Pubdate: Sun, 18 May 2003
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2003 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Dimitri Vassilaros


Tommy Chong is a victim of reefer madness. Say so long to the Chong bong.

Chong pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to
selling products over the Internet that most of his customers probably use
to smoke marijuana. The national investigation conducted by the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration and the office of the U.S. Attorney targeted
distributors of drug paraphernalia sold in "head shops" here and elsewhere.

Your precious tax dollars in action to win the war on drugs. Or practically
speaking, is that "inaction"?

The 60-something former stoner hooked up many tokes ago with Cheech Marin to
create the Cheech and Chong comedy team. They act like two wild and crazy
druggies who float through life, man. They have been doing drug humor for
over two decades. It is a remarkably stupid act that I never got, other than
their "Basketball Jones" song and the "Sister Mary Elephant" bit.

Even a broken clock is right, like, twice a day, dude.

As stupid as their act is, it is not as senseless as our government's
offensive against nonviolent people who happen to smoke pot.

The feds still might not know where Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are
holed up, but the long arm of the law can grab a Tommy Chong. "Madness"
cannot begin to describe the utter idiocy of this war on peaceful Americans.

A DEA spokesman did not return my calls, and Chong's spokeswoman declined an
interview request. His attorney has said that Chong came forth at the
earliest possible time and admitted his culpability. At his sentencing, set
for Sept. 11, Chong hopes to receive home detention, which will allow him to
continue working.

Not long ago, Sept. 11 was a reminder of who our real enemies are.

Chong could get three years in prison. He probably lost over $300,000 now
that his bong business has closed. That's one less criminal who can threaten
us. Homeland security remains secure.

Why are we afraid of nonviolent people who choose to smoke pot? What do we
have to fear, other than maybe one might have enough focus to somehow break
into a home to steal munchies?

Why people choose to alter their consciousness with illegal drugs such as
pot -- or legal ones such as alcohol -- is something I never will
understand. I never have inhaled, other than gagging on second-hand smoke at
a concert. Why is society so threatened by these losers who could end up
harming only themselves with their drugs of choice?

We allow our government to do things in the name of drug prevention -- such
as invading our privacy and using virtual entrapment -- that would appall us
if it were done for any other reason. Maybe by the next century, society
will come to realize that drug prohibition has failed, and that it has been
the greatest violation of civil rights since slavery.

The popularity of Tommy Chong and pot smoking truly is beyond my limited
comprehension. Why anyone would care enough to create laws to turn the
former into a criminal and the latter into a crime is incomprehensible.

For the sake of our personal freedom, let's hope and pray that a majority of
Americans someday demand an end to the war on drugs.
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