“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Quite the profound oxymoron provided to me by Tommy Chong yesterday – you know, as in “Cheech and…”
As he said it, I was smiling like the Grinch on Christmas. “Yessss,” I thought, “such a perfect stoner quote from the biggest pothead of all time… fantastic journalism!”
Over the course of the evening, I continued to ponder what he said; I couldn’t get it out of my head. Maybe it was the ‘pothead’ in me, but his quote began to sink into my brain like a Cap’n Cosmics brownie on an empty stomach. Have things changed as much as we think they have?
In order to thoroughly investigate this topic, I must first clarify what these “things” are that have or have not changed. As related to my conversation with Mr. Chong, we were speaking about stigmas held against him for his career and what he represents. I asked him, “How have responses changed since you came out with ‘Up in Smoke’ in 1978, and now in recent years, getting ready to release a new film, ’The Burning Joint’?”
Before I could finish asking the question, Tommy had already anticipated what I was getting at, and was ready with his answer; “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” he softly spoke with a wise-faced grin. He went on to explain that in the first movie, there was a point where he and Cheech were deported to Tijuana. He said, “Ya know, we still have that going on today, although the times have changed.”
Touché, Mr. Chong. While the legalization of Cannabis is indeed taking flight in recent years, there are still large numbers of people who are not for it. Just as it’s been for any other civil conflict or any conflict for that matter, there are always two sides: those for the issue at hand, and those against it.
Tommy seemed so matter-of-fact with his statement. While strains have changed, methods for smoking have evolved, opinions have been altered… despite all the “change,” many factors related to mainstreaming Cannabis have remained the same. There are so many details, so many statistics, so many judgment calls, so many votes, so many conferences, meetings, studies… a great deal of fine-tuning! In order to pull off such a revolutionary change as an all-out, across the board legalization of Marijuana, a lot of preparation has to take place. And no matter how gracefully and professionally the process is handled, it will never be 100% peaceful.
Mr. Chong predicts all-out legalization for two years from now. “And once the U.S. does it, everyone else will join,” he said. But despite what’s legal and not legal, nothing will really “change” in Tommy Chong’s opinion. Where there is love, there is also hate. Even the most popular kid in school is not well-liked by at least one person.
We can’t have it all, so what will we accept? At this point, we are screaming “legalization!” After that, what will it be… full emotional acceptance? That would just be unrealistic.
At Online Marijuana Design, we know that we will never gain the acceptance of everyone for what we do; that is not our goal. Instead, we strive to be the best at what we do. We love Cannabis, we love design and we love helping businesses grow – literally. The legal “changes” we speak of may have legitimized our company, but they did not create what we all came together for.
As I sat and replayed Mr. Chong’s words in my head over and over, I realized that it’s not the “changes” that matter, but yet, what has remained the same for so long. Like how the plant continually brings people together. Or how it always helps cure a stomach ache. The way that it smells. The smiles and laughs it brings…
The tolerant culture it has created. You don’t often meet a hostile stoner; that’s something I can always rely on. If you meet a stranger and find out that each other smokes, we all know how it goes… instant friends, am I right?
The “things” that have not changed will prevail over all changes that seem so necessary in our day and age. Mr. Chong knew this, years before my time, and so he bestowed this knowledge upon me. He is happy, he is stoned, and he has been both since before legalization was even so much a snippet of a thought in a young politician’s mind.
So what’s my point?
To give up the fight? No.
To fight harder? Not necessarily.
My point is nothing but to illustrate how no matter how many years pass, how many laws and opinions transform, nothing ever really changes. Those who smoke, smoke. Those who don’t, don’t. A few may dabble in and out of both lifestyles, but like liquor, there will forever be users, abusers and disapprove-ers.
Just because some people do not support, this will not stop OMD from being some of the first in Washington State to design and produce Cannabis related billboards. While these highway billboards will be a fairly large change in our society’s culture, will their message really change the way people feel about Marijuana?
Tommy Chong was one of the first to say “I don’t give a F**k,” and he plans on continuing to lead the pack in the future, as he was in Seattle this past week to launch his new brand and strains.
At 76-years-old, Tommy does not miss a beat. He had the whole room, of about 20 or so people, at the C&C dispensary in Lake City continually rolling with laughter. While sparking up a mid-interview joint with OMD owner, Jared Mirsky, he jokingly pointed to the one man in the room wearing a suit and tie, saying, “Uh oh, there’s a DEA agent in here!”
As we continued to chat amid the clouds, I asked him, of all his personal strains, which was his favorite? He quickly retorted, “The Naked Lady.” I then asked him how he conceptualized that name and he said, “Well, whenever people ask me what my favorite strain is, I always tell them ‘whatever is handed to me by a naked lady,’ and so the name arose.”
After taking the first two “puff puffs,” Mr. Chong passed the joint to two men in the room, friends, one from Pakistan, the other from Afghanistan. Tommy looked up at the photographers and reporters and loudly proclaimed, “This is a symbol of friendship, from our country, to their countries. This, if anything,will be what eventually brings the world together.”