ArcView president and co-founder Steve DeAngelo became an activist for cannabis legalization when he was 16. He hasn’t slowed down in 40 years, despite a cannabis-related felony conviction 15 years ago and continuing attacks by the federal government on his medical cannabis dispensary, Harborside Health Center. (U.S. Attorney Melinda is trying to seize Harborside’s property in a tax battle that is currently before a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. When federal agents first tried to seize Harborside’s property, the City of Oakland stepped in to stop them.)
“It hasn’t really been about the industry or about the money for me,” he said. “It’s always been about the plant for me. I fell in love with this plant at a very early age. My choices were either to be a criminal for the rest of my life, or to make it legal, or to stop using cannabis — and I certainly wasn’t going to stop using cannabis. I didn’t like being illegal and being hunted so it became a prerequisite. Legalization became a prerequisite for my own personal happiness, so I made it my mission.”
DeAngelo says the pioneers of the cannabis industry are activists, many of whom were there for what he calls the “birth of the industry” in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early ‘90s. Thus, many of the leading cannabis businesses in California have come out of that activist mentality.
To find out more about Steve DeAngelo and ArcView, and for a look inside the fastest growing, most controversial industry maybe ever, read our in-depth story on the cannabis industry.