Looks like the marijuana lobby is in need of a fresh face to front its lobbying effort on the Hill.
The National Cannabis Industry Association wants Congress to see pot smokers as respectable professionals, not stoned slackers, so they decided against having “Cheech and Chong” actor Tommy Chong represent the group as a celebrity marijuana activist on a Hill visit scheduled for late April.
The stoner stereotype
Monday, NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith e-mailed Chong’s reps and supporters, stating after serious thought and feedback from “allied members of Congress,” the group agreed that, “having Tommy out in DC for the NCIA Lobby Days will detract from the overall message we aim for with the event,” Smith wrote, according to Politico.
Smith explained in the statement obtained by Politico that the NCIA wants to portray cannabis users as “regular professionals” who are “relatable to the generally conservative members of Congress we are looking to appeal to.”
A campy YouTube video, released less than a week ago, prompted the pot lobby’s decision to stub out the stoner legend. In it, Chong nods off at the wheel while hot-boxing his car. When he emerges, he uses a “Tommy Chong’s smokeswipe” to dissipate the pot odor from his clothing before meeting his parole officer.
“This sort of message is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to do with our efforts to legitimize the industry by showing it in a positive and responsible light, ” Smith noted. “We are here to break ‘stoner’ stereotypes rather than reinforce them.”