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Tommy Chong on His Prostate Cancer: ‘Cannabis Is a Cure’

2:06 PM PDT 6/13/2012 by Erik Pedersen

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Tommy Chong (left) and Cheech Marin voiced new characters for the sequel to the 2005 animated comedy.

A longtime proponent of medicinal marijuana, the 74-year-old comic says he is using hemp oil to treat stage 1 cancer.

Tommy Chong is battling prostate cancer the best way he knows how: with hemp oil.

“Cannabis is a cure,” he told CNN in announcing his illness.

The veteran comic, 74, said he was diagnosed last month but first noticed symptoms during his 2003-04 incarceration in California for selling pot paraphernalia. He described the cancer as a slow stage 1.

A longtime supporter of medicinal marijuana, Chong was giving an interview about the health benefits of pot when he revealed his illness. “I’ve got prostate cancer, and I’m treating it with hemp oil, with cannabis,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon. “So [legalizing marijuana] means a lot more to me than just being able to smoke a joint without being arrested.”

Chong told the cable news network he quit smoking marijuana last year “for health reasons” but is using hemp oil to treat the disease. “[I take it] at night, so I won’t be woozy all day,” he said. “I’m taking it as a medicine.”

A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Chong rose to fame during the early 1970s with partner Richard “Cheech” Marin as the stoner-comedy duo Cheech and Chong. They released eight albums from 1971-85, three of which hit the top 10, and won a best comedy recording Grammy for 1973’s Los Cochinos. The pair also co-wrote and starred in eight films, starting with the 1978 stoner classic Up in Smoke.

Cheech and Chong also toured as a comedy act but broke up during the mid-’80s after years of squabbling. They reunited in 2008 for the Cheech and Chong Light Up America stand-up tour, which resulted in the 2010 documentary Hey Watch This.

During a news conference at the Troubadour in West Hollywood — where the duo was discovered in 1970 by producer Lou Adler – to announce the reunion tour, Chong took time to praise the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Then he jokingly credited pot for “all of my youthfulness, my … uh …” — “Memory,” Marin chimed in with a grin.

Tommy Chong on His Prostate Cancer: ‘Cannabis Is a Cure’ 2:06 PM PDT 6/13/2012 by Erik Pedersen FACEBOOK TWITTER EMAIL ME Tommy Chong (left) and Cheech Marin voiced new

Counter-Culture Icon Tommy Chong Explains Why He Embraces The Corporatization Of Cannabis

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Photo courtesy of Chongson Inc.

Tommy Chong is an undisputed symbol of the cannabis culture and has been one for forty years, since the debut of his movie saga with Cheech Marin, “Cheech & Chong.” In fact, if you were to ask any cannabis consumer which celebrity is the face of cannabis, most would probably name Snoop Dogg, B-Real of Cypress Hill, or Cheech & Chong.

Photo courtesy of Chongson Inc.

But in recent years, Tommy Chong has transitioned from being a representative of the counter culture in America, an example of resistance to the status quo, to being a full-fledged businessman, embracing the mainstreaming of marijuana and the entry of corporate behemoths into the cannabis industry. Even more so, in 2016, Tommy Chong launched his own cannabis brand, Chong’s Choice.

But, because Chong has a criminal record for funding a company that sold cannabis paraphernalia (meaning pipes, bongs, and things like that), he could not be directly involved in the cannabis industry. Recognizing the value of his name in the cannabis community though, he decided to license it to a company run by his son, Paris Chong, and a partner, and Jon-Paul Cowen. They called it Chongson, Inc.

“Chong’s Choice finds the best growers, we team them up with the best dispensaries, and then we take a small percentage,” he said during a recent, exclusive interview. “We’re practically in every store around the country because we have really good people promoting our brand. Our claim to fame is that we sell only the best.”

Tommy Goes Mainstream

Cannabis is really going mainstream, Chong assured. “The new face of cannabis now is old ladies taking it to sleep at night. You talk to ladies everywhere and they say: I got my edibles by my bed, I wake up, take another gummy bear, and I sleep like a baby. It’s my medicine.”

Photo courtesy of Chongson Inc.

The new face of cannabis now is old ladies taking it to sleep at night. You talk to ladies everywhere and they say: I got my edibles by my bed, I wake up, take another gummy bear, and I sleep like a baby. It’s my medicine.”

– Tommy Chong

To illustrate further, Chong brought up a story from 2014, when Colorado legalized adult use cannabis. Upon visiting the first legal dispensary in the state, Chong noticed something unexpected: “When I pulled up to the [cannabis] store I was amazed to see the line-up: It looked like the line-up to see Jesus, to be healed: people with crutches, in wheelchairs or with canes…”

Interestingly enough, Chong is one of these patients too. A few years ago, the comedian got prostate cancer, while serving time in jail for supporting a cannabis paraphernalia brand.

Surprisingly, though, Chong didn’t recur to cannabis right away. At first, he turned to traditional pharmaceutical drugs to treat his illness. “They told me it was slow-moving prostate cancer and that I would probably die of something else first, so they weren’t really going to bother with it,” he voiced.

But things changed when Tommy was invited to participate of the show Dancing With The Stars.

“I believe that the stress and the strain of the dancing itself led me to get rectal cancer too,” he said. “Long story short: I got operated on and then I started doing a lot of cannabis to recover. First of all to get me off the heavy meds, the opioids, and all the heavy drugs. So I got off that and onto cannabis… Now I’m cancer-free, I’m totally cured, and trying to become a tango dancer,” he said, warning readers this does not mean cannabis cures cancer, but that the plant was part of his recuperation process, as were traditional drugs.

Chong’s Choice Chocolates

Photo courtesy of Chongson Inc.

Chong’s Choice currently offers cannabis flowers, pre-rolls, oil cartridges, THC-infused breath strips, and a new line of cannabis-infused chocolates, in collaboration with Défoncé – depicted above. The brand, currently available in the U.S. alone, will be disembarking in Canada next, and launching a new line of CBD products.

Follow Javier Hasse on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for up-to-date cannabis news and stories from the industry.

Tommy Chong is OK with cannabis going mainstream. “The new face of cannabis now is old ladies taking it to sleep at night," he assures. "You talk to ladies everywhere and they say: I got my edibles by my bed, I wake up, take another gummy bear, and I sleep like a baby. It’s my medicine.”