Weed Watch: Smoke Glass, Not Grass?

Weed Watch: Smoke Glass, Not Grass?
Posted by CN Staff on September 17, 2003 at 23:01:52 PT
By Jordon Smith
Source: Austin Chronicle 
On Sept. 11, Tommy Chong, of the legendary duo Cheech and Chong, appeared in federal district court in Pennsylvania, where he was sentenced to nine months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for selling glass pipes and bongs over the Internet. Chong was one of more than 50 people that the feds, led by assistant U.S. attorneys in Pennsylvania and Iowa, rounded up and charged with distribution of drug paraphernalia during a February sting code-named Operation Pipe Dreams.
Chong pled guilty in May to selling 7,500 bongs and pipes through his Los Angeles-based company Nice Dreams Enterprises; during their Feb. 24 raid, agents seized the company's inventory and more than $103,000 in cash. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Department of Justice have been ridiculed for the raid, which critics decry as a waste of law-enforcement time and resources. "As long as the politics are as they are, there is no answer for this kind of enforcement action except that it is a feckless waste of money designed to maintain the status quo," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. St. Pierre points out that Operation Pipe Dreams was run by "Ashcroft wannabes" in conservative jurisdictions, who "are very much aspiring to make a name for themselves"; federal law enforcers in other, more liberal locales (like California, where Chong lives and Nice Dreams is based) "took a pass" on participating in the operation. So investigators bought the glass products and had them shipped to the heartland to make certain they had "established the proper nexus and jurisdiction" to effectively prosecute the cases. In an era where Ashcroft's DOJ is supposedly all about combating terrorism, the Pipe Dreams crackdown appears even more absurd; perhaps the ultimate irony was Chong's sentencing date -- Sept. 11. Says St. Pierre: "Is that the most serious thing we've got to worry about?" More on this story -- including Naked City's conversation with Tommy Chong -- next week.At the other end of the pipe: At press time, lawyers representing the Hemp Industries Association were set to appear before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, to argue that the Drug Enforcement Administration's bid to ban the sale of hemp food products is a misinterpretation of the Controlled Substances Act. Since October 2001, the DEA has sought to ban the sale of veggie burgers, nondairy cheeses, and other foods containing hemp seeds or oil because they contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana. Ironically, the DEA has not sought to ban products containing poppy seeds -- like bagels and muffins -- even though they typically contain higher trace amounts of opiates.Source: Austin Chronicle (TX)Author: Jordon SmithPublished: September 19, 2003Copyright: 2003 Austin Chronicle Corp.Contact: louis auschron.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:NORML Food Industry Battles DEA in Federal Court Chong Gets The Joint's Errant Hammer Cracks Down on Tommy Chong
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Comment #21 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 15:01:44 PT
Trip on this for a sec
When troubled times -- Begin to bother me -- I take a toke -- And all my cares -- go up in smokeUp in Smoke -- That's where I want to be -- Cause when I'm high -- The world below-- don't bother me.Now think of this theme song, playing at the end of Easy Rider, with the crane shot of the burning motorcycles.
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Comment #20 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 14:59:14 PT
It's like the debate over Amos and Andy
The legendary show Amos and Andy about a pair of scheming buffoonish black men has a debate surrounding it that sort of mirriors the debate over Cheech and Chong.Some people argue that Amos and Andy was a breakthrough comedy team, other people bemoan the buffoonish stereotyping and argue that this show only confirmed what white racists believed about blacks.I think it might be fair to consider Cheech and Chong the Amos and Andy of cannabis culture. DeVoHawk -- remember - How High took place at Harvard and showed successful hard working Harvard students smoking pot, amidst all of the comedy.
