The changing scene

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

Hey California is supposed to have recreational weed for sale in like three months. Do you think the state will be ready?

Canthard Lee-Waithe

Probably. The state has done a good job so far. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control has already started allowing cannabusinesses to apply for temporary licenses. Applicants must already have the proper city and zoning permits in place.

Some cities will be ready, others may not. San Francisco is smashing the game. The city has all kinds of dispensaries and social clubs up and running. Oakland is doing well and is actively working to make sure that new cannabusinesses maintain cultural diversity to ensure that the people most affected by prohibition get a chance to take advantage of the new legalization. Monterey will probably be ready, but I feel like their high fees—$15 per square foot for a garden?—will squeeze out smaller growers.

For a 1,000-square-foot spot, $15,000 per year. Hmm. Let’s do some quick math: One thousand square feet will net you about six pounds if you have no problems. The price of cannabis is gonna plummet, so figure about $2,000 a pound for indoor if you grow great weed, and that means the first crop goes to the city. A good room will create maybe five harvests (figure a 10-week cycle), so after you pay all the trimmers, lawyers, accountants and marketing people, there isn’t much money left.

Sacramento seems to be setting up well (although some of their fees are just as high as Monterey’s), and LA is always a mess, so I am sure they will be fine. Fresno continues to suck. Check your local government’s websites for more info. Hopefully, California will have plenty of weed for all the tourists. Fortunately, this year’s harvest looks to be spectacular.

I hear we can’t smoke weed at the beach anymore. How the hell am I supposed to enjoy the sunset?

Green Flash

Yeah. There are two bills on the governor’s desk right now (Senate Bill 386 and Assembly Bill 725) making it illegal to smoke anything (including vapes!) on a state beach. Meh. I get it. Weed and cigarettes are stinky and many folks don’t want to expose their kids to stinky smoke. Tobacco smokers never seem to dispose of their butts properly. So of course some well meaning politician wants to strike a blow “for the children.” By the time this goes to print the governor may have already signed them, but so what? This is one of those “easy to pass, hard to enforce” deals. Are the cops really gonna roam the beaches looking to give $100 tickets to people smoking a jay? Not often. Use common sense, don’t blaze a pack of blunts near kids and keep an eye for the cops while you enjoy your sunset. You will be fine.