Bud and basketball

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.

I don’t think I’ve seen commentary from you on the black market of marijuana. Considering your experience and knowledge in marijuana over a few decades, have you noticed or heard of a decrease, increase or unchanged amount of low-grade “brown frown” on the black market?

—C. D’Standstems

via Twitter

First of all, I live in California, so low-grade weed is hard to find out here. Even in states where weed is illegal, you don’t see that brown, compressed—because it was smuggled in from Mexico or Jamaica or wherever—seedy, unflavored weed anymore.

Seriously. I haven’t run into any “brick weed” since I bought a $20 ounce in Farmington, New Mexico, around 1996. This is a good thing. No one wants to smoke low-grade weed, especially when you can buy good California weed just about anywhere in the United States and parts of Europe. There is no profit in importing subpar pot across international borders anymore. So, yes, I have seen a decrease in low-grade weed in the traditional market, and I thank the weed gods and the paraquat scare of the ’70s for making it so that we never have to smoke terrible grass ever again.

When will an entity like the NFL or NBA change their stance on weed?

—Mon E. Ball

I am surprised that the NBA hasn’t changed its stance already. Weed and basketball go together like weed and basketball. Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, told sports blog SB Nation last May: “My own view is that there are substantial signs that support [marijuana’s] efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management.”

Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Bleacher Report last December that he and Roberts have a somewhat similar view on this, which is: “We should follow the science. … This is not an ethical issue for me. It’s not a moral issue for me. I obviously see what’s happening in states around America.”

The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expires in 2022 or 2023 (there’s an opt-out clause). If the rules haven’t changed by then, I think any new agreement would reduce cannabis testing and penalties. Go Warriors! Bring back the halftime weed ramp!

As for the NFL, it just agreed with its players association to sponsor joint studies looking into cannabis’ efficacy as a pain reliever. Even though many current players regularly use cannabis (looking at you, Chris Long), the league pretends to be strict and still suspends players who test positive for THC (although my understanding is that the NFL’s drug test is easy to plan for if you pay attention).

The NFL is owned by fuddy-duddies, and I don’t expect them to let go of the preconceived notions about the “devil’s lettuce” anytime soon.