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Comment #19 posted by DeVoHawk on September 18, 2003 at 14:35:12 PT:
Cheech and Chong are Funny
I own Cheech and Chong "Up In Smoke" on DVD as well as Snoop Dog/Dr. Dre/eminim/Ice Cube "Up in Smoke" Tour which people often confuse. I watch them both often and love them both. Yellow Beard(with Monty Pyton), Born in East LA, Half-Baked, Nice Dreams and Rude Awakening are fun movies too and the 70's Show Rocks.Tommy Chong is a hero to me like Willie Nelson. Tommy Chong did sound as if he sold out but we all do every once in a while unfortunately(that cast the stone thing jesus talked about). I do not walk in anothers shoes so I try to be as forgiving as I can to one time events. I believe that Tommy Chong's icon status and the fact that he was born in Canada may really help the cannabis cases going before the Candian Supreme Court this fall.To me "Up In Smoke" slams on police and prohibition: "Cops have the best drugs" is said when they go to the police station to get drugs, "Operation Lard Ass", Cheech peeing on the cop, and nuns getting busted at the border with the camera crew there. His stint on Nash Bridges was great and also slams prohibition: Joe Dominguez(Cheech) and the Chong character are in line at the legalized marijuana store. Chong tells Joe; "I take marijuana for depression, I get depressed when I can't get stoned". To me this is all the medical reason a person should need if we have to play under the rules of prohibition. The more recent cannabis movies still stereo type pot smokers but they are funny anyway. "How High" with Redman and Method Man whom smoke pot and see a dead friend (who died because of smoking pot in a really funny way) also shows a guy turning into the crazy guy from "Reefer Madness" when he smokes pot. "Half-Baked" is centered around getting a guy out of jail who gets arrested when he goes to get food for the munchies and is arrested for feeding a lethal dose of junk food to a diabetic police horse.(Jim Brewer, Dave Chappel, Harland WIlliams, Tommy Chong, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dog, Jon Stewart Janeane Garofalo)When troubled times -- Begin to bother me -- I take a toke -- And all my cares -- go up in smokeUp in Smoke -- That's where I want to be -- Cause when I'm high -- The world below-- don't bother me.
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Comment #18 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on September 18, 2003 at 13:18:52 PT:
Congress, these control freaks, attempt to impose their morality upon their masters! They would spend money to criminally prosecute us and forfeit our property for selling glass to ingest Cannabis, while the United States Central Intelligence Agency is off in foreign land arranging for massive drug money laundering and destabilization of foreign governments for the Bush/Cheney/Rockefeller Empire, for The New World Order. The federal government, the little Mussolinis like Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., (D-NJ), have NO ETHICAL REGULATIONS which prohibit them from conflicting their personal business interests in with their public office work.The Rutgers University email publication, known as The Daily Targum, announced today that The State of New Jersey is the most polluted, smog-filled state in the country. You bet! Their MOST POLLUTED STATE status began when STANDARD OIL OF NEW JERSEY fueled Adolph Hitler, during the Embargo, thanks to Prescott Bush, George Herbert Walker [the Grandfather and Great Grandfather of President Bush] and the Rockefellers. One federal judge ruled that the Rockefellers committed "treason." I doubt they told you about this in public school, though! The September 2003 edition of Harper's Magazine has a cover article entitled AGAINST SCHOOL, by John Taylor Gatto,, which describes the failed curriculum of government schools. I have sent numerous letters to various boards of education asking to improve the curriculum of government schools so that the students are taught the dark side of government, such as I just mentioned who financed Adolph Hitler, and Americans are now voting for them! This is why it DOES NOT SURPRISE ME that these planned wars and erosions of our civil liberties take place! Democrats and Republicans are our enemies, not our friends. Their loyalties are to the international elite, not to the poor and middle class Americans. This is why they have no compunction about spending billions of dollars on wars! It comes out of our pockets, not the Congress! In fact, they gives themselves a raise every now and then, while housing, employment, food, and friendships decline.Yesterday, I picked up the videotape of the town hall meeting appearance of Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., (D-NJ), the little Mussolini, at the Edison Municipal Complex, Council Chambers, in Edison, New Jersey. There, he answered me question with a curt: "You may continue to send me the literature but I am against Marihuana decriminalization and will continue to vote against it."Last night, I appeared at a meeting of the Central Jersey Coalition to end the war in Iraq. The big boss from Princeton, N.J., appeared, and described the intention to come with a "White paper" and a demonstration at the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C., some time around October 20, I forgot the exact date.Their "war on drugs" is their sense of morality, their misguided efforts to control our minds so we will follow their code of conduct, while they themselves do not follow the United States Code! Their delay of coming out with a Commission to investigate the lies by President Bush is tantamount to a denial. Congress is inking the lies by the Bush Administration for the shameful plan of Haliburton and the other personal business interests of the Bush Administration. I'll continue my lawsuit against the municipal police and will only vote for Libertarian Party candidates and Green Party candidates, no matter how nasty these people look at me!
