For the noobs

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

This may seem kind of random and simple, but here is my question: What is the best way to smoke pot?

—New Bee

This is a great question. Stoners have argued and debated about the best way to smoke weed for decades. Each method has its pros and cons:

Bongs are great for big, giant, lung-busting hits, although contrary to popular myth, the water doesn’t really filter out many toxins. Bongs can also be messy (freshly spilled bong water is the worst) and a pain in the keister to keep clean.

Joints (my personal favorite) are a tad wasteful, although they are easy to use—and easy to eat if you are in a place where marijuana is still illegal—and they taste great! Some folks complain about the taste of the paper, but there are plenty of upscale rolling paper brands that burn clean and are virtually ash-free. Also, if you drop a joint on the sidewalk, it probably won’t shatter into a million pieces.

Pipes are probably the most convenient way to smoke marijuana. A good hit from a clean pipe is my preferred method for fancy-pants weed tasting. My friend Michael Backes, author of Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana, recommends a good hit from a clean glass pipe as the most efficient way to smoke cannabis. He also says that you don’t have to hold your breath. One good inhale and exhale should give you exactly what you need.

But really, there is no wrong way to smoke cannabis. It’s all good.

Let me get this straight: I can carry up to an ounce of weed anywhere in California. Anywhere. Is that correct?

—Nat Geo

Yes, but there are a few exceptions. You can’t carry cannabis on school grounds, because, duh. Also: No “open containers” of weed in your car. I am not quite sure if a plastic baggie counts as an “open container,” but I am sure there will be a court case about it sooner rather than later. I feel like the police are gonna want folks to carry little lockable stash bags, like they do in Colorado.

I advise you to keep your weed in the trunk as a way to avoid unpleasant encounters with the police. You can’t possess weed on federal property. Cannabis is still federally illegal, and I am sure new U.S. Attorney General Jeff “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” Sessions would like to keep it that way.

You can’t carry weed with you in national parks or in casinos, although I hear vapor pens are very discreet. Speaking of vapes and concentrates, you can carry around up to 8 grams of any sort of concentrated cannabis product like wax or shatter. Eight grams of hash is enough to stop a party dead in its tracks, and possession of hash used to be a felony, so I am all sure the dabheads are extremely happy with that particular rule. Have fun possessing weed while having no fear of arrest!