Today Glass House Brands announced a $25,000 donation to continue its support of The Weldon Project’s ongoing mission to assist individuals incarcerated for nonviolent, cannabis-related offenses. The company also announced that Glass House Brands Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Kyle Kazan has joined the Board of Directors of The Weldon Project.
The Weldon Project is a nonprofit organization co-founded by former cannabis prisoner Weldon Angelos—dedicated to both ending federal prohibition of cannabis and achieving criminal justice reform for people who are convicted of nonviolent cannabis-related offenses. The Weldon Project is an effort very near and dear to Kazan.
“From my first meeting with him, I sensed Weldon Angelos is a very special person, driven by an intense personal commitment to right the wrongs of the War on Drugs,” Kazan told High Times. “His own experience as a federal prisoner of the drug war is the flip-side of the same destructive, misguided policy I actively enforced as a police officer in the ’90s. We share a mission to heal the unjust, unequal wounds our country has inflicted on its own citizens for decades, and we also share a view on how to accomplish that.”
Kazan shares ethical values with the former prisoner—that no one belongs in prison for cannabis-related offenses. He recognizes the path forward can only be achieved in steps, beginning with clemency efforts and policy change.
“The very first step is to make certain that no one, absolutely no one, is incarcerated for possessing a plant,” Kazan said. “And once we have accomplished that, we face the much more challenging task of welcoming and reintegrating these people into society with expungement and wraparound support services for housing and jobs. We are building a regulated cannabis industry in this country, and no one deserves to be a part of it more than those who suffered along the path to its creation. I am proud to have the privilege of working with Weldon, and I am convinced that The Weldon Project will be a powerful force for good in unlocking thousands of jail cells and restoring these peoples lives.”
In the announcement, Angelos explained how a cannabis conviction can ruin the lives of Americans—essentially reducing them to second-class citizens. With Kazan’s appointment to the Board of Directors will help move this agenda forward.
“I’m excited to welcome Kyle to our Board of Directors as his commitment to our cause along with his experience in being a Director for nonprofits will make him a valuable new member for the Weldon Project. Kyle and his team at Glass House have been valuable partners in our ongoing fight to end cannabis incarceration around the country,” Angelos stated. “Individuals convicted of cannabis offenses essentially live as second-class citizens in modern society and are stripped of their abilities to access loans, housing and professional opportunities even after they have served their sentences. We will continue to work with Glass House and our other partners to ensure that the detrimental effects of cannabis prohibition are relics of the past.”
Glass House Brands and The Weldon Project collaborated to push for policy change and clemency programs. Glass House will help to raise funds for The Weldon Project and petition the Biden administration to free all federal nonviolent cannabis prisoners.
To do this, they will highlight the case of Parker Coleman, who is serving a 60-year federal sentence on a nonviolent cannabis conspiracy conviction. In January, Glass House also issued an open letter to former President Donald J. Trump, urging him to pardon Coleman. The case has gained support from Russ, Tory Lanez, NBA veteran Al Harrington and San Diego Padres pitcher Keone Kela.
The Weldon Project
The project sprung from dire consequences. Salt Lake City, Utah native Weldon Angelos received a mandatory minimum 55-year federal sentence for a nonviolent cannabis-related offense. His case was ignored by the United States Supreme Court, despite ongoing pleas from advocates. His sentence was finally commuted by former President Barack Obama in 2016 after serving 13 years in prison. In 2020, former President Trump granted him full pardon. His conviction’s reversal only happened due to the incessant lobbying from advocates including Snoop Dogg, political analyst Van Jones, Utah Senator Mike Lee and Koch Industries.
But The Weldon Project’s goal is to extend those freedoms to other prisoners serving hard time for similar nonviolent offenses.
The Weldon Project sent a letter on September 14 to President Joe Biden requesting a full, complete and unconditional pardon to all persons subject to federal criminal or civil enforcement based on nonviolent cannabis offenses. Glass House joined over 150 signatories that supported the letter to the president.
Glass House also produced a live panel discussion on the topic, hosted by cannabis reporter Mona Zhang and featuring Killer Mike, Angelos and Kazan, as well as rapper Ralo, who joined the conversation remotely from Clayton County Detention Center in Ashland, Alabama. Ralo is currently serving time for a nonviolent cannabis offense.