Pens and e-highs

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

Is California really gonna outlaw vapor pens?

—Vinny the Vapor

The state isn’t trying to outlaw vapor pens: It is trying to keep you from using your pen indoors. California Senate Bill 648 would treat using an electronic cigarette or vapor pen just like a real cigarette, making it a misdemeanor to vaporize in nonapproved areas. No more vaping at the movies or on the elevator or at your desk at work. This bill is ostensibly aimed at the e-cigarette industry, but cannabis users also have skin in the game.

The California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws issued a letter to the Assembly, stating that S.B. 648 “would adversely impact public health by discouraging safer alternatives to smoking. ’Medical cannabis users already find it difficult to find a legal place to medicate under current anti-smoking laws,’ says California NORML Director Dale Gieringer. ’Precluding the use of vaporizers will only make matters worse. The state should encourage, not discourage, the substitution of vaporizers and e-cigarettes for smoking.’”

I can see both sides. People love the convenience of being able to “light up” without having to stand in the wind and rain. But for other people, the idea of anyone doing drugs in their vicinity is upsetting. The bill is scheduled to be considered by the Committee on Governmental Operations on Wednesday, August 7. Call or email your representative if you have an opinion.

I would like to start a collection of books about marijuana. Where should I start?

—Billy Budd the Bookworm

Good question. There are oodles of good books about weed. I know I mention Jack Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes every eight columns or so, but it’s one of the best books about the history of weed ever. When it comes to books about growing weed, I like The Secrets of the West Coast Masters by Dru West, Marijuana Buds for Less from Ed Rosenthal and Marijuana Outdoors; Guerilla Gardening by Jorge Cervantes.

If you like the picture books, check out the offerings at Green Candy Press ( and Rosenthal’s Quick Trading Company (www.quick Dank 2.0, from renowned West Coast cannabis cultivator Subcool, is especially good.

Wait. I just used the Internet to look for books about weed, and it turns out that has a pretty good list. I may not agree with the order, but I like all the books on the list. Look it up. Enjoy yourself.

Have the feds figured out what they are going to do about Washington and Colorado?

—Curious Sam

Not yet. However, on July 21, the California Democratic Party passed a resolution asking the feds to leave Washington and Colorado alone. To wit: “The California Democratic Party requests: President [Barack] Obama to allow the newly enacted marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington to go into effect with no federal interference.”

This is awesome sauce with hash on it. The fact that a mainstream political party has passed a resolution supporting marijuana means we are winning.