The man cracks down

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

I hear the BCC is going after non-licensed pot shops. Is this true?

—Grey Marquette

Yes. According to a recent press release, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control has begun to enforce the laws against having an unlicensed cannabis business. In late January and early February, the bureau shut down two spots, one in Fair Oaks and one in Los Angeles.

The BCC, working with the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation-Cannabis Enforcement Unit, confiscated about $250,000 in products from the Fair Oaks spot and nearly $30,000 in cash and products (and two guns) from the L.A. business. Oh, and six people at the L.A. spot were arrested on a variety of warrants.

It was bound to happen. The BCC has been hinting for months that a crackdown on unlicensed businesses was in the works. It even has a website where folks can report unlicensed operations to the authorities.

Listen, the game is the game. Running an unlicensed cannabis shop is against the law, and the authorities are no longer willing to ignore any blatant gray-market shenanigans. If you are running a not-quite-legal canna-business, you may want to think about being a little more discreet in your operations. A storefront will definitely get you busted.

I am planning on doing a small home grow this year and I am wondering if I should be doing anything to get ready for planting season.

—Mary Joe Dirt

Yes! Now is the time to do all the prep work. First: double check the laws in your area for home grows. While Proposition 64 prevents cities and counties from prohibiting home grows, most cities have very strict rules. Some cities don’t allow outdoor home grows (looking at you, Fresno), but most will let you do it if you follow their guidelines.

You might have to build a fence. Then pick a good spot in your garden; a place with good sun and a decent breeze is probably the best spot. Remember that one cannabis plant can grow to be around 12 feet tall and 10 feet around, so make sure you have enough room. The most important thing to do is to get your dirt ready. Good dirt makes for good plants.

If you are one of those “green thumb” types, you can find a good recipe for dirt here: gallon-Recipe. If you are like me and you grow at home using the “benevolent neglect” system, just buy some good dirt from the store and mix it in with what you already have. Check out a recent Leafly article about what your dirt should be. Maybe try to introduce a few earthworms into your spot. Worms are great for dirt. Most folks put their plants in the ground in late April, so you have some time to get everything ready, but we all know how fast time can slip away, especially if you are stoned.