As gaps grow and the first primaries draw near, candidates are looking for interesting and high-profile endorsements. Indeed, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders landed a very public nod from an outspoken supporter today when comedian Tommy Chong encouraged fellow voters to cast a vote for the self-proclaimed democratic socialist. Given Chong’s history of pro-pot advocacy, it likely did not come to a surprise to many that his endorsement was enveloped in the language and theme of marijuana legalization.
“Bernie does support that … legalization that I care so deeply about; legalization of the super-medicine marijuana. So I know this year, you and I are going to ‘Feel the Bern,’ go up to the polling booths, and light up, man, for progress and change.”
During his video spot, which was posted via social media and news outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Tommy Chong also touted Bernie Sanders’ positions on immigration, equality, and a living wage. He also jokingly referred to Sanders as the “commander-in-kush,” slipping one more reference to Chong’s affection for cannabis into the discussion.
A disclaimer is included at the end of the video indicating that it was produced by the “Grassroots Community” and is not directly affiliated with the Sanders campaign or related organizations.
Also on Friday, Tommy Chong appeared on CNN to discuss the video endorsement. Speaking with brook Baldwin, the comedian offered a broad series compliments for the Democratic candidate.
“Bernie obviously is the most qualified of both parties,” Tommy Chong said in a clip re-posted by Mediaite. “He’s got the experience, he’s got the heart, he’s got the brains, and he’s got the age. A lot of people knock him because he’s older than the rest but he’s at the age where the only thing that matters is the people that he cares so dearly about.”
In his discussion with Baldwin, Chong downplayed the importance of Bernie Sanders’ stance on marijuana legalization with regard to his endorsement. He also declared that Bernie Sanders “like a Donald Trump with brains,” noting that both Sanders and Trump enjoy mass appeal at present. Chong ultimately blasted Trump and his base as “racist.”
Tommy Chong’s business endeavors include the production, marketing and sale of paraphernalia related to marijuana use, including a product called the “smoke swipe” that purportedly eliminates the smell of marijuana and tobacco smoke from clothes. He also endorsed a product called “The Whizzinator,” a prosthetic penis designed to help males pass off fake urine to beat court-imposed and employment-mandated urinalysis tests. In 2003, Chong was sentenced to nine months in federal prison for distributing bongs and marijuana pipes through a business venture. At his sentencing, he told the court that he had given up marijuana use and wanted to serve as a role model to children, according to a 2003 report by the Post-Gazette. The star was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012 and later claimed he had cured the disease with cannabis-related treatments. In 2015, he announced that he is once again afflicted with cancer.
Bernie Sanders has been a longstanding proponent of marijuana legalization, introducing legislation before the United States Senate that would allow states to legalize recreational use of pot. As far as his presidential platform, the Sanders site FeelTheBern.org indicates that the candidate supports medicinal use of marijuana and an end to the federal government’s prohibition of the drug. Pro-drug media outlet High Times has offered high praise for Bernie Sanders, describing him as “a superhero of sorts to the stoner nation.”
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]