Tommy Chong's Hopes May Be Up In Smoke 

  Tommy Chong's Hopes May Be Up In Smoke 

Posted by CN Staff on September 09, 2003 at 21:52:26 PT
By Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette Staff Writer  
Source: Post-Gazette  

Actor Tommy Chong's own words outside the federal courthouse after he pleaded guilty in May to distributing drug paraphernalia online might hurt him tomorrow when a judge imposes a sentence that could put him in prison for a year and cost him $250,000.That's the stiffest sentence U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab could hand down, and he's indicated he may do just that, in part because of what he called Chong's lack of respect for the law.
Chong, a 65-year-old father of five who has made a career of playing marijuana-addled morons on the big screen, was as subdued and contrite when he entered his plea May 13. But outside the courthouse he laughed and told the media he might put the case in his next movie. That was apparently a mistake, not only because it showed lack of remorse but because one of the determinations Schwab must make is how much of a fine Chong will have to pay. Sentencing guidelines call for a range of $2,000 to $20,000, but the judge indicated he may depart from those numbers and boost the fine to $250,000 because of the possibility that Chong will exploit the case to make money. Schwab also said in court papers that Chong hadn't provided the government with all of his financial records and could be trying to misrepresent how much he's earned over the years from selling paraphernalia. Chong's net worth is $2.8 million, so prosecutors said he can easily afford to pay the maximum fine."The defendant has become wealthy throughout his entertainment career by glamorizing the illegal distribution and use of marijuana," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton. "Feature films that he made with his longtime partner, Cheech Marin, such as 'Up in Smoke,' trivialize law enforcement efforts to combat marijuana trafficking and use."The judge will also have to weigh Chong's attitude. In addition to his courthouse comments, he made light of the situation in an online chat sponsored by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in April, according to the U.S. attorney's office. When asked, "What do you feel about the feds cracking down on glass pipes and bongs?" he replied, "I feel pretty bad, but it seems to be the only weapons of mass destruction they've found this year."Despite the jokes, however, two of Chong's Hollywood pals have written letters to the judge saying he takes his case "very seriously" and describing him as a wonderful family man and professional. "I would ask that your honor allow Tommy to pay his debt by contributing to the community," wrote his agent, Matthew Blake of The Gersh Agency in California. "He has fans all over the world that would respond to his message that you can get higher on life without using drugs. He is the perfect spokesperson to deliver this message."Chong and his lawyers had asked Schwab to postpone the sentencing so they could explore alternative sentences like community service, but the judge said no. He will sentence Chong to six months to a year in prison, a halfway house, home detention, probation or some combination of those. Chong has admitted to distributing bongs and marijuana pipes on the Internet through his family company, Nice Dreams Enterprises, which is named for one of his movies. He also entered a guilty plea for the company, which does business as Chong Glass in Gardena, Calif. The case against him was part of Operation Pipe Dreams, a national crackdown on drug paraphernalia that began in Pittsburgh during the prosecution of Akhil Kumar Mishra and his wife, Rajeshwari, who ran two head shops Downtown in the 1990s. After an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Mishras were convicted in federal court here in 2000 of conspiracy and selling illegal drug paraphernalia.Using information from that case, federal agents started pursuing distributors and wholesalers across the United States. Chong's enterprise was one of them.Operation Pipe Dreams culminated in February with the arrest of some 55 people and the shutdown of head shops and distributors across the country. Chong wasn't arrested at the time, but the family business, which employs several glass blowers, was among those raided. Agents also searched his house in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and seized business records and cash. Since his plea, Chong has been free on bond and traveling around the country performing his comedy act.Note: Actor faces a year, fine for distribution charge. Newshawk: ekimSource: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)Author: Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette Staff Writer Published: Wednesday, September 10, 2003Copyright: 2003 PG PublishingContact: letters post-gazette.comWebsite: Articles:Chong Admits Marijuana Equipment Sales Takes Potshots at Grass Laws's Raid Helps Fire Up Chong's Act

