Viva la mota

illustration by Analie Foland

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

I hear that Mexico has legalized cannabis. Is this true?

—Verde Verdad

Close. The Mexican Supreme Court of Justice didn’t really legalize. They just said that laws against cannabis are unconstitutional. But don’t start blazing blunts in Baja just yet. Until Mexico’s congress gets around to actually changing the laws, you could still get arrested for possessing, smoking or selling weed. The charges would most likely be dropped, but who wants to spend time fighting charges in court? Be patient, and wait for the laws to actually be changed. As it stands now, folks are unsure if congress is gonna legalize completely, or go the “de facto prohibition through over-regulation” route. However, we have high hopes (sorry) that Mexico’s lawmakers will do the right thing.

What intrigues me the most about Mexico’s Supreme Court ruling is that they declared cannabis prohibition illegal because cannabis prohibition interferes with the clause in the Mexican Constitution that guarantees the “right to the free development of the personality.” As a person that is big on individual freedoms and whatnot, I cannot help but be thrilled. By the way, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights also has a clause about “free development of the personality.” So perhaps international policymakers can use Mexico’s ruling to lobby for an end to cannabis prohibition worldwide. Congrats to Mexico for getting it right. Hopefully, the lawmakers will embrace legalization, and we can all go on a tour to find old-school cannabis strains. Bring back the Acapulco Gold and some of that good Michoac&#;aacute;n!

Should you grind bud to stuff a bowl?

—Dennis Itee

There are a few factors that go into this decision. If the bowl has a screen or an ash catcher, then yes, grind up the weed. If the bowl doesn’t have a screen, bigger chunks in the bowl will lessen your chances of inhaling a mouthful of hot ash. Grinding the weed is more economical, as it gives you a chance to smoke the entire nug, as opposed to having a few unsmoked chunks of perfectly good weed left in the bowl when you go to tap it out. However, carrying around a grinder and a pipe (and some weed and a lighter) can be a drag, especially if your dress doesn’t have pockets. I suppose you could get a fanny pack for your cannabis gear (a canny-pack?), or you could compromise by breaking the weed up a bit with your fingers before you put it in the pipe. Enjoy yourself.

Are there any strains you recommend to start the work day?

—Rison Grind

I don’t recommend being high at work, unless you are an artist or a writer. Would you show up to work drunk? I get it though. Some people have boring jobs or overbearing coworkers, so the urge to have a cannabis buffer in place is very tempting. However, no one wants to have to tell you the same thing three times because your stoner ass can’t pay attention. Get high at lunch. People will just think you ate too much.