You know Willie’s Reserve is going to be good stuff when Willie is the “Chief Tester” at his own cannabis company.
Willie Nelson is no newcomer to cannabis. In fact, the country legend is among a group of elders claiming to have used cannabis for over 65 years. So it goes without saying that he knows a thing or two about pot. Enter Willie’s Reserve.
After a lifetime of cannabis advocacy and activism, Nelson decided to take his love of the plant professional. Nelson started Willie’s Reserve in 2016. The boutique cannabis line – which Nelson describes as “fairly lucrative” – supplies flower, edibles, pre-rolls, and vape cartridges to select adult recreational markets in six US states. His company’s portfolio even extends to a brand of cannabis-infused coffee called “Willie’s Remedy.”
However, unlike celebrities who simply lend their name to cannabis collaborations they join, Nelson likes to take a hands-on approach. Willie’s Reserve is “boutique” in its commitment to small-batch, locally grown, sustainable cannabis; a direction the country star himself spearheaded. The 86-year-old calls himself the “chief tester” at Willie’s Reserve, and really tests and approves products before adding them to the line.
Nelson is one of Cannabis’ Longest-Standing Allies
Nelson made the “chief tester” joke on Tuesday night’s episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but it’s not the first time he’s talked about his role testing the company’s products. Nelson is a true cannabis advocate. He’s spoken publicly about the plant for decades, and greets America’s change in approach with enthusiasm: “It’s nice to watch it being accepted — knowing you were right all the time about it: that it was not a killer drug. It’s a medicine.”
Nelson also graced the Tonight Show with a performance of the Guy Clark song “My Favorite Picture of You.” Neither age nor cannabis use has slowed the star’s musical career; he still writes music and plays over 100 shows a year.
He has also just completed an album, Ride Me Back Home, featuring the 86-year-old riding horseback on the cover. Nelson is a big lover of horses. Alongside cannabis activism, he works with Habitat for Horses to save horses from the slaughterhouse, many of which now live among the more than 60 horses on his property outside Austin, Texas.
Cannabis Helped the Country Singer Kick Cigarettes
Willie Nelson is a cannabis activist with good reason. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Nelson, who suffers from emphysema after decades of smoking cigarettes, says cannabis saved his life: “I wouldn’t be alive. It saved my life, really. I wouldn’t have lived 85 years if I’d have kept drinking and smoking like I was when I was 30, 40 years old. I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people. And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around.”
Nelson also discussed his tobacco smoking with Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. He said, “I used to smoke two or three packs of cigarettes a day and drink whatever there was there to drink. I had pneumonia four or five times, my lung collapsed, I almost died,” the star said.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute. I ain’t getting that high off of Chesterfields.’ So I threw out the cigarettes, rolled up 20 joints, stuck it in there. I haven’t had a cigarette since.”
Cannabis Isn’t the Only Drug in Nelson’s History
The singer has a long history of drug use, dabbling with LSD in the seventies. In his 1988 autobiography, he described his experience with the powerful psychedelic: “In the fairly short period of time that I used it, acid taught me several profound things,” he writes. “One was that I must not take acid and try to play a show.”
In one particular incident, Nelson took 1,500 micrograms of LSD two hours before he was due on stage. “I seemed to be standing in chocolate pudding. My fingers began turning into claws on the guitar. I felt like I looked like a werewolf.”
Nowadays, he says psychedelics aren’t for him. Nelson sticks to cannabis. He tells Rolling Stone that he gets high “pretty much all the time.”
The singer’s wife, Annie, says that the singer prefers sativa strains. And that his routine is to “take a couple of hits off the vape and then, an hour or two later, he might want a piece of chocolate. That keeps it going. So not a ton… but he is Willie Nelson.”
Cannabis has been a positive force in the country star’s life, despite getting in trouble for it a few times. The plant has not only saved his life and made him a small fortune, but it also keeps him relevant. Consequently, and perhaps most importantly, it helps him get back “On the Road Again.”