Stoner legends Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin have joined forces once again. This time it’s to launch Cheech & Chong’s Takeout, a new California delivery service that’ll bring both Tommy Chong’s Cannabis and Cheech’s Stash (as well as a handful of carefully curated products) straight to your door in less than an hour, no matter what part of the state you’re living in. Considering California is a huge state in both population and landmass, that commitment and delivery time promise is no small feat.
When news of the takeout service was announced, I jumped at the chance to talk to one of weed’s biggest icons about his latest venture and to do something I’ve always regretted passing up on in the past — smoking with him. This wasn’t the first time I’ve interviewed Tommy Chong, but one of the things I’ve always regretted is doing that first interview sober. So I took some fat rips, gave Chong a ring, and just vibed out with the legend for over half an hour. Chong went into depth about his new takeout service, what the weed industry is doing right and wrong, and he even gave me some serious stoner spirituality. Did the interview go slightly off the rails? Yes, but in the best possible way.
You may want to light up before reading.
As part of Cheech and Chong’s Takeout service you promise an under one hour delivery time — why is that an important promise to keep?
If you don’t get it to potheads soon enough, they’ll forget they ordered it. They might even leave and find something else to do. We gotta strike when the iron is hot, and you don’t want any valuable substance on the street any longer than it has to be. I don’t anticipate any kind of thievery because everyone is going to get paid for before it’s even wrapped. So I don’t see it on that level, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the smash and grab people attack pot stores.
Do you find that because of covid, smoking has become harder in any way? Has the pandemic changed your habits? Are you leaning more into edibles these days?
I mean to be aware of all of that, but I forget. As soon as I see a joint, the next thing I know I’ve smoked half of it and go, “Oh right, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.” But what I like about smoking is that it’s instant. You can judge the amount better. I judge it by if the joint blows out, that means I’ve had enough.
But the edibles? I’m not comfortable with them. I have a tendency to get gout, and gout comes from anything sweet and all the edibles like gummy bears and chocolate all have that candy stuff to them. I used to do edibles accidentally, all the time. People would send me stuff and I’ll see a cookie … thank God I got gout because before I couldn’t stop eating the sweets. They look like harmless cookies and the next thing I know I can’t get out of a chair or remember my name.
I wanted to get your take on this. A new study just came out from the University of Oregon involving cannabis and the covid virus and they found that there are two types of cannabinoids that may prove to prevent covid by binding to the receptors the virus’ uses to infect the body. That doesn’t mean smoking will cure Covid-19 but cannabinoids might be used in future treatments.
Does that surprise you?
That’s nice to hear, I really love it. You know what I did, I made a pledge to myself that when they first started legalizing weed — someone said “weed, it sells itself” and then I realized, you know, the reason they made it illegal was all lies — so I would never lie about weed or cannabis because you never know. You don’t know if you’re right or wrong.
It doesn’t surprise me, by the way, about covid.
I was wondering if you can walk us through your ideal smoking ritual. Do you go out to nature, or just chill on your couch and smoke at the end of your day?
I’m usually at my desk here. I do a lot of interviews. I’m in front of my phone a lot. I have a big-screen television, which I keep the sound down on because I’m going deaf. I’m learning how to understand what they’re saying even though I can’t hear them. When I get into my Cameos there will be a request, “will you smoke a joint?” or “Smoke a bowl?” and I’ll say, “okay” and I’ll do it. But other than that, if I’m not asked, chances are I’ll go almost a whole day.
When my health got attacked and I got gout and cancer, I feel like a lot of it was because I wasn’t smoking. I could see how being close to God would keep you away from illness.
Do you think cannabis helps people get closer to God?
Totally. You know how stoners say, “I can’t remember?” Well, a lot of it is shit you don’t need to remember. “I heard this, I learned that, I wrote this, I built this, I made this” … Under cannabis, it’s just really taken the ego out of the process of creativity, be it writing, be it just living and standing there. The ego really is a false sense of who we think we have to be in order to survive in society.
You have a lot of views on the cannabis industry, I wanted to get your take on what you think is happening right and happening wrong?
First of all, you can’t dilute the weed. It’s like alcohol. If it doesn’t fuck you up, it’s not alcohol. But what’s being done right is recognizing how much of a medicine it really is. That’s the righteousness of it all. What’s being done wrong is what has done wrong up until recently, and that is that people believe in lies. Lies don’t really exist, they’re just temporary, like a movie set. It’s only there because people built it. It’s not there because God made it, that’s the difference.
In the Bible, it says, “everything that God made is good, and everything that God did not make was not made.” When you look at cannabis there is really no wrong way. People have tried … like loading it with PCP… well, there is one mixture I really enjoyed and it was cocaine and cannabis. I really enjoyed that one! But being a bodybuilder, there is a limit. I will do something once but if it has any kind of negative effect down the line, I don’t need it. It’s all about time, what do you have time to do?
