02.23.2016
culture

Meet the Hostess of L.A.'s Dopest Weed Party—Angela Mazzanti

Talking "patients before profit" with Angela Mazzanti of Compas Sesh.

The cannabis community is as diverse as it is passionate about pot. Attend nearly any weed world event—the High Times Cannabis Cup, HempFest, and most industry or investment summits— and you’ll likely share joints and edibles and dabs with vastly different types of people.

This is way chill. Weed is enjoyed by everyone. 

The herb indeed brings people together and also represents one of the fastest growing American industries. Legal weed revenues are projected to land somewhere in the tens of billions of dollars over the next two decades. This weed money that previously flowed through illegal black markets, and is still mostly stored in cash, has entrepreneurs and investors competing to buy, build, or fund the next big bud business. 

Meanwhile, add that "legal" prefix to "weed industry," and the phrase still calls to mind images of large swaths of cash.

But some of the time it doesn't. 

Which is a fact Angela Mazzanti reminded us about from a warehouse venue in Van Nuys, California.

Mazzanti hosts Compas Sesh, a monthly pop-up party for medical weed patients and L.A.'s devoted cannabis community. 

I caught up with Mazzanti at the February sesh to talk about the notion of putting “patients before profit" and producing a grassroots legal weed function in a state where recreational consumption is still illegal.

The KIND: How did you become involved with Compas Sesh?

Angela Mazzanti: I was originally asked by Dan [Rocha, event organizer] to host the sesh, and it just grew from there. I was mainly down to be a part of this because so many weed industry events charge between $50 and $100, just for admission. Instead of an entrance fee, we encourage patients to make a donation. [Editor's Note: In February, patients donated a pair of children's shoes at-the-door.]

The KIND: What goes into planning an event like this? 

Angela Mazzanti: The most important part is definitely securing exhibitors, a venue, and making sure all of the legal paperwork is in place. Then just like any other event, we worry about everything from lining up sponsors, to music, and food. I had a big following on Instagram before I began working on the sesh, which has helped in marketing the event. It seems like we're getting bigger every month.

The KIND: With California being a medical-marijuana state, how difficult is it to secure venues?

Angela Mazzanti: The venue we booked in January shut us down halfway through the event––which was more of an issue on their end than anything having to do with the legality of it all. It can be tough. Everyone that attends Compas Sesh is a medical marijuana patient. But of course, what we’re doing is technically still federally illegal. 

The KIND: Some people within the weed community seem to be posting opinions to social media on a "patients before profit" mentality. What do they mean?

Angela Mazzanti: There is a lot of money to be made in this industry. And a lot of people behind the big events can get money-hungry. We try to promote the idea that it's not always about the money. It is about the patients and the people that come to these events and make up the community. All of the exhibitors and sponsors we work with are making really high quality and unique products. Sure, you can find some of them in dispensaries, but it's not like people can just go to the corner store and find a lot of these products or brands. So we try to showcase them as such, and offer everyone a space to enjoy cannabis and to smoke together. I've met patients that are coming back each month, and becoming more like friends.

The KIND: What advice would you offer to someone thinking of entering the cannabis industry?

Angela Mazzanti: Learn as much as you can. The more informed you are, the better off you’ll be. Just like any other job or industry, research is important. Seek out companies who are in it for the right reasons, and those that are putting out quality products, not  just trying to make a quick buck.

The KIND: How do you see the legal weed space evolving over the next five years?

Angela Mazzanti: I see this whole industry—especially if cannabis does become recreationally legal—just blowing up. The possibilities are endless. There will definitely be a "Pepsi," and "Coca Cola" of weed. Hopefully more people will feel better, or at least more comfortable about cannabis. Maybe less people would abuse opioids or painkillers if they had more access to or knew about the benefits of medical marijuana. 

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