Noted Actor Sentenced To Prison On Drug Paraphernalia Charges

Pittsburgh, PA: A federal judge has sentenced 65-year-old actor/comedian Tommy Chong to nine months in prison and fined him $20,000 for selling glass pipes on the Internet through his business, Nice Dreams Enterprises. Chong, one half of the legendary comedy duo Cheech & Chong, who recently had a recurring role on television’s “That 70’s Show” was one of 55 people indicted by the federal government in February for selling glass pipes commonly associated with marijuana smoking. Chong, who pleaded guilty in May to drug paraphernalia charges, is the first to be sentenced to federal prison. Two other defendants have received six months of house arrest, but no prison time.

As part of his sentence, Chong also forfeited more than $100,000 in cash and merchandise seized in the February bust. Chong must also serve one year on probation after he’s released from prison.

NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup called Chong’s sentence extreme, noting that the federal Justice Department likely singled Chong out because of the actor’s high profile as a cultural icon among marijuana smokers. “At a time when our nation is on alert of a terror attack, it is preposterous that the Justice Department would waste limited federal law enforcement resources chasing after sellers of products such as pipes, roach clips and rolling papers, products which are legally sold at tobacco stores all across America,” he said.

“Can anyone in America honestly say they feel safer today because Tommy Chong, a comedian and actor, has been sentenced to nine months in federal prison for selling glass pipes on the Internet? Of course not. These laws do nothing except make criminals out of otherwise law abiding businessmen.”

For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

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