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BEVERLY HILLS – The proprietors of Harborside Health Center are on a mission to convert America to the miracles of marijuana and Discovery Channel’s Weed Wars is their calling card.
“I’ve seen what this medicine does for suffering patients,” said Steve DeAngelo, founder and executive director of Harborside. “I’m confident if the American people get to know my staff, my patients, they’re going to support our cause. People don’t really think about how many lives were lost in the labor movement.
“In my family we were taught to stand up for what we believe in, what was right,” he continued, adding that he grew up in Washington D.C. and was taken by his parents to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington to hand out sandwiches.
Harborside began in Oakland, California and now has a second location in San Jose. The clinics service 80,000 patients making it the biggest dispenser of medical marijuana in the country.
Steve DeAngelo, who wears his long brown hair in two braids, appeared at the Television Critics Association with his brother Andrew DeAngelo, Harborside’s general manager, and David Weddingdress, the clinic’s co-founder.
All three men have conditions that require medical marijuana. (Andrew DeAngelo has glaucoma, Steve DeAngelo has degenerative disc disease and Weddingdress has chronic back and knee pain.)
The men are somewhat concerned that the Discovery series will pique the attention of federal authorities prompting a raid. But their concern is outweighed by their commitment to proselytizing. [Medical marijuana is legal in California but is not recognized on a federal level.]
“Yes we have concerns about being raided,” said Steve DeAngelo. “At any moment the federal government could come through our doors and arrest us and do terrible things to our lives. The reasons we do it is we believe in this plant.”
The trio created quite an impression at the Beverly Hilton. Weddingdress (he changed his name) showed up in a, yes, dress. Though it was not white, rather is was purple tie-dye. He explained that he wears a dress everyday as a sort of sociological experiment.
“It’s my personal comfort zone and it’s also a political statement for me challenging what it means to be a man in this society,” he explained.
Taking the stage immediately after the Weed Wars panel, actor-director Eli Roth, who appears in Discovery’s Curiosity said: “We were just in the green room, and they turned that room green. If I start giggling uncontrollably, that’s probably why.”
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