Smoking Willie Nelson's weed is a lifelong ambition of stoners everywhere, enjoyed only by a few lucky fans and friends like Snoop Dogg and Merle Haggard. Not anymore, though. On Monday, Nelson announced his own cannabis company, Willie's Reserve, which will bring "Willie Weed" to the masses. The product will be grown and sold by local businesses in Colorado and Washington and more as state regulation allows.
Rolling Stone recently caught up with Nelson on his bus backstage near San Antonio, Texas, where he discussed the product. "I will make sure it's good or it won't be on sale," the singer says. "There should be a menu just like in a restaurant because there's so many different kinds of pot that do many different things. It's a good idea to have everything labeled for what it does, what it don't do [and] how powerful it is."
Nelson says the business will also include stores with "menus of products" and edibles. "It fell together like evolution wants it to," Nelson says. "It's just a matter of time in this country before it's legal. I feel like I bought so much, it's time to start selling it back!"
The singer said in a statement that Willie's Reserve "is an extension of [my] passion and appreciation for the many varieties and range of the plant's qualities. Some of the best master growers in America will collaborate...to define quality standards so that fans can expect clean and consistent products."
Nelson has been an advocate for legalization and has been involved with National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) for decades. He was arrested as recently as 2010, when he memorably created “The Teapot Party." "They mostly want autographs now," Nelson says of police officers. "They don't really bother me anymore for the weed, because you can bust me now and I'll pay my fine or go to jail, get out and burn one on the way home. They know they're not stopping me."
Nelson says the company will emphasize environmental and social issues to "support the gradual end of marijuana prohibition across America." "Seeing the power of legalization, regulation and taxation to impact how Americans view cannabis is a life's work realized for Willie," a rep for the singer said in a statement.
"I am looking forward to working with the best growers in Colorado and Washington to make sure our product is the best on the market," Nelson added.
The singer has also teamed with friend Merle Haggard for the pro-marijuana video "It's All Going to Pot," which premiered Monday on Conan O'Brien's website.