Tommy Chong is showing no signs of slowing down as he nears his 80th year. Since the turn of the century, the marijuana icon has piled up 15 film credits, served prison time, beaten cancer twice (crediting hemp oil for achieving “cancer free” status), and reunited with comedy partner Cheech Marin — whom he’s currently touring with.
Chong has taken breaks from cannabis in the past, but these hiatuses were usually of the forced nature — when he was under indictment, serving probation, or jailed. He’ll go so far as to blame the breaks for his cancer (“I think the cancer was able to develop when I was on hiatus from pot.”).
So does he ever see a time when he might stop getting high for good? During a wide-ranging High Times interview published this week, Chong was asked bluntly and responded in kind:
HT: Do you ever see yourself putting the pipe down for good?
Chong later elaborated with turbo eloquence:
“The criticisms of pot is why us artists smoke it—because it makes you forget things but it allows you to focus on detail. That’s why if you do art while you’re high, you can look at it and really enjoy it. And then hours later, you’ll be straight and you’ll look at it and ask, ‘what was so great about this?’ Because you’re not high. Because when you’re high on pot, you see detail. The detail could just be a nice day, or a flower, or it could be a little kid playing in the park. You focus on the little details, and that’s what makes it so valuable for artists—because we focus on detail. We don’t just see the one thing, we see and hear everything.”
The full High Times interview, in which Chong discusses subjects ranging from his new tour to his marijuana motto, is worthy of your time.