Cheech and Chong got their mainstream popularity for being the biggest potheads in Hollywood, and they put out a bunch of hilarious movies about smoking up. All this week, VH1 has been paying tribute to them and other celebs (like Muhammed Ali and Andy Warhol) who have had an impact on our culture today with their Lords of the Revolution series. Cheech and Chong ended up talking about their views on medicinal marijuana and legalizing pot.
Do people tend to forget the medicinal argument of pot?
Chong: "Before the '30s and they had the Jim Crow bigoted approach to life, pot was considered a medicine. It wasn't until it became an ethnic thing -- Mexicans smoking it -- it was called hemp right until they criminalized it. Then they called it marijuana. And they call it marijuana, but the only plant that gets you high is the female plant... so it's not only a racist law, it's a sexist law."
So you think legalization is possible?
Cheech: "I think it'll be legalized sooner rather than later. It's a key towards our economic recovery."
Chong: "There are some things, Republicans will always tell you they don't want government involved, well this is a good place where it should not be involved. Because how can you tax something that grows like a weed? It's like taxing dandelions. So what happens, pot puts the population into a nice, mellow mood. And no one shops harder than someone on pot. I've bought stuff that I've still never took out of the package. So potheads are not only mellow, they spend money. That's what the economy needs. You don't need bankers hiding money in Switzerland and offshore. You need consumers, and that's what pot does. Pot makes everyone a consumer. The food industry alone owes a lot to pot."
Cheech: "And the large majority of prisoners in the U.S. are in there for drugs. Just imagine the economic implications if they weren't."