LOS ANGELES — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he’d live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.

He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they didn’t just play hippie potheads in the movies – they really were those guys – could have landed them in prison. He even knew in 2003 when Chong was imprisoned for nine months for conspiring to distribute handcrafted artisanal bongs the government declared drug paraphernalia.

“Oh yeah, I saw it coming,” he says of cannabis being legal in some form in about two-thirds of his adopted country’s 50 states.

“In fact, I kind of planned the whole thing out,” he jokes. “Well, maybe I was a little premature with that bong thing. But other than that, I was pretty much right on point.”

So much so that as the High Priest of Stoner Comedy turned 80 on Thursday – that’s right, 80 – he was expecting his Chong’s Choice brand of marijuana, available in legal dispensaries in several states, to be consumed in abundance at the parties his family is planning.

“Tommy likes to say he tests every single batch. Which obviously he does. And he really enjoys it,” his son Paris Chong says with a laugh.

The elder Chong been a passionate marijuana advocate for decades. He used cannabis during a bout with prostate cancer 10 years ago and more recently during treatment and recovery from colorectal cancer.

He finds it ironic that if the U.S. government hadn’t outlawed marijuana in the early 20th century, he and Marin might never have had a comedy career.

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