Monday, February 26

Tommy Chong to help raise money for 'Ganja Guru' defense

Tommy Chong, of the Cheech and Chong comedy duo renowned for stoner movie classics such as "Up in Smoke" and "Nice Dreams," will appear at a $125-per-head event March 4 at the home of the self proclaimed 'Ganja Guru' Ed Rosenthal.

Famed for his marijuana cultivation books and the "Ask Ed" column he wrote for High Times magazine, Rosenthal was convicted of three marijuana-growing felonies in 2003, more than a year after federal agents raided sites including his Oakland home, an Oakland warehouse in which he was growing marijuana, and a San Francisco medical marijuana club he supplied.

Oakland Tribune staff writer Josh Richman reported that Rosenthal is scheduled to appear in federal court March 19, and he estimates his trial and related expenses could cost more than $300,000. Tommy Chong has a personal reason for being involved in the fundraiser.

He was prosecuted, convicted and served nine months in federal prison a few years ago as part of a federal crackdown on purveyors of drug paraphernalia. He had financed and promoted a line of glass water pipes often used for smoking marijuana, and he said he pleaded guilty to prevent charges from being filed against his wife and son. The case made Chong, already beloved for his comedy act, a poster boy among marijuana advocates.

You can read more at Rosenthal's legal defense fund's Web site,

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