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Comment #17 posted by BigDawg on September 18, 2003 at 12:49:43 PT
To be honest...
... I rented a couple of Cheech & Chong movies a few weeks ago out of simple nostalgia.I didn't think they were nearly as funny now as I did as a teenager/young adult. To be blunt, the only parts I found truly funny were the "Live on stage" scenes.Maybe I've just grown up some... 
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on September 18, 2003 at 12:19:43 PT
EJ I'm Not Sure
I really don't know. I liked comedys like The Great Outdoors with John Candy and movies Funny Farm or National Lampoon's Vacation. I like very basic kinds of comedys.
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Comment #15 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 12:11:09 PT
I have to wonder
A lot of white people in the past have liked comedy that made buffoons of blacks, so I have to wonder whether Cheech and Chong didn't have a certain popularity with people who liked seeing marijuana users as buffoons.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on September 18, 2003 at 12:02:12 PT
Cheech and Chong
I found the Cheech and Chong movies to be funny but they weren't my favorites. I don't know how much difference the movies made because I never met anyone who acted like them. I came from an area that was very conservative. I don't even know how big their movies were or are now. 
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Comment #13 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 11:52:59 PT
This is how I would say it
Tommy Chong cashed in on the success of his pot comedies and it gave him a lifestyle of apparent freedom -- but look how less free we all are now than we were then.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on September 18, 2003 at 11:44:08 PT
Thanks EJ
I just loved Easy Rider. Here is one of my favorite songs and a link. Wasn't Born To Follow:
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Comment #11 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 11:42:09 PT
The rest of the film
is lovingly described here:
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Comment #10 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 11:40:59 PT
Here's the last one
Billy (gleefully greedy): We've done it. We've done it. We're rich. Wyatt. (Laughs) Yeah, man. (Laughs) Yeah. Clearly, we did it, man we did it. We did it. Huh. We're rich, man. We're retired in Florida, now, mister. (Chuckles) Whew.Wyatt (introspectively): You know, Billy. We blew it.Billy: What? Huh? Wha-wha-wha- That's what it's all about, man. I mean, like you know - I mean, you go for the big money, man, and then you're free. You dig? (Laughs)Wyatt: We blew it. Good night, man. 
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Comment #9 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 11:39:03 PT
Here's the first conversation 
This film is so iconic, it's described in detail on the Internet. This is what Jack Nicholson (George) says about freedom that connects to Wyatt telling Billy that they "blew it" in the final scene before the ending.George: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.Billy: Huh. Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened, man. Hey, we can't even get into like, uh, second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel. You dig? They think we're gonna cut their throat or something, man. They're scared, man.George: Oh, they're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.Billy: Hey man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody needs a haircut.George: Oh no. What you represent to them is freedom.Billy: What the hell's wrong with freedom, man? That's what it's all about.George: Oh yeah, that's right, that's what it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it - that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. 'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom, but they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.Billy: Mmmm, well, that don't make 'em runnin' scared.George: No, it makes 'em dangerous.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on September 18, 2003 at 11:36:20 PT
EJ Thanks!
Yes I remember that. I haven't seen Easy Rider in years now but you're right. The American Dream. 
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Comment #7 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 11:27:41 PT
There's another part FoM
Prejudice is part of the story, but remember right before the end, the conversation between Wyatt and Billy about whether the American dream really is to make a big pile of money on a coke deal and retire to get high in Florida.Billy is pretty sure, even after Jack Nicholson was beaten to death, that they "made it" and were on their way to achieving the American dream.All Wyatt says is, "We blew it."Then they next day they both get blown off the highway by a shotgun.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on September 18, 2003 at 08:26:59 PT
EJ about Easy Rider
I can't really think of much about Up in Smoke because it was just funny to me but Easy Rider did impact me. Let me see if I can say how it did.Easy Rider was a movie about freedom and being different then what society thought everyone should be. It touched on all the taboos that are frowned upon. It showed how prejudice can cause murder. Prejudice is the villain.
