While the unofficial holiday for partaking in a little toke of weed has long passed, our continued interest in the periphery and stories linked to marijuana culture hasn’t wavered. A recent editorial in Collectors Weekly details the long and expansive history of rolling papers – using iconic imagery and stories from none other than Tommy Chong as a way to humanize the history lesson. While a choice excerpt appears below, head here to read it in its entirety.
It’s kind of ironic that Tommy Chong, the smokiest half of Cheech and Chong, is so closely associated with rolling papers. Sure the character he played on stage and in the movies was endlessly smoking fatties, and the comedy duo’s second album, “Big Bambu,” 1972, opened up like a booklet of Bambu rolling papers, with a Cheech and Chong-watermarked sheet inside. Then, in 1978, the pair was rolled into a joint for the poster advertising their film debut, “Up In Smoke.”
“I’m not really a paper guy,” says Chong over the phone, a few days before his 75th birthday. “I’m a pipe guy. I’ve always been a pipe guy, still to this day.”
Which is not to say Chong lacks, shall we say, experience with rolling papers. “We were on vacation in the mid-1980s in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I had, um, arranged to buy some pot. The guy asked me ‘how much?’ and I said, ‘Well, give me $10 worth, I guess.’ And he brought me an armful of weed. Literally. An armful. So I sat in my vacation rental and cleaned it. It took me a whole day. I made it fine and beautiful, took all the twigs and seeds out of it, and then I proceeded to get a couple of books of papers, laid ’em out, and rolled. It was probably about an inch and a half in diameter and I would say eight inches long, maybe longer. It was perfect, a perfectly rolled joint. It lasted the whole time I was there.”