Ancient seeds

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

What’s the longest running original, unadulterated strand of cannabis?

I think the important word in your question is “unadulterated.” Let’s see. What we know is that while the plant, itself, has been around for at least 15,000 years, mankind started using hemp for fabrics in China around 7,000 years ago. Folks started to figure out that you could smoke it a 1,000 or so years after that, if those burial grounds full of weed flowers and freeze-dried corpses carrying weed and seeds, which archaeologists have found, are any indication.

From China, hemp made its way all over the world. Hashish—the collected glands of the cannabis flower, gently heated and pressed into a sort of paste—became a popular drug across the Middle East during the 13th century. Cannabis eventually spread across Africa, and then over to the Americas. Hemp was grown just about everywhere, mostly for its fiber (the word “canvas” is derived from “cannabis”), but also as a medicine and recreational drug. Cannabis was completely legal in the U.S. until the mid-1920s, when a few states made it illegal. The federal government prohibited cannabis nationwide in 1937.

I don’t think there are any thousand-year-old, viable cannabis seeds laying around somewhere (although I would rather scientists use their DNA wizardry to grow Jurassic cannabis strains rather than recreate dinosaurs), but “landrace” strains still exist. African strains such as Durban Poison and Malawi Gold have been around for decades, if not longer, and tropical strains including Acapulco Gold and Panama Red can still be found south of the border. If you want to know more about the history and cultivation of classic cannabis cultivars, check out the Strain Hunters series on YouTube.

What’s the best way to start a career in cannabis?

If you’re looking for training, there are a few spots that will teach you all you need to know to get started. Oaksterdam University is a good spot in Oakland. You could also check out the Cannabis Training University online, or even the Cleveland School of Cannabis, if you aren’t on the West Coast.

But when you say “a career in cannabis,” what do you mean? There are so many niches. Do you want to own a club? Are you launching some sort of weed app? Are you a good grower? Are you good at sales? It’s not even a matter of “a career in cannabis” as much as it is “what branch of cannabis do I want to get into?”

My advice: Play to your strengths. Are you good at organizing and motivating? Manage a club or a lab. Good at sales? Distribution is probably your thing. There are plenty of job boards on the internet— and, for example. You don’t even need to do that anymore. You can find job openings in the cannabis industry listed on mainstream job sites such as Monster or Indeed. Tighten up your resume, find your nice clothes and go out and get a job, you stoner. Good luck.