Tommy Chong smoked up Denver for the release of Chong’s Choice edibles and prerolls

Revelry at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Revelry at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Tommy Chong takes a toke in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

UPDATE: Watch this video interview with Tommy Chong, in which he shares an old story about the Brown Palace Hotel

Tommy Chong visited Denver to celebrate the release of Chong’s Choice products in Denver, and, of course, to smoke some serious herb.

The 78-year-old comedian, best known for his standup career with Richard “Cheech” Marin, partied in style with 200 of the Denver cannabis industry’s best and brightest at co-working space Cultivated Synergy in Five Points.

“I have dedicated my life for our collective enjoyment,” Chong said during a speech at the event. “Now my only job, except for making people laugh, is testing product. There is so much product to test, I can only test the top 2 percent. Now that’s all you need.”

Local grow Verde Natural produces all of Chong’s Denver supply, including Durban Haze, a sativa grown for its anti-inflammatory and migraine reduction properties; Blue Dream, a hybrid chosen for its creative and relaxing effects; and Grape Stomper, a “trippy and happy” indica.

All of Chong's Choice cannabis is produced at Verde Natural on 5000 East 41st street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Verde Natural master grower Cassandra Maffey inspects mature marijuana plants in a grow room. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Marijuana at Verde Natural's grow facility. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Chong's Choice brings three different strands of cannabis to Denver. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Trimmer Daniel Newkirk works inside Verde Natural's grow facility. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Marijuana hangs to cure at Verde Natural's Northeast Park Hill grow facility. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Cannabis circulated the room in the form of loose flower and prerolls. Later, non-infused edibles, produced by Boulder-based Growing Kitchen, made the rounds.

Sherpa Supply threw the soiree in collaboration with Nerve Cannabis Consulting, and attendees were invited to partake liberally in what Chong described as “the temple balls,” or the best of the best of marijuana. And partake they did.

By 7 p.m., a thick smoke hung in the air. Suffice to say, that workplace probably still smells like Chong’s Choice.

Liz hits a joint at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Liz hits a joint at Chong’s Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Chong released his line of medical and recreational grade cannabis to dispensaries nationwide in April 2016, beginning not with the Denver, but with Las Vegas.

“Well, it’s Vegas, come on, who doesn’t want to go to Vegas?” Chong explained, “We’ve got a grow set-up there, Chong’s Choice is very established in Nevada.”

Chong’s Choice flower has been available in select dispensaries across Colorado since August, but the full line of non-infused edibles launched Thursday.

As for the crowd at Cultivated Synergy, it looks a bit different now than it would have back in the 1970s.

Revelry at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Smoking and spinning. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

It’s hard to ignore that with the rise of the cannabis industry, the image of the typical weed consumer has changed a lot, too. Party-goers looked less like Cheech and Chong than they did savvy business types.  Fresh-faced influencers intermingled with men and women tailored suits—some worked in tech, owned grows or sold hydroponics, others operated in the “ancillary cannabis” realm, representing businesses that don’t touch the flower.

But a few nostalgic hippie-types remained. Mitch Burynski sat up in the VIP area to roll his 100,000th joint for Chong.

Revelry at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Revelry at Chong’s Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

He grinned as he handed it to the legendary celebrity, who puffed and passed like the best of them.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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