«[…]Tommy Chong said on CNN yesterday that the drug should be legal or decriminalized, but left unregulated and untaxed by the federal government.
Chong, who also announced, during the CNN interview with Don Lemon, that he had prostate cancer and was treating it with “pot oil”, was asked at one point by Lemon if he thought people were being shortsighted regarding the economic benefit that would be obtained by the federal government regulating and taxing legal marijuana.
Chong, rejecting the usual pro-pot-legalization argument, said:
“Actually, I’m against it [i.e., regulation and taxes]. I think leave it the way it is. I mean, we don’t need more taxes. We don’t need to be taxing something, like they’re doing with tobacco, you know. I mean, because again, where does the tax money go? It goes into a black hole called the government.”
Lemon, who seemed quite surprised and even nonplussed at Chong’s answers in this part of the interview, asked the actor if that meant he was opposed to the legalization of marijuana.
Chong replied: “No, I don’t think it should be taxed. I think it should be totally—it should be totally legal. But it shouldn’t be taxed.”
Again, Lemon suggested this was a confused position, and asked how something could be legal and regulated and not taxed by the government.
Chong at that point gave what amounts to an expert opinion on the legalization question, if however one phrased in the language and pragmatism of pot growers and consumers:
“All you have to do is decriminalize it. Just take away the criminal penalties. We don’t need a system of who we’re gonna buy it from. We got growers that we buy it from. We got people that deal [it]…that come into your house…we don’t need a government regulation to tell us this is good pot and that’s bad pot. We don’t need any of that. We’ve got everything in place. Just take away the penalties.”»