Tokin' through the USA

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

Hey Ngaio, is weed legal in the USA yet?

—Hans and Frans

Not yet, but a few things that happened last week will definitely pump (clap) you up!

While U.S. congressional reps Jared Polis, D-Colorado, and Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, have both introduced bills that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, I don’t expect them to get very far in this Republican-controlled Congress.

However, Washington, D.C., has gone ahead and decriminalized marijuana, despite threats from some of the more conservative members of Congress. I would pretend to be shocked that these so-called “proponents of small government” (looking at you, Jeff Chaffetz, R-Utah) would threaten D.C.’s mayor with jail time for ratifying an initiative that won with 69 percent of the vote, but is anyone surprised at the amount of hypocrisy displayed by today’s politicians? I would suggest that everyone in Congress spark a fat bowl right now. It might help them get their shit together.

Speaking of Utah, a bill to allow medical cannabis made it through committee and is proceeding to the Utah Senate for a vote. The bill is superstrict. No home grows and no smoking of cannabis. Edibles only. It may seem like a small step, but for Utah this is huge. Take that, Jeff Chaffetz!

I have to say that I’m liking this growing trend of politicians introducing marijuana law reform measures. The Georgia House just passed a medical marijuana bill on to the senate. Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, also introduced a bill to allow recreational marijuana use for adults. We need need to see more of this. Call your representatives and let them them know you would like them to introduce (and support!) cannabis law reform legislation.

And oh yeah, weed is legal in Alaska again. And the Oregon legalization law goes into effect July 1. Time to plan that great Alaska Highway road trip.

I know it may be a little early, but do you think marijuana law reform will be be a big issue during the 2016 elections?

—Wanda Wonkette

Hell yes. Marijuana will be a huge topic in 2016. Many politicians have already stated their positions. Rand Paul is is for weed. Hilary Clinton says she has no problem with medical use, but is still unconvinced about recreational use. Gavin Newsom (he is expected to run for governor in 2018) is downright pot friendly.

It is our job as citizen activists to make sure our elected officials are on board the cannabis legalization wagon. If you are talking to your more liberal candidates, talk to them about the racial disparities of the drug war. If you are talking to the right wingers, be sure to mention “states’ rights” and “freedom.” Try to yell “America!” every once in a while. In both cases, talk about votes. And money.