Tommy Chong on Donald Trump
Dec 09, 2016 11:38PM, Published by Randy Robinson , Categories: Features
It was the morning of Nov. 10, less than two days after Donald J. Trump was declared the 45th President of the United States. On this day Tommy Chong, the legend, the icon, the pioneer of America’s cannabis movement, would launch his new Chong's Choice brand of cannabis products to the Colorado market. Considering the new change of guard in Washington, DC, the question on everyone's mind was, "What happens next?"
Sensi: The last time a Republican was in the White House, his administration wasn’t so friendly to you. How are you feeling about Trump’s victory?
Chong: I’m feeling really, really good. Especially because the marijuana initiatives passed in all the states. That’s really the first step toward education. Because once you smoke pot, you can’t put that genie back in the bottle.
Last night, I had quite an epiphany about the good part of the election. The fact that we elected a guy who’s totally his own boss. There’s no doubt about it: he doesn’t follow anybody. He’s a maverick, and I love that.
Of course, I just heard that he’s climate change denier. But being a climate change denier is like saying the world is flat. No matter what anybody says, the world’s flat, and that’s it. Eventually, they found out the world is round. And that’s a climate change denier. Trump is going to be changing his mind. He’s going to look at the data, he’s going to look at the research, he’s going to listen to scientists.
To be a climate denier is like insisting that Kodak Film should still be in business, despite the fact we have digital photography. Digital took film off the market. Before digital, Kodak was huge. You drove outside of Chicago, there’s empty Kodak plants for miles. Why? Because we don’t need celluloid film anymore. It’s the same thing with the climate.
Now, anybody that denies climate change is happening is like the guy who wants to keep Kodak film alive. We want to take America back to the old days of coal? Forget it. Coal days are over. Oil days are over. Their days are numbered, because of the technology we have. I drive an electric car; I pull into gas stations more often to fill my tires with air than to fill the tank with gas.
You can’t deny what’s happening. That’s why marijuana got passed. Because you cannot deny that marijuana is good for the human race. It’s an answer to a lot of our problems, including starvation, including unemployment. Including everything.
That’s why there’s farmers in Ohio and Kansas, and they’re looking at California and they’re like “oh my god. We gotta legalize that here, so all of these empty fields where they used to grow corn for ethanol, they don’t need it anymore.” Those fields are just crying to be filled with marijuana plants. With marijuana, you’re not only going to get a bud y ou can smoke, but you’re going to get a plant that you can wear, that you can eat, that you can use to make fuel for your car – you can make your car from the plastics made from the plant.
Sensi: There’ve been allegations that Trump is a bigot or is surrounding himself with racist advisors. Do you believe that’s true?
Chong: So what we have here with the election is people evolving. My only knock against the Trump supporters is, what I felt, is they were unevolved. If you’re a racist, or a misogynist, or a bigot, it’s not that you’re less human than anybody; it’s just that you’re less informed than everybody. You’re just unevolved. It’s a temporary state.
That’s why the Christians talk about being “born again.” “Born again” only means born again in your mind. It isn’t physical; it means mentally. Because this is where it all starts, in your mind. That’s why marijuana is so important. It affects the mind. It heals the mind. It calms the mind. And that’s what you need.
Like I’m a golfer, for instance. I know a lot of golfers that ruined their careers with alcohol. A lot of sports figures have ruined their careers and their lives with alcohol, because they were looking for something to calm them down. You get such an adrenaline boost when you’re a professional anything that you need to calm down. Actors, and poets, and writers for centuries have gone to alcohol. Except the real talented, the real smart ones, they went for cannabis.
Picasso used hashish, that was his thing. Look at Picasso, one of the richest, most famous artists in the world. Van Gogh, he was a pothead, too.
Hemingway was a great writer that ruined his life and his career with alcohol.
I was the oldest contestant on Dancing with the Stars. And it wasn’t because of alcohol. I’ve met people my age ravaged by alcohol and lack of exercise or bad diet. But because I smoke pot, I’ve managed to maintain my diet, I’ve managed to maintain my mental capacity, because, like I’ve said, marijuana works on the brain.
Sensi: Do you think Trump will make the right choices as president?
Chong: I know everyone’s worried he’s going to appoint the wrong people. Don’t worry about Trump. He has a habit of doing his research, finding out what’s best for the world, what’s best for the country. He’s elected now, so he can use his power of intuition. Because that’s what he has. He has great intuition. He knows what to say.
