Pot in the glitter gulch

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

Heard you were in Vegas. How was it?

—Hy Roller

It was … OK. I attended the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, which is probably the biggest canna-conference in the world. (And, most expensive. Tickets were like $800 bucks for all three days, and that price didn’t include side panels, or luncheons or anything like that.) The event’s producers expected around 25,000 people, but I heard that around 30,000 folks went. It was your standard business conference, with exhibitors hawking gadgets and geegaws, just on a huge scale. A friend pointed out that if you wanted to visit every vendor booth, you would only get to spend 45 seconds at each.

It was cool to meet people from around the country, though. There were growers from Maine, hemp farmers from North Carolina, and all sorts of trimming and extraction and packaging machines for sale. (By the way, there’s a new U.S. farm bill under consideration that would allow farmers to grow hemp, but would prohibit anyone with a drug conviction from working in the industry, which is B.S.). I was pleasantly surprised that this conference didn’t have very many scantily clad women enticing people to various booths, and while the demographic is still mostly white dudes, there seemed to be a decent amount of women and minorities milling about.

As for the quality of Nevada weed: Meh. Maybe I didn’t hit the right spots, but I found the dispensary weed to be expensive ($18 a gram, plus about a 20 percent tax) and fairly average. I bought a gram of Mojito (a sativa dominant that had a piney, Trainwreckish aroma) and a gram of Grape Stomper (lots of myrcene and a “purple” flavor) and it cost me $42, but I wasn’t really impressed. Also, I have a huge issue with not being able to smell the cannabis before I buy it. Smelling weed before you buy it is a tradition and a necessity for me. How can I tell if the weed is good if I can’t smell it first? I can’t just take the budtender’s word for it; I don’t know them. It’s so frustrating. Fortunately, all the Californians and a few Oregonians brought some good weed. (Harvest season is in full swing, so the West Coast outdoor weed is killing the game right now.) I was able to save some money and still smoke good. The after-parties were amazing; big ups to High Times Magazine for getting 2Chainz to rock the mic. And even though venues in Vegas wouldn’t let us smoke weed inside, or even outside the venue, we did anyway, but on the downlow, like living in California in the ‘90s. All in all, it was a good conference, and I expect the Vegas weed to be better in about a year or two.