By John Carucci – Associated Press

Tommy Chong, left, and Richard “Cheech” Marin arrived at the 6th Annual George Lopez Celebrity Golf Classic at the Lakeside Golf Club on May 6 in Toluca Lake, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK » The Grammy Award-winning comedy duo Cheech and Chong based their 42-year career on counterculture humor with a particular emphasis on marijuana use. But these days Tommy Chong sees the recreational drug as something more than fodder for jokes about stoned hippies.

The 74-year-old comedian thinks legalizing marijuana on a federal level would offer numerous benefits, including a boost to the U.S. economy if it were taxed.

“Look at the situation we’re in now. Sequesters. Cuts. Everything cut across the board. Now, the government is tapped into the biggest cash crop in the world,” Chong said. “There’s little manufacturing cost. You don’t have to do anything except watch it grow and get a couple of hippies to cut it and then put it in a bag.”

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