DRAPER, Utah — Weldon Angelos’ own conviction and incarceration led to a push for federal criminal justice reform.
Now, he’s launched a new project to persuade President Trump to commute the sentences of others for cannabis-related convictions.
“When I got out, I left a lot of people behind,” Angelos said in an interview Wednesday with FOX 13.
Angelos has launched “The Weldon Project,” a group that is pushing for cannabis conviction reform.
“It’s hypocritical there’s companies out there making millions and billions and the federal government’s allowing this, but you’re keeping select individuals in prison for doing the same thing,” he said. “Now you’re an entrepreneur and ten years ago, you’re a criminal.”
Angelos was an up-and-coming rap producer in Utah when he was busted for selling marijuana to an undercover informant. His trial was high-profile in Salt Lake City (rapper Snoop Dogg was going to be a witness). Because he also had a firearm, he was given a mandatory minimum sentence in federal court of 55 years. Even the judge who sentenced him disagreed with it and eventually resigned from the federal bench.
Angelos served 12 years before his sentence was reduced and he was released from prison in 2016. Since then, he’s gotten involved in politics to push for criminal justice reform. He has worked with Utah Sen. Mike Lee and others to change federal laws.
Now, Angelos is tapping into his hip-hop roots to draft many famous friends to push for cannabis commutations. The first case is that of the rapper formerly known as “Loon.” Amir Muhadith is serving a federal prison sentence for conspiracy to traffic.
“We believe prisons should be reserved for those who pose a threat to society. You recently expressed concern for long prison sentences and stressed the importance of second chances for low-risk offenders,” the letter to President Trump states.
It’s signed by Angelos, Faith Evans, Napolean Beale, Benzino, Baby Bash, Kevin Garnett, among others. Also signing it is Alice Johnson, whose sentence was commuted by President Trump after being lobbied by Kim Kardashian West.
As he spoke to FOX 13, Angelos said he got a message from the White House expressing interest in a meeting.
“We can actually spotlight this problem and we’re hoping we can get Trump to take some action and do some mass commutations, especially those for cannabis,” he said. “Cannabis offenders should be the priority.”
Read the letter in support of Loon here:
DENVER – Carl’s Jr. is testing out a cannabis burger to stay at the forefront of the CBD trend.
The chain said Wednesday it will sell the Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight burger at one location in Denver, Colorado for just one day (April 20th, of course). The burger features a sauce infused with CBD, or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive hemp derivative.
Though the promotion is limited, it’s not a stunt. The burger chain is using the test to determine whether a CBD burger belongs on its permanent menu, said Patty Trevino, senior vice president of brand marketing for Carl’s Jr.
“It is something that feels right for the brand,” she told CNN Business. “We are all about innovation.”
Food, beverage and other consumer goods companies have been trying to figure out how to capitalize on growing interest in ingredients like CBD. Consumers are increasingly seeking products that offer an extra something, like increased energy or better gut health. CBD may fit the bill: Some studies suggest the CBD can help treat inflammation, pain, anxiety and seizures. Carl’s Jr. isn’t promoting any possible functional benefits of CBD, Trevino said.
Carl’s Jr. is hoping to please their customers, whom Trevino said tend to be interested in new trends. It’s also chasing “future Carl’s Jr. customers that are younger,” said Trevino. “They are more open to different flavors of products,” as well as benefits trendy ingredients may offer.
The chain first decided to explore CBD in January, after introducing a product based on another trend. Earlier this year, the chain announced a plant-based alternative to its signature burger in partnership with Beyond Meat.
“I was sitting down with our head chef Owen Klein, and we were talking about trends,” Trevino said. After the Beyond Meat launch, they came up with a wish list that included a CBD product. “We looked at ourselves and said, ‘You know what, let’s try.’”
CBD is an attractive new ingredient for companies, but they have to act carefully because regulation around use of the ingredient is ill-defined. Hemp was legalized nationally last year as part of the Farm Bill, but the Food & Drug Administration still hasn’t decided how to regulate CBD products. In a March interview with Brookings Institution, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said it could take several years before the agency fully legalizes CBD for use in food products and dietary supplements.
Starting small, in a market where cannabis regulation is “really strong,” will allow Carl’s Jr. to figure out how to move forward. Testing CBD could give the company an edge over competitors, because most of its locations are in Western states, where recreational cannabis is legal.
Because Carl’s Jr. decided to test in just one location on one day, it was able to bring a product to customers very quickly. The chain partnered with Bluebird Botanicals, a Colorado-based company that sells CBD oil and capsules, for the test.