Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Brad McIntosh made the trip from Minnesota to Kelowna this week to celebrate pot history in Canada.

And he had the added bonus of meeting his comedic hero Tommy Chong, who visited Kelowna on Friday to attend a meet and greet public reception hosted by Quick Grow and Diablo Nutrients.

“I am 64 years old and I never thought I would see the day when this would happen,” said McIntosh, referring to Canada being the second country to legalize marijuana, following in the footsteps of Uruguay.

“People I know back home in St. Cloud who smoke marijuana think it is really cool to see what Canada has done.

“Some of the old negative stigmas about pot still exist here I noticed since I arrived in Canada on Monday, but pot will put a smile on anyone’s face no matter who you are.”

RELATED: Cannabis pioneer delayed by passport mishap

As for Chong, he also had a big smile on his face, wanting to join in the celebration of cannabis legalization in Canada.

“It makes me feel good about my country, proud to be a Canadian,” Chong said. “We are the first among the western countries to come to our senses.”

Chong, who rose to fame in the 1970s and ’80s with his comedy partner Cheech Marin writing hit albums and movies about the marijuana culture, jokingly said he is responsible for cannabis being legalized here.

Fans of Tommy Chong toke up prior to the start of his public appearance in Kelowna on Friday. Photo: Barry Gerding/Black Press

“I think they should build a statue of me somewhere. Not in Edmonton where I was born because it is too cold there even for a statue. Not in Vancouver because there are too many pigeons. Maybe in Victoria, I love that city,” he laughed.

He is fond of Kelowna as well, having first visited the Okanagan back in the 1950s. “It looks different today than when I first came here, but then again everything looks different now that weed is legalized.”

Chong said the medicinal values of cannabis can now be better researched with legalization, something he understands the value of from his own personal bouts with cancer and how he feels that aided his recovery.

RELATED: Tommy Chong shares special message with Kelowna

“I’m not saying that marijuana cured my cancer, but it did affect my state of mind. Your mind controls your body. When you mind is full of stress, that affects your body. When marijuana relieves that stress, it allows the body to do its work and it helps you heel.”

Chong maintains there is no downside to cannabis use, citing the smiles he sees on the faces of people he meets in marijuana dispensaries to drug addicts who often find marijuana an alleviating agent for heroin and opiate addictions.

He does not feel pot use is a gateway to harder drugs, saying you can’t die from an overdose—“believe me I have tried enough times”—and just puts people in a better mindset in life.

“When I was in jail, I had to take a drug education course and I loved it. I learned all about drugs. I learned that alcohol addiction kills more people than anything else and it’s legal. Now that dope is legal, maybe it will replace the need for many people to drink alcohol and the world can become a more peaceful place.”

Chong added his Kelowna appearance is a reflection if a renewed interest in him since cannabis became legal in Canada, being asked to appear on television shows to articulate his views on marijuana.

“I am in big-time demand again all over, and it is fun. There is nothing comedians live more than an audience. We would do our act in front of a dog if no one else was around. But I love meeting people and to be among those here in Canada to see the intelligence behind this beautiful plant,” he said.



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Up to 10 centimetres of snow were expected on Highway 97 from Clinton to Begbie Summit and in 100 Mile House on Oct.24. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press)
More sand, plow trucks coming to region

More plows and brine trucks will be operating on the Highway 97 corridor this winter.

Fraser-Nicola BC NDP candidate Aaron Sumexheltza (third from l) with members of the Ashcroft Slough Society, Sept. 9, 2020. After the initial count, the first-time provincial candidate is trailing incumbent Jackie Tegart of the BC Liberal Party. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Liberal incumbent Jackie Tegart holds narrow lead over Aaron Sumexheltza of NDP

Initial count is complete, and mail-in ballots will determine who wins in Fraser-Nicola

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read