Andrew DeAngelo is one of the foremost visionaries shaping the modern cannabis industry. His motto is, “I build organizations,” and he has a proven track record of enacting systemic social change and best practices in the space. As a global cannabis consultant, DeAngelo lends his vast cannabis business and political expertise to the community at large, including several strategic partnerships with the world's leading cannabis-centric service firms. Most recently, he was named one of Forbes’s Top 5 Cannabis Industry Consultants You Need To Know.
Who Is Cannabis Consultant Andrew DeAngelo?
Over three decades as an activist, DeAngelo worked on a variety of voter initiatives which legalized medical and adult-use cannabis in San Francisco, Washington D.C, and the State of California. He has been instrumental in establishing the structure for major organizations within legal cannabis, particularly as co-founder of Harborside, the world’s oldest and largest medical dispensary system. DeAngelo led the design and development of gold-standard retail for the industry, innovating many “firsts.” His achievements include introducing CBD medicine to heal severely epileptic children as documented in Discovery Channel’s Weed Wars, implementing the first lab-testing program in the history of cannabis dispensing, creating child-resistant packaging for edibles, standardizing inventory tracking, initiating senior outreach, and successfully preventing the federal government from seizing Harborside in forfeiture actions against the company in 2012.
Also an actor, DeAngelo began his political career as an activist while studying for his MFA in acting at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. He has starred in several films and runs an entertainment production company, DeAngelo Brothers Productions (DAB), with his brother Steve. Andrew is co-founder of the nonprofit Last Prisoner Project (LPP) and a founding Board of Directors member of the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), where he served from 2013 to 2020.
What Makes Andrew DeAngelo An Outstanding Cannabis Consultant?
“As a consultant, my real reward comes from seeing my clients succeed,” DeAngelo says. “I get in the trenches with them with that singular focus in mind. After building Harborside for 16 years, and successfully growing Last Prisoner Project into a $4M a year nonprofit, I’m excited to help others make their cannabis dreams come true.”
His consulting mission is to assist entrepreneurs in the United States and internationally to enter the cannabis industry or improve their current cannabis businesses. DeAngelo guides entrepreneurs strategically, so they can differentiate their businesses and compete with anyone in the space. He specializes in building companies and organizations from the ground up and creating products and experiences that delight customers. Additionally, DeAngelo assists larger cannabis companies in building internal culture and authentic connections to customers. However, his true vision is to help small and medium-sized businesses find their footing in the industry and capital market share; he identifies his ideal client as “a successful entrepreneur who wants to expand their reach into the cannabis sector.”
What Is Andrew DeAngelo’s Advice For Those Seeking A Cannabis Consultant?
“Always work backwards from your goals and outcomes, then find the consultant who has the experience to make it happen for you,” DeAngelo recommends. “Meet with the consultant and if you’re impressed, try them out on a limited engagement first. If you’re not having a great experience with a consultant, move on quickly. Don’t keep burning through invoices. It’s important for the experience to be excellent for the client. Settle for nothing less.”
Andrew DeAngelo’s Generation X-Inspired Weedsday Playlist
When it comes down to what inspired his Weedsday Playlist, DeAngelo can’t help quoting actor Chris Eigeman (Metropolitan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel): “I picture Generation X as mature adults living in a state of perpetual adolescence.”
To elaborate, he explains, “I am a Gen Xer, so this list is inspired by my generation of stoner musicians. Take a trip back to the 80s and 90s and remodel your buzz with some retro beats coming out of two turntables and a microphone. I’m a political animal, so let’s not forget to throw your fist in the air and get mad. [But] people like me cannot live on rage alone. The soundtrack of my life has to have a little kink in it, a little swagger, and a fat dose of attitude, too. This is music that makes you move so don’t be afraid to shake your booty. You are invited to put on your ear goggles, light that fat joint, and get yourself down with some Gen X sounds.”
The Beastie Boys - "Jimmy James"
Check Your Head was the album that made the Beastie Boys. It’s pure New York. This track kicks it off with a thunderous beat and the fun and optimistic lyrics that became the Beastie Boys trademark. It was their first purely hip hop album and it showed the world that the boys were here to stay. They play instruments, mix in samples, blend it all together on multiple tracks, and rap as good as any white boys ever did. I used to listen to this in my dorm room and smoke weed out of a 3-foot Graffix bong and dream of hitting the big time. It is youth music at its finest.
Cypress Hill - "Hits From The Bong"
When this song dropped, weed was a dangerous lifestyle and a risky business. There was no legalization anywhere. A lot of Xers went to prison, especially people of color. It is hard to imagine now how crazy that is, but that was our life. It was reality. Cypress Hill pioneered the stoner hip hop genre. They were the first to celebrate all things weed in their music. They didn’t hide their weed habit like most stoners did to survive. They smoked it, dealt it, grew it, found it, moved it, and wrote lyrics about it. They smoked on stage and threw joints into the crowd. No one had the balls to do that but Cypress Hill. I played this song over and over when I was dealing weed inside run down warehouses in industrial neighborhoods. It was an anthem for us.
*Editor's Note: Did you know? CelebStoner publisher Steve Bloom chose Cypress Hill's "Insane In The Brain" for his Weedsday Playlist, and music icon Rob Paine chose Cypress Hill's "I Wanna Get High" for his. You can check out Bloom's list here, and Paine's list here.
The Lords Of Acid - "I Sit On Acid"
This is a naughty little song from a band that celebrated all things sex, drugs, and dancing. We did a lot of sexual experimentation back in the 1990s. LGBTQIA+ folks were just starting to get liberated and Gen X was trying out queer sex, group sex, and drug sex. These were the best of times and no band personified pure hedonistic rebellion more than the Lords. To this day, their contribution to being a free flying orgasmic freak is heads above any other band I know of.
Rage Against The Machine - "People Of The Sun"
It is hard to pick just one Rage Against The Machine song because all of them are just so good. Celebrated as the most political rock and roll band ever, they dropped this song on their second album. It’s written in dedication to the original inhabitants of Mexico, who were slaughtered and conquered by Spanish conquistadors. Zack de la Rocha, lead vocalist of Rage and a Mexican-American himself, calls for the Mexican people to reclaim their proud heritage and prosper. My own connection to Mexico came mostly from smuggling and selling fine cannabis from that country and this song was a soundtrack for every load.
Lou Reed - "Dirty Boulevard"
New York rock n’ roll is Lou Reed. From his seminal album named after the city he knew better than most, this track captures the angry heartbreak of Lou’s best tunes. Every track on this album is terrific but this one really personifies 1990s New York. The gritty streets before gentrification set in, the drugs and violence, the cops busting heads, and the ever present desire to “fly fly away.”
What are your favorite Weedsday tracks? Tell us about them - reach out at @honeysucklemagazine on Instagram and @HoneysuckleMag on Twitter!
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Featured image: Andrew DeAngelo (C) Jamie Soja @sojaphoto