Even what he did with Obama. He questioned Obama’s birth, but that was Obama’s only weakness. Trump intuitively knew that, so he went straight to the weakest part of Obama’s situation: he’s not only “black,” but he’s “not American.” Which is totally wrong, because Obama is American, and the American people saw that, and we elected Obama for two terms.
Now we’ve got a president with great intuition. Don’t kid yourself: everything he said about his first 100 days and all that crap: just words. He’ll change his mind depending on the situation. If you watch his show, The Apprentice, that show was great for one reason: they got the job done. He found the people who were thrown into the trash heap of public opinion. A lot of has-beens. Much like Dancing with the Stars, where a lot of celebrities whose careers were almost over – or were over – and Trump reinvigorated their careers with appearances on these shows.
What both shows do is they recognize the value of the person, not just what that person was or what they could be, but what they are today. That’s why I’ve got great confidence in Trump now, because I’m sure his intuition is going to carry us – and him – through.
Think about it: he doesn’t need fame. He doesn’t need money. He’s had his failures, sure. I’m not worried about him. He’s not naïve. The quality I like about Trump the most is that he did everything on his own terms. He did this election entirely on his own terms. He went against every norm possible, and he pulled out a win. And the people that voted him in, they weren’t all the “deplorables” that the press would like to make them out to be. They weren’t all the most uneducated people. There has to be closet Trump supporters, but socially, they couldn’t admit it. But when they went to the ballot box, they voted for him.
But Hillary, she’s smart enough. When she saw she wasn’t going to be elected, she conceded right away. Now Trump, on the other hand, he knew that he was going to be elected. That’s why he was going to be upset if he lost. You can call it ego, or whatever it is, but he’s a winner. That’s what we need right now. We really do need a winner.
I’m with the American people. I see it, and I said, “I’m a deplorable.” I’m exactly what they were talking about. I’m poorly educated, I never got through high school. However, I have directed about six movies, six very successful movies. On the one hand, I’m poorly educated according to the normal standards, but on the other hand, I’m a winner. And so, here we are.
Sensi: Personally, I think marijuana is safe because it’s making money. It’s boosting our economy. I don’t imagine the jobs-president would go after this industry.
Chong: It’s what the people want. People want marijuana. Why? Because they googled it and they saw it cures epilepsy, it cures Alzheimer’s, it cures obesity. Once you clear the mind, then the mind dictates everything else.
They won’t mess with the industry anymore. The people want it. The people voted. And that’s the way it is. That’s what I love about our country.
Once America goes [legal], the whole world’s gonna go [legal, too]. India, they have the best weed and hash in the world. [In ancient India], the king used to put his stamp on it. When the workers would harvest the weed, the purest of all the pollen would fall on their bodies. They’d go into this little room, and they’d scrape off the pollen, and they’d make a hash with it. The purest of the pure would float up to the ceiling, and they’d scrape that off, and they’d roll it up. The temple balls would be the hash that the priests would smoke.
We’re gonna go back to that culture. We’re gonna do that same thing here with Chong’s Choice. It’s similar to that, because the Chong’s Choice is really a form of temple balls. What we’ve done is contacted the best growers in America, and that’s who represents our product. So when you see a Chong’s Choice product, you know it’s a temple ball.
Sensi: Even in Colorado, pot is still stigmatized to a large degree. What do you think it’s going to take to get the rest of the country, the rest of the world, to stop stigmatizing it?
Chong: Time. It just takes time. It took me about… five minutes to realize this is what I want to smoke for the rest of my life. [laughs] It’s just time. There’s a lot of people who believe it’s against their religion, or it’s against their culture. It’s misinformation in their head.
You have to remember: our physical plane where we exist isn’t just here for our enjoyment. We’re here to learn. And you only learn by making mistakes. You got to go through these mazes, you hit a dead-end, and you turn around until you find your way out. It’s not easy. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. But it’s going to happen thanks to old age. The old part dies off, and the new age comes in.
Sensi: Did you ever think you’d have your own weed line one day?
Chong: Never thought it. Wait! No, I take that back. In 1974, Cheech and I did a commercial. Acapulco Gold: No stems, no seeds, that we don’t need, Acapulco Gold is – [gestures puffing] – bad ass weed.