Cheech Marin, On Weed

Cheech Marin, of Cheech and Chong fame, used to be known as the ultimate stoner. However, since going his own way from his comedy partner Tommy Chong, Cheech has spent much of his solo career separating himself from marijuana. However, within the last year or so, that’s all changed.

With a new film role, a line of marijuana products called Cheech’s Private Stash, a museum retrospective of Cheech and Chong’s iconic film Up in Smoke, and a role in a public service announcement in California, he’s back to the green with gusto.

Cheech gave Cannabis Now a lengthy interview about all the projects on which he’s working now. It also touched on a few fascinating tidbits from his past, including his relationship with Timothy Leary. Here are a few choice quotes from the interview:

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On returning to the screen with stoner flicks (he recently put out a marijuana thriller flick called Dark Harvest, where he portrays a pot grower, his first role in a marijuana flick in 30 years):

“When Tommy and I separated, my criteria was I would do a movie if it didn’t have a big joint in it,” said Cheech recently. “That was my sole criteria because I wanted to establish my separate identity as apart from being totally identified with marijuana. So that’s what I did for the next 20 years. Not that I had anything against it, I just wanted to establish a separate identity. So when this project came up with “Dark Harvest,” it just seemed like a really good movie and I had no problem with the subject matter whatsoever.”

On founding a new company called Cheech’s Private Stash:

“Well, we have a crack team that goes out in the field for us and we identify growers and we try their products and when they are deemed well enough to go under our label, we pick them out and we buy them.”

On another company, he has that sells glassware:

“I like a little bubbler. You know I have this company, Cheech Glass, and we make a lot of different kinds of glass apparatuses, but I like the bubblers. They’re handheld and you don’t have to burn your lungs out drawing in a hit.”

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On the Grammy Museum, which is doing a year-long retrospective of 40 years of Cheech and Chong’s iconic stoner flick Up in Smoke:

“I thought our work would be in a jail before it was in a museum. No, no it’s a real honor to be lauded this way. It’s a prelude to being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

On being great friends with Timothy Leary:

“Sure, Timmy, he was just the best. He was one of my good, good, good friends. We put him in one of our movies, then we became very close after. We used to spend a lot of time together at his house and he would come and stay with me at the beach. He was just the most wonderful raconteur, he knew everything. He knew a lot about astronomy and we used to sit and look at the stars and point out constellations and how they related. He was a Harvard professor, a renowned psychologist, who, at that time, had written 27 books and been in 23 prisons. I don’t know anybody who has that set of qualifications… He was a great, great fan of getting high.”

On smoking pot for the first time in his youth:

“I was in my first year of college and somebody at a party — my roommate actually — handed me a joint and I was off the leash, “OK I’m going to try this.” And I did and I remember thinking to myself, “And what else have they been lying about?””


*Photo via Cheech’s Private Stash

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