By Medicinal Michael Boris
Tommy Chong is popularly known as one half of the Cheech and Chong stand up and film duo. Tommy is an idol for many in the cannabis industry, but he’s much more than just his joint puffing film persona. Tommy is an advocate for cannabis; he successfully treated a bout of prostate cancer with cannabis oil, He was also incarcerated for nine months in 2004 for shipping bongs to Pennsylvania.
Candid Chronicle correspondent Medicinal Michael Boris caught up with Tommy Chong to talk about Blazers Cup, Tommy’s growing experience, and what sparks his life- besides smoking.
Medi Mike: What is the Blazers cup?
Tommy Chong: It’s a real good excuse to get people together and celebrate the finest bud in America. Or actually in the world, for two days. December 2nd and 3rd in San Bernardino, there’ll be a ton of games and a lot of laughs. It’s good times.
MM: You’ll be speaking?
TC: There will be a stage so I’ll be up there introducing the acts and stuff like that. It will be one big happy party.
MM: Right now, who’s your favorite grower?
TC: He actually just left. He’s a Persian guy. I forget his name, but he just walked out the door with a sac. He has some of the best Indica and Sativa. He had everything.
MM: (*Laughs*) Have you ever grown? Are you grower yourself?
TC: Yes, I have grown and sometimes on purpose. I had a crop of about 60 plants one time, and about 30 made it. The rest had mold, but yeah, I’m a grower. It’s not easy to grow, it’s a lot of fun to harvest.
MM How’s your health these days if you don’t mind me asking?
TC: (*Fake coughs*) Hand me that bong. Thank you. My health is really good, man. I turn 80 next birthday. So instead of a wake, we’re going to have a wake and bake.
MM: Are there any more Chong movies coming out? Are you producing any? There’s a lot of people wanting to know.
TC: The last movie I had a part in was on Showtime, or one of those. It was called Gawd. That’s on… Netflix or somewhere. Gawd, G-A-W-D. I was also in a documentary by a very famous filmmaker; my daughter is involved, we’re keeping it under wraps, it’s still in the womb.
MM: Coming up on 80 years old, is there any retirement on the horizon?
TC: I’ve been retired for quite some time now. I retired at the age of… uhh, 17. I could not take a job where I could see myself 20 years later. I said nope. I wanted to see the world and enjoy the earth. So I opted out, I actually retired from mainstream. I’m still retired.
MM: Now speaking of enjoying the world you are one of the top cannabis influencers in the world. Your comedy, producing, and writing films there are a lot of up and comers trying to emulate that gift that you gave. Is there any advice you’d have for them?
TC: It’s the same advice I’d give to people, say, mountain climbing, or any act of creation. We are here to create life, and if comedy is in your world, then you are so lucky. Because it’s a rare affliction to have and the fact you can turn your affliction into, dollars, you know, money is a pure blessing. Being a comic is like being in therapy. The only difference is you use the audience as your doctor. And you get paid for it, so it’s a win-win all around. My advice to any comic is- just count your blessings, man. It doesn’t matter how you support yourself to stay in the comedy business because everything you do is research. Being a comic is like being an evolved being.
MM: A lot of people in this industry don’t realize how important they are to the industry. You’re very humble. You’re just a normal guy. How does that affect you? When you look in the mirror?
TC: Well, I look in the mirror and say wow you’re so $%*@ing humble I can’t believe it. How did you get so humble?!! The reason I smile, the reason I’m so happy is because I’m married to one of the most beautiful women in the world. IN THE WORLD. She entered a magazine contest in women over 40 and came in the top 10. She was only one of two that were on the Oprah Winfrey Show. That’s my wife, of a long time. And so that shows you how blessed I am. It’s a reward. What you see out of me is gratitude. My world… look at my world! I’m making a small fortune for getting high! Getting high, playing music, and thinking of funny shit to do, and think, and say. I get paid phenomenal for it. And I hang out with you the best people. I’ve got one of the smartest Mexicans in the world as my partner, Cheech. He was a celebrity Jeopardy winner. I mean, legitimately! This guy in his own way, he’s totally genius. Foremost, art, an expert on Chicago art, and you know, he’s respected in the art world. He can go to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, when it’s closed, and get a tour. That’s how influential Cheech is. So I’m so blessed. When you’re blessed like I am, then you want to somehow spread the happiness around. Cause that’s all you can do in life. That’s all you can do. You can be like a heater in a cold room.
MM: Who’s Tommy Chong’s inspiration? We all use you and your work, but when you got started… who were you emulating or did you just blaze your own trail?
TC: To tell you the truth, I was curious. I was just curious. The reason I was curious is I wanted to learn everything. I was curious. I still am very curious.