Tommy Chong has had more or less the same routine every morning since moving into his Pacific Palisades home 30 years ago: He steps out onto the expansive rooftop off the master bedroom, soaks up the sun and enjoys a plant-based smoke.
"I used to have about 20 pot plants growing on one side, just to experiment," the 78-year-old said. "But we're too close to the ocean and they got mold, so we harvested them."
The actor and activist has been part of the stand-up duo Cheech and Chong for decades and recently played the voice of Yax in the Golden Globe-winning 2016 film "Zootopia."
These days, he's mostly involved in his line of cannabis products, Chong's Choice, and said he does his best thinking up on the roof. He shares the 5,000-square-foot home with his wife, Shelby.
Tell us about the rooftop.
The house was owned by an artist before us. Our bedroom was her studio. But there was just a wall and basic door leading out to the roof. There was nothing here. Shelby put in these big doors and rearranged everything.
How much time do you spend out here?
Every chance I get. I've been a sun-tanner all my life. The sun is why we moved from Canada to California.
Does the rooftop have another function?
We have lots of fruit and vegetables growing here: lemons, berries, tomatoes, habanero peppers.
What sort of a vibe were you going for, design-wise?
We were into antiques for a while. When Shelby and I did stand-up in the '90s, that was our fun thing to do. In between gigs, if we had a few days, we'd find the local antique area and just go in there and have a ball. Some of those pieces are here.
Why did you stencil the floors?
We wanted a Moroccan ambience. We have an artist friend, Scarlet Abbott, who did the painted design on the floor. We finished that about four years ago, but we keep working on the house all the time.
It looks like a great place to exercise as well.
We have a gym in the house where I work out. I use rubber bands, and a special piece of equipment that I invented. It's like a skateboard on springs. I bounce on it, and it works out my calves.
What else do you like doing on the roof?
I like to read. Once you get to a certain level of wealth, people wonder what to buy you as gifts. I tell them, "Buy me a book." I got into reading when I was serving time. Prison is like a learning experience. You have to learn to survive. Right now, I'm doing "Algebra for Dummies." I failed it in high school, and now I want to conquer it.
And of course, you come out here to smoke.
If it's nice out, I can test my weed all day long. You don't want to be in a confined space when you're smoking. You want to really enjoy the open air and gardens. I've never cared if it's legal or not. I'm not hurting anyone. I'm smoking a plant.
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