The future is green

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

Hey maing. Can I get an update on what’s happening in Sacramento?

—Jess Vundering

Of course you can. As far as I can tell, Sacramento is poised to kick ass once legalization kicks in, They’ve got a new “Weed Czar” by the name of Joe Devlin, and it looks like he has a good handle on both cannabis culture and how to work within a bureaucracy.

Last week, Devlin gave a talk at the New Helvetia Brewing Co. (Nice place. Their stout is delicious.) as part of their “Wonk Wednesdays” program. During his talk, he mentioned that he would be presenting suggestions and recommendations for revamping Sacramento’s cannabis regulations to the Sacramento City Council on July 25. Devlin is going to recommend lowering the cost of a permit for makers of edibles, tinctures and topicals. Right now, it costs about 30 grand to get a permit from the city to make edibles or topicals. As you can imagine, asking a small business owner to come up with $30,000 is a tall task, especially since many traditional forms of fundraising (you know, like getting a loan from a bank) are closed to cannabis business owners. He proposes to tie fees to gross revenues, and I think this is an excellent idea.

He also mentioned that he wanted to take a slow approach to opening cannabis lounges and social clubs. I, of course, think that Sacramento should start opening social clubs right away. Mostly because I am getting older and I don’t want to wait another year or two to chill in a legal cannabis lounge.

But this is a quibble. Sacramento is doing very well at embracing the new reality, especially when compared to the county of Sacramento (don’t even get me started) or other places like Marin County, where Proposition 64 passed with 70 percent of the vote and yet their legislators have held firm on not allowing any cannabis businesses. The cannabis industry is legit, and it provides jobs and money. Not just to cannabis users, but to all members of a community. I am glad that the city of Sacramento has decided to embrace the future. Now, if only there was a way to get them to put “City Of Trees” back on the water tower …

What are you smoking right now?

—Hy Ashell

Currently, I am enjoying a sample pack from Monterey OG farms near Salinas. I have tried their Lemon Jack, Platinum cookies, White Buffalo, Gelato and Orgasmic OG. All were grown in a greenhouse, and have excellent flavor and feel, with the Lemon Jack and the Gelato being standouts. I hadn’t considered the Salinas Valley as a prime growing location, but keeping an open mind is the best way to learn. NPR has a good story on how Monterey County has helped their beleaguered flower farms by allowing them to produce cannabis, which you can read right here: Maybe in a few years, the Salinas Valley will fill more than your salad bowl.