Oil producers gets shattered

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

I heard a club got raided the other day? I thought raids were a thing of the past. What gives?

—Blue Steele

Close. It wasn’t a cannabis club that got raided, but a cannabis processing facility. Med West Distribution (which makes stuff for the Bhang line of cannabis products) in San Diego was raided by by the local cops, apparently acting on an “anonymous tip.” Two people were arrested and charged with manufacturing an illegal substance and manufacturing an illegal substance with intent to sell. Local advocates were surprised that Med West got raided, considering that Med West has been operating at the same spot in San Diego for a few years, and local officials had recently toured the facility.

This is a huge drag, of course. No one should ever go to jail for anything cannabis-related. However, California law is very clear: Making cannabis concentrates with butane or CO2 or anything other than water is against the law. The law was originally aimed at the folks who make meth, but the cops use this law against concentrate manufacturers all the time. Usually, they go after whatever dumbass set a house on fire by filling an unventilated room with butane, not established industrial producers, but the law is the law. Fortunately, there is language in the new medical marijuana laws that allow for the production of things like wax and shatter. Hopefully, people being arrested for making quality cannabis products in a safe and controlled environment will soon be a thing of the past.

Any news from the Legislature? You think these bans will end soon?

—Wonk A. Tania

I will say this: The California Legislature has done a decent job of trying to fix its mistake. We will see if it does any good. The House and the Senate just passed Assembly Bill 21, which removes the deadline for cities and counties to have regulations or bans in place by March 1. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill. Cities can still ban anything cannabis-related, but now they can do it slowly and after great deliberation. Let’s talk about this for a minute. Why should cities and counties be allowed to ban medical cannabis at all? If Proposition 215 is supposed to guarantee safe access to everyone in the state, shouldn’t all the cities and counties have to allow it? Bud Green, Fresno-based activist and all-around good person, has a good idea: We have to convince the Legislature that cannabis is a statewide concern. California needs to set default regulations that the cities and counties must follow. Sure, they can have more liberal rules, like Oakland’s 99 plant limit. (The default is six.) It would be unfair for the state to have to share cannabis money with ungrateful NIMBYS—after all, Colorado just hit $900 million in sales. Think of what Cali can do.