Investor Ideas #Potcasts, #Cannabis News and #Stocks on the Move; Episode 458- Interview with Tommy Chong- Legendary Activist, Actor and Comedian; @tommychong
Delta, Kelowna, BC, August 21 2020
(Investorideas.com Newswire) www.Investorideas.com, a global news source
covering leading sectors including marijuana and hemp stocks and its potcast
release today’s podcast edition of cannabis news and stocks to watch plus insight
from thought leaders and experts.
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Today’s podcast overview/transcript:
Good afternoon and welcome to another episode of Investorideas.com "Potcast" featuring cannabis news, stocks to watch as well as insights from thought leaders and experts.
In today’s podcast Investorideas interviews a legend within the cannabis space, Tommy Chong, where we discussed his thoughts on the cannabis industry today, where he sees things heading in the future as well as his recent multi-year agreement with Five Point Holdings through its subsidiary Five Point Distribution and Chongson Inc. of California.
Tommy Chong has built up his legendary status within the cannabis community as part of the iconic comedy duo Cheech & Chong. The duo have released a score of comedy albums, movies such as Up in Smoke, Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie and Still Smokin with Chong also having a separate acting career and having a recurring role on That 70’s Show.
Chong may have received fame and celebrity from his comedy and acting career but like any true activist he has also experienced the legal difficulties surrounding cannabis.
In 2003, Chong became caught up in two American investigations, code-named Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter, which tried to trace drug traffic and users through businesses selling drug paraphernalia, mostly bongs.
Chong was charged for his part in financing and promoting Chong Glass/Nice Dreams, a company started by his son Paris. His case never went to trial, as his attorney negotiated a plea agreement with the US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania's Office. He admitted to distributing 7,500 bongs and water pipes on the Internet through Nice Dreams, a family company. Chong agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia in exchange for non-prosecution of his wife, Shelby, and his son, Paris. Chong cooperated with the government and was the first of the Operation Pipe Dreams defendants to plead guilty.
These events were among those chronicled in a/k/a Tommy Chong (2006), a documentary by Josh Gilbert. It premiered theatrically at the New York Film Forum in New York City and won awards. His time in prison was also a main point in his book, "The I Chong".
The irony is palpable that the very actions that saw him incarcerated earlier in life are now offering him a booming source of income as Cheech and Chong Glass expands across North America and as his and Cheech’s brand become one of the most sought after endorsements in the industry today.
When asked about this strange turn of events Chong commented, “I’ve been vindicated. I’ve always known that weed was good. When I was growing up I got into body building early, 15 or 16 years old, and with bodybuilding comes a healthy lifestyle and the only substance that anyone would abuse would be marijuana. So I knew early in my life that marijuana was good for you. It was healthy. My attitude was that anything that’s good, whether it’s legal or not, I’m gonna do it and it worked really well on a lot of levels. When it was illegal our movies were underground and we were the outlaws, and same with the records. We changed the whole comedy record business when we made 9 albums and now we’re about to be indicted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. So we went from being these outlaw characters to now one of the foremost brands in the world. It’s been a nice ride.”
Chong then continued to discuss his thoughts on the industry as it stands right now saying, “Right now we’re in the beginning process of everything and so a lot of kinks are being worked out but I’m very happy that it’s legal and above board. Having been incarcerated for bongs, we went rags to riches and right now we’re on the verge of a lot of riches.”
When asked his thoughts on how many today are able to profit from the hard work and sacrifice of the many activists and people like himself he expressed a very beautiful outlook that many grassroots activists hopefully share.
“I was never in that illegal camp. I was never anti-pot and then all of a sudden the money was in there and then I’m pro-pot. I’ve been pro-pot since the beginning back to 1957.”
“Is there any animosity towards the many who were anti-pot and have now changed sides for profitability?”
“No not at all. I always look at people as either you’re turned on you’re not and once you get turned on it doesn’t matter what you were before.”
