a/k/a Tommy Chong
USA, 2005, 78 min., documentary
"...busted by the U.S. government for being the world’s most famous stoner." -Georgia Straight
Gilbert chronicles the entrapment and incarceration of comedic legend Tommy Chong (of Cheech and Chong), offering a sometimes frightening, often hilarious account Operation Pipe Dreams, a nationwide sting operation spearheaded by former U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft. After a fully armed SWAT team raided the 65-year-old comedian's home in February 2003, Chong was sentenced to 9 months in federal prison for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute paraphernalia (bongs). Of the 55 defendants prosecuted, Chong was the only one with no prior convictions to receive jail time. Justifying the sentence, the prosecutor cited the classic 1978 film Up in Smoke as evidence that he had become wealthy "trivializing law enforcement efforts to combat marijuana trafficking and use."
Roger Ebert: "You do not have to approve of drugs to be offended."
Michael Moore: "The real stoners in this excellent documentary are the administration officials drunk with power and out of control, and a nation of otherwise good people who've been given the worst drug of all -- fear."
Alan Dershowitz: "Who could have known that Tommy Chong would turn out to be a great teacher of civil liberties and constitutional law, but his outrageous prosecution should be an object lesson for all who cherish our basic rights. This film is both fun and educational."
Please join us for the Film Society's Annual General Meeting after this film.
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