Last year, during a visit to a marijuana farm, where plants for his branded line of ganja grow, Tommy Chong had a touch of the flu. A friend offered him a weed-laced gummy bear, and Chong nibbled off a corner. When he didn't feel the effects shortly after, he ate the whole thing.
"All of a sudden, I turned into 'Weekend at Bernie's.' They sat me in a chair, I was so out of it," Chong says. "I got so stoned."
It's hard to believe, but even Chong — whose name is synonymous with the "stoner" stereotype and the counter-culture movement of the '70s because of his reputation as one half of the pot-friendly comedy duo "Cheech and Chong" — gets too high sometimes. The actor-comedian set out to prevent others from sharing experiences like his by launching a new "user-friendly" line of marijuana edibles.
His national cannabis brand, Chong's Choice, teamed up with Défoncé Chocolatier to create gourmet chocolate bars that can be easily split into smaller, more manageable doses. The chocolates are part of a fast-growing category in the legal weed market that caters to adults who are new to edibles or are consuming for recreational, rather than medical, purposes.
Each bar contains 200 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. That amount of THC would make most users feel incredibly uncomfortable if eaten in full. But the bar features a three-dimensional design that allows users to split the bar into twenty 10-milligrams doses, according to Eric Eslao, founder of Défoncé.
In 2016, Eslao left Apple after working at the tech giant for six years to engineer a user-friendly edible. This marks Défoncé's first celebrity collaboration. "We were honored to have Tommy Chong ask us to create this product line. He's an icon," Eslao said.
The bars come in suitably playful flavors, like Crunchy Munchies, which blends milk chocolate, potato chips, and caramel. Wake 'N' Bacon combines dark chocolate, waffles, bacon, and maple syrup, while Cereal Bowls mixes white chocolate, cinnamon crunch cereal, and marshmallow cereal. There's also a plain milk chocolate and a plain dark chocolate bar.
Chong tells Business Insider he deliberately made the most potent bar out of bitter dark chocolate, in an effort to deter users from eating more than they can handle.
At 78, Chong says he's at an age when smoking wears on his body too much. But the two-time cancer survivor has no trouble eating his cannabis. He says marijuana relaxes him and keeps his appetite up despite the side effects of his cancer recovery.
"When the mind is relaxed, the body can heal itself," Chong says.
Chong's Choice chocolate bars are expected to arrive in select California dispensaries in May.