While customers can find most anything cannabis-related at Commencement Bay Cannabis (CBC), 5402 Pacific Hwy. E. in Fife, they won’t find any Maui Waui with some Labrador in it. Instead, on Saturday, July 22, Commencement Bay Cannabis presented something way more enticing. The elaborate pot shop had attracted Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong for a meet and greet event before the pair would present their comedy show live at Emerald Queen Casino later that night.
The Grammy Award–winning comedy duo — who made the gargantuan Labrador joint famous in a scene where Cheech’s dog ate his marijuana so he waited for days to get it all back — was so popular that the line of fans stretched from inside the cannabis shop at the budtender’s counter, through the front of the store, past the security guards and back outside. Then, as soon as one person had gleaned their sought-after handshake and autograph, more than an ounce of new fans would step in line to take that person’s place. Judging by the laughing, nearly everything that came out of either comedian’s mouth sounded funny to the fans.
Following a quick visit to the Puyallup Tribe’s Salish Cancer Center, in the same building that houses the Tribe’s Medicine Creek Analytics cannabis testing lab, the highly adored duo arrived at CBC in a retro ride, the familiar vintage green VW van driven and owned by Chairman of the Puyallup Tribe Bill Sterud. Soon as the side door slid open, fans began cheering and Chong was the first to step out but the character who told a movie cop that his name was “Pedro De Pacas, man, that’s my name” was also quickly encircled and the duo became separated by their eager devotees.
“It was a really fun experience. I’ve long been an admirer of their sense of humor,” Chairman Sterud said of Cheech and Chong’s visit. “I learned how normal they are — really laid back guys. The store looked great, the staff was happy and they put on a killer show at the Showroom.”
Just as the chairman is a vocal and staunch supporter of cannabis as medicine for a host of ills, so too are Cheech and Chong. “They seem to be on a journey to spread word about cannabis being a medicine so the trip to the Salish Cancer Center was very interesting to them and they very much enjoyed their visit to the cannabis store.”
SMOKE A BONG – IT’S CHEECH & CHONG!
Later that evening, Cheech and Chong entered the Emerald Queen Casino’s Showroom stage and while the crowd continued standing to cheer, Cheech repeated, “Hey, be seated, my children. Be seated.” Yet even after everyone was seated and the show was well underway, the crowd would erupt with laughter or cheering again.
During their stage performance, Cheech and Chong sang together and at one point chortled, “We are so much in love that we go on a picnic and don’t even bring any beer.” That was before Cheech came out wearing a pink tutu, with fake tattoos on skin-colored leotards. He was singing “My daddy, he disowned me ‘cause I wear my sister’s clothes. He caught me in the bathroom with a pair of pantyhose.”
The tenacious comedians also performed other skits that mirrored scenes from their old movies, such as “Up in Smoke.” For that old car scene where Cheech is driving with a chromed-out chain steering wheel and Chong produces the Labrador processed joint, the pair swapped “Labrador” for “KY Jelly.” Since Chong had gone to prison for nine months back in September 2003, he now jokes about how he had smuggled pot into and back out of prison.
Safe to say, foks left the EQC Showroom that night high on so much laughter the legendary duo brought out in everyone at the show.
EVERYONE LOVES CBC
More than an hour before Cheech and Chong arrives, vendors had set up shop in the CBC parking lot to share stories, if not wafts, from their cannabis-centered goods. Among them was vendor Nick Herb of Cascadia Gardens, a recreational producer/processor in Bellingham. Herb said that Cascadia Gardens is Tier 2, which by law means they have between 2,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet of dedicated plant canopy.
Herb said Cascadia Gardens sells its products through Commencement Bay Cannabis. A cartridge of extract runs around $40 and the products he had on display in his terp bar included descriptive names of the accompanying aroma, like The Candy, Strawberry Banana and Sour Diesel.
Yet another vendor, Doc & Yeti, participated to show support for CBC. “We sell a lot of our products at Commencement Bay,” said Jared Adfel, who is the “Doc” portion of his company’s name. “We won the Dope Cup for best indie cup for brandywine, Dope Cup for best sativa for Redheaded Stranger. And we are just simply here celebrating Cheech and Chong being in Tacoma and celebrating the weed industry.”
Near the vendors, and listening to a Northwest coastal psychedelic rock band called Dire Fire, a woman wearing a “Women of Weed” button, Cecilia Sivertson, said she was an original ganjapreneur, meaning she was among the first activists and business owners to market weed throughout the tumultuous changes with the budding cannabis laws and constantly evolving liquor control board regulations and issues. Now, as the founder of Nana’s Secret, Silvertson has a producer’s license for branding and marketing cannabis goods and she is open to having cannabis entrepreneurs present her with their products for selling under her brand.
Inside CBC, security officer Sir Antonio Roeber Curington said he has worked at CBC since it first opened in February 2017. “The main thing about working here is we are very personable. We spend a lot of time with our guests and make sure that they get the best possible service,” Curington said.
Also inside were Amira Fitzgerald and Kyle Shelton. They are both employed by the Puyallup Tribe’s cannabis testing lab, Medicine Creek Analytics, which analyzes cannabis according to the state’s I-502 regulatory system. They said they test marijuana for yeast, mold and potency and while they had been standing in line together at CBC to make purchases, they admitted that they frequent this shop on a regular basis.
“I come about once a week,” Fitzgerald said. Then Shelton piped in to say they both like CBC a lot. “As this place has grown, it just keeps getting busier and busier,” he said before elaborating about how knowledgeable the CBC budtenders are regarding the product.
“Working in the lab allows us to see a lot of product,” Shelton said. “Here, everybody’s helpful, up-front, pretty knowledgeable about the products and price-wise it’s better here than anywhere else.”
Customer Mary Carlisle has been coming to Commencement Bay Cannabis since April. She said she completely loves the shop. “They give discounts for certain things, they’re cheaper, its nicer, the people are real friendly, I love it here. I’m here like two times a week,” she said. Carlisle also said she smokes thanks to really bad chronic back pain. Traditional pain medications were not providing any relief so now she smokes joints and a pipe, or uses the candies she buys from CBC and said the cannabis really improves everything.