09.19.2016
policy

Tommy Chong Says, 'Pardon Me, Barack Obama!'

Seriously, Barack, for old time sake, give the dude a break.

Tommy Chong, the taller half of stoner comedy’s trailblazing Cheech and Chong, has a special request for President Barack Obama: “Pardon me, motherfucker.”

In 2003, Chong was swept up in then-Attorney General John Ashcrofts “Operation Pipe Dreams,” busted for selling bongs over the Internet, sentenced to nine months in prison, fined $20,000, and forced to forfeit around $120,000 in assets.

Having pleaded guilty in a deal that shielded his wife and son from prosecution, Chong did his nine months in federal prison, and he is still paying a price 13 years later. The comic entrepreneur wants to reenter the bong business. His participation in that industry is hampered by a federal criminal conviction for an infraction that wouldn’t qualify as a crime in the hometown where many of you are currently reading these words.

From the Portland Press Herald:

Chong is hoping Obama will acknowledge the changing legal and public opinion landscape around marijuana use by pardoning his criminal conviction, which would remove the civil barriers the conviction currently applies to the type of work he’s allowed to do.

Chong’s petition to the White House started collecting signatures in August. It is still several thousand signees short of the 80,000 it needs by September 25 to guarantee a direct response from Obama.

It’s fun to imagine Barack Obama and his Choom Gang meeting up after school in the Hawaiian home of a schoolmate with a working mom and locking themselves in the back bedroom to blaze and play their favorite comedy album. “Dave’s not here!” the young, lit Barack and his pals chortle, laughing and coughing. 

Tommy Chong, obviously, is hoping all the old Cheech and Chong records are spinning in President Obama’s nostalgia chamber, and that the happiness these memories bring is sufficient to motivate the president to sign that petition asking him to pardon Tommy Chong!

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