admin September 15, 2018
CHEECH and CHONG did so much for Canadian cannabis culture. It may come as a surprise to you but this legendary and iconic duo have been well known globally for their marijuana themed trail blazzin movies Cheech and Chong. In 1978, Up In Smoke rolled into theatres and took people by storm as they started their journey of normalizing cannabis use. As the fight to legalization comes to an end, it’s important to look at where it all started in Canada for one of our country’s true OG’s.
Tommy Chong went to Crescent Heights High School in Calgary, but decided that academics weren’t the end game for him so he went on to start a blues band called the Calgary Shades. Tommy moved out to Vancouver’s China Town which in the 60’s and 70’s was the epicenter of Canada’s cannabis movement, as Gas Town raids ended putting hundreds in jail. Tommy would go on to meet Cheech Marin and they started their ‘band’ and began doing comedy shows on stage, which eventually led the duo to Hollywood with their feature film Up in Smoke. They played a significant role in normalizing cannabis culture that fans could laugh along with and relate to under the many stigmas associated with smoking cannabis. Up in Smoke is credited with establishing the stoner comedy genre, which is now more popular than ever with movies such as Super Troopers 1 & 2, Half Baked and Pineapple Express.
Tommy Chong resurfaced as a Hollywood pot icon in “That 70’s Show” through his role as ‘Leo’. During the last season of the show in 2003, Tommy Chong’s Los Angeles home was raided by police and he was arrested for conspiracy of ‘selling cannabis paraphernalia’ in the United States. The FBI arrested him as part of the operation ‘Pipe Dreams’, Tommy went on to spend 9 months in prison. After serving this time in California he came out much more ‘politicized’. California has now legalized cannabis recreationally as of the start of 2018, and Tommy’s notoriety as a cannabis activist is more prevalent now than ever before.
What a trip it’s been for Tommy Chong; who now has multiple business opportunities waiting for him in a legalized world. What a time to be a Canadian.
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