WASHINGTON — Tommy Chong loves Bernie Sanders, and he describes that affection for the insurgent candidate in a way only Tommy Chong can.
“Bernie’s like a kush, like the best kind of weed you can get, because he’s the answer to all our problems,” Chong told CNN this week.
To prove it, he’s releasing a public service announcement supporting Sanders for president rife with the tongue-in-cheek marijuana jokes that ran throughout the “Cheech and Chong” comedies of the late ’70s.
“There is one candidate who stands head and shoulders above them all who has weathered many storms and is totally ready to be the commander in chief, or the commander in kush, as I like to say,” Chong said in a copy of the PSA given to CNN.
In the spot, he compares former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to a green plant not yet ready for harvesting, and Hillary Clinton to a wilted house plant with no energy left. But Sanders, in Chong’s PSA, is a glowing rose bush ready to be, ahem, harvested.
Sanders has been raking in celebrity and somewhat off-beat endorsements this cycle.
Where Clinton stumps with pop stars like Demi Lovato and political fixtures like her husband, Sanders has stood by as rapper Killer Mike, liberal actress Susan Sarandon and others have pushed his candidacy.
Chong has been an ardent advocate of legalizing marijuana for decades.
But Sanders himself is a newcomer to the cause. He only just signed onto legislation that would decriminalize possession of marijuana and would let states decide whether to legalize.
Recent presidential history of using marijuana has evolved from Bill Clinton’s statement that he tried it but never inhaled to Barack Obama’s admission he was a member of a high school group of weed-smokers called the “choom gang.”
But Sanders says he has only smoked marijuana twice, coughed an awful lot, and hasn’t smoked since then.
That’s OK with Chong, who is almost synonymous with marijuana and is an avid collector of marijuana seeds from around the world. He’s also touting his new “Chong’s Choice” marijuana, which will bear his name and likeness.
“To me, Bernie seems more suited for the country,” Chong said. “There was some writer from the Washington Post who said that Bernie would be a disaster because he’s a socialist. Well, people don’t realize that … in the last eight years, socialism is not a dirty word anymore.”