Steve DeAngelo believes the time is right to empower the nation as a whole to change the image and perception of cannabis. In his latest role as president of the ArcView Group, he aims to contribute to the success of courageous investors and the entrepreneurs who most effectively represent the new legal cannabis industry. The idea is nothing new for DeAngelo. He has based his entire career on the many benefits of cannabis as a plant, working to reform laws that stand in the way of those who could be helped by its healing properties and defining how cannabis entrepreneurship can, and should, embrace activism.
Steve co-founded and directed California’s most widely acclaimed medical cannabis dispensary – Harborside Health Center. As the star of the Discovery Channel’s reality show Weed Wars, he presented viewers with an inside look at Harborside, and with it a model of professionalism and integrity seldom associated with the fledgling cannabis industry. Harborside’s free holistic care clinic, laboratory tested medicine and low-income care package program garnered acclaim by the community, city council, and local law enforcement in Northern California and beyond.
In 2009, after every commercial laboratory in the Bay Area refused to test Harborside’s medicine, due to fear of retaliation by the federal government, DeAngelo launched the industry’s first lab testing service. Steep Hill Labs is among the nation’s leading medical cannabis analysis, safety screening and quality assurance facilities and recently announced a $5 million public stock offering.
A decade earlier, DeAngelo had been instrumental in the passage of Washington D.C.’s medical cannabis initiative, Initiative 59. Despite winning with 69% of the vote, I-59 was vetoed by the US Congress. DeAngelo describes himself as “shocked and disillusioned by this violation of majority rule.” The experience motivated his move to California in late 2000 where, unlike D.C., medical cannabis legislation was not subject to a Congressional veto. DeAngelo quickly immersed himself in local medical cannabis activism, helping found national patients’ advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. He wrote and produced “For Medical Use Only”, a short documentary film; helped organize several legal cannabis gardens, and developed a new form of cannabis concentrate.
DeAngelo is still an activist, a man whose footprint on the emergence of cannabis as a viable, legal industry is as visible as ever. Most recently, in response to approaches by investors seeking advice about the cannabis industry, and cannabis entrepreneurs seeking capital, he co-founded the ArcView Group. This latest venture provides a kind of match-making service, fostering entrepreneurship by matching investors to opportunities.
On his website, DeAngelo states: “I’ll always be grateful to my mother, Lois Rowan, for having the great intuition and foresight to give birth to me on June 12, 1958—at precisely 4:20 PM. As most visitors to this site already know, 4:20 is known throughout the cannabis diaspora as a code for consumption of our favorite plant.”
The 4:20 term did not become part of mainstream pot vernacular until it was popularized in the 1990s by Hemp Tour, an organization co-founded by DeAngelo in 1989 to educate America on the industrial uses of hemp. DeAngelo comments:
Many folks will of course just attribute the time of my birth to coincidence, to the off chance settling of random factors into an accidentally profound statement. Believe that if it makes you feel better, if you feel the need to cling to the strict plane of simple rationality; but one of the things I have learned from the cannabis plant is that the complexity of our world cannot be fully explained with rationality, that what we view as coincidence is often really synchronicity, a clue to (glimmer of) the existence of a heretofore unrecognized connection– and a guidepost to those with the courage and faith to acknowledge and act on them.
DeAngelo serves on the Board of Directors of the Emerald Growers Association, which represents the outdoor cannabis farmers of California’s northern counties, also known as “The Emerald Triangle.” Today, the Triangle has the largest concentration of experienced cannabis cultivators anywhere, and the cannabis produced there is coveted worldwide.
Among many awards for his work, DeAngelo received a Seattle Hemp Fest 2012 Cannabis Activist Award and in an Official Commendation from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2013.