Courtesy of The Weldon Project | Mission [Green]
After spending 13 years in prison for a cannabis conviction, Weldon Angelos, a presidential pardon recipient, founded The Weldon Project to advocate for the release of others who are serving time for cannabis offenses.
Upon his release from prison after serving 13 years of a mandatory 55-year prison sentence for selling $900 worth of cannabis in a sting operation, Weldon Angelos, once an aspiring musician, has dedicated his life to ending cannabis prohibition and mass incarceration through The Weldon Project.
Angelos, who was once an upcoming music producer and recording artist working with Snoop Dogg, Tupac and others, sold $300 worth of cannabis to a confidential informant on three occasions, a low-level crime that prosecutors used to charge Angelos with 20 different federal crimes. In 2004, when he was just 25 years old, he was convicted of 16 of the 20 counts and was sentenced to 55 years in prison without the possibility of early release.
In addition to 13 drug, firearm and money laundering charges, Angelos was convicted of three counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He received a five-year mandatory minimum for the first charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; a consecutive 25-year sentence for the second; and another consecutive 25-year sentence for the third.
The Weldon Project
“My judge felt that a 6 1/2-year sentence, 6 1/2 to eight years, would fully punish me for all the conduct that I engaged in,” Angelos told Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary in a June 25 interview. “But my mandatory minimum was 55 years, and he had no choice.”
Paul Cassell, the federal judge who issued the mandatory sentence, spoke out against it and ultimately resigned from his lifetime appointment to the federal bench