Pot papers

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

Gov. Jerry Brown has finally signed the new medical marijuana regulations into law. What happens next?

—Willy Wonky

Chaos. Perdition, Cats sleeping with dogs and riots in the streets. Psych! These rules will create a huge demand for lawyers and consultants, but the game won’t change much. People who don’t want to be involved in the medical cannabis industry can still grow marijuana for their personal needs. Folks who want to sell weed will have to sign up and pay fees and be regulated. You know, like any other industry in America.

It gets a little complicated because there are like 17 different classifications of licenses (http://tinyurl.com/ncof3l7). One of the goals of the new law is to keep marijuana businesses from becoming huge monopolies, so they have it set up like Washington, where you can either be a grower, a processor or a distributor. This will make it difficult for some clubs that have full vertical integration (they grow and sell their own cannabis), but I am sure a competent lawyer can show them a way through the various hoops and pitfalls.

The bottom line: This is what we wanted. We need regulations, and while these rules aren’t perfect, neither are they permanent. As long as we stay vigilant and work with our advocates, lobbyists and elected officials, we can continue to create fantastic cannabis regulations for the benefit of all involved. I know it’s not the marijuana nirvana we have all dreamed about, but these are steps in the right direction. And, if we do it right, all these rules will be gone and replaced with new rules for full-on recreational cannabis legalization in 2016! (I think the activists want us to say “adult use” instead of “recreational,” but whatever.) The battle is not over, and weed is still winning.

I need some paper made from my hemp. Can’t make any myself, my blender does not work.

—KB (Not the same KB as last week)

Sorry to hear about your blender. Good idea, though. An acre of hemp produces four times more usable fiber than an acre of wood, and you don’t have to cut down our ancient and beautiful forests to do it. In fact, my homie Doug Fine (on Twitter @organiccowboy) just harvested a bunch of legal hemp up in Oregon state. I think Kentucky has a hemp harvest this year, as does Minnesota along with a few folks in Colorado also. This is great for farmers and great for America. Hemp is an amazing and versatile plant. The stalks and seeds from a hemp plant can create just about anything the petrochemical companies can concoct, and do it without messing up the environment. Hemp is naturally pest resistant, so you don’t need lots of pesticides (save the bees!), and hemp doesn’t leach nutrients from the dirt like some other plants (looking at you, cotton). We need to grow hemp again in America.