Green thumb

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

My friend! Let’s say I know a guy with a green card who wants to grow a plant or two in his backyard in San Francisco. What advice would you give the newbie grower? No idea where to even start.

—D. Dee.

Hello, my friend! The default in California is six mature plants and 12 nonmature plants. “Mature” plant means one that is flowering. San Francisco allows up to 24 plants before you start running into problems. Monterey County uses the state default number, and Sacramento has all sorts of arcane rules and regulations. Check your county’s website (yes, your county has a page about medical marijuana) and double-check the latest rules.

OK, moving forward. First of all, it’s way too late to put out a plant right now. Harvest season is upon us. Folks in the hills are just starting to cut and cure all manner of ripe and juicy buds.

I take that back: You could put a small indica plant outside right now and maybe harvest a few buds in about eight weeks. It won’t be a big, fat, monster specimen, but you could get some nice nugs. Consider it a practice run for next year.

Make sure your neighbors are cool. Ideally, your landlord should be cool as well. Don’t get kicked out of your expensive-ass SF apartment because of a hobby grow. Grab a few clones from your local dispensary. (Clones are easier than seeds.) I recommend Blue Dream. It’s an easy-to-grow hybrid. And put them in the dirt. The good folks at Willamette Week (yay, alt weeklies!) published a sweet little tip guide here: If you have ever had a houseplant or grown some tomatoes, you can grow a sweet little head stash. Most people put their plants in the dirt sometime in may, although you can wait until June if you don’t want them to get too big. Have fun, and invite me over when your crop is ready. I love good homegrown.

Hey, how do I make hash? I am going to have a huge harvest.

—Buddy Biggs

The easiest way is to use Bubble bags. You can buy them ( or make them, if you are crafty like that. Freeze your leaves, put them in the bags, add some ice and water, stir forever. No, really stir it. Stir it some more, then strain the water. Scrape the little THC crystals from the bags onto a paper bag, and let your kief dry. After it has dried, squish the kief together using gentle heat (Old-school method: Put a tightly wrapped bit of kief in your shoe and walk around all day) and now you have hash. Hashmaster Frenchy Cannoli has a nice how to vid here:

P.S. Making butane hash is illegal in California. Cold-water hash tastes better anyway.