See the whole trick of life itself is written in the Bible, is written in every bible. “In the beginning, is God, and in the end, is God.” It’s just understanding a concept. People say, “I don’t believe that there is someone in heaven telling you what to do,” well, obviously they have the wrong conception about what God is. Cannabis is a direct link from the plant world to God because of our receptors.
Pot … gave me the knowledge to go looking for spiritual books.
The Runners Bible which I just read, Emmet Fox, the I Ching, I’ve got it all here. I’ve got the knowledge of the universe sitting on my desk and thanks to cannabis, I’ve got pens and bongs that I’ve made and I’m sitting in one of the wealthiest places on the planet, one of the most desirable places to live… That’s the kind of life I’m living now. I’ve got two Teslas in the driveway, homes in Vancouver, connections all over the world, and it’s all because of cannabis. All because of my love of cannabis. Because cannabis helped me create, in my mind, the things that I did that got me where I’m at.
You can’t deny that, and now all we have to do is find a way to share it. “It sells itself.” What we’re really doing is providing a service so you don’t even have to leave their house.
The people that go to the dispensary love going to the dispensary. They want to get out. They want to learn. They want to feel. But there are so many of us laying in bed who can’t move, crutches, illnesses, stuff even I’ve been experiencing. I’ve had experiences where it’s been a struggle to get to my bed, physical struggles, I’ve been going through it lately, last few days, but it’s part of being old.
You mentioned some books, do you have any essential reading suggestions post-smoke sessions?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for answers there is this book that just happens to be on my desk, it’s called Spiritual Guidance For People On The Run what they used to call it was The Runner’s Bible. I think they changed the title because people thought it was about running. This author, I don’t know if he was a priest but his daughter was always on the road. She didn’t really have a chance to study the Bible, so what he did was he condensed all of the important and very spiritually moving things into one book. So what I do almost every morning is pick it up and go through it randomly like “okay, what’s my message for the day?” I just did it earlier. I’ll read from the page I was just on.
“He that is joined onto the Lord is one spirit.”
Think about that. Because it’s the lord, it’s his spirit. This book is sick, I’m telling you. I got this book because I prayed for wisdom.
The last time we talked, you shared a story about getting high with Cheech at a Joni Mitchell concert. The story goes that he ate some hash and lost his mind. I was wondering if you could share another Cheech story with me?
Haha! Well, a good edible story with Cheech is, I forget where he was going, but they had the syringes filled with Rick Simpson oil and for some stupid reason he held it up to his mouth and they gave himself a hit of the oil and he got in the taxi cab with his wife and next thing you know he started projectile vomiting in the cab. No, it was a limo, thank God. He said it was like The Exorcist. It’s no wonder his wife won’t touch weed.
I said, “what did you do?” He said, “what could I do, man? We were late.” He puked all over the place. Oh fuck, he tells me these stories, man.
I want to shoot this one as a movie. When Cheech was 12 or 13, his family would get in the station wagon to drive down to Mexico to visit relatives. They went to Chihuahua, Mexico, and that’s quite a drive. The trip was hot and sweaty and in order to go down there, they had to load the car up with all the goodies they were bringing to their relatives. So the top of the car is filled with all sorts of stuff, bedding, household goods, etc. So they’re driving in Mexico and they get pulled over by the Federales. The cop gets out — Oscar, Cheech’s dad, is a cop, so right away he shows him his badge. And the guy goes, “well, nice to meet you, but I’m going to have to charge you.”
And Oscar got all, “no man, I’m not paying you anything.” So the cop goes, “what’s on top of your car?” And he says, “it’s just household goods.” And the cop says, “well, we better take a look at it.”
Oscar knew the guy was just trying to get the five bucks so he told him, “I ain’t paying you shit, man.” So the cop said, “Okay then, let’s take a look. Take the stuff down.’” So he goes, “Cheech, come here.”
He had to unpack the car and put it all on the road. Once he got it all on the road, the cop looks at it and says, “I guess you were right, have a nice day,” and now Cheech has to go and pack the car again because his dad was too cheap to give the guy $5. They pull into the motel later in the afternoon and there is a swimming pool, and Cheech goes, “Oh great, a pool.” And his dad says, “You can’t leave the stuff on the car, it’s Mexico man, it’ll be gone in an hour. You gotta unload everything in the car and put it in the room.”
Poor Cheech. He must’ve unloaded and loaded that car so many times on that one trip. They’d have to go through this every time they got pulled over. I get that out of him it, some of those private things. I don’t know if he gets pissed or not but all of our movies are his fuck ups. Mine too, but mostly his. He’s so perfect for that.