America proves its love for marijuana

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at

Hey Ngaio. Is weed still winning?

—Hank Hermit

Are you kidding? All weed do is win! Last week, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., all voted to legalize marijuana for adults. Florida came very close to passing a medical-marijuana law with 58 percent of the vote. You would think that would be enough, but Constitutional amendments in Florida need 60 percent to pass. I still count it as a moral victory.

First, I would like to congratulate and thank all of the activists that spent years and countless hours to get the Oregon law passed. Anthony Johnson, Lee Berger, Paul Stanford, Madeline Martinez, Anna Diaz, Russ Belville, and the hundreds of other activists, you all kick ass. Well done.

This is how the law will work: Adults 21 and older may legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and have up to 8 ounces in the house. They can also grow four plants. They can also give (not sell!) up to an ounce of cannabis to another adult. That part of the law starts in July 2015, but I am pretty sure the police won’t go on some sort of last-minute marijuana possession arrest spree between now and then. When legalization hit Washington, most of the people that had been arrested for marijuana had their charges dropped. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has until January 2016 to come up with rules and regulations for the recreational cannabis industry. Cities can still decide to ban recreational pot shops, but some cities have already passed laws imposing a “sin” tax on weed sales (Oregon generally has no sales tax) in anticipation of Proposition 91’s passing.

Way up in Alaska, home of the Matanuska Thunderfuck (a really great regional strain. I would put it up there with the Yeager from Southern Oregon and Three Kings from Humboldt County), voters passed Measure 2, and now they can possess an ounce and grow up to six plants (three adults). They are creating some sort of marijuana commission to oversee regulations. The tax is $50 per wholesale ounce. Eight hunnert dollars per pound sounds a little high to me, but maybe pot is cheaper in Alaska. I guess an extra $6 on an eighth of legal grass is a small price to pay.

Out in the Chocolate City of Washington, D.C., Measure 71 won with almost 65 percent of the vote. That’s what’s known as a landslide. Now residents and visitors to the nation’s capital can possess up to 2 ounces (I guess you need more weed in D.C. because politicians) and three plants. There is a caveat: The District of Columbia needs congressional approval on laws like this. Congress stalled D.C.’s medical-marijuana law for 10 years. So this is maybe not a great time to have the largest Republican majority in Congress.

Of course, this means that California must be next. We are currently in fifth place. Everyone start planning for 2016. It’s not that far away, and you are probably stoned, so you should be more proactive.