a/k/a Tommy Chong: United States of America v. Thomas B. Kin Chong
Sunday August 16, 2009 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC News Network
a/k/a Tommy Chong: United States of America v. Thomas B. Kin 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.
a/k/a Tommy Chong: United States of America v. Thomas B. Kin Chong is a film by Josh Gilbert.