I interviewed Tommy Chong live on stage at the International Cannabis Business Conference at the Vancouver Hyatt Regency on Oct. 13. Since Chong is Canadian and his career began in Vancouver, it was an especially revealing one-on-one with the legendary stoner funnyman.
Born in Edmonton in 1938 and raised in Calgary, Chong moved to Vancouver in 1958 when he was 20 and a struggling musician. He met singer Bobby Taylor and they soon the group, the Vancouvers. They were signed by Motown and had a modest hit in 1968 with the Chong-penned, "Does Your Mama Know About Me?"
About his time on the Motown roster, Chong met everyone on the label, including Marvin Gaye who he said, "I got high with."
He met his future comedy partner, Richard "Cheech" Marin, in Vancoiuver. They moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and formed Cheech & Chong. After years as comedy duo, they became movie stars with the success of Up in Smoke in 1978.
Other speakers at the ICBC/Vancouver included: Brendan Kennedy, Dr. Gabor Maté, Jodi Emery, Aaron Smith, Ed Rosenthal, Philippe Lucas, Dana Larson and Joy Beckerman. Ngaio Bealum and Mary Jean Dundson (a.k.a Watermelon) performed emcee duties and Rocker T provided entertainment at the after party at Studio Records.
Purchase tickets here.