Tommy Chong Canned Over Parody Video

By McCarton Ackerman 04/02/15

On the verge of becoming a credible marijuana activist, stoner poster-child, Tommy Chong is sacked for endorsing stoner stereotypes on YouTube.

Tommy Chong

Are Tommy Chong’s days as a credible marijuana activist up in smoke? The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) sacked the actor from its Capital Hill lobbying push over fear that he endorses stoner stereotypes.

NCIA officials reportedly balked over a recent farcical YouTube video that shows Chong smoking pot in a car, nodding off at the wheel and using a “Tommy Chong smokeswipe” to get rid of the smell of pot on his clothes before meeting with a parole officer. Since more uptight lawmakers in Washington likely wouldn’t be onboard with Chong’s brand of humor, the group decided that using him wasn’t the best approach in pushing for the changes in marijuana policy they’re seeking.

“This sort of message is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to do with our efforts to legitimize the industry by showing it in a positive and responsible light,” wrote NCIA executive director Aaron Smith, in an email to Chong’s reps and allies. “We are here to break ‘stoner’ stereotypes rather than reinforce them.”

Other NCIA members also expressed concern of Chong’s celebrity status being a distraction from their message. Representatives for the actor downplayed the snub and said he didn’t “want to cause, or be part of, any ripples in our allied goal.”

Some marijuana activists felt that Chong was treated disrespectfully, though. Pete O’Neil, who runs the C&C Cannabis Company in Seattle, said he dropped his NCIA membership over the actor being dropped and called for “better representation in D.C.”

But despite being canned, the actor remains optimistic that marijuana legalization will soon be a reality across the country.

“Washington and Colorado, they're just the toe into the water. The whole body's following," he said on Current TV in December 2012. “It's gonna legalize hemp. It's also going to empty the jails and we're probably going to disband the DEA.”

Check out the parody video that cost Chong his job below.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.