Tommy Chong, the world famous actor, comedian, staunch marijuana advocate and activist is celebrating his 80th birthday this year! He recently sat down for an interview with AP journalist John Rogers where he reflected on his storied life along with his longtime relationship with all things marijuana. Chong candidly recounts how at 17 he was first introduced to marijuana and the comedy of Lenny Bruce, saying that they both changed his life forever.

With a 50 plus year career as part of the legendary stoner comedy duo of Cheech and Chong, along with fellow weed loving comedian Cheech Marin under his belt and countless activism efforts for marijuana legalization, he has lived a very interesting life indeed. Happy birthday Mr. Chong and many happy returns!

LOS ANGELES — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he’d live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.

He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they didn’t just play hippie potheads in the movies — they really were those guys — could have landed them in prison. He even knew in 2003 when Chong was imprisoned for nine months for conspiring to distribute handcrafted artisanal bongs the government declared drug paraphernalia.

“Oh yeah, I saw it coming,” he says of cannabis being legal in some form in about two-thirds of his adopted country’s 50 states.

“In fact, I kind of planned the whole thing out,” he jokes. “Well, maybe I was a little premature with that bong thing. But other than that, I was pretty much right on point.”

Are you a fan of his comedic take on stoners and marijuana culture? Are you surprised that he always knew that marijuana legalization would be possible in the U.S.?

Tommy Chong reflects on pot’s evolution as he turns 80 | Chicago Sun-Times