Willie Nelson: pot ‘saved my life. I was drinking a lot’

Willie Nelson is famous for a few things. His career: he’s a prolific country song writer who’s enjoyed a 50-year career. His infamy: he had nearly all his assets seized by the IRS in the 90s and to pay his fines Willie released a double album called The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories. His durability: Willie’s almost a century old and still performing and given his past drug and alcohol abuse, it’s astounding. And he absolutely adores marijuana. Willie was arrested multiple times for pot before it was legalized and has never shied away from letting the world know he smokes it. Gearing up for his big 90th birthday celebration he is once again talking about his love of marijuana. Willie said that weed kept him from drinking himself to death and more importantly, hurting anyone else. Willie, who is not sober but rarely drinks anymore, used to drink heavily. And it wasn’t until he learned the joy of pot that he was able to give up his dependency on booze and live a mellower existence.

The country music legend is turning 90 on April 28, and, to properly celebrate his milestone birthday, he’s headlining a two-day concert in Los Angeles. “Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90,” will take place April 29 and 30 at the Hollywood Bowl, and feature performances by Nelson, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, The Chicks, Sheryl Crow, Snoop Dogg and many more artists.

And before the star-studded event, Nelson is pre-gaming by releasing a new studio album—he’ll drop I Don’t Know A Thing About Love on March 3—and the iconic singer-songwriter also teamed up with Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart for a new BIC EZ Reach lighter campaign that gives a fiery wink to Nelson and Snoop’s shared love for marijuana.

As for his well-documented love of marijuana, “Well, it not only saved my life, it probably saved some other people’s lives,” he explained, “because before I smoked marijuana, I was drinking a lot. And I might have killed a lot of people, too. So I’m just glad that that didn’t happen. I’m glad we live through all of bad times.”

Prior to teaming up for their BIC EZ Reach lighter ncommercial with Stewart, Nelson and Snoop Dogg had been friends for quite some time, with Nelson reflecting on one of their hangouts in Amsterdam. “Oh, we had so much fun trying to out smoke the other one,” he said, going on to reveal the two had even begun working on a song together. But, he admitted, “I’m not sure we ever finished it or not!”

[From E! News]

Willie stopped smoking pot a few years ago, around the time he was diagnosed with emphysema. Prior to that, a combination of smoking cigarettes and weed did considerable damage to Willie’s lungs, including collapsing one in Hawaii in the 80s. At that time, he gave up cigarettes so he could keeping smoking pot. It’s unclear if he went back to smoking pot or if he gets his weed in other forms now, but he rarely drinks. I’m not sure how Willie’s pot use saved lives exactly. By that I mean, I don’t know if Willie drove drunk, but he doesn’t drive while stoