You may know this celebrity as a cannabis cultural icon when he came up with “Up in Smoke,” a series of Cheech & Chong movies that celebrated the benefits of marijuana during a time in which it was entirely illegal. More specifically, in 1978. If you don’t know who is being referred to, it is Tommy Chong. Tommy Chong ended up going to deferral prison in 2003 after being found guilty of distributing drug utensils by selling things such as bongs and pipes online. At 65, he announced that he stopped smoking cannabis, the drug that made him rich and famous.

Years later, it turns out he was diagnosed with cancer and ended up going through tumor removal surgery. After the surgery, he was a reborn medical cannabis smoker and activist. At the moment, Chong, who will turn 78 in May, is reviving as a celebrity in the cannabis reform movement. He has been seen in viral videos supporting Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who he calls the next “Commander in Kush.” In addition, he became an advocate of marijuana products in this era of proliferating cannabis legalization.

Just in February, Chong has spoken, appeared, and been a guest at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco, a growing industry and reform event highlighting cannabis’s rebirth in politics, commerce and culture. In an open ballroom, he was talking about Chong’s Choice Products, a selection of cannabis strains that he considers being the best ones. The strains are cultivated in Colorado for both medicinal and recreational purposes and only for medicinal purposes in Arizona and California.

The celebrity branding just goes to show cannabis’s entry into millennial marketing, years following the release of Cheech & Chong.

“Where we are now (with marijuana increasingly legal for medical or recreational use), it would have put us out of business,” Chong said. “Because we made a fortune when it was illegal and we were running from the cops.”


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