Clearing the record

Illustration by Maria Ratinova

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

Hey, I got busted for selling weed in California a long, long time ago. With weed being legal now, am I still a felon?

—Rudy Bwoy

You are in luck! Assembly Bill 1793 is on the governor’s desk, and he is expected to sign it. Once this bill becomes law, the Department of Justice will have until July 1 to search and modify the records of anyone caught for a cannabis violation between 1975 and 2016. While Proposition 64 allows for the expungement or modifications, no method was in place, and while some jurisdictions have already started the process (Big up San Francisco, Alameda and San Diego), other cities and counties showed no inclination to help folks clear their records. This law is a big deal. People with felony convictions have a hard time finding housing and jobs, even after they have served their time and paid their debt to society. Way to go, California!

From a scientific and medical standpoint, what would be the pros and cons of smoking medicinal marijuana?

—Rig O’rous

This one is easy. Pros: As far as recreational drugs go, cannabis is by far the least harmful. You can die from too much caffeine; not so with weed. Cannabis has been shown to be effective for many ailments, from anxiety to wasting syndrome. You can find a giant-ass list of studies on

Cons: Some folks will have panic attacks. Others may find that cannabis does not help them with their mental health issues. And of course, going to jail for weed is probably the biggest con there is, in both senses of the word. And that’s about it. Thank you for your time.

Hi Ngaio, are there any strains that reduce the munchies? Are the munchies even a legit thing or psychosomatic or what?

—Rig O’rous

The munchies are hella real. Weed stimulates the hypothalamus. This gland is responsible for sending hunger signals to the brain. Boom. Munchies. However, some strains are high in THCV, which is a form of THC that is known to be a bit of an appetite suppressant. I know, weed that makes you less hungry seems almost impossible, but it is true.