To have stoner comic Tommy Chong come out for legalizing marijuana may seem akin to Dean Martin endorsing vodka.
But Chong, one half of the counterculture comedy duo Cheech and Chong, told the Associated Press in an article posted online Wednesday by The Christian Science Monitorthat he believes legalizing pot would offer a number of benefits, including a boost to the economy if pot was taxed.
The article came about 11 months after Chong told CNN.com that he thought marijuana use should be decriminalized but not taxed.
For one thing, production costs are low, Chong said:
“There’s little manufacturing cost. You don’t have to do anything except watch it grow and get a couple of hippies to cut it and then put it in a bag.”
The market is growing, too — potential medical uses, he said, have induced nearly 20 states to legalize medical marijuana, and two, Colorado and Washington, have legalized it outright. At least 12 states, New York among them, are considering laws to make medical marijuana legal.
Pot smoke billowed throughout the movies Chong, 74, made with Richard “Cheech” Marin and tweets purportedly posted by Chong and published by WebProNews.comspeak of recreational use of the drug.
While reefer humor helped him make his living, pot paraphernalia also landed him in jail, serving a nine-month sentence in 2003 in a California prison for distributing marijuana bongs.
The stretch in a prison he said was built over a toxic waste site and prison food were factors leading to the with prostate cancer with which he was diagnosed in May 2012, he told CNN a month later. He started showing symptoms while in prison, even though he had stopped smoking pot three years before he began his sentence.
He also told CNN then that he was against regulating and taxing pot. He also said he planned to use hash oil, made from cannabis hemp, as part of his cancer treatment.
Writing May 6 on celebstoner.com, Chong described how he followed a regimen of dietary changes and supplements recommended by a Canadian doctor that he said “eliminated the cancer threat,” adding:
“I also treated the condition with hemp oil (hash oil). With the diet, the supplements and the hash oil, plus a session with a world-renowned healer, Adam Dreamhealer, I’m cancer-free. That’s right, I kicked cancer’s ass!”
Here’s the interview Chong did in June 2012 with CNN:
Do you agree with Chong that legalizing and taxing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes can improve the economy? Leave a comment below.