Tommy Chong Speaks From Behind Bars

  Tommy Chong Speaks From Behind Bars

Posted by CN Staff on October 22, 2003 at 12:01:28 PT
Actor Was Jailed For Selling Bongs Online 

Kern County, Calif. -- Actor Tommy Chong -- one-half of the famous Cheech and Chong duo -- has spent the past three weeks in a Kern County Federal prison after pleading guilty to selling bongs over the Internet. Chong has not spoken to the press since his arrest, but did speak with News Channel 23's Emily Valdez. In that interview, he explained why he plead guilty, and how he says the court system could not separate the real Tommy Chong from the pot-head characters he has played in movies and on television.
For 30 years, America has watched Tommy Chong play pot smoking, guitar playing, drug-loving characters.As of Tuesday, he is three weeks into a nine month prison sentence at Wackenhut Federal Prison near Taft, after pleading guilty to selling 7500 bongs and pipes over his website on the Internet."They really arrested my character," Chong said. "The stoner musician was just a character."Chong told Valdez from behind the prison walls that the bongs he sold were memorabilia, replicas of bongs featured in his movies, and art. He says he even had them on display at an art show."Anything with my face on it is movie memorabilia dealing with that culture," Chong said. Chong also says they bongs were labeled for tobacco use only. So why did he plead guilty when he felt he didn't do anything wrong? He says it was to protect his family."In my case, they told me if I didn't plead guilty they would indict my wife and son and they would end up in jail," Chong said. "They said if I plead guilty nothing will happen to (me)."He also feels the court didn't sentence Tommy Chong the person, but his movie character of "Cheech and Chong" fame.The real Tommy Chong, he says, is a family man, who no longer smokes pot.Once this is all over, he plans to slip back into his old character again -- as an actor, that is."I'm a actor. I'm a nice guy," he said.Chong is appealing his sentence, and is hoping to get it reduced to house arrest. While he is in prison, he is writing a "Cheech and Chong" book -- fiction, of course. Source: (CA)Published: October 22, 2003Copyright 2003 by TheBakersfieldChannel.comWebsite: Articles:Delay Requested in Chong Term's Taking One Big Hit

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Comment #18 posted by Rev Jonathan Adler on October 22, 2003 at 16:40:54 PT:
Good Time To Reflect.
Aloha to Tommy Chong. Honestly, the movie character you played was sloppy, dirty, stupid, and "lowlighted" the marijuana smokers nation-wide as worthless psychopaths. 
I laughed along with America and thought you were impervious to jail, but we were wrong. Candidly, I can comment because I spent 6 months in jail here last year in similar conditions to where you are. I know what you face. It is a bitter pill, but I will pray for you and all others who are incarcerated as a result of ignorance and denial of cannabis' benefits to mankind. I fight for right and Tommy was just playing stupid. Both of us got time to reflect.
Stay low key Tommy and get a job in the kitchen. Time will pass and you will make new "friends". Good Luck. I did once visit the studio in in Vancouver where the Best Buds show was filmed and missed meeting you. I remember the 4 foot long bud that was there on the floor. I filmed it for a local Public Broadcast and gave you positive coverage.
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute
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Comment #17 posted by E_Johnson on October 22, 2003 at 16:16:58 PT
Write Bryan Epis instead
Here's a brave man who took a ten year bullet for this community, he needs support because he doesn't have a TV show or an adoring and unquestioning fan base who love him no matter how much he disses them in public to please the Man:Bryan James EpisPOW 09636-097TERMINAL ISL FCI1299 SEASIDE AVENUETERMINAL ISLAND, CA 90731
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Comment #16 posted by mayan on October 22, 2003 at 16:02:09 PT

Write Chong...
I got his address from the link Treeanna provided on another thread...Address letters to:
Thomas Kin Chong 07798-068Taft CIUNIT A, #4BPO Box 7001 1500 Cadet RoadTaft, CA 93268 Here's the link...Free Tommy Chong:

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Comment #15 posted by E_Johnson on October 22, 2003 at 15:58:19 PT

