End weed shaming

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

What’s up with that new report about the FBI making a marijuana arrest every 42 seconds?

—Don’t Arrest Me

Yup. And people wonder why we’re paranoid.

The latest FBI report (read it at http://tinyurl.com/FBI420) shows that 81.8 percent of drug arrests are for possession only, and that just less than half (49.5 percent) of all drug arrests are for marijuana.

This is ridiculous. But the good news is that marijuana arrests are down compared to last year, as cities and states realize that arresting people for pot doesn’t stop people from using it. The district attorney in Seattle won the election by promising not to prosecute low-level marijuana cases, and Chicago has just passed a cannabis-decriminalization ordinance.

But the cops are coming around. Retired Baltimore narcotics cop Neill Franklin, who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said, “Taxpayers are spending between $1.5 billion and $3 billion a year just on the police and court time involved in making these arrests. That’s a lot of money to spend for a practice that four decades of unsuccessful policies have proved does nothing to reduce the consumption of drugs.”

But we may have reached a tipping point, as more and more noncannabis users realize that the “war on some drugs” is wasting tax money and costing this fragile economy real jobs and tax revenue. Stay active.

Am I allowed to grow my plants in my apartment, or do I need special permission from the manager?

—Thinking About Growing

In the state of California, a letter of recommendation from your doctor allows you to grow marijuana for your personal use. A few plants in your closet probably won’t bother anyone, but remember: Weed is stinky! A bunch of pot plants in full bloom will stink up not just your apartment, but most likely the whole hallway as well. Plus, you will have to be extra careful of damaging the property, what with the inevitable water and nutrient spills that take place.

How well do you know your apartment manager? You could ask them for permission, but they may not be very keen on the idea. This may be one of those it’s-easier-to-ask-for-forgiveness-than-permission type deals.

Your best bet may be to get an indoor grow box. These self-contained systems minimize odor and mess and can usually fit in a large closet or a corner of your room. SuperCloset (www.supercloset.com) makes good, albeit expensive ones. CollegeGrowBox (www.college growbox.com) is another option.

Hey, what’s a really good hiding place for pot in a modern home?

—Canna Concealer

Mid-century modern? Or McMansion modern? I think the real question is: Why should you hide your weed? Do you hide your booze? Stop shaming your weed!

Get a nice cigar box, place your pot inside and put it right on your coffee table. That way, when your friends come to visit, you can offer them a beer or a blunt. Be civilized, for crying out loud. Only you can prevent weed shaming. Be proud of your cannabis-using ways.