It shouldn’t be too shocking that Tommy Chong got in trouble with the law. The guy basically built his career doing something that for a long time was illegal. But while Chong has made most of his money from movies using artistic expression as a shield against the police, the same cannot be said for his family business. In 2003, before season 5 of “That ’70s Show” was released, Chong was arrested and charged with selling drug paraphernalia (via The Guardian). He, like many of the thousands of legal shop owners across the country, sold glass pipes. The only difference is that Chong was selling his wares across state lines on the Internet.
In order to prevent his wife and child from being prosecuted with him, Chong pleaded guilty to the charges and ended up spending nine months in prison. This explains his extended absences in seasons 5 and 6 of “That ’70s Show”, after which Leo returned to the fold as if nothing had happened.
Behind the scenes, however, a lot had happened to Chong. In an interview with The Guardian, Chong revealed that he spent most of his time in prison reading the I Ching and achieved a sense of peace. Although he came out of prison with a healthier mind and spirit, Chong’s smoking habits remained the same. Although on the other hand, it is to be expected.