Law-abiding stoners

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

I am almost 63. I smoked my first joint in 1971, so I have come a long way from buying illegally to buying medical grade cannabis at the dispensary. I light up with my morning coffee, smoke throughout the day (when I am not out or under circumstances that still make it unacceptable) and at the end of the day. No one in my household smokes and I live in a condominium that does not allow smoking, so I either step out onto the patio or go to my car. I accept the fact that the smell bothers other people. Here’s my question: What can I do to cut back a bit and also how not to feel like a criminal?


Woo-hoo! Way to be a conscientious pot smoker! Yes, some people don’t like the way marijuana smells, but I have always held the opinion living in a city means having to put up with small nuisances. Pot has a much better aroma than a lot of other odors associated with city life. I’m sure if you asked people if they would rather live in a city that smelled like pot or a city that smelled like piss, most people would pick the weed option.

If you are trying to cut down a bit, remember that cannabis use is really more of a habit than an addiction. Try not to smoke first thing in the morning. Wait until after the coffee has kicked in and you have maybe run a few errands or done some other productive things before you light up. You could always roll smaller joints or take fewer hits and see how you feel.

And there is no need to feel like a criminal. Marijuana is legal in California! You aren’t doing anything wrong. I know you’ve had to deal with decades of anti-pot propaganda telling you that pot users are criminals and reprobates, but I am also sure that you know that most pot users are cool and nice. Enjoy your law-abiding pothead status. You have earned it.

I heard you just got back from Texas. How is the weed?

—Austin Sanantonio

The weed was pretty good. I managed to find some Agent Orange (also known as Tangie), some sort of Diesel Kush and a really nice Chem Dawg/Kush variant named Star Dawg. Most of the weed in Texas comes from other states, but I heard tell (but couldn’t find) of some pretty good Houston homegrown. Weed is still illegal, although San Antonio, Austin and Harris County (where Houston is) have all passed some form of marijuana decriminalization in the past few years. In fact, a committee in the Texas House of Representatives just passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis throughout the entire state! The bill has good support in the House and the Senate, although the governor has indicated that he plans to veto the bill, apparently because he likes jail overcrowding and locking up minorities. I still think Texas will be the first southern state to legalize. Howdy.