Interview With Shelby Chong

This interview appeared originally in the June issue of The Art of Mary Jane Magazine.

How important is it to go green, how should we contribute to the movement?

I think it is very important that we go green. Look what happened in Japan. We have to change our whole way of thinking and the first thing people can do is stop using plastic. The ocean is being destroyed because of plastic and that’s an easy one to give up. Take a bicycle or just walk. Let’s just change! We have to change because other than that there won’t be an Earth for us to live on, because it is getting destroyed. It’s very sad for the next generation.

What is the most charming thing about Tommy?

His sense of humor, and that he’s crazy. He loves to get high and he’s a genius.

How do you inspire each other?

He helps me write my shows, so when we are on stage we sort of inspire each other to be funnier – to just let go. We study tango together and we dance and just feel the music. He is very spiritual and reminds me of that side of living, where I am a little more materialistic and he is the true hippie in the family.

When did you start pursuing comedy?

It’s been twelve years now that I have been doing standup comedy. I started because Tommy and Cheech split up and Tommy started going on the road by himself. He was lonely and so he said, Shelby come with me. I was an actress then, and I said I will but I just don’t want to hang out in the hotel, so then Tommy said you can start by doing my intro. It grew and grew, then I got to open the show for Cheech and Chong – so that’s really helped my career.

What would you say would be the best approach to the marijuana legalization movement?

Get out and vote! If everybody that smokes pot would vote it would be legalized. How many millions of people smoke pot now? A lot of people don’t admit it, but everybody smokes pot.

The more they research marijuana, the more cures they find. What approach would we need to integrate marijuana as medicine in hospitals?

We would have to get rid of all the pharmaceutical companies because they control it now, because they make a lot of money and they’re not going to make a lot of money off of pot. The whole way of thinking would have to change, or some very rich people would need to get behind pot, and lobby it and give the government money so it gets legal. That is another way, to get some very rich stoners involved.

Why is our thinking so backwards when it comes to healing plants as medicines being used as the main form of treatment?

It all comes down to money. People don’t make money off of plants and that’s what all of America is – it’s all about making money, and that’s what Tommy’s argument is, basically that if we can package it we can tax it.

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Tommy Chong

Here is an excerpt of The Art of Mary Jane’s interview with the legendary Tommy Chong. For interviews with other movers and shakers in cannabis culture, be sure to subscribe to our magazine.

The Art of Mary Jane: What was the most defining moment in your life, Tommy?

Tommy Chong: It was when I went to jail in 2003 for selling bongs. Before I went to jail I was just a comedian that did a lot of bits on pot, but after I got out I became a pot activist and I am definitely trying to get it legal now.

MJ: When did you really start pushing to legalize marijuana?

TC: The big push was during jail (Tommy Chong was arrested in 2003 and served nine months for the sale of bongs online). I just thought it was legal, I just thought it was one of those “don’t ask, don’t tell” laws, you know, because our past five presidents have known that pot should be legal. They keep it illegal for political purposes, and they just can’t bring themselves to get rid of that one law. After I got arrested for the bongs and I saw that they were serious, it was time for me to get serious, so I have been pushing for legalization ever since.

MJ: What do you think would be the best plan of action for freeing the weed?

TC: The easiest, quickest, and I think the best way is for Obama to write an executive order to reschedule pot from schedule one to schedule two. He doesn’t need Congress or anybody involved. All he has to do is write an executive order saying that studies have shown marijuana does have medical uses and therefore it should be taken from a schedule one to a schedule two available by prescription only.

MJ: It seems as though the peace movement is coming back – why do you think this is so important?

TC: The peace movement has never gone away. Man has been trying to find peace ever since he could think about war. What happens is that movements disappear from the public eye, and what you’re seeing is that the media is now focusing back on peace again and the media really creates it..the movements that you see in Egypt and the Middle East, they are spontaneous and they are just from everyday people that have access to phones and computers. Once people realize that they have been fed a lot of hogwash by these few people that control all the wealth, then they rebel.

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