Our cause and his situation are the same
Everyone here has pain and fear in their lives. Everyone is at risk, everyone needs to save themselves and their own family, everyone is in a situation in this community.But how much respect does he show for that?He's special, he's a celebrity, he's trying to pretend this is the persecution of a celebrity.That's not showing much respect for any of the other people suffering in this community who are not celebrities, who managed to get 10 years in prison even if they never played a stoner in the movies.This is not about him.Every time I read an interview with him, he fills me with anger. This is all so NOT about HIM, and yet in his Hollywood ego -- it really is.
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Comment #14 posted by Mark Tide on October 22, 2003 at 15:53:21 PT:

thanks for note
howdy FoM,thanks for posting a note.
i don't see the items on the site today, so didn't want to risk you missing them.i have 12 cats and a stray, feral cat I call 13 all together.i call my place, "HOTEL CATIFORNIA"so i know what you mean . . . my favorite cat (Jeff, now deceased) spent 20 years on the trail with me.sounds really nice to have that sort of duty and all, with your new dog.have funsee you soon,
mark tide
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Comment #13 posted by E_Johnson on October 22, 2003 at 15:50:46 PT

The judge will never accept that
If his lawyer is trying to get him free on that basis, then he's a crook robbing his client blind.He sold bongs. Nobody is confused about that. The money went into his bank account, not one used by the character he played in his films.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on October 22, 2003 at 15:50:34 PT

I know what you mean.
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Comment #11 posted by mayan on October 22, 2003 at 15:46:41 PT

Let's Remember...
Chong is appealing his sentence on the grounds that "the court system could not separate the real Tommy Chong from the pot-head characters he has played in movies and on television." Chong is doing & saying what he can to become free & be with his family again. Maybe you expect him to come out and bash the judge and the laws? That might help our cause but it won't help his situation. Give the guy a break.  
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on October 22, 2003 at 15:11:57 PT

I got the articles posted but was busy last night and wasn't really commenting on the news. We got a young dog from animal rescue in our area and I'm keeping my eye on her and trying to make sure she feels comfortable with us. She is a young german shepherd.
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Comment #9 posted by Mark Tide on October 22, 2003 at 15:06:51 PT

howdy FoM
howdy FoM,i probably missed you with the following post (put on Arcata Eye story) last nite.thought i'd try again.anybody else is welcome, please, to help me find FoM.some important news should make it onto the scroll.thanks.
mark tide
arcata journal
arcata, calif.Howdy FoM,Those two items I mentioned a few days ago are now posted online at Arcata Journal, :The opinion column is now published in two county weeklies (McKinleyville Press and SoHum Independent), and will appear with further relevant material in the Arcata Eye, next week (10/28).***new*** should also soon be story in Eureka Times-Standard.News Article :"California's Initial P215 Implementation Measure Promises Controversy"Opinion Column :"New State P215 Law Should Motivate CIty / County Implementation"I spent some hard work on these, please post them up on your glorious scroll.If you have any questions about the content, I'm available by email.Thanks and Best Wishes, Mark Tide Arcata Journal
Arcata Journal
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on October 22, 2003 at 15:06:25 PT

About Tommy Chong
EJ, I wonder what he is thinking and why he feels so detached from himself. I know that he said his family was threatened and that will make people be totally different then they would be normally. It's normal to fear for your family when they are threatened. Manipulating Tommy Chong like they have is low. Really low in my book. I know that Tommy Chong isn't who his character is but we are all a composite of all the things that have influenced our lives. I don't understand that part of his comments.
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Comment #6 posted by E_Johnson on October 22, 2003 at 14:52:52 PT

It's really sad
It's almost like someone in a Nazi concentration camp complaining that they should be let out because they were only pretending to be Jewish.To some degree it does sound like the trauma of the experience has deranged him. But how could that be? Did he not enter the bong business willingly? Did he not take up the cause of being a cannabis personality willingly? Did he not know that this is a shooting war and we do get shot at, and we do get hurt and we do fall down in battle and bleed, and it is unfair and it is horrible and we do suffer and people just have to live with it and deal despite all that?Whatever he needs, he's not getting from his lawyer and it doesn't seem like he's getting it from his friends, whoever they may be.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on October 22, 2003 at 13:39:41 PT

One More Thing
I believe he needs an informed Doctor to talk to him too. That would help him to put this whole thing in the right perspective. Just more of my 2 cents.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 22, 2003 at 13:30:30 PT

EJ I Understand
It seems that Tommy Chong doesn't quite understand the importance of his case. Tommy Chong in my opinion is guilty of selling glass bowls but that is all and I thought that something can only be called paraphernalia if it has residue of an illegal substance in it. I'm not sure but Tommy Chong is acting like a brain washed POW. Confused and threatened. His lawyer sure doesn't seem to be helping him and he needs a new attorney and fast. 
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on October 22, 2003 at 13:22:29 PT

This makes me ill
"In that interview, he explained why he plead guilty, and how he says the court system could not separate the real Tommy Chong from the pot-head characters he has played in movies and on television.
"So it's okay if the pot-head characters he plays go to prison?And it's also okay to call people pot-heads in the news?
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Comment #2 posted by Kegan on October 22, 2003 at 12:19:38 PT