He continued by comparing this to the song Amazing Grace which was written in 1772 by English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton. “It was written by a captain of a slave ship. He’d made a living transporting slaves to America and then one voyage he saw the light and wrote a song. So he changed from one of the most evil people on the planet to writing a classic song about redemption. That’s what I see when people flip from being a DEA agent to the head of a marijuana combine. I just see that as Amazing Grace in action. They saw the light and most of this is because the laws themselves were and are themselves racist. Marijuana was never illegal in the earlier days and was always used as a medicine. These laws have always been racist similar to how alcohol prohibition was racist as well. Marijuana prohibition replaced alcohol prohibition when enough French and Italian and Spanish got into power to change the laws but then they needed something else to jump on to be racist, and they grabbed marijuana.”
Discussing how he ended up partnering with Five Point Holdings he commented, “We were approached by a few people earlier, but none were serious enough. If you do anything for money you’re in trouble, but when you do it out of love like we did, well we just waited, and finally our turn came. We weren’t actively looking for anything, we were waiting to be found, and we got found and now Cheech is very happy and so am I. Five Points approached us with a very nice deal and Cheech and I both agreed. We’re gonna be around the world eventually but for now we're starting with San Francisco and Las Angeles. We’re going to be adding our celebrity-ism to this partnership and of course will be focusing on having a good product. If you have a good product, people will drive thousands of miles to get it.”
The company's management team has successfully operated businesses in the regulated cannabis market including retail, manufacturing, cultivation and distribution. This combination galvanizes the company and the Tommy Chong Cannabis brand partnership.
"It's important for me to feel comfortable when I'm putting my name on a product. I trust this team so our partnership is a natural fit" emphasizes Tommy Chong.
This partnership positions the company to be vertically integrated, selling through its own retail locations and distributing the branded flower to other licensed California dispensaries. This model creates the "moat" for the company as described by Warren Buffet.
"Combining Tommy's brand with the company's flagship Cheech and Chong Dispensary brand allows us to maximize resources. This enables the company to focus on scaling and opening new markets in both retail and wholesale" add the company's CEO Jonathan Black. The company expects to have products in the market by the end of 2020
We also asked Chong about his preferred methods of consumption these days to which he commented, “I’m a one toker. One or two tokes and that’s all I need. I also have those THC breathe strips that my wife takes to help her sleep and it helps knock her out for a couple of hours. I love them, but she loves them more than me. I’ve gotten everyone around me hooked on them. I’ve had Sugar Ray Lenord and his wife come biking by my house and they stay outside, because of social distancing, and asking for more strips and I’ve been getting everyone hooked on them. They’re so easy, they melt in your mouth and it even helps your breathe.”
Tommy also went on to discuss his vision of the future for cannabis in which it is accessible globally as well as where he sees things heading.
“It’s going to calm down. Our governments, especially in Canada, are trying to treat it like alcohol and trying to impose a “sin” tax because of it’s bad reputation. But, like I’ve told everybody, you gotta jump through hoops. I was approached by some Irish pot activists and they want me to help with legalization in Ireland. I told them we need very, very rich donors, we need deep pockets. Then we need the right lawyers and the right politician so they can talk with the right people and the Prime Minister and get things moving. Then we need to bring in Dr. Sandra Gupta to talk about the medical benefits of cannabis. That’s how we legalize it. When they legalized it in Colorado I was there and people were lining up outside of the dispensaries and it looked like people waiting to be healed by Jesus. There were in wheelchairs or crutches, MS patients, schizophrenics and all sorts of other people with mental problems or disabilities who needed this medicine to heal. If I were to testify anywhere now I’m gonna say that “marijuana was deemed essential during a pandemic” and what more do you need to know.”
Chong remains optimistic about the industry, a sentiment many investors can relate to in the cannabis sector and finished on a great line saying, “We’ve still got a lot of cleaning up to do and more than anything we need education but these are going to be the jobs of the future, in the weed industry.”
About Five Point Holding
Five Point Holdings Inc. and its entities, is an emerging cannabis company focused on distribution, products and brands operating across the U.S. The Company is actively developing infrastructure to support the proliferation of its assets initially through its acquisition of the exclusive rights in five states to the Cheech and Chong brand. The principals of the company have had multiple successful exits in the cannabis space.
Visit their website here.
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