Happy 73rd Birthday to Stoner Comedian Tommy Chong

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Photo: Rolled Too Tight

Tommy Chong is a legend among stoners. The Canadian-American comedian, actor and musician, well known for his stereotypical portrayals of hippie-era pot smokers, turns 73 years old today. He was born May 24, 1938 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Chong is most widely known for his involvement in the Cheech & Chong comedy duo, which recorded a series of albums and then filmed a series of movies centered around marijuana-related humor. He also became well known for playing the hippie character “Leo” on Fox’s That 70s Show.
In 2003, Chong — as a highly visible and successful symbol of the stoner lifestyle — was targeted by two American investigations code-named Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter. He was charged for his part in financing and promoting Chong Glass/Nice Dreams, a company started by his son Paris.

Chong’s case never went to trial; instead he accepted a plea agreement with the office of the U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, in which he admitted to distributing 7,500 bongs and water pipes on the Internet.  He agreed to the guilty plea in exchange for non-prosecution of his wife, Shelby, and his son.
He was sentenced to nine months in prison, a fine of $20,000, forfeiture of $103,514, and the loss of all merchandise seized in the raid on his business. He served his sentence at the Taft Correctional Institution, being released on July 7, 2004.
The entire episode was chronicled in the award-winning 2006 documentary film a/k/a Tommy ChongHe wrote about his experiences in prison and his interest in meditation in his 2006 book, The I Chong: Meditations From The Joint.
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Photo: Paramount Home Entertainment
Cheech (right) and Chong in their classic first movie from 1978, “Up In Smoke”
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Photo: Movie Eye
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Photo: Movie Eye
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Photo: Gloobts
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Photo: Danger Jones
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Photo: listal

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