International Cannabis Business Conference

CelebStoner of the Year: Tommy Chong

NORML and Freedom Leaf visited with Tommy Chong backstage a the Las Vegas Hempfest on Oct. 3. Pictured, left to right: Keith Stroup, Cheri Sicard, Cliff Perry, Steve Bloom and Chong (seated). (Photo by Mitch Mandell)

It was the highest of times and the lowest of times for  Tommy Chong in 2015. While he continued to expand his empire of cannabis products and endorsements, the legendary funnyman fought off another round of cancer with the help of marijuana and surgery. He's our CelebStoner of the Year.

Chong's battle with cancer began in 2012 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Employing a combination of traditional and alternative therapies (including cannabis oil), Chong declared a year later that he was cancer free. But then this year it came back, in his rectum. "It's a real pain the butt," he joked, naturally.

Playing on the butt theme, Chong criticized Donald Trump during his speech at the Las Vegas Hempfest in October:

'The Republican Party and Tommy Chong have one thing in common: We're both having problems with assholes. I've got a tumor and the Republican Party has Trump.'

Later that month, Chong had surgery to have the tumor removed. He told CelebStoner at the time:

'I think cancer heard me talking shit about it and put me to the test.'

Tommy Chong spoke to a large crowd assembled on the University of Michigan campus for Hash Bash on Apr. 4. (Photo by Nicole Hester/mlive.com)

Despite his weakened condition, Chong attended numerous events during the year, including Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, and Hempfests in Seattle and Vegas.

Keeping his eye on the 2016 presidential primaries, Chong made the following predictions to CelebStoner: 

'I see Hillary in the White House and I see Bernie as Vice President, and I see an Obama executive order changing pot to Schedule II, and I see him pardoning all the drug offenders, including myself."

"Almost Legal with Tommy Chong" debuted on filmon.com on Oct. 23.

When he wasn't dealing with medical issues, Chong kept busy with sundry projects in 2015, including his web series Almost Legal, product sponsorships and a branded line of marijuana strains.

Chong is doing limited performances with his comedy partner, Cheech Marin, these days (they will be in Calgary on Jan. 29). His plans for 2016 include the rollout of branded strains like Chong Star and work on a Cheech & Chong documentary being directed by Chong's daughter, Robbi. There has been talk of new Cheech & Chong movie, directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. As long as he stays relatively healthy, Chong, at 78, should have another big year in 2016.

Honorable Mentions: 

Both Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg announced they were entering the cannabis market with custom strains and products under the names Willie's Reserve and Leafs by Snoop… Nelson also had a stem-cell surgery to help him better deal with effects of emphysema… B-Real won a license to open his Dr. Greenthumb dispensary in Santa Ana, CA… Miley Cyrus made numerous marijuana reference when she hosted the MTV Video Music Awards in August… Whoopi Goldberg appeared on the cover of Freedom Leaf's holiday issueBill Maher called for 4/20 to be recognized as a national holidayBill Murray won an Emmy for his supporting role in Olive KitteridgeAmy Poehler received a Grammy nomination for in the Best Spoken Word Album category for her book, Yes PleaseSusan Sarandon had ceremony for Timothy Leary with some of his ashes at Burning ManSarah Silverman received a SAG Award Best Actress nomination for her role in I Smile BackRick Steves appeared on the cover of Freedom Leaf's summer issue.

Previous CelebStoners of the Year:

Seth Rogen (2014)

Miley Cyrus (2013)

Cameron Diaz (2012)

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf, co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness, and the former editor of High Times.