, and call on all initiative proponents to work towards that goal”

About Harborside Health Center:

“Harborside Health Center, a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary with locations in Oakland and San Jose, California, is looked upon as a model of how others could operate.” – The New York Times

Founded in 2006 by Steve DeAngelo, Harborside Health Center is the most respected and largest medical cannabis dispensary in the United States. Harborside has over 200,000 registered patients and was first in the nation to support education for seniors, veterans and families with severely ill children; first in the country to offer CBD-rich medicine; and the first to treat children with Dravet syndrome. Harborside continues to set an example of diversity and compliance, and is one of the prime advocates of diversity, sustainability and economic justice in the industry.

DeAngelo also co-founded the nation’s first cannabis-testing facility, Steep Hill Labs, and the country’s first cannabis investment and research firm, The ArcView Group. His debut book, “The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness,” was published by North Atlantic Books and distributed by Penguin/Random House on September 22, 2015; in the book’s foreword, Willie L. Brown, Jr., 41st mayor of San Francisco, calls DeAngelo, “the father of the legal cannabis industry.” DeAngelo was star of the Discovery Channel reality series, “Weed Wars” (2011). He was named one of the most influential people and “gatekeeper” of the marijuana industry in 2015 by the International Business Times, and one of the most influential people in the cannabis industry in 2014 by the Cannabis Business Executive.


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Johnny Green


  1. I hear you. You’ve worked hard to fix NY state, but the wall is impenetrable. We seem to both agree that the character of some states simply won’t allow for it, and without the citizen initiative, you have no recourse. This is the fundamental flaw in allowing states to determine their future — some won’t change. And frankly, the Feds are a mile away from legalization, despite the activist hoopla over Bernie Sander’s bill, etc.

    The key is the citizen initiative process, which so far is the ONLY way any state has legalized. Is there a strong push by the citizens of NY for an initiative process for other reasons? If so, maybe that’s the place to fight. Once you get that, then many doors open.

    It’s interesting that while we were founded as a republic and a representative democracy, we need elements of direct democracy (like Initiatives) to move politicians along. It’s a fundamental change in the American concept of democracy, but a welcome one. But unfortunately it’s sketchy and uneven. And it has its own problems (mob rule).

    In the end, I suppose many folks will have to reconcile leaving their state for cannabis freedom or staying put and toughing it out in the dark. That’s really hard on folks. We are already seeing the “culture” surrounding cannabis splitting into different segments, most prominently the differences between legal and non-legal states.

    For my part, living in a legal state, I find the prospect of traveling behind the iron curtain of weed much like I viewed traveling behind the original Soviet iron curtain (which I did many years ago). Scary and oppressive and increasingly, unAmerican.

  2. Actually bad laws written by the 1% need to be overturned , especially the fact that Californians want liberal legalization nit some weak 6 plant out of state force fed billionaire one!
    Point it, we will react it, just like we did with Prop 19 and in Ohio.
    Lame. 6 plant one ounce initiaitves SHOULD NOT be signed and most definitely be voted NO on- every singe 6 plant pot Init to “legalize” one ounce!

  3. saynotohypocrisy on

    Interesting point about Las Vegas. Legalization in Nevada will expose a large number of visitors to what legal weed looks like. Same with California because it’s so big.

  4. Catalina Copeland on

    That understanding should be: “I think we shouldn’t waste our money, let’s put it into CCHI2016”.

  5. Catalina Copeland on

    CCHI 2016
    As Ben Franklin used to say – “Join or die.”
    My predictions for California in 2016 are attached.
    As is the reason why you should refuse to sign for or vote for anything other than CCHI2016.
    Around and prior to 1937, when people were burning ‘muggles’ we never heard of hysteria about children, we never heard of people being subjectively offended by cannabis smoke. We saw hasheesh candy sold openly by businesses, without requirements for license, import, or export other than those required by open government. How have we since evolved to ending an entire business industry for no good reason? What is the valid fundamental basis to continue having a broken system? Cannabis is an OTC medicine, a relaxant, and stress reliever that should be open to all and your rights to it should be subject to civil protections WITHOUT limitation.

