Smoking like a champ

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

How much weed is too much weed?

Good question. I suppose you are asking because of a recent statement made by boxing legend and ganja-prenuer Mike Tyson? If you missed it—during his recent podcast Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, Tyson claimed that he and his friends smoke approximately $40,000 dollars worth of cannabis every month.

Quick math: Assuming Tyson gets his weed at cost, since he runs a weed farm these days, really good (“good” is subjective) weed is about $2,500 per pound wholesale, so the champ and his friends would be going through roughly 16 pounds a month. Sixteen pounds is a lot, so my first question is: How many friends does he have?

I mean, if it’s just him and three other people smoking four pounds each per month, they might want to look at their dependency issues. But if it’s Mike Tyson and 40 other people, then it’s only about 6 ounces per person per month. Wait. More math: There are 28.5 grams in an ounce. Figure that a good-sized joint weighs a gram, and that’s 171 joints per person per month, or 5.7 fat joints a day. Still a lot. So either Tyson is exercising hyperbole for dramatic effect, or he should really consider taking a tolerance break.

But seriously, cannabis use is extremely subjective, and it can be hard to recognize when someone may be using cannabis to avoid life rather than to enhance it. Clint Werner, author of the book Marijuana: Gateway to Health points out that while cannabis is not addictive, people can use it to avoid responsibilities. “If you spend all day doing bong hits and watching reruns of Spongebob, then you probably have a marijuana problem.” He is most likely right. Enjoy cannabis responsibly.

Who are your favorite “cannabis-infused” artists?

Hmm. Do you mean artists that use cannabis or folks that make cannabis art? We could talk music, but that’s too easy. There’s a long list for that: Willie Nelson, Rihanna, Snoop, Bing Crosby. I mean, what musician doesn’t smoke weed?

So we will discuss visual artists. Did you know that people have been drawing pictures of cannabis for thousands of years? Seshat, the ancient Egyptian goddess of knowledge, is often depicted with a cannabis leaf above her head. Listen, if an Egyptian goddess is saying that weed makes you smarter, you should probably pay attention. Here in the present day, I really like Cliff Maynard (Insta: @chronicart420 or He uses the papers from roaches (that’s the unfinished end of a joint, you square) to cobble together portraits and stuff. His work is great. Robert Arneson is a California-based sculptor and definitely a pothead, if his 1982 self-portrait “California Artist”—which shows him standing next to a cannabis plant—is any indication. I bet if you throw the words “cannabis art” into your favorite search engine, you will find a plethora of cool things to look at. Or you could just get high and make art on your own. Have fun.