Illustration by Sarah Hansel

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

Hey. I know that weed is winning in the USA, but how about internationally?

—Glob Trotter

I’m glad you asked. The short answer: Weed is winning worldwide! Just last week, a court in South Africa ruled that possession of up to 115 grams of cannabis for personal use is no longer a crime. Also, folks are now allowed to grow a few plants. This is great news. Not only because South Africa is home to some of the great landrace strains like Durban Poison, but because no one should ever go to jail for using or possessing cannabis. But don’t start planning your African jaycation just yet. Until the new rules are worked out, the cops have been given wide discretion as to who gets arrested and who goes free. You can draw your own conclusions.

Closer to home, Canada is prepping for full legalization October 17. The entire country is in a frenzy as lawmakers look to (over)regulate an already existing industry. But I am confident that they will at least get close to a workable model. The problem will be when ganjaprenuers from Canada want to visit the USA. US Customs has already said that international tourists that admit to using weed or being in the cannabis industry will not be allowed to visit the states. This is a bad decision. All that is gonna happen is people will lie about the reasons for their visit. Oh well. Other than that, you could plan a great international jaycation and hit all sorts of countries that have decriminalized or even legalized cannabis, from Amsterdam to Uruguay. Aw yeah.

High. What’s with these huge corporations getting into the weed game? Can we stop them?

—Anne R. Kosin-D’Calist

Listen: Capitalism’s gonna capitalize. Yeah it sucks. I am assuming you are talking about Coca-Cola getting into the CBD soft drink market. Considering that Coke used to be infused with cocaine, I would consider this a move in the right direction. Lagunitas (owned by Heineken, last time I checked) already makes a THC-infused sparkling water. (It’s really good, by the way.) These things are to be expected. Of course Coca-Cola and Heineken were nowhere to be found when people were staging protests and smokeouts and going to jail to legalize cannabis, but now they want to get into the game because they see billions of multinational dollars on the horizon. Sigh. This is how the world works, unfortunately. Half of me hopes that some of these companies will get it together and work to end the federal prohibition of weed. That would be nice, but I am not holding my breath. I don’t mind corporations getting involved, I just wish that these corporations had better ethics and values. Like, where is Ben and Jerry’s when you need them? Hopefully we can ward off Big Soda and Big Beer by supporting smaller, more local, craft cannabis-infused beverage-makers.