An excellent BuMMR

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

I hear there is a new Weed Czar in town. I would like to know more.

—Tab U. LaRasa

You are correct! Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Lori Ajax, currently the chief deputy director of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, to head the new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. (By the way, Brown signed Assembly Bill 21, so that March 1 deadline for cities and towns to develop regulations is a thing of the past.) Ajax—a Republican, if you care about those things; I know plenty of folks on all sides of every aisle who want clear and fair statewide regulations—will have to be approved by the Senate. If she gains approval, she will be in charge of creating an entirely new state agency, the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. Aside from the unfortunate acronym (BuMMR, which is the opposite of what cannabis does), this new agency will have to deal with a ton of BS from all sides. The NIMBYs, the techies, the growers, the water providers, et al. will be clamoring to make sure they all receive their fair share of unfair advantages. To call her new job a huge and gigantic undertaking is perhaps the understatement of the year and I wish her the best of luck. I will also most likely be hitting her up for a job, since she will need at least 40-50 people on her team. Everyone polish up your résumés!

Can you tell me more about CBD? My mother-in-law has questions.


It will be a pleasure. Cannabidiol, a.k.a. CBD, is one of the many therapeutic substances found in the marijuana plant. CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory effects, and is known to be an effective treatment for certain forms of epilepsy. Many states have passed laws that allow for cannabis-based medicines made with CBD, but not THC. I have no idea why that is. I guess it’s mostly because people still think of cannabis as a dangerous narcotic.

The thing is, and I am not a doctor, but my understanding of the cannabis plant is that it works best because of what they call the “entourage effect.” So, the THC works in conjunction with the CBD and the CBG and the myrcene and the pinene and the beta-carotene to make a happier, healthier person. Of course, some people need more CBD, some like more myrcene, what have you. I personally think pinene (smells like Christmas, think strains like Trainwreck or Jack Herer) is the bee’s knees. My point is, if a state is going to allow people who need medical cannabis to use CBD, why not let them use the whole plant? No one will die from a marijuana overdose, unlike the current spike in opioid-related deaths. In fact, states with medical marijuana laws have lower rates of narcotic use and fewer overdoses. Cannabis has been proven to be a safe, effective medicine for hundreds of years. All this selective prohibition is nonproductive. But anyway, yes, CBD is cool and it doesn’t get you high like THC does.