News bits proposes legal changes to allow drug-testing of driversISABELLE RODRIGUE 
Canadian Press Tuesday, October 21, 2003OTTAWA (CP) - The federal government is preparing to respond to provincial demands by enacting laws that would allow police to test drivers for drugs, according to a government document. The consultation paper, obtained by The Canadian Press, says the amended legislation would allow police to administer the tests to motorists suspected of being impaired by drugs. The paper, to be released Wednesday, outlines changes that have been sought for years by the provinces and police forces. The paper will be distributed to the provinces, territories and various associations, which have one month to respond. The Justice Department has outlined several options to allow officers to administer the drug tests and gather evidence for possible criminal charges. The suggested amendments would establish a legal drug limit, the obligation to submit to tests, the possibility of providing urine, blood or perspiration samples and penalties for refusing to comply. Although it's illegal in Canada to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol, there's no quick roadside test for drug use - unlike alcohol consumption, which can be measured on the spot by a breathalyser exam. Under current laws, police officers can only ask drivers whether they have used drugs, but can't administer a test. "If the police officers haven't received specific training about evaluating the effect of drugs, this task can be nearly impossible to accomplish," said the document. The task isn't any easier for trained officers because a suspect can refuse to volunteer for a drug test. No law exists to force someone to take a test. Mothers Against Drunk Driving denounced the consultation paper, saying Federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon has pushed for the decriminalization of marijuana while failing to enact measures to discourage drug-impaired driving. "A consultation document doesn't save lives," said Louise Knox, president of MADD Canada. "Ottawa must send a clear message that it takes these things very seriously before even thinking about passing a law on decriminalization." The consultation paper also raised the possibility motorists might challenge the mandatory drug tests in court. "The legislative proposals are vulnerable to attack under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," suggested the document, which asks for feedback from citizens and groups. Also................ war spills onto east-end streets
One 'soldier' killed during gun melee outside marijuana grow operationCURTIS RUSH
STAFF REPORTER THESTAR.COMToronto could become like Chicago in the 1920s with organized gangs shooting up the streets if "lax legislation" continues to allow illegal marijuana grow operations to escalate, Toronto police say.
Staff Inspector Gary Ellis made the comments after revealing that a weekend murder was the result of a gunfight between competing gangs in a sleepy Scarborough neighbourhood.Ellis, unit commander of the homicide squad, told a news conference this morning that the battle, "with enough weapons to have a war," was behind the city's 44th homicide of the year on Sunday morning.According to police, five robbers entered the premises of the marijuana grow operation at Wellpark Blvd. in Scarborough last Sunday. The gang behind the grow operation was alerted to their presence by an alarm. When the second group arrived on the scene to protect their illicit enterprise, a raging gunbattle ensued.A 22-year-old Chinese man protecting the grow house was shot and killed in a hail of gunfire at 7 a.m.Another victim, a 21-year-old male, was shot a number of times, but is expected to survive. He is in Scarborough Grace Hospital.During the shootout, Ellis said there was so much gunfire that he is surprised no one else was killed."Bullets penetrated a wall across the street," he said, and just missed hitting the occupants.There are two gangs at work - one which manages the lucrative grow operations out of homes and another trying to rob them - Ellis told reporters.In another case last week, $2.5 million in marijuana plants was discovered in an industrial unit on Finch Ave. E."This is an emerging trend we have to be aware of," Ellis said.During that seizure, police gathered 2,356 mature marijuana plants. Four males were arrested.In the shooting in Scarborough on Sunday, there were 13 combatants, Ellis said."There were enough weapons to arm an army," said Ellis, who added that these people are "soldiers." The victim didn't have any family in Canada and he had no known job or place of residence.The arsenal included firearms, machetes, clubs and a whole range of weapons.Ellis warned people to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or activity around houses.In the grow operations, the home's electrical circuits are bypassed and in some cases houses have burned down because of faulty wiring, Ellis said."There is a risk of fire and explosions," Ellis said."We're heading for Chicago in the 1920s," he said, "where they're shooting up the neighbourhood."Ellis hopes legislators do something to toughen up the laws because Canada is becoming a haven for these operations, he said."Canada is known as a soft country on cannabis-type drugs," he said.The drugs from these operations are often shipped out internationally and millions of dollars are at stake, Ellis said.
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on October 22, 2003 at 12:08:38 PT

He's still in deep denial, apparently
Tommy: they didn't arrest you because they thought you were your character. And your character didn't deserve prison, either.
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