Ngaio Bealum, a cannabis comedian from Sacramento, reflects on the passage of Proposition 64 in California
During a recent lunch hour at midtown’s Hook & Ladder, exactly one week after Proposition 64 was passed by California voters, Sacramento’s leading cannabis celebrity reached into the pocket of his sports coat, pulled out a small baggie filled with Red Diesel marijuana buds, and slapped it defiantly on the table. Bealum’s likeness, with his signature Sherlock Holmes pipe and graying dreadlocks, even has been licensed for strains sold by the Natural Cannabis Company. Ngaio riffs on pot in ways that focus on the topical and the personal, such as parenthood while being a cannabis activist. 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in California, despite some push back within the cannabis community. Bealum, a cannabis activist since 1990, was sold on the decriminalization aspects of Prop. Bealum says he’s appeared in court twice over pot-related matters, including an arrest in Washington before the state approved recreational use in 2012. Despite the momentum for marijuana in the 2016 elections, with eight states passing recreational or medical marijuana use initiatives, Bealum remains nervous over the future of legalization. Though marijuana is now decriminalized in 29 states and Washington, D.C., cannabis remains illegal under federal law. On election night, as Donald Trump was elected as 45th president of the United States, Bealum responded to a tweet that questioned if pro-marijuana measures would remain under a Trump administration. For now, Bealum’s on a roll playing the cannabis circuit and says opportunities appear to be increasing in the wake of Prop.
Tommy Chong hosting California’s #1 Medical Marijuana festival, BLAZERS CUP
Iconic actor, best-selling author, and Grammy Award-winning comedian Tommy Chong is bringing Blazers Cup to San Bernardino this December 2nd and 3rd, 2017. Blazers Cup is a 2 day celebration of the best medical marijuana in California and recognizes the premier MMJ growers, breeders, edible chefs and extract artists. The event will have over 500+ marijuana vendors, an estimated 25K+ attendees, and 20+ music acts (Past featured talent includes The Game, Kid Ink, Ty Dolla. Tommy is perhaps best known as one-half of the legendary cannabis-fueled comedy duo Cheech & Chong which minted six gold records and released eight films during their reign, for which Chong also co-wrote and directed. Cheech & Chong defined an era with their hilariously irreverent, satirical, no-holds-barred comedy routines. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong’s phenomenal success began on the stand-up comedy circuit which led to 9 hit comedy albums and 8 hit films, breaking box office records, shattering comedy album sales, garnering multiple Grammy nominations and mesmerizing fans for more than four decades. After a nine-month prison sentence in 2004 for shipping bongs to Pennsylvania, the comic became a passionate advocate for cannabis freedom and fairness. In 2012, Chong announced he was battling prostate cancer a decided to combat his illness with a controversial cannabis oil protocol. On July 5, 2012, he revealed that the cannabis treatment had been effective and he is now cancer free. He continues to be an outspoken advocate for cannabis, which he credits for supporting his healthy and active lifestyle.
‘Silicon Valley’ and the Return of Stoner Television
His early work includes the British series Absolutely Fabulous, Pulling, and Peep Show, all series with regularly inebriated characters and plots revolving around marijuana. With experience in both British and American network and cable television, Shapeero has a unique perspective on the shifting attitudes toward marijuana in media. Critics of on screen marijuana use like the Parents Television Council have maintained that normalization of drug use in media sends the wrong message and perpetuates more usage. Gillian Jacobs’s character Britta Perry on Community is one of the few open marijuana users on network television. That ’70s Show simultaneously engaged in two kinds of marijuana related television tropes: the taboo object is never explicitly seen, only implied; and the characters accidentally ingest marijuana by consuming a baked good. The tradition for accidental consumption of marijuana is one of the oldest tropes surrounding on screen usage because nonconsenting dosage absolves the inebriated party of moral culpability while also allowing for the comedic situations a stoned character introduces. Two recent episodes of Raising Hope and Growing Up Fisher featured marijuana usage. Tommy Chong guest starred, as Cloris Leachman’s boyfriend, on the Raising Hope marijuana episode and Leachman uses her age to legitimize her right to smoke. By virtue of their ubiquity, most of the negative associations with marijuana use come from reality television programming like Cops. Other marijuana coverage in reality television has also focused on law enforcement efforts.
Pete Davidson, the SNL comic famous for weed jokes, announces he is sober ‘for the first time in 8 years’
Aside from his insightful barbs, the comic became known primarily for three things: his father’s death in the 9/11 attacks, being one of SNL’s youngest talents when he joined the cast in 2014 at age 20, and his love of pot. Take the sketch, for example, in which Davidson leads an army of potheads to celebrate in the streets of New York after the city amended its laws against possession. Davidson hasn’t made any other statements on his decision to quit, and NBC declined the Associated Press’s request for comment. As outspoken as the young comic always was about his drug use, neither the network nor SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels publicly aired any problem with it. Davidson himself hasn’t spoken publicly about wanting to be sober, although in a Comedy Central stand-up special, he joked about going to rehab as a Christmas present for his mother. It remains unclear whether Davidson has found a new method of dealing with Crohn’s disease, but the shift might be good for his comedy. As Bill Hader relayed to the New York Times and Davidson himself told Rolling Stone, he has long been ready to move on from the pot jokes that have almost come to define him – many years before most comics are defined at all. Davidson, of course, will not be the first celebrity to quit drugs after becoming so associated with their usage. Eminem famously went through rehab after several albums in which he described his drug use. Given that Davidson’s progression from marijuana jokes was already in motion, it seems unlikely his comedy will change significantly.