    Why does Mexico get freedom and the US gets a bureaucracy of corrupt state run regulatory cancers? WE ARE BECOMING THE ERITREA of cannabis policy! Stop this trend by refusing anything other than CCHI 2016 and set the standard nationwide. Let them know: Those with “legalization” initiatives that have bureaucratic agendas are pissing their money away.

  6. saynotohypocrisy on

    Steve DeAngelo and Sean Parker need to talk, and talk, and talk, until they come to an understanding.

  7. Catalina Copeland on

    More like Sean don’t piss your money away. It wont pass.The only people that will vote for it are big business dispensary owners who can live up to the ultra restrictive standards of the new marijuana regulation and safety act, the people they can convince to vote for it, their small crowds, etc.. Everyone else will see past it because we do not want a cannabis bureaucracy in California. Sean’s initiative does NOTHING about zoning issues. Temecula – no dispensaries allowed, Perris – forced illegal evictions of dispesnaries, problems like the Clearlake medical marijuana cultivation ban. No bureaucratic cancer! NO AB243 / SB644 (whatever the hell the codes were). Does Sean’s initiative ressurect these cancers from remission if they are constitutionally challenged? I saw that they were included on a previous TheWeedBlog article. No bureaucracy. Dirty politicians and bureaucrats stay away. CCHI2016 – Like Ben Franklin use to say – “Join or die.” Free the tree for all, not for big business.

    Around and prior to 1937, when people were burning ‘muggles’ we never heard of hysteria about children, we never heard of people being subjectively offended by cannabis smoke. We saw hasheesh candy sold openly by businesses, without requirements for license, import, or export other than those required by open government. How have we since evolved to ending an entire business industry for no good reason? What is the valid fundamental basis to continue having a broken system? We also never heard of bureaucratic agendas going to state ballots, but they’re happening… Vote no

  8. Lawrence Goodwin on

    With all due respect, Shadar, I’ve devoted 15 years of my life trying to “fix” cannabis policy in New York state, and I am unable to “leave it” due to family obligations. Seriously, it would be easier to move Mt. Marcy, New York’s highest mountain at over 5,300 feet, than to reverse 78 years of “marihuana” brainwashing among a vast majority of the NY population. New Yorkers do NOT have the luxury of the citizen initiative process on Election Day, being entirely dependent on corrupt state legislators to change any law. That’s why dozens, if not hundreds of disgusted New Yorkers have been forced to relocate, just like you say, because of the widespread hysteria related to cannabis plants. Again, federal “marihuana” law still causes every problem in every state. Go ahead, Shadar, try to fix THAT. You will run straight into a rock-solid wall of tyranny.

  9. Either fix your state or leave it. This effort to legalize cannabis provides a very clear indication of the character of a state. If the citizens of the state, tokers and non-tokers, can’t understand the reasons for legalization, then they are incapable of exercising mature judgement in other areas as well. Where you live truly does matter.

  10. Lawrence Goodwin on

    I’m happy for everyone out west. But do you realize how much anti-cannabis repression still exists here in the Northeast, especially in my pathetic home state of New York? We NYers are still forced to watch local news propaganda pieces with titles like, “Special report: Pot chopper search,” in which the supposed journalists never question how much these annual operations cost NY taxpayers. Or how about the repression in Wisconsin, where federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents just destroyed 30,000 beautiful cannabis plants that were being tended by Menominee caretakers? I don’t care if they were “marijuana” or “hemp” plants! The DEA had NO right to take such aggressive action. Every DAY that passes without complete removal of the fraudulent word “marihuana” from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, means the “tides” will never turn in favor of too many backward states.

  11. Hay Sean…don’t ruin your reputation by trying to give us bad legislation, CA knows and deserves better. We’ll take Jack Herer’s CCHI bill and nothing less!

  12. As a realist, I know that Parker’s initiative will likely get the nod, and that’s fine with me. I just can’t wait until it passes. It will instantly send shockwaves through the nation in a way that these other random states never could.

    Also, Las Vegas will be changed forever after Nevada legalizes next year. That is going to be huge for what is already one of the top tourist locations in the world. I think the tides are turning more quickly than many people realize.

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