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Comment #19 posted by The GCW on September 10, 2003 at 21:44:33 PT
Feds in Pennsylvania.
There are only a few states where this sham can slam...Everything is reletive. If they don’t want the news to get out and use 911 to help facilitate it... then fit it into conversation in letters to the editor.Cult actor admits drug charge from the BBC News.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on September 10, 2003 at 18:54:18 PT
This whole thing is almost unbelievable to me. Of course Tommy Chong would laugh about this. He's a comedian. That's what he does for a living. He makes people laugh and the courts take it seriously. I don't understand why they don't understand it. I wiish him the very best. I just loved him as Leo on That 70s Show.
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Comment #17 posted by SoberStoner on September 10, 2003 at 18:35:41 PT
You answered your own question.The puppetmasters dont want people to know about this..What better timing could they provide..Hell, we may even get lucky and hear our first usage of the words narco-terrorist..Bu$h presented parts of (anti)Patriot II today, and thats one of the parts of it they'll probably push through.I dont know why Tommy decided to not go to trial, but thats not important anymore. If the judge throws the book at Tommy, he'll be crucifying one of our spiritual leaders in much the same was as the romans did to that other guy with long hair who preached about things he wasnt supposed to preach.We talked about revolution..If Tommy gets the maximum, who knows how many closet smokers will finally open their mouths and say "ENOUGH!"And the best part, he will be going to jail not for actually smoking, possessing or growing, just running a business.Velkomme to AmerikaFreedom is only ours if we fight for it.SS
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on September 10, 2003 at 08:38:14 PT

Why is This on 9 - 11?
Because of 9-11 no important case should occur on this date because it won't get any press. I don't know why it will be on 9-11 and it bothers me.
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Comment #14 posted by escapegoat on September 10, 2003 at 08:26:29 PT

Hey Tommy - get back to Canada NOW!
Despite what that much-lauded piece of paper says, you have no right to free speech in Asscroft's Amerika. Come home, man, before they make a political prisoner out of you. As much as it will backfire on them (Tommy Chong in jail will get all the complacent, closet smokers off their butts) you DON'T want to be in federal prison. Let this be a lesson -- never deal with the feds, they obviously have no honor, sense of justice, or common sense.
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Comment #13 posted by SWAMPIE on September 10, 2003 at 08:09:26 PT

Tommy Chong.........
 Should have as much publicity as the next actor.Wonder why he's not getting at least a bit of it in the mainstream media.I have only read about this here.If more people knew that this was the case,then there would be more converts to our cause as well as those to speak up on his behalf.I read the Playboy article on Tom and Rollie,and it was a great piece of work,but it was a bit late to get any real media attention.Tommy Chong needs us now to speak up for him,like Ed Rosenthal had the people speak up for him.The times sure are a changin' but if we can all band together we will break the wall down yet.I just felt the earth shudder,could it be? Nah!It was just another bomb going off under my ass 8000 miles away in Iraq.... Too bad,so sad....Gotta love it!Will the real God please stand up? onward through the fog!!!!!!!!! SWAMPIE
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Comment #12 posted by The GCW on September 10, 2003 at 07:15:30 PT

The wicked one with the "spirit of error",
will hound a judge that does not mett out a harshe penalty.But those with a harsh penalty should then be hounding the overpunishment.Undue punishment is against the Constituion.But the Bush and His wicked ones can not see with the "spirit of error".The Green Collar WorkerTo see -and to see all things... REQUIRES the spirit of truth"!Please, My brothers, grasp the "spirit of truth". I testify it is REAL! It will stop the "spirit of error". When You are ready, He is too. It sure seems that We want something bad enough to try His help. It is there. Please let's organize through Him with His help. The ignorance Bush and His servants expose is on Biblical levels and will only be controled with Biblical help. That help comes through the spirit of truth as described in John 14-16 and goes from there.If YOu have ?s about this please ask, for I will help introduce YOu to Him. We need Him and His communication system He has made available to Us. The GCW
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Comment #11 posted by BigDawg on September 10, 2003 at 06:44:02 PT

I heard an interview with Tommy last week.
It was hilarious.He is now going around with his comedy act and promoting his new blown glass "incense burners."When he copped a plea I was disappointed that he didn't fight. But now it appears that he is STILL being a dissident in his own way.He hasn't been broken.
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Comment #10 posted by Patrick on September 10, 2003 at 06:34:59 PT