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Comment #5 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 08:03:48 PT
A thought-provoking double bill
Easy Rider and Up in SmokeWatching those two movies together could bring up a lot of thoughts on the past and why the future turned out this way.
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 07:48:32 PT
Method Man and Redman reinvented it
"Tommy Chong, one half of the Cheech & Chong comedy troupe that practically invented marijuana comedy
"...that practically invented the idea that stoners were clueless apolitical amoral idiots.How High is just as funny as any of their movies but the humor doesn't come from watching two pathetic stoners prove that they're pathetic.
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on September 18, 2003 at 07:42:44 PT
" More on this story -- including Naked City's conversation with Tommy Chong -- next week.
"A conversation with Tommy Chong -- well in court he kissed the court's butt, so who's butt will he kiss in this interview? I feel apprehensive.When I saw that he was going to be in a medical marijuana episode of Nash BridgesI was all excited, until I watched it and saw that he was portraying medical marijuana as a pothead scam.So I won't get excited now. Maybe he's say we all need to put down our pot and pick up Jesus or something.
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Comment #2 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on September 18, 2003 at 03:09:19 PT
Free Tommy Chong - NORML bulletin
Take Action Now! NORML Supporter:As you have probably heard by now, on September 11, 2003 cultural icon Tommy Chong was sentenced to nine months in federal prison for his role in selling marijuana pipes on the Internet through his legally licensed company Tommy Chong Glass. Tommy Chong is the first person to be prosecuted under John Ashcroft's "Operation Pipe Dreams" and "Operation Headhunter," which shut down national glass distributors nationwide, resulting in the indictment of over 55 people.Tommy Chong, one half of the Cheech & Chong comedy troupe that practically invented marijuana comedy, has been a celebrity among marijuana smokers and non-smokers alike since the 1970's. Recently, he has had a recurring role on 'That 70's Show' and was planning on a long awaited Cheech and Chong reunion movie with Cheech Marin. Tommy Chong was obviously targeted by the federal government because of his status as a cult figure among marijuana smokers.Ironically, Tommy Chong was sentenced on September 11, 2003, exactly two years after the worst terrorist attacks in American history. With Osama Bin Laden still on the loose and President Bush admitting that the war on terrorism is far from over, it is preposterous that we would waste valuable law enforcement resources locking up a comedian for selling glass pipes. Can anyone in America honestly say they feel safer today because Tommy Chong, a comedian and actor, has been sentenced to 9 months in federal prison for selling pipes on the internet? Of course not. These laws do nothing except make criminals out of otherwise law abiding businessmen.The federal raids on paraphernalia distributors has been an utter waste of time and money, while it has ruined the lives and careers of otherwise law abiding citizens. These businesses pay taxes and do not in any way contribute to the crime problem in America. To target them at this time shows a total lack of understanding as to which risks truly threaten the health, welfare and safety of America's citizens.Please take two minutes to write your members of Congress and tell them to stop funding Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter, and to immediately release Tommy Chong, by visiting: for your support.Regards,Kris Krane
Associate Director
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Comment #1 posted by motavation on September 18, 2003 at 03:02:35 PT:
Save Chong!
First they target our grass, now they want our glass!
It was a safer smoking alternative for many smokers..! Now I saved and bought the best but costly VOLCANO Vaporizer.*non-smoking device for safer alternatives to smoking(costly but it was a need since I can't get my JB glass) Email me if you have any questions on the Vaporizer!Anyways, if in chongs case or if we wanted to help...What can we do?Shouldn't he of fought on some defense?...anything atleast is better than giving up!
Why didn't norml, ocbc, or any other groups help?What about art schools, companies, ect? Sad, if a celeb. can't get help or support in legal situations how can a patient?The max jail time, and possible max fines were both high! He had the funds. It's another example the gov. is trying to make, and this time CHONG became target. If Chong can't put up a fight with his funds, who can?So sad, I guess this teaches all California citizens a lession "Grow local, Buy Local, and Live Local"In the state of California we have some protection although if a federal crime as in this case there is none. Maybe some other laws to protect him?....Wish we could get more on the case, like if he forgot to check ID's,ect? We are left in another Grey Gov AREA:( If only they slow the spending they won't have to target and rob our fellow citizens to pay for national debt.
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