Regulators, mount

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

Everyone says that California needs to do a better job regulating marijuana. What’s going on at the Capitol?

—J.A. Bill

Senate Bill 1262 and Assembly Bill 1894 are both making their way through the various committees and whatnot as we speak. Let’s take a look:

A.B. 1894, sponsored by Tom Ammiano (I love him; we used to do comedy together way back in the day), would place the medical-cannabis industry under the auspices of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and allow cities to impose a tax of up to 5 percent on top of state sales tax. A.B. 1894 also places a few more regulations on doctors.

Pros: statewide medical-marijuana regulation.

Cons: more regs on doctors and the worry that the ABC will try to shut down smaller grows in favor of larger facilities, displacing mom-and-pop businesses.

S.B. 1262 from Sen. Lou Correa would put clubs under the aegis of the California Department of Public Health and direct it to work with the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to come up with workable regulations.

Pros: statewide medical-cannabis regulation.

Cons: The rules prohibiting doctors from recommending butane hash oil have been removed, although it seems the rule requiring all transported cannabis to be inventoried on video may raise privacy and self-incrimination concerns. This may be a necessary trade-off.

Colorado requires video surveillance from seed to sale. I get that the authorities want to make sure there is no diversion to the black market, but until marijuana is legal at the federal level, it seems risky to record yourself around large amounts of marijuana. The feds can be kind of capricious sometimes (see the Ogden memo). Also, 1262 sets no timetable for implementation. Without a deadline, things like this tend to drag on and on.

Bottom line: Neither of these are perfect, but they are steps in the right direction. I personally think California should set up a separate medical-marijuana department, but Gov. Jerry Brown is against that idea. Americans for Safe Access has come out against A.B. 1894 in its current form, but has some hope for S.B. 1262. We will see if the California Legislature can get it together enough to pass one of these bills. In the long run, it may all be moot, as legalization is on the way in 2016.

I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say that Blue Dream is my all-time favorite hybrid ever! I haven’t ever heard anyone say the same, so I was stoked to read that it’s yours, too! Happy smokin’!


My pleasure! Happy smoking to you, too! But I may be changing my mind about Blue Dream because Blue City Diesel is moving up in my personal rankings. Let me ask you guys: What are your favorite hybrid strains? Any new ones I should know about?