Willie Nelson is Going the Extra Mile With His Marijuana Devotion

March 27th 2015

Laura Donovan

Now that marijuana is legal in a couple states, singer Willie Nelson wants to cash in on the opportunity with new venture Willie Reserve, his own personal brand of weed. A longtime champion of marijuana rights and use, it makes sense that Nelson plans to take his well-established appreciation for the substance to the next level.

"Willie has spent a lifetime in support of cannabis, both the industrial hemp side and the marijuana side," brand rep Michael Bowman said in an interview with The Daily Beast. "He wants it to be something that’s reflective of his passion. Ultimately, it’s his. But it was developed by his family, and their focus on environmental and social issues, and in particular this crazy war on drugs, and trying to be a bright light amongst this trail as we’re trying to extract ourselves from the goo of prohibition."

Bowman says the brand intends to build stores in states where marijuana is legal, so folks in D.C., Washington state, Alaska, Colorado, and (soon) Oregon could be happy customers of Willie Nelson. But the stores won't simply include Nelson's brand. It will carry other strains that meet the brand's standards. Bowman likened the experience to walking into Whole Foods and having a plethora of different brands from which choose. 

Willie Nelson

Bob Jagendorf / Wikimedia

Though Nelson's family will play a big role in the initiative, Bowman assured The Daily Beast that Nelson himself will be active in the venture.

"This is a culmination of Willie’s vision, and his whole life. I’m not sure any of us could have predicted how fast the dominoes would start falling once they started falling (as far as legalization). And You [sic] have the men like Willie who’s [sic] been out there getting arrested, standing up saying what’s right, and not wavering from that core."

Nelson, a long-time leader of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), was indeed arrested nearly five years ago for marijuana possession on his tour bus. In 2006, he got in trouble with the law for having mushrooms and marijuana on his bus and had to pay a $1,064 fine with six months probation.  

Last year, he did an interview with Rolling Stone about New York Times reporter Maureen Dowd's viral article where she described a bad experience with marijuana. "Oh yeah, she OD'd somewhere," Nelson said. "I have eaten too much, and if you have, you know the feeling. It's not a good feeling. It won't kill you, but it'll make you feel you're dying."

Negative reactions aside, Nelson believes pot is harmless, "There are a lot of ignorant people who don't know that have been told it's a drug, and if you smoke it you're going to hell. A lot of the right-wing religious fanatics are the ones who are the most against it, just like they're against telling women what to do with their bodies. A bunch of old, ignorant white people that are dying off. And the big deal about weed or gays or any of that, it's going away. It's not a big deal no more to most people."