I just watched "AKA Tommy Chong" the movie.
a/k/a Tommy Chong chronicles the entrapment and incarceration of comedy icon Tommy Chong of the legendary comedy duo, Cheech and Chong. Josh Gilbert takes on the event in his documentary, and offers a sometimes frightening, often hilarious account of Operation Pipe Dreams, a nationwide drug paraphernalia sting spearheaded by a federal prosecutor named Mary Beth Buchanan, appointed by George Bush three short days after the attacks of 9/11.
After fully armed SWAT teams raided the comedian's home and his business, Chong Glass, Chong was sentenced to 9 months in federal prison for "conspiracy to manufacture and distribute drug paraphernalia through his family business, specializing in handmade glass water pipes, or "bongs". Of the 55 defendants prosecuted, Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong was the only one with no prior convictions to receive jail time. Justifying the sentence, George Bush's appointee, Mary Beth Buchanan cited the classic Cheech and Chong comedy Up In Smoke as evidence that Tommy Chong had become wealthy "trivializing law enforcement efforts to combat marijuana trafficking and use." As Roger Ebert said after viewing the film, "You do not have to approve of drugs to be offended."
The film provides a charming portrait of a counter culture icon set against the backdrop of a War on Drugs gone horribly awry.
Now what I want to know is; Is this what we are paying our taxes for? Massive sting to round up a glass blowing company making water pipes or bongs.
The whole case centers around their entrapment of Chong's company. They called over and over trying to get them to ship to Pennsylvania. They refused over and over. Finally the "customer" (read police) said they would drive to California to place the order and pick up the product.
Once they get there they of course order items they do not have in stock and tell them they will pick them up in person once they are ready.
Of course they never come back, they have pallets of custom product and eventually ship it to get it out of the warehouse.
Next comes the big raid and arrest, all because they shipped to PA and it was against the law.
Talk about a set up, I find this absurd. Tommy ended up spending 9 months in jail as opposed them prosecuting his son and wife as well, some sort of plea bargain.
I am ambivalent about Marijuana, legal or not? I'd be curious to know what you think. I know quite a few people who once they are retired from their jobs that prevent them from smoking it, will resume partaking.
Are they bad people, I hope not they hold your lives in their hands when you fly. I trust them and in fact those are the most reasonable of the people I work with. Some of the other assholes should smoke some probably.
I should admit here I have never tried it and most likely will not in the future, but who knows. It is not a drug issue, it is more of a hating smoking issue.
So what do you think? Did spending all of this money to jail Tommy Chong make us safer?
They say in the court papers that part of this is because of his movies, are we tossing people in jail now because of their movies? If he was not a celebrity this would not have happened, as he got the stiffest sentence of all those arrested across the US in this sting.
I also just went to court for my 1st motor vehicle violations in 10 years or more. I changed lanes without a blinker!! And no seat belt. Horror or horrors!
For this I paid $470 in court costs to get court supervision and keep it off my record. The judge started the morning off warning everyone about the high fees and letting us know we should contact our state representatives if we were unhappy.
I was more unhappy about the Illinois State Police car License 2-26 that tail gated and changed lanes with no blinker in front of me, cutting off the van he wanted to get around. Maybe he should pay $470 and he would drive better also.<G>