After decades of using — and joking about — pot, comedy duo Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong have entered the cannabis business themselves.
Cheech and Chong’s Cannabis Company launches in the Michigan market on Thursday.
Its products, which include flower, concentrates, and edibles, are available at Nature’s Medicines dispensaries, with names like “Big Sniff Sugar,” “Big Fat Funky Whale Badder,” “Lizard Snot Sauce,” “Heavy Responsibility,” and “D.A.V.E (Dave’s Awesome Vape Extract).”
Reached by phone, Chong, 84, says they decided to start the company during the pandemic. When Cheech came on board, “That’s when we really started getting serious about everything cannabis,” he says.
The company started selling its products in Colorado, and they’re now available in just about every state where cannabis is legal.
It’s not Chong’s first foray into the cannabis business, but it is the first time since cannabis has become widely legalized in much of the U.S. In 2003, Chong was sentenced to nine months in federal prison after he was caught selling bongs on the internet, and more recently he started a CBD company.
He says he knew one day cannabis would become legal, however.
“My feeling really was vindication,” he says.
“With Cheech being Mexican, and me being half-Chinese, we grew up experiencing racism, you know, in one form or another. .... Our existence was against the law,” he says. “We were always the outlaws.”
Chong says he first started using cannabis as a young man, a self-described “health nut” who worked out at Gold’s Gym.
“I realized that cannabis was the one thing that all the very strict bodybuilders would indulge in,” he says.
“Weed was just too expensive for me, as a musician, so we always relied on friends — you know, fans,” he adds. “And so that’s where I got my weed from.”
He has credited cannabis with helping him cope with two bouts of cancer over the past decade, and says he is now cancer-free.
And he says he has no problem with cannabis going from counterculture to big business.
“Big business means big money, means big supply chain, and we’ve got all that,” he says. “And now we got a supply chain that enables us to open up in Michigan — because Michigan, talk about a pot state, man. Home of Motown. Need I say more?”
Chong says they partnered with multi-state operator Nature’s Medicines because they run a good business. “I love working with them,” he says, adding, “We hooked up because we see us heading for a huge, huge response, and a huge response has to have a huge delivery. And that’s as important as anything. You can talk big talk, but unless you can deliver the goods, that talk don’t mean nothing.”
More information is available from cheechandchongscannabis.com.