Fighting off the capitalists

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

Hello. I am all for legalizing marijuana, but I worry about gigantic corporations trying to monopolize the marijuana industry. What can I do?

—Khan Cerned

You can relax a little. Big Marijuana may be on the horizon, but it is not here yet. The capitalists and the corporations are definitely looking to get in on the marijuana legalization movement. I take that back. The capitalists don’t really care about the legalization movement, they just want to be there when marijuana is legalized so they can jump in and take the money. They will try to make it so that when the marijuana laws are changed, the costs to open a cannabis-based business (licensing fees, insurance requirements, etc.) will be so expensive that all the mom-and-pop growers will be unable to go start their own businesses.

It won’t work. What “the suits” fail to realize is that they are dealing with outlaws (I use the word “outlaw” as a term of affection when it comes to pot growers). Washington and Colorado both have legalized weed, and the underground pot market is still going strong. If these businesspeople think that passing a bunch of restrictive regulations to give themselves an unfair advantage will stop people that have been growing marijuana illegally for decades, they are deluded.

The marijuana industry has always been a decentralized marketplace, mostly by necessity. No one wants to draw too much attention or get too big, lest they draw the ire of the feds. That has changed a little in states where recreational cannabis is legal, as people are creating brands and getting celebrity endorsements, but the fact remains: You can’t regulate marijuana like it’s tobacco or Sudafed. We need to regulate weed less like some sort of super-dangerous narcotic and more like tomatoes or wine. Oregon’s new marijuana laws do a really good job of keeping the costs of starting a cannabis business low, and there’s no lottery for pot licenses, like there was in Washington.

One last thing: Even if some giant corporations go ham and start trying to corner the market, they may get good business from the squares and newbs, but the true chronnissuers will stick to their artisanal, small batch, “micro-grow” cannabis brands. I mean, Budweiser is cool, I guess, but I would rather have an Anchor Steam or a Ruhstaller.

When I smoke weed I get paranoid. I am also schizophrenic. I love the taste of the bud and I love the high feeling. I get raps in my head sometimes but after two minutes I get paranoid and do crazy things. The smoke feels smooth so I smoke most of the blunt or all of it, I take more than two hits. I wanted to avoid asking you ’cuz you might tell me to quit and I dont want to. What should I do?


Dude. Quit. Or at least take two hits and stop. You may want to try strains with less THC and more CBD. Maybe you should talk to your therapist.