Michael Franti asked on his FB Page today….
In California we will be voting on Proposition 19, which will legalize possession of one ounce of marijuana or growing a 5 foot by 5 foot garden of pot, for people over 21. This is a very simple explanation of the proposition, but I’m curious what everyone thinks and if you would vote yes or no?
This is an article I did for WCC a while back that has a great quote from Michael on the need to be active to change laws. Well, we got off the couch, Michael. Now can we get your endorsement? Pretty please with sugar on top?
How Michael Franti’s Power to the Peaceful Event is changing the World
Not even the cold mist and mild rains of a September afternoon in San Francisco can dampen the spirits of Bay Area native Michael Franti. It can’t even get him to put shoes on. Franti’s 11th Annual Power to the Peaceful event fills Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadows with earth activists, peaceful spirits, and a diverse crowd focused on music, arts, and action. The tree-lined meadow is overflowing with inspired people that are sponging up the vast educational resources geared towards motivating the masses to community service and conscious thinking. The western side of the meadow is filled with people gathered in front of the main stage enjoying the musical talents of great artists, including the great Allanis Morissett (As seen on Weeds), Cherine Anderson, Sly and Robbie, Sellassie, and of course the barefoot Franti’s own Spearhead.
I caught up to Michael Franti backstage for a brief moment and asked him if he had any words of wisdom for the readers of West Coast Cannabis magazine. He smiled and approached me, looked me right in the eye and said this:
“If you use cannabis, or know someone who does, you have no excuse to not be fighting for cannabis freedoms every day. There is no room for a lazy stoner on this one. Everyone needs to get of the couch to fight for cannabis rights.”
That is powerful stuff when you think about it. Franti has spent most of his career on the cutting edge of progressive action and human rights issues. This laid back and incredibly friendly soul could not have been more serious on this one. You could tell that he too has had enough of the battle over the cannabis plant. The sincerity in his request for everyone to stand up and fight for its freedom was inspiring. Power to the Peaceful touches on such major issues as global war, the environment, poverty, and responsibility to our fellow man, but Michael Franti was no less serious about the issue of cannabis than he was about any of the other issues he has dedicated his life to helping.
Power to the Peaceful is not a cannabis related event by any means but there were plenty of cannabis enthusiasts in the crowd. A mellow and soothing cannabis cloud would rise from the massive crowd as the music filled the air with the sounds of freedom. Many cannabis policy groups had booths educating the crowd on the benefits of the cannabis plant and its many derivatives. The always-smiling Jonathan Perri was holding down the Students for Sensible Drug Policy booth enlisting students to join the cause. The packed Cannabis Action Network booth, headed up by BPG’s Roger La Chance, distributed oodles of free information to the crowd and had a wide array of cannabis products for sale. Professor Chad Gilmore organized Oaksterdam University’s spot working hard on signing up volunteers and staff for the upcoming Tax and Regulate initiative. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies was educating the masses. There were cannabis clothing lines and vapor and glass vendors shopping their wares. For an event that was not directly related to cannabis, the cannabis communities made a strong showing and were some of the most popular attractions.
Moving towards the eastern side of the event there was a kids area set up for young activists. There was a stage where kid bands performed, including the Bird School PTTP Band, Bay Area Girls, and the Peace Outs. These acts were inspiriting and adorable. There were booths where kids could throw beanbags and knock out fossil fuels and a booth where they could take pictures with their head as a “chicken apple.” A painting wall was set up where kids could get a little messy and get their art on. My kid was so excited he painted “I love fossil fuels” the length of the wall. My wife laughed and turned his mistaken wording into a teachable moment and the educational opportunity that they had hoped to provide was fulfilled. The Scraper Bike Crew from Oakland came out to tell the kids why bicycles were a beneficial way to get around and performed a lively rendition of the Scraper Bike Anthem. These colorful bikes, decorated like their Scraper Car older brothers, were dialed in and turned heads all over as the cruised the event.
There were food booths with delicious looking fare of all kinds. My kids (and myself) could not pass up the delicious hand-dipped chocolate ice cream bars rolled in Oreo cookies. Some booths had exotic foods from far away lands, while others catered to the vegan crowd. The Thai Barbecue spot smelled delicious and there was a curry dish I saw one festivalgoer enjoying that looked incredible. There was no sign of global hunger at this event and the wide array of food vendors were packed with hungry and thankful patrons.
Alanis Morisette gave an amazing and spirited performance. Her folks melodies took the crowd back to a place in time and Alanis showed us all that she still has a great set of vocal chords. Sitting on a stool overlooking the crowd one fan screamed, “I love you!” She obliged replying, “I love you to. I love this great little city. Well it is not so little, so I guess I love this great big city.” Her jagged Little Pill hits were crowd favorites, as many fans could be heard singing along and enjoying the tunes.
Michael Franti and Spearhead packed the crowd for the grand finale. Their modern soul vibes electrified the crowd and closed the show out with conscious music and unifying messages like only Spearhead can bring. Franti, the man behind this great event, did not disappoint and gave the crowd one hell of a show. It was a motivational message filled with the reminders of peace, love, and humanity. The phrase “We can bomb the world to pieces, but we can’t bomb it into peace,” was the forefront message of the entire event and his motivational work was awe-inspiring. The funkadelic, hip-hop, reggae grooves kept the crowd moving. The cannabis smoke was thick throughout the set and the crowd danced and moved to the beat.
The weather held out, even though most of the music equipment was covered all day with plastic bags, as the mist was thick and the clouds periodically would let out some tinges of moisture. The day began early for some who came to take part in the 1000 Yogis for Peace and get their yoga stretching done for the day in the beautiful meadow. The event spilled over into Sunday with a forum at Herbst Theater for conversations on Climate Change, Girl’s Rights and Global Hunger. Franti and other leading humanitarian representatives engaged the crowd in sit-down workshops including reps from CARE, Back to Earth, the Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Potentia Foundation, Room to Read, Spark, UC Berkeley, Vitamin Angels and more. It was followed by mixer reception complete with Brazilian Dancers, drummers, and another spirited performance by Michael Franti.
The 11th Annual Power to the Peaceful was a huge success and seems to grow grander every year. There must have been more than 70,000 in attendance on Saturday alone. The event continues to evolve and expand its reach into the community to inspire others to serve their world. The music is great, but the spirit of the event and the meaning of the gathering is what why it is truly special. There is something special about gathering in the name of Peace. Being amongst a large group of socially conscious and responsible people is a refreshing change in an often-hectic world. The education and morality that this event inspires gives one a renewed sense of faith in humanity and lets us know we are not alone in our struggle to change the world. If you have not been, put it on your calendar for next year.
For more info on this event visit www.powertothepeaceful.org
This article was originally printed in West Coast Cannabis Magazine…..