On marijuana legalization in California and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s remarks

Ngaio says politicians need to get over the failed war on drugs

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

What is wrong with Sen. Dianne Feinstein?

—Worried in Woodland

Right? She recently spoke out against marijuana legalization (again!) in an interview with the Associated Press, spouting nonsense like, “The risk of people using marijuana and driving is very substantial,” and “I saw a lot of where people began with marijuana and went on to hard drugs.” As if.

First of all, states with medical-marijuana laws have seen a decrease in traffic accidents. Second, the whole marijuana-is-a-gateway-to-hard-drugs trope has been disproved again and again.

I know she is busy, what with defending the National Security Agency (until it spied on the Senate) and such, but maybe she could take the time to look into marijuana legalization and not just spout leftover slogans from the failed war on some drugs.

I have an idea: Perhaps Feinstein and Gov. Jerry Brown could come over to my house, and we will sit around, have a drink (or a joint), and discuss how cannabis legalization can help this great state of California. Whaddya think, senator? I am sure you can find my phone number if you need to speak to me. Or maybe you and Gov. Brown could talk to your homeys at the California Democratic Party. You know, the same group that just added a plank to the party platform pledging to support the “legalization, regulation and taxation of pot in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol.” You didn’t get the memo? Don’t be a party pooper.

I invite Sen. Feinstein and Gov. Brown to join us in the 21st century.

What’s this I hear about the cops proposing legalization in California?

—Mike in Midtown

You heard it right. The League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Association have decided to end their years of flat-out opposition and get behind Senate Bill 1262, introduced by Sen. Lou Correa. This bill would give authority over medical marijuana to the Department of Public Health, disallow butane hash oil (or “dabs”) and other forms of concentrated cannabis, and audit doctors that write more than 100 medical-cannabis recommendations.

While I applaud the LCC and the CPCA for finally starting to come around on medical cannabis, this bill has some flaws.

No hash oil? No way. How many times must it be said? Prohibiting drugs doesn’t work. It just creates an underground market. And auditing doctors? Psssh. Doctors shouldn’t even be in charge of deciding who gets to smoke weed. Weed should be legal! The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has said it will work to kill the bill if changes aren’t made.

A statewide medical-cannabis law should be simple. All it has to do is set up zoning parameters, keep cities from banning collectives, and set up a tax and fee structure.

The state is running out of time to get it right. According to the most recent polls, support for marijuana legalization in California is at about 60 percent. 2016 will be here sooner than you think, and by then, groups like the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project will have something to put on the ballot.