High and low

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

Woo-hoo! We did it! Weed is legal! Yay, California! Um, what happens next?

—Hy Al’Datayim

Yay. Woo-hoo. Congrats California. Good for us. Now we can carry around up to an ounce of marijuana any time we want. We can have up to six cannabis plants in our homes and gardens. That’s six per household, not per person. Sorry, all you folks living in communes. You still can’t smoke it in public, but I don’t think the cops will bother you in the bigger cities; although everyone should still be somewhat discreet in public areas. Oh, and you can give anyone you like up to an ounce of weed, as long as no money changes hands. Just in time for Christmas!

Even better news: All over California, people that have been facing jail time for cannabis “crimes” have seen their charges dropped, and folks have been let out of jail. My homie Omar Figueroa told me he saw a case where a man who had been in jail for six months awaiting his trial on a felony charge for weed was released because, under the new law, his “crime” is now a misdemeanor, so they released him for time served.

This is awesome. Passing the Adult Use of Marijuana Act means there’s a new addition to the California Health and Safety Code, Section 11361.8, that allows for people convicted of cannabis offenses to petition for dismissal. Orange County already has a do-it-yourself form on their website, and I expect other cities and counties to have their own versions up soon.

Also, if you are a medical cannabis user and you don’t want to pay any sales tax on your medicine, you can get a county-issued card that will exempt you from paying the sales tax. Look at your county’s website for more info. The county card will probably cost you somewhere between $60 and $100.

The thing is, I can’t really get excited about this right now. Donald Trump has just been elected president, and even setting aside his racist and sexist views—Steve “alt-right” Bannon is a senior adviser? GTFOH—the three people he has suggested for attorney general (Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani and Jeff Sessions) are all staunch cannabis prohibitionists. Some of you don’t remember the raids. I do. And while the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment prohibits the feds from spending money to interfere with state approved medical-cannabis businesses, it does not address recreational use, and it expires when the current budget agreement does. With the GOP controlling both pieces of the American legislature, there is no guarantee that the amendment will be renewed. My hope is that the jobs created and the vast sums of money being made by states with legalized cannabis will compel lawmakers to leave cannabis alone. But there is no way to know. The American people have selected a pathological liar to the highest office in the land, so the future is extremely uncertain.

So: Enjoy it while you can. Smoke your weed, make new friends, fight against fascism and racism, and let’s create a better future for all Americans.