Deep Green Fest II: Educating, Enlightening and Inspiring Green Goodness

Photos and Story by Sharon Letts

Richmond, CA – Deep Green Fest II was held the day after 4-20 in the picturesque locale of the historic Craneway Pavilion, located just over the Richmond Bridge from San Francisco.

Ganesha watches over Deep Green 2012 at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California.

Joining up purposefully with Earth Day celebrations, Deep Green’s intent is to educate and enlighten on all things green – including Hemp, Cannabis, and holistic healing with a healthy dose of politics thrown in for good measure.

Four stages featured music, lectures, and panels on everything from bee keeping to Cannabis, Hemp and legalization of both, Canna economics, responsible business models, and protecting children in the crossfire.

The star of the event was Stephen DeAngelo of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center with his brother Andrew close by.  Both were featured in the Discovery Channel’s “Weed Wars,” and promises of a second season of the hotly debated super mini-series were Tweeted earlier in the week by Stephen, but quelled by event day with a promise of finding a new network.

Still, there was no lack of media and cameras, as Cali’s Canna culture now includes several outlets streaming online, including Marijuana TV and Reality Check TV, who interviewed this author for its self-proclaimed “late night underground cable TV show.”

Miss High Times 2011, Kim Khronic, enjoying the medicating area at 4:20.

The stoner language is a decided issue, and DeAngelo had a very busy day setting participants straight in three forums expounding on politics of the plant and looking to the future. “Wellness Not Intoxication” was presented by DeAngelo to further quell the fancy editing job from “Weed Wars,” and Stephen’s partial comments on recreation vs. good medicine.

The subject hit home during my own interview when a discussion of semantics came into play, and I felt the need to set the interviewer straight. Looking outside, the medicating area was a good example, as many activists fighting the fight are not well, including this writer. We are patients fighting this fight, and I was grateful for the opportunity to medicate with Cannabis while working – not “get stoned on Marijuana,” thank you very much.

Canna writer Craig Carroll questions David Long of LEAP as to the feelings of working law enforcement vs. retired.

The event was a mix of celebration and frustration, as it came on the heels of Federal raids against many collectives throughout the State of California, and just two weeks after Oaksterdam in neighboring Oakland was jointly raided by both the Feds and the IRS.

Brothers Andrew and Stephen DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center, aka: “Weed Wars” stars.

Oaksterdam’s driving force Richard Lee announced he would be stepping down just days prior to the event, with Dale Sky Jones stepping up. Supporters of Lee held signs sporting, “Richard Lee for President,” with Stephen DeAngelo announcing vehemently he was now a “one issue voter.”

While collectives hold their breath, others are moving forward, providing ancillary services to the industry. Hemp clothing was prominent at the event, as were packaging and energy solutions, testing, edibles, and concentrates – an item terribly misunderstood by law enforcement, but essential for medicating.

Joining the conversation and expanding the topic for the sake of Earth Day were bee tenders, spice and tea makers, and others demonstrating there is more to a holistic healing package than mere Cannabis as an alternative therapy.

Security for medicating outside was chill, yet responsible, with signs reminding participants to keep it at the event.

A panel moderated by Mikki Norris of West Coast Leaf included co-author of Prop. 19 Paul Armentano, patient/mom/activist Angel Raich, and Deborah Peterson Small of Break the Chains, discussed children as fragile victims of the failed War on Drugs.

Points were made on the main stage throughout the day, including “Cannabis as Preventive Medicine and Curative Agent” by Clint Werner, author of “Marijuana: Gateway to Health;”  Deborah Peterson Small of Break the Chains on  “The impact of the Drug War on minorities;” Paul Stanford of the “Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012,” on “The Truth about Hemp and Cannabis;” Hemp expert Chris Conrad of West Coast Leaf on Hemp economics; and Dale Gieringer of California NORML presented his “Strategies for ending Prohibition,” to name a few hotly debated topics.

The event continued into the night, featuring entertainment by Human, Dogon Lights, The Luminaries, Indubious, and Jillian Ann. Canna Comic Ngaio Bealum opened the main stage, soon joined by activist Dragonfly de la Luz and comic Sherry Glaser.

Canna Activist Deborah Peterson Small of “Break the Chains” addresses the crowd on the main stage.

Outside in the medicating area the LovEvolution Solution Bus hosted a party of its own. While DJs spun, scratched and tapped, participants medicated in the sun. The bus began its three month nationwide “2012 Magic Love Bus Journey” prior to the event, with the message of acceptance for all in a global awakening.

At times it seems a global awakening is needed to break the chains of ignorance surrounding Hemp and Cannabis. Events such as Deep Green will help nurture the conversation that will eventually lead to change.

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