The cop next door

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

So, my sister lives in Rocklin, where marijuana is legal. She just so happens to live next door to a Highway Patrol officer, and one day the officer caught me smoking weed outside. He then drove a few houses down the street to keep an eye on me (I guess), returned and said not to smoke because he has a kid. Is he legally right to say this?

He has no legal right to order you not to smoke weed on private property. If you were just standing in the street or blazing while you were taking a walk, he could legally cite you for consuming cannabis in public. Yeah, I know the law is weird. But don't worry. This problem happens from time to time. Cannabis is stinky. One good terpene filled preroll can make the whole block smell like weed. Some folks don't like the smell. Other folks don't want to explain weed to their kids, which is weird; you should teach your kids about cannabis and other drugs before middle school, so that they can make good choices. You can make choices as well. Here are some options:

Politely but firmly tell the officer to quit killing your buzz. Activists worked hella hard to legalize cannabis and he may not like it, but you are no longer breaking the law and he should mind his own business.

Or realize that it's your sister's house and you don't want the cop who lives next door to have a reason to pester her. Maybe you can use the old “dryer sheet in a toilet paper tube” trick to minimize the smell. Perhaps you could smoke on the back porch, or figure it out so that the wind blows the smoke away from the officer's residence. Being a good neighbor or family member requires compromise. Remember, as long as you are on private property and the owner has given you permission to consume cannabis, cops are not supposed to bother you. With that in mind, you can be magnanimous. Your side was the winner.

Or Just don't get stoned at your sister's house. Choose wisely.

Any good news about weed?

Yes! Senate Bill 34, the “Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Compassionate Care Act,” allows dispensaries to give away free or low-cost cannabis to veterans and low-income medicinal cannabis patients, and it goes into effect Jan. 1. This is awesome. In the olden days, most dispensaries would give “cannabis care packages” to folks with serious medical conditions. Remember: The cannabis industry as we know it started as a way to help sick people find relief. Proposition 64 legalized weed, but made it so clubs could no longer donate pot to those in need. SB 34 fixes that problem. It's nice to see the legislators get it right. Big ups to Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, for sponsoring this bill.