Tommy’s Craft is carefully curated by Tommy Chong himself
Published on September 16, 2022 by David Wylie
Unlike some other celebrities, Tommy Chong didn’t rush into putting his name on just any weed.
It wasn’t that the star stoner of Cheech and Chong wasn’t offered the chance, says his nephew Josh Wong, who’s president of RGB Cannabis.
Wong spoke to the oz. last October in this vaulted interview about his involvement bringing his uncle’s cannabis brand to Canada.
“Aurora offered us $5 million on the first day. And we were like ‘nope,’” says Wong. “Tommy would not allow us to sell shit weed.”
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Wong says when they toured Aurora’s facility, they were unimpressed by what they saw. He recalled thinking at the time: “this is fucking awful. I’m not putting Tommy’s name on that junk.”
Canada’s tough rules around celebrity brands caused Chong to back off for years after legalization.
“All we did was we waited,” says Wong.
“Everyone fucking rushed to get out in Canada. And my brother (who runs Tommy Chong Cannabis in the U.S.), well, you should have seen the deals he said no to…”
Highly curated craft cannabis
With his own legit background in cannabis, Wong became involved in the business north of the border. Wong said he dived deep into how craft beer companies grew their base of loyal customers so he could apply it to the emerging weed space.
“Once I connected the craft brewing with the legacy market, I knew how to make craft products, as opposed to just a baggie full of weed,” says Wong.
“You’ll just get good weed. That’s all that matters.”
He trained as a cannabis sommelier so he could better spot great flower by look and smell.
“What was really important to me was taking that craft beer approach to it,” he says. “Just across the board we are just going to be incredibly flavourful.”
“I can tell you one thing: Not one joint you will smoke you’ll be like, ‘oh this sucks.’”
Calgary-based RGB Cannabis struck up a partnership with Candre Cannabis based in Sundre, Alta.
Their cannabis facility impressed Wong, and they worked well together.
“It was so hard to find good weed,” says Wong. “Cannabis doesn’t even make (Tommy) much money, it’s more about reputation.”
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Tommy’s Craft is available in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. It’s not yet available in BC, and Wong says that’s because the BCLDB favours homegrown companies.
Wong says they’re always looking for micro-cultivators to work with, as Tommy’s Craft was created to curate.
Their cannabis is hang-dried, hand-trimmed, and hand-packaged in Calyx containers, which are easy to open, gasket sealed, lightweight, and American made, says Wong.
Tommy Chongs’s man in Canada
Born and raised in Calgary, Wong made a major life change in the 1990s that he says was “an eye-opener.”
“I moved to BC and started a love affair with cannabis.”
Living in Vancouver, he played in a band called Hydrogen Dog. It was made up of people who worked at Royal Towers casino in New Westminster. Wong staffed the blackjack and poker tables.
The longtime pot advocate has since moved back to Alberta. Now in his mid-40s, Wong has some notable achievements in film and music. He’s an accomplished director, and has credits on the festival hit No Road In. In the mid-2000, he even directed several episodes of YTV’s Prank Patrol. He’s toured and recorded in several bands.
Wong says he’s looking forward to legal consumption and social smoking venues.
This is from the oz. vault, one of numerous unpublished interviews.
We talked to Josh Wong on Oct. 18, 2021.