Smoking out the Legislature

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

Your post about Assembly Bill 266 was a little confusing. Can we get an update?


You got it! Last Thursday, California bill AB 266, “The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act,” passed the House and has been sent to the Senate. The bill is pretty good, if you ask me. The gist: AB 266 allows the governor to appoint a “Weed Czar”; the Board of Equalization is pretty much in charge of the whole deal; there is a 99-plant limit for larger grows (this may be changed, because the farms in the Emerald Triangle are hella bigger than that); and cities and counties can still ban medical cannabis dispensaries. You can read it for yourself here:

Americans for Safe Access supports this legislation. From their press release: “AB 266 will help put aside industry issues that distract from the benefits that patients in California get from the medical cannabis program, while enthusiastically supporting AB 266, Americans for Safe Access is supporting amendments in the licensing structure to preserve the historic diversity of the California’s medical cannabis industry and allow new players to join the increasingly mature and diverse cannabis industry.” I agree. No legislation is ever perfect, but this bill is pretty good and it is beyond time for California to get its shit together.

Hey man, what would you like to see happen with legalization in 2016?

—Visi O’nary

I have been pondering this question for some time. There are days when I think that maybe we shouldn’t even try to change the way it is now. Cannabis is essentially legal in California. I mean, you have to buy your cannabis user’s license, er, I mean letter of recommendation, but after that, you can pretty much grow and buy all the cannabis you could ever need or want. We would have to make sure that whatever we do, we aren’t making it worse. The way it is now is pretty damn good, even compared to states like Colorado and Washington.

I was having a few drinks (and a toke) with a friend of mine who is also a longtime cannabis activist and we wondered if maybe folks are trying too hard to come up with some sort of gigantic, grand initiative. In an effort to simplify and create an initiative has a chance of becoming law, we came up with this:

Adults over 21 can possess and use up to 8 ounces of cannabis, including hash or dabs or whatever.

Adults can grow six plants in their home or apartment, with an 18 plant limit per property.

The legislature has 18 months from the date the initiative passes to set up a recreational regulatory scheme.

Cities and counties can opt out of allowing recreational sales by holding an election and allowing the voters to decide; however, if they don’t want recreational sales, they don’t get any of the tax revenues. And that’s it. Please email me and tell me what you think.