Perhaps it’s all the blockbuster movies or his governorship or his latest rap debut, but some people forget Arnold Schwarzenegger was once a cult cannabis icon, which began during his career-launching bodybuilding days in the 70s. Schwarzenegger won the title of Mr. Universe at just 20-years-old and would be crowned Mr. Olympia seven times over the course of his career, with his 1975 victory famously captured in the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron.
If you’ve never seen Pumping Iron — an exaggerated account of Arnie’s time in the gym, efforting to recapture his muscular figure after losing weight for a role in 1976’s Stay Hungry — it’s well worth the watch. Schwarzenegger was infamous for ripping bong hits post workouts, and after defeating Lou Ferrigno (yes, the guy who played the Hulk) in the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition, Arnie let the cameras capture him enjoying a celebratory joint for Pumping Iron.
It wasn’t a fake scripted moment either. “I did smoke a joint and I did inhale,” Schwarzenegger admitted in a 2002 CBS interview.
And if that wasn’t enough to solidify Arnie’s cult cannabis icon status, take this anecdote from none other than Tommy Chong. Back in the 70s, Chong couldn’t keep up with Schwarzenegger and his bodybuilding buddies when it came to bong hits, as he recently told Joe Rogan on the comedian’s podcast.
“When I smoked with Arnold, Dave Draper and all these muscle-heads would come around, and they got a big bong,” Chong said, as first reported by Civilized. “Thing was, they put like an ounce in the bowl. Then they’d fire it up, and they’d suck on it so hard, whoever exploded the bowl into the water—if you made it explode, you were the hero. So all the muscle-heads are taking a big hit. Arnold takes a big hit, the thing explodes.
Then they handed it to me,” Chong said, laughing as his bong hit wasn’t as massive as Arnold’s or the other bodybuilders. “They just looked at me like, ‘Yeah, okay, go sit over there somewhere.'”
You can watch the full interview with Tommy Chong below.