President Obama has commuted the sentences of 673 jailed marijuana offenders and has pardoned an additional 70. Now, Tommy Chong wants a federal pardon too. Chong spent 9 months in federal prison for selling bongs on the Internet in the early 2000s.
A White House petition has been started by Chong to request a Presidential pardon, according to The Washington Post. So far, 13,000 signatures have been collected. There are just days left for Chong to collect 67,000 more signatures, as his deadline to collect 80,000 signatures is September 25, if he wishes for a response while President Obama still resides in the White House.
One of the reasons that Chong was “selected for prosecution” was his use of his public image to essentially promote his crime, according to U.S. attorney Mary McKeen Houghton. She was one of the U.S. attorneys involved in his case. Chong and his attorneys continue to believe that his conviction was in an attempt to make him a high-profile example.
Chong pled guilty to prevent his wife and son from also being prosecuted. One of the reasons that Chong is attempting to be pardoned is that he wants to go back into the business of selling bongs.
Bongs are legal to sell in the U.S. as long as they are not promoted specifically for using illegal drugs.
Given President Obama’s admittance of using marijuana, and agreement that it is less dangerous than alcohol, Tommy Chong is hoping the President will honor his request.
Chong said, “I think it [the pardon effort] has a very good chance because Obama has admitted to smoking pot.”