Pipes and organs

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

Hey, I hear the California Legislature is all fired up about marijuana regulations. What have you heard?


“Fired up” may be too strong a phrase. Most of the legislation that has been introduced is mostly the same as last year. I don’t think that anything is going to happen on the regulation front for a while.

However, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act (AB 258, introduced by Assemblyman Marc Levine) is an important bill that would allow medical cannabis patients to receive organ transplants. As it stands now, people have been denied transplants solely because they use medical cannabis. Because marijuana is still listed as a DEA Schedule I drug (no acceptable medical use), many hospitals classify any cannabis use as “substance abuse” and will deny transplants even if a doctor has recommended cannabis as a medicine. More than one person has died after being removed from the transplant list because they used cannabis.

We all need to call our representatives and tell them to support this bill. I admit I have a personal stake in this issue: My good friend Yamileth Bolanos (she helped me start the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance) is a liver transplant recipient and a medical cannabis user. She received a liver transplant 18 years ago, but get this: The same doctor that told her to use marijuana to help alleviate her symptoms also told her that she would be ineligible for the transplant list if (God forbid) she ever needed a new liver. This sort of ridiculousness is what happens when we let politics get in the way of science and common sense. Please write, call and email your representatives and tell them to pass this bill. Lives depend on it.

I want to get a nice water pipe, but the only place to smoke it would be in my apartment, which isn’t really ideal because I have poor ventilation and I don’t want to give off any smell or leave any residue. Are there any truly effective ways to reduce the smoke produced by a water pipe, or should I just drop the plan entirely? I currently use a pipe with a canvas case and a Smokebuddy for the exhale, which seems to be working fine.


“Water pipe”? You can go ahead and call it a bong. We are all adults and I don’t work at a head shop. You should probably stick with what you have. Bongs create huge clouds of smoke and bong water is stinky. And for those that don’t know: A “Smokebuddy” is a commercially available higher-tech version of the “dryer sheet in the paper-towel tube” trick. It’s a pretty good product, though I don’t understand why all of their advertising features half-naked women. I mean, I do understand, but still. Anyway, I have seen some bongish (water pipe-esque?) attachments for home vaporizers on the Internet. But really, a good, clean pipe is the best way to smoke. If you want cooler smoke, get a longer pipe.