Twisted is so right
They can bust glass blowers in california but they can't bust or prevent criminals from buying guns at california gun shows??? You betcha, amerika is all twisted and getting more like nazi germany everyday. Hiel Asscroft
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Comment #9 posted by fearfull on September 10, 2003 at 06:32:14 PT

One thing bugs me about bong prohibition
How did the prohibs actually manage to outlaw glassware? With the herb salvia (still legal in the US) around how can the be so sure that it will be used for "illegal" purpose? Or where they just condecending about it being in the public interest? I would really like to know about this.
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on September 10, 2003 at 06:15:01 PT

Twisted country
Don't have much time to post, just wanted to suggest that they should go out and arrest Sylvester Stallone if they want an actor. His movies have contributed to the mass brain-washing of an entire generation that worships a culture of crime & violence.Chong is clearly a dissident-type figure, this is a disgraceful proceeding, a stain on the values of freedom that the USA was supposed to represent. It's horrifying to me.
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Comment #7 posted by goneposthole on September 10, 2003 at 05:26:47 PT

listen to the cacophony
of the prosecuting attorney. Do you think Mr. John Ashcroft may be watching this case to make sure the judge isn't being lienent on Tommy Chong? The judge is forcing Mr. Chong to walk the extra 230,000 miles. Somehow, folks should send him some money to help pay his fine, even if he can well afford to pay it himself. We paid to see his movies, help pay to help see his way through this mess. Justice will prevail with no help from the courts. The wheels of justice grind slow, but grind a very fine grist.I wish Mr. Chong well, and hope he profits $100,000,000 on his movie.
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on September 10, 2003 at 05:13:58 PT

Who else
is prepared to exploit the moron called Judge?That judge is a shit ass.It's time to organize; We can not do it alone; Go to the "spirit of truth"!!John 14-16!! SHARE WHAT HE SHOWS YOU!!!!THESE PIGS BELONG IN THE FENCED IN PLACES.I am angry! When I get angry, I take it to the Lord, but I go beyond that, I take it to the "spirit of truth", and I bring it back through the "spirit of truth".You can too. When We as a people go to the spirit of truth, We will know how to control the "spirit of error".If I tell You a grasshopper can pull a plow; don't question Me; Just go out and hitch 'em up!!!!!!!!!!!!The Green Collar Worker
From Stoner & Climax

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Comment #5 posted by byrd on September 10, 2003 at 04:34:32 PT

Constitution? What Constitution?
Way to go judge Schwab - attack that first amendment. Apparently we don't need it anymore. They should at least have the guts to say that they want to do away with the bill of rights.
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Comment #4 posted by OverwhelmSam on September 10, 2003 at 04:30:22 PT:

Deadly Bongs!
Wow! The government got all those bongs off the street. LOL Should have bought stock in rolling paper companies.
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Comment #3 posted by RevHappy on September 10, 2003 at 01:14:15 PT:

Fourty YEARS!
"Moses smoked pot, you KNOW he did...
He freed his people,then got them lost....
In A Desert. FOR FOURTY YEARS!!!!Tommy Chong, Hash Bash 98When asked, "What do you feel about the feds cracking down on glass pipes and bongs?" he replied, "I feel pretty bad, but it seems to be the only weapons of mass destruction they've found this year."We love you Tommy, cant you fight? Why dont you win, one way or another? Good luck and Jah Bless-Rev Happy
Like Tommy Chong Checks Cannabis News!
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on September 09, 2003 at 23:51:35 PT

And they want their cut in advance?
"Sentencing guidelines call for a range of $2,000 to $20,000, but the judge indicated he may depart from those numbers and boost the fine to $250,000 because of the possibility that Chong will exploit the case to make money.
"HahahahahahaJUST WHO is exploting this case to make money?The judge just wants to make sure that the government gets their cut.
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on September 09, 2003 at 23:47:01 PT

DEAR editors
Dear editors,Unlike a rapist or a murderer, Tommy Chong left no victims who sufferered as a result of his crime. Therefore it is entirely appropriate for Mr. Chong to display a lack of remorse. He hasn't hurt anything but the dignity of the court, and the laws against marijuana are already such an assault on the dignity of our legal system that nothing Mr. Chong could do could possibly compound the damage.
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