Clemency activist, cannabis entrepreneur, and hip-hop producer Weldon Angelos was one of 15 people pardoned by President Trump on December 22—the list includes former Republican Representatives Duncan Hunter (CA) and Chris Collins (NY), as well as four former Blackwater contractors.
Angelos, who is the son of Greek immigrants and from Salt Lake City, UT, was sentenced to 55 years without the possibility of parole in 2004 for selling cannabis to an undercover officer three consecutive times, totaling $350. Because he had a concealed gun on him at the time of his arrest, he was subject to higher mandatory minimum sentencing and became incarcerated in 2004.
“I’m extremely grateful to the President for the second chance,” Angelos says to Forbes. “I’m a firm believer of mercy and second chances.”
Angelos’ sentence was controversial from the start. During his trial, his other career as a music producer and founder of hip-hop label Extravagant was used against him—prosecutors painted the picture of a gang member and a big-time drug dealer. That he refused a 15-year plea bargain was also used against him.
Published: December 26, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News