In June, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a widely covered column about her paranoid experience after eating a caramel-chocolate candy bar in Denver. "I barely made it from my desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours," she wrote.
Noted pot enthusiast Willie Nelson read the piece. "Oh yeah, she OD'd somewhere," he said with a laugh, just after emerging from his tour bus' bedroom, a haze of pot smoke following him out the door. "Like a lot of people who do it, [you think] 'Oh, marijuana, I'll try some, not realizing that this hard candy may be stronger than that hard candy.' Now she knows. Maybe she'll read the label now!" Nelson added Dowd is welcome to get high properly, on his bus, "anytime."
"I have eaten too much, and if you have, you know the feeling," Nelson added. "It's not a good feeling. It won't kill you, but it'll make you feel you're dying. You gotta be careful what you eat, whatever it is – unless you make it yourself and know how potent they are."
Has Nelson ever run out of pot? "Oh yeah, I've run out. But usually somebody will bring us some weed. Never have to buy any. Somebody just gives you all you can smoke. We played up in Northern California last year, up there where all the good weed grows. I think when we left the concert, there were probably eight or 10 pounds of weed on the stage." Really? "Yeah, because that's where they grow it all. All the great growers in that area, they're proud of their weed over there."
Nelson has been arrested at least four times on marijuana offenses. In Waco, Texas, police found him asleep in his Mercedes on the side of the road, a joint on him, after a late night poker game. In Louisiana in 2006, en route to Texas Governor Ann Richards' funeral, Nelson's bus was pulled over and police seized 1.5 pounds of weed. Nelson has long been involved with NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and been an outspoken advocate for legalization. "Yeah, because I knew the truth about it. And I knew it won't kill you unless you drop a bale of it on you or something," he joked.
"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."
Nelson is on the newest cover of Rolling Stone, on stands now.