During an April 3 appearance in Hazel Park, Michigan, actor/comedian Tommy Chong was handed a key to the city by the mayor, and he returned the favor by offering her the “key to the world”- a marijuana joint.
Mayor Janice Pairsi handed Chong the key to the city in a ceremony held outside a popular local retail store, surrounded by media and fans. He took the key, pulled a joint from his pocket and said, “Now I’m going to give you the key to the world- marijuana.”
The gesture was received with laughter and applause, especially from the Mayor. She took the marijuana cigarette from the celebrity before posing for pictures with Chong and the symbolic city key. The duo were standing with City Manager Ed Klobucher and Councilman Andy LeCureaux , in front of a Hazel Park fire truck, when the exchange happened.
Hazel Park legalized the possession and use of marijuana by adults 21 years of age and older on private property during the 2014 election cycle.
The famed icon of marijuana pop culture was a big draw to this small, ultra-urban community. Hundreds of people formed twin lines reaching around the BDT’s Pipe and Tobacco Shop waiting for a Tommy Chong signature on their t-shirts and memorabilia. BDT’s has been a mainstay in the Hazel Park community for decades; they’ve franchised to other metro Detroit cities in recent years, and were the primary sponsors of Chong’s visit during Hash Bash weekend.
Chong delivered a memorable speech the following day at the annual marijuana protest. He wowed the crowd with humor and activism and delivered lines like “all marijuana use is medical.” The star of movies like Up in Smoke and Nice Dreams is also famous for beating prostate cancer with cannabis medicines and for a stint in federal prison for selling marijuana paraphernalia on the Internet.