Tommy Chong’s business has always been weed. Now he’s hoping it’ll grow like one too.
You might remember the 78-year-old counterculture icon as the bearded half of the stoner comedy duo Cheech and Chong. In his decades-long career, he’s become synonymous with cannabis. In the best of times, he was accepting a Best Comedy Album Grammy for the pair’s 1973 album “Los Cochinos.” In the worst of times, he was jailed for sending bongs across state lines.
Today things are different. Tommy Chong is a lifestyle brand. His company Chong’s Choiceputs its stamp on pot paraphernalia like THC-infused breath strips, prerolled blunts, oil, and of course, marijuana flowers.
The selling point: All buds are Chong-approved.
“We’re having a really good time — at least I am — testing the different products and seeing the industry grow, no pun intended,” he says with a “get it?” laugh.
Chong says he’s glad to be done with all the “bogus stuff” he used to deal with. Not to mention, being aboveboard is good business these days.
Case in point: SMOKEmojis, Chong’s own set of celebrity-inspired emojis. (Remember how Kim Kardashian’s emojis took the app store by storm?) His ultimate goal, aside from advocating about pot, is to make sure it takes only a tap to get your friends together for a toke.
CNET spoke with Chong about the pot entrepreneurship scene, as well as the technology he has (and wishes he had). Edited excerpts follow.