One of the world's most famous potheads says he's joined the BC NDP so that he can vote for outsider leadership candidate Dana Larsen.

Tommy Chong -- the Canadian half of the stoner comedy duo Cheech and Chong -- announced his New Democrat partisanship in a YouTube video Tuesday.

"I just joined the BC NDP, and the reason that I joined is because of one man: Dana Larsen," Chong says in the video, urging like-minded voters to follow his example.

"Dana Larsen can change the face of this country, but he needs your help."

To be eligible to participate in the leadership vote on April 17, new party members must register before Jan. 17.

In a statement, Larsen said he was pleased with the endorsement, and called Chong a "cultural icon."

"Over his lengthy career, Tommy has brought joy and laughter to millions of people. Yet he also knows first-hand the damage caused by the failed war on marijuana," Larsen said.

Chong, who now lives in Vancouver, served nine months in an American prison beginning in 2003 after he was convicted of selling bongs and water pipes over the internet.

The 39-year-old Larsen was the first candidate to officially announce his candidacy for the party's leadership on Dec. 29, and has confirmed his commitment to legalizing marijuana in B.C.

The pot activist received less than four per cent of the vote when he ran in provincial and federal elections in 2000 and 2001.

He said he was pressured to step down as federal NDP candidate for West Vancouver in 2008, after videos of him smoking a stuffed mouthful of marijuana joints and dropping LSD were distributed to mainstream media outlets.

The Burnaby, B.C. native penned a book called Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone in 2007.

Julian decides not to run

Meanwhile, federal NDP representative Peter Julian has announced that he will not be running to replace outgoing provincial leader Carole James after all.

He told last week that he had spoken with B.C. MLAs, voters and labour and environmental activists and received support for a leadership bid.

But the Burnaby-New Westminster MP said in a statement Tuesday that he has decided to remain in federal politics so that he can prepare for the possibility of an election this year.

"I have heeded those who tell me it's important to continue the work of building our Party nationally for a probable election in 2011," Julian said.