11.23.2016
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Chong's Choice Launch Party Trumps Trump (With Weed and Hope)

Tommy Chong has a message: Keep smoking, no matter what Donald Trump does.

It was two days after the election. As the PR guy for Tommy Chong's just launched Chong's Choice Colorado line of cannabis, I was charged with handling the legend through all day press interviews and a party that night. Tough job, right?

I was not (and am still not) in the mood to see the light in anything related to Mr. Trump. I also know that senior stoners probably have a better perspective than me. And sweeter than a few hits of Chong's Choice weed, is the voice of the man himself—Stoner Santa, Ganja Grandpa, the Pope of Pot—Tommy Chong.

Except it really was that day, 48 hours after Trump's ascension. I hadn't slept in more than those 48 hours. I was sick. Donald Trump had just won the election, and I was more interested in screaming about injustice at the protests down the street than promoting a celebrity cannabis brand.

"I smoked a joint last night and realized that we have to stay positive about it," Tommy said over coffee that morning. I immediately disagreed. I too had smoked the night before, but wound up in a fetal position in the kitchen with thoughts so dark I couldn't sleep.

"For a brief moment, the Tommy Chong launch party was an oasis amid the outrage. We drowned our misery in weed, music, and Tommy Chong."

Listening to Chong's trademark stoner drawl, slowly talking about life under a Nixon regime, going to prison for bongs (bongs!), and surviving cancer twice, was like aural weed. 

"Pot isn't going to go anywhere," Chong addressed the crowd. "Weed has always been here. Weed is the Trump of getting high," he said. "It wins." 

Weed had won on election night (8 out of 9 states voted to end prohibition in some form), but as far as the future of the next four years is concerned––we had lost. 

Maybe I was delirious, but I fell under Chong's spell. Everyone at the party did. I was nervous, despite being stoned. None of us on Chong's team knew what to expect that night:

Would our guests find comfort in numbers? Would this be a pity party? Would our pals even show? But mostly, would Tommy Chong, at age 78, be able to handle a non-stop day of press interviews, a tour of his grow with fans, and a raging party?

Turns out, a few hundred free joints, stoner tunes, and some face time with Tommy Chong is what relieves Trump gloom––at least temporarily. And Chong is a professional stoner. He hosted the fuck out of that party. There was an open bar and gourmet munchies on offer, but the attendees at the launch party were mostly buzzing about the 200 free pre-rolls handed out on silver platters. Each joint is .75 grams of whole flower, not shake or trim. More than 300 dispensary owners, managers, budtenders, and fans filled up Cultivated Synergy––a shared workspace that converts into a consumption-friendly event space in Denver's Rino district. DJ Nikka T of Essential Extracts provided the trippy soundtrack for the night.

Once the dank vibes and potent aromas hit the air, people forgot, for just a moment, what really had just happened. We drowned our misery in weed, music, and Tommy Chong––who made a point to meet and take a photo with nearly everyone in attendance. It worked so well, the four-hour party lasted for nearly six. Cultivated Synergy didn't kick us out until nearly midnight. 

For a brief moment, the Tommy Chong launch party was an oasis amid the outrage.

I'm still not as positive about Trump as I am about Tommy, but when I think about a man who has been an unapologetic, in-your-face, stoner through the worst parts of the Drug War (so far), it does give me hope that we'll get through whatever the President-elect has in store for the country––at least in regard to cannabis policy reform. But maybe we won't.

"We're gonna need weed now more than ever," Tommy told the audience at the launch party. "So keep on smoking it, no matter what."

All photos courtesy of Cannabis Camera and Nerve Cannabis Consulting.

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