Pot progress takes diligence

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

OK, so this federal budget thing passed and I am confused. Is medical marijuana legal or not?

—Paul Ahseewonk

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. However, the new budget contains an amendment written by Dana Rohrabacher, R-Orange County, and Sam Farr, D-Central Coast, that prohibits federal agents from raiding medical cannabis facilities in states that have medical cannabis laws. By the way, 32 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing the use of medical cannabis, so this is kind of a big deal. Not only that, the new budget also strengthens protections for hemp farmers. And, like I mentioned last week, the Department of Justice has said that Native American tribes can grow and sell cannabis on tribal land. All in all, Obama has been a really good president when it comes to marijuana. I didn’t like him all that much in 2011, when it seemed like damn near all the clubs in California were getting raided and shut down, but his policy work since then, and especially during his second term, has been excellent.

The next question is: Can we keep it going? Obama leaves office in 2017. Will the next president still be as willing to support marijuana law reform? The federal laws haven’t changed. Cannabis is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug. The next administration could decide that cannabis legalization is a bad idea and start arresting people and shutting down clubs and businesses all over again. Think of how easy it would be: All of the recreational club owners in Washington and Colorado are registered with their states. It wouldn’t take much effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration to bust everyone. It is up to cannabis activists and right-thinking individuals to make sure that cannabis law reform keeps moving in the direction of total legalization across the United States.

I heard Nebraska and Oklahoma are suing Colorado over marijuana. What’s the deal?

—Smokie from Muskogee

You heard right. Apparently the cops on the Colorado border are getting tired of arresting people for marijuana possession. No one says whether the cops are just randomly pulling over people with Colorado license plates or if they just automatically go after people returning from Colorado. The cops say they are running out of jail space and money to pay officers for increased overtime due to more court appearances and such.

This is all BS. Their suit doesn’t really stand a chance. Oklahoma and Nebraska can’t force Colorado to change its constitution. Also, Nebraska should shut its fucking mouth, seeing how the small-ass town of Whiteclay has been selling millions of dollars worth of booze to the denizens of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota for years, despite the tribal ban on alcohol possession and consumption. If Oklahoma and Nebraska had any sense, they would also legalize marijuana. They could then use the money they make to fund actual police work, like stopping rapists and other criminals, instead of arresting tourists.