Marijuana for mom

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

My mom has a few health issues that I feel can be helped with medical marijuana. Do you have any suggestions for how to broach the subject with her? I know she smoked in her late teens and early 20s, but she’s almost 60 now.


You have it easy. Your mom is already familiar with cannabis and may be a little more open-minded about learning more about weed’s medicinal effects. A poll done by AARP in 2004 found that more than 70 percent of adults over the age 45 approved of having access to medical marijuana.

Baby boomers have been rediscovering cannabis over the past few years, but more as a medicine than for recreation. It helps with the aches and pains, it’s a natural sleep aid, and it doesn’t have as many unpleasant side effects as most over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Americans for Safe Access published a booklet about cannabis and aging that might help her consider it as a medication option (read it at

So, next time you and your mom talk about her health, you could casually mention that marijuana has been shown to be effective at alleviating her symptoms, or you could share the pamphlet from ASA with her. Also, mention that she doesn’t have to smoke. She can try edibles or a vaporizer, or even a salve or lotion if her arthritis is acting up.

Any news from Oregon?

—Medford Matt

Yes, indeed! It looks like Oregon is going to pass a law allowing medical-cannabis dispensaries. As it is now, Oregon has a medical-marijuana law, but it doesn’t allow storefront dispensaries. That hasn’t stopped the good people of the Beaver State from opening clubs anyway. This has led to friction between the authorities and the activists.

As of this writing, the bill awaits reconciliation by both chambers and then the governor’s signature. By the time you read this, cannabis clubs could be legal in Oregon.

The new law requires prospective club owners to pay a $4,000 application fee and undergo a background check. Clubs also cannot be within 1,000 feet of each other and must be located in industrial, agricultural or commercial zones. Commercial zoning is a big deal. Many cannabis patients are low-income earners and must rely on public transportation, which doesn’t always have routes through industrial and agricultural zones.

This law is a prime example of how some politicians have come to realize that cannabis regulation is better than cannabis criminalization. This law is supported by State Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and the League of Oregon Cities.

And, of course, this leads me to the question: Why can’t California get its shit together? We used to be on the forefront. Washington, Oregon and Colorado are kicking our ass. Hell, Vermont just decriminalized possession of less than an ounce, and Massachusetts may very well be the next state to legalize. Call you reps and give them hell about this.