Math and weed butter

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

Can you help me interpret an experience? I was pulled over last night. (New car. Turning on the headlights is tricky.) I had weed in my purse and I had to open it and my cannabis was in plain view. I was really flustered, but not high. They let me off with a warning about the lights. Is weed that legal, or just that legal for me?

—Sunny Crocker

WEED IS LEGAL FOR EVERYONE!!!! At least, it is legal for everyone older than 21 years of age in the state of California. Woo hoo! Huzzah! Driving around with up to an ounce of weed in the car and not having to worry about being hassled or jailed is one of the best feelings ever. Big thanks to all of the people that sacrificed their time, money and sometimes their freedom to give us the right to carry around a bag of weed.

However, you were lucky in this way: California Health and Safety Code 11362.3 prohibits possessing an open container or open package of marijuana while driving or riding in a motor vehicle, boat or aircraft. This law is mostly so people don’t drive leaving a trail of kush smoke, but there is bound to be some debate about what constitutes an “open container.” I mean, a lit joint or a smoking bowl is clearly an open container, but weed in the purse? A fat sack in the back seat? There is gonna be some debate. If you want to be on the hella safe side, put your weed in the trunk or invest in one of those lockable pot cases. Apothecarry ( and Stashlogix ( make really nice ones. Enjoy your freedoms and check your headlights!

How do you calculate potency when making weed butter or oil? Is there literally a formula?

—Daffy Taffy

That’s a good question. I am fairly old-school, so I tend to think of cannabis-infused edibles as either “hella strong, maybe you should only eat half of that” or “not too strong, perhaps I will have two of those.” These days, however, all the labs and testing facilities and whatnot have made it easier for us to be more scientific in our approach. Jessica Catalano, author of The Ganja Kitchen Revolution, does it this way: Find out the percentage of THC in the cannabis you intend to use and whip out your calculator. A gram is 1,000 milligrams, so if your pot is 10 percent THC, one gram will contain 100 milligrams of THC. You can extrapolate from there. If you infuse 228 grams (just about one cup of olive oil) with 2 grams of 10 percent THC, your cup of olive oil will contain 200 milligrams of THC. Make a cake with that olive oil. (Try it, it’s really good; I use orange zest in mine.) Slice that cake into eight pieces and each piece will contain 25 milligrams of THC (200 divided by 8). Bong appétit!