Ohio's (correct) pot rejection

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

So the initiative to legalize weed in Ohio failed. What next?

—Marion Dayton Columbus

Get another, better proposal on the ballot for 2016 would be my advice. The problem with Ohio’s Issue 3 was that it granted exclusive cannabis production rights to only 10 companies. Not just granted, but enshrined into the state constitution. This was such a bad idea on so many levels that it prompted the citizens of Ohio to propose and pass an initiative to prohibit monopolies and oligopolies in the Buckeye State.

Listen: Monopolies, oligopolies and cartels are about as un-American and anti-free enterprise as you can get. Giving money-grubbing capitalists (as opposed to socially responsible capitalists) exclusive control over something as cool and profitable as a marijuana plant does nothing to end prohibition (if you really think the people who grow weed illegally are going to stop growing because you passed a law, you are hella obtuse) and ensures that you will end up with shitty mass-produced commercial weed. Weed drained of love, full of chemicals and pesticides, grown with no regard for flavor or quality. Ask Colorado. Sad, badly flushed buds grown only so the investors can make money may be cool for some folks, but trust me, Ohioans did the right thing. All this blather about “This was our last best chance to legalize in Ohio! Now we will never have legal pot!” is ridiculous. Oregon tried two or three times to pass a good cannabtis legalization law. Colorado had to try more than once as well. The discussion has been kicked into overdrive, with more legislators talking about creating a good medical cannabis law, and activists regrouping to maybe get something on the ballot for 2016. So while I have empathy for the people in Ohio who will still be subject to harassment and arrest because they choose to use cannabis, I am glad this initiative failed.

What’s this I hear about a 420-friendly speakeasy?

—Bob S. Yorunkle

Aw, yeah. These things are popping up all over the place. I know of at least two in Sac and a few more in L.A. plus two “cannabis social clubs” in Portland. There is also a group called “PopUpSesh” (find it on the Instagram) that produces roving pot and dab events all over California. So dope. These events are usually a combination weed bar and farmers market. Attendees can sample products from various clubs and growers, kick back and enjoy cannabis freedom in the 21st century. There’s usually food and music and way more dudes than chicks.

Marijuana is a social drug, and while all these new laws allowing personal use are cool, there aren’t very many places for stoners to go and share fellowship. Washington state has gone so far as to make it a felony for anyone to create a space for folks to smoke. Asshats. We need marijuana social clubs the same way people who like booze need bars. Support your local speakeasy.