Tommy Chong on Big Cannabis, Going Corporate, and the ‘Reefer Madness’ Days

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Famous comedian Tommy Chong talked about his new venture Cheech And Chong’s Take-Out service in California and shared his views on the cannabis industry, and more with Javier Hasse and Elliot Lane on Benzinga Cannabis Insider.
Cheech and Chong Go Corporate

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Chong started off by explaining that the Cheech and Chong brand was looking at evolving cannabis culture into ‘the corporate.’ He offered his perspective on the often controversial concept of big cannabis.

Chong recalled when weed was legalized in California and “everybody thought we’re going to legalize it, we’re going to turn all those billions of dollars that they make illegally and we’re going to tax it and therefore we’ll have schools, we’ll be able to fund our pleas and blah blah blah…”

RELATED: Cheech & Chong Will Bring Weed Straight to Your Door

The reality

“In reality, they talk about cannabis like a part of the grain exchange, like the wheat business, that’s a multi-zillion dollar business, but there’s this supply and demand thing that’s coming into it and then when you think about cannabis, look what they did with the laws and the powers that regulate it, we finally get medical marijuana but is it a taxed medicine (…) their approach is so dated,” Chong said.

Chong touched upon his experience of building a cannabis company and its goal to mainstream the benefits of marijuana and facilitate its access.

“It all started with the pandemic and the government deeming cannabis essential,” Chong said.

Going back, he recalled vividly how cannabis users lined up to buy weed when the plant was legalized in Colorado, and how many “were disappointed.” He highlighted that cannabis should be considered more than just a recreation, also, “as an effective, inexpensive medicine that can help the planet.”

He lamented that cannabis companies are “now trying to squeeze every dollar, every penny we can get out of it because we called it a recreation.”

RELATED: Why Celebrities Keep Jumping Into the Cannabis Industry

Evergreen optimism

“You’re forever optimistic, even though you were in jail and survived cancer you still dance the tango in your 80s, how important has cannabis been in maintaining this optimism throughout your life?” the interviewers asked Chong.

“Cannabis use has been recorded in the spiritual books before it hit the medical books. What happened to me it was what was meant to be. I got turned on by a jazz musician in a jazz club when I was 17 years old and I found out real early that cannabis inspired my soul. I personally like the whole ritual of getting high.”

Growing up in the ‘Reefer Madness’ days

“When I started getting high it wasn’t to impress anybody it was to try it,” Chong said. “We grew up during reefer madness when the propaganda was, ‘if you smoke weed you’ll kill your parents with an ax!’ I get high and I get into a meditative state…transcendental meditation it’s called.”

Check out the full interview here.

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