Cheech & Chong still smoking after five decades as cannabis icons
When it comes to cannabis culture, no two names are more prominent than Cheech and Chong. Entertaining the marijuana masses for over 50 years, the duo defined stoner comedy.
After meeting in Vancouver, Canada, in the late 1960s, Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin were destined for ganja greatness. Within ten years, they amassed thousands of fans, had several popular comedy records, and a cult classic hit movie that continues to resonate decades later.
Since then, Cheech and Chong have delivered more films and made several appearances as themselves on popular TV shows like The Simpsons, South Park, and That 70s Show. Even Chong’s 2003 arrest on federal drug paraphernalia charges couldn’t keep the duo down.
The pair have seemingly transcended the generational gap, remaining beloved by cannabis consumers, young and old. Despite decades in the game, Cheech and Chong have stayed relevant in the culture thanks to their consistent message and passion for the plant.
“Cheech and Chong’s staying power is all about passion and authenticity,” Brandon Harshbarger, president of Cheech and Chong’s Global Holding Co, explained in an email.
“They have this incredible ability to connect with people through their comedy, making them relatable and timeless across all eras.”
From criminals to legal cannabis entrepreneurs
While they may have been outlaws when they first hit the scene in 1971, Cheech and Chong have evolved with the cannabis space. In the new era of legalization, the pair are continually introducing new generations to their unique brand of humor and storied history.
Chong introduced his cannabis brand Chong’s Choice in 2016. With THC products, including flower, edibles, and vape pens, available in nine states, and CBD available across the country, the brand was an instant success.
In the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill, which effectively legalized certain hemp-derived cannabis products nationwide, Cheech and Chong decided to take things one step further.
The pair released their viral Cruise Chews gummies earlier this year. Containing a 10:1 ratio of CBD to hemp-derived delta-9 THC, the treats are meant to be “mild and mellow.”
Cheech and Chong decided to dive into the hemp-derived cannabinoids world in an effort to increase access to places where cannabis may not be readily available.
“Look, we’ve always been about the plant. We think everyone should try it (at least once…), and the people who like it should have safe, responsible access to it,” Marin told GreenState in an email.
“That’s why we’re going so hard into the hemp-derived delta-9 stuff,” he continued. “They give everyone a chance to experience the plant in a way that’s safe and responsible and legal—it’s openin’ doors for more folks to experience this magical plant.”
Chong echoed Marin’s sentiments, saying that the hemp space has helped boost awareness of cannabis overall.
“It’s crazy, the culture and the science have caught up with us, and we’re able to do all these cool things with (hemp-derived) THC,” he said via email. “Now everyone can find a way to try it that’s right for them. Talk about freedom, man. Only in America….”
After the initial success of their gummy line, Cheech and Chong announced they would be entering the popular cannabis beverage space. They paired with Minnesota-based Superior Molecular to source water-soluble hemp-derived delta-9-THC for their infused seltzers, dubbed High and Dry.
“We’re stoked to work with Cheech and Chong, who are legends in the culture,” John Dugas, founder of Superior Molecular, told GreenState via text. “Quality is a core identity of the brand, and to have them trust us with such a large-scale project is a real honor.”
Chong noted that the initial response to the beverage line has been overwhelming, and they’ll likely be available coast-to-coast soon.
“It’s so fun to have a real alternative to alcohol, you know? A nice, cold drink you can sip on with friends without a lot of the downsides that can come with drinking,” Chong said.
The future is high for Cheech and Chong
In addition to their ever-evolving product line (which also includes accessories and apparel), Cheech and Chong have also joined the digital age.
Their Bowlmates social networking site is billed as a way for cannabis enthusiasts to connect without the fear of censorship. Users can share stoner stories, make recommendations, and spend endless hours quoting Cheech and Chong’s extensive catalog (“Dave’s not here” is likely dropped on the regular).
If multiple brands and an online platform weren’t enough, the best buds are currently planning to open a number of retail “dispensorias,” as Chong calls them. When asked what else is ahead for the pot-friendly pair, the veteran stoner comedian says the sky’s the limit.
“Global domination, man!” Chong joked. “Kidding, but we’ve got some cool stuff planned. You’re not gonna believe how cool these things are when they’re done. It’s gonna be a big year, and we’re not slowing down!”