Tommy Chong is a natural-born hero, admired for his comedic accomplishments, inventions and perseverance. Now he's creating hemp and weed-related goods under his name.
His Chong Water, an organic hemp and mint-lime beverage with electrolytes, vitamins and antioxidants, has begun its initial rollout. And on July 21, connoisseurs can tap the Futurola Chong Roller, a product that promises the "perfect cone" joints. He also sells personal weed strains including his newest edition, Tommy Chong OG, available at Malibu’s 99 High Tide Collective.
Despite the good news, there's been some bad. Chong tweeted in mid-June that he'd been diagnosed with rectal cancer and is undergoing treatment.
Meanwhile, the vape pen is offering relief, keeping him in high spirits. The Pacific Palisades resident is excited about the 99 High dispensary in nearby Malibu.
“I am always out there,” Chong says. “It’s so great to have the store open there, and to be run by such cool people. We are all soul mates, with the sweat lodge ceremony. You know, I’m an honorary sweat lodge guy.”
Chong got turned on to sweat lodge ceremonies at Taft Federal Correctional Institute, where he served nine month for the infamous Operation Pipe Dreams conviction in 2003. He, along with dozens of others, was convicted of selling drug paraphernalia. The case was attacked as political move by the government. But jail time took a toll on Chong.
“The prison is built over a toxic waste dump, the Taft Oil Fields,” Chong says. “They used to store the oil on top of the ground. And then they had to build a prison. So why not build it right there?”
Morever, he says, “They have a thing out there called Valley fever. When the wind blows, they make everyone come in from outside because there is something in the air that creates a ‘wasting disease.’ I’ve seen people there that had that disease, and they looked like POWs in a concentration camp.”
Chong is strong and grateful for the healing and calming aspects of cannabis. He's planning a farewell tour for the Cheech and Chong Show. “It’s the last go-round,” he says. News of his prognosis will be posted on his podcast, The Chong and Chong Show, which is seeking a permanent home. Stay tuned.
Chong chatted with L.A. Weekly:
How are sales going of your strain at 99 High Tide Collective?
Yeah, it was an experimental strain, but apparently it’s sold out, so it’s doing great. It sold like weed.
Can you describe Tommy Chong OG?
It’s from Seattle. It’s really good. It’s got the old '60s feel.
Do you have numerous strains?
Yes I do. I don’t know them all by heart. I have four or five. I’m the typical stoner. I only know weed and no weed.
Do you use a bong and pipe? Or do you enjoy the vaporizer or dabbing?
Well, since I’ve been diagnosed with rectal cancer, I’ve been utilizing every orifice I can! I use everything. I use the oil. I dab. I have a bong. I vape. I’m having a good time.
Do you get to enjoy edibles?
No, I have to stay away from the sugar. I am on a strictly “everything tastes like shit” diet.
We're all sorry to hear about what’s going on. What’s your health status?
The cancer? I think the cancer cells just love me. I mean, I hope not. The way that pot works is, it mellows you out mentally so you begin to enjoy everything that happens to you, as opposed to hating it.
And then you have less stress and we all know that stress causes disease.
Yeah, so no stress and no mess!
So what healing methods are you practicing? Certain oils?
I’ve been using the vape pen a lot because it is instantaneous. Once I get that high going, all the rest of the body parts kick in and I can’t tell one from the other anymore. So the vape pen has been my constant companion.
In 2012, you had prostate cancer, stage one?
Yes. They decided to leave that one alone. And now that I am getting the rectum done, I am getting the prostate done as well. I get two for the price of one. I get a two-fer there!
Are you going in for surgery soon?
I think in five weeks or so they are going to re-evaluate and see if it’s shrunk. Maybe I don’t need it. On the other hand, if I do, I am ready.
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Will you post updates on your podcast?
We haven’t done it in a while. We are in the middle of making a deal with a server. But the Chong and Chong podcast will be on the air very shortly.