As if Colorado's weed-happy image needed a boost, it's getting one from a legendary stoner.
Tommy Chong has entered into a business deal to use his name and product endorsements at a Pueblo pot shop.
Chong garnered fame in the 1970s as half of the dazed-and-confused comedy duo Cheech & Chong.
Still consuming cannabis after decades of steady use, Chong said his interests now lie more in marijuana's purported medical benefits. He said he was recently tested free of prostate cancer after a self-treatment regimen of cannabis oils and dietary changes.
Chong, 75, said his partnership with Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo involves "more or less using my name, my celebrity status, to bring attention to their products."
He said Marisol's owner, Mike Stetler, will develop a strain of marijuana and make products from it that will be sold under the "Tommy Chong" brand.
"He's got one of the best grow operations I've ever seen," Chong said in a telephone interview with The Denver Post. He resides in California.
Chong said the proprietary strain and products will contain high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, a substance that proponents say can be effective in the treatment of several medical conditions.
"We've all gone through the recreational aspect of it," Chong said of marijuana. "But what's exciting to me is the medical side."
He has several other pot and hemp product endorsement deals outside of Colorado.
Chong made publicity appearances at Marisol Therapeutics in January after recreational sales became legal, and again on the eve of the 4/20 pot celebrations last weekend.
Chong and an attorney for Marisol said that contrary to published reports , Chong has not invested in Marisol. Colorado law prohibits investments in marijuana enterprises by people who have not been state residents for at least two years.
"There's no money changing hands from Tommy to Marisol, so there's no investment," said Marisol attorney Sean McAllister. "Ultimately, it comes down to Tommy Chong endorsing (Marisol's) product."
Chong said he plans to sample and approve the products prior to his name being used.
"I'll be hanging out there a lot," he said. "Anything with my name on it, I'm a hands-on guy."