Free Chong!

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A rope leash
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Free Chong!

Postby A rope leash » Sat Sep 13, 2003 3:03 pm

Poor Tommy.

Here's a guy who made a career out of being a pothead. Mostly, I've always thought his performances were over-the-top, but the jokes were relevant because they applied to some of my own experiences. That's why the Cheech and Chong movies were successful on the whole, because people who had been smoking pot all along saw themselves, and related. What the comedy proved was the relative innocence of the practice, something many in the audience already knew, while also pointing out (in a rather exaggerated way), the pitfalls of the habit. In most of the situations in the pot flicks Tommy was in, the main danger to him and Cheech came from law enforcement. That is is major point here, and it always has been. Whatever effect smoking hemp has on society as a whole aside, the first immediate danger to the smoker is the law, especially federal law, the prick of this point being that nine months in prison will do far more damage to a person than nine joints a day will. I'm sure Tommy has smoked a ton. He's 65, and apparently healthy.

In his federal case, Tommy had been operating in a gray area of the law for quite a while. Him, and about a thousand others around the country that were selling bongs as art, as well as other items that could be used for drug delivery to the body. Most of these folks used disclaimers to keep their heads above the law, saying a pipe is a craftwork until someone uses it, whereupon it becomes paraphanalia. In the past, this was enough to hold the Feds at bay. Along comes John Asscraft, who only believes in state's rights when it pertains to inflicting his religion upon the populace, and suddenly Tommy Chong is a public enemy. It's a professional vendetta, in my view, by overzealous federal prosecuters who are foolishly eager to make brownie-points with this small-minded demogogue that we must call "attorney general".

Tommy made a career out of pot, and profited while we were entertained. Hollywood dishes it, Washington misses it. Most pot smokers are not burnt-out hippie dudes, but that's the image Tommy always portrayed, and while I wouldn't call the character stupid, he is certaintly off the rails, or on a different track. In my view, the hard-working, dilligent, trustworthy Amercan pot smoker will never be an allowable portrayal. That would not be funny, however accurate, and we all know that pot-smoking is hilarious, like drinking USED to be.

That '70's Show be'r-ass straighten up. There's a new sheriff in town. Maybe I wish Tommy would have been a smarter smoker in his characterizations, but I don't begrudge his career, and I can certaintly understand how he could have created a pipe-art business, given the the market created for it by the the movie and music industries. If they can make movies that show drug use, and videos and televisions shows that imply drug use, whay cannot they be proscecuted for selling a product that graces the popular impetus to ingest drugs? Under Asscraft's shadow, I think Fez and Hyde could be headed for trouble.

America is supposedly the largest market in the world for pleasure-giving substances. We are also the most powerful nation ever on Earth. Is there a connection?

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BlueChair
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Postby BlueChair » Sat Sep 13, 2003 3:10 pm

It's really amazing how severe drug sentences are in the U.S. And this wasn't even for drugs, it was for drug-related items!

I bet people who beat the crap out of little kids get less time in prison.

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A rope leash
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North

Postby A rope leash » Sat Sep 13, 2003 3:24 pm

If I'm not mistaken, Tommy Chong is actually Canadian.

This adds to my "all things Canadian are good" theory.

In the USA, it depends on who is proscecuting as to how severe a sentence might be. State law is generally more lenient on infractions like this, and federal law, which is more unforgiving, never bothered before Bush came in.

Tommy has not yet gone to prison to serve his time. Wouldn't it be funny if he skipped back to Canada?

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BlueChair
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Postby BlueChair » Sat Sep 13, 2003 3:32 pm

He was born in Edmonton, Alberta, but I'm not sure if he's still a Canadian citizen or not.

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bobster
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Postby bobster » Sun Sep 14, 2003 1:12 pm

You guys know just what charges he's up against? How long he could be imprisoned? This is the first I've heard of this case. (Just think, if prohibition had gone on for a few more decades, they've could've arrested Dean Martin! Don't know why they left W.C. Fields alone....)

Actually, last time I was in Canada (Vancouver), I noticed a real difference in the general attitude towards drugs, and it wasn't just because I was seeking out the one remaining kinda/sorta/semi "hash bar" in town.

I was in a bank and a couple of older ladies were talking about how one of their garages got broke, probably by drug addicts of one sort or another, they surmised. Even in increasingly liberal L.A.,, people would most likely bitch and moan about how "violated" they felt that they had lost their lawn mower and probably call for yet longer prison sentences and, I don't know, mandatory in-prison rapes during the first three years.

Their the two ladies just said, "you know, if it were legal, we wouldn't have these problems" as the other one agreed. It's not that you'd never here that attitude here (it's certainly mine), you just wouldn't hear it in a bank uttered by two sixtyish ladies, even in California...well, maybe in Berkeley or "the people's republic of" Santa Monica.
http://www.forwardtoyesterday.com -- Where "hopelessly dated" is a compliment!

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A rope leash
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Done deal

Postby A rope leash » Sun Sep 14, 2003 1:34 pm

Bob,

The charges are some federal thing about selling drug paraphanalia. He's already been convicted, and was sentenced to nine months in federal prison. He reportedly offered to do public service as an anti-drug advocate, but the judge didn't go for it. He hasn't gone to prison yet, but he will be escorted there as soon as they figure out which one.

Didn't see this on the news, eh? Even in L.A.? It was on CNN.com for about five minutes, with a photo of Chong looking rather surprised. I don't think we are supposed to feel sorry for him, becuase he's a drug user, and all drug users in the US are morally deficient, except those who use alcohol or prescribed drugs. (sarcasm detectors on, please!)

I wonder if Woody Harrelson is being investigated. How much time did Robert Mitchum get for possesion back in 1959? Does anyone think that Ronald Reagan spent an entire career in Hollywood and never smoked a joint? Is that possible?

Prison rape is a crime that is allowed to happen. Ever hear of anyone getting more time for raping an inmate?

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bobster
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Postby bobster » Sun Sep 14, 2003 4:31 pm

Ronald Reagan smoking dope? So, I suppose it wasn't all just early onset Alzheimers and extreme denial that made his short term memory so poor and his long term memory so, well, imaginative.

My favorite line from Iran-Contra: "The question is, what did the President know, and when did he stop knowing it." (Don't know who said this. Mark Russell -- God, I hope not. Let's say it was Paul Krassner and be done with it.)
http://www.forwardtoyesterday.com -- Where "hopelessly dated" is a compliment!

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Joe Porterhouse
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Postby Joe Porterhouse » Tue Sep 16, 2003 2:09 am

John Ashcroft is a complete and utter tool that doesn't think twice about pissing on the Bill of Rights.I don't find Chong to be a danger to any community and it certainly would be nice if Ashcroft and his cronies used their time and OUR money a bit more constructively.I hope we can get rid of idiots like him that feel this is the way to deal with a drug culture.If you ban bongs, then drugs will go away.(borrowing the sarcasm filter). Well I guess it makes sense from an administration that worships the supply side economic policies of the 80's.....87 Billion sure would help a lot of underprivlidged kids...oh wait that's another thread.

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noiseradio
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Postby noiseradio » Tue Sep 16, 2003 8:51 pm

Chong is getting hosed. This is so stupid.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
--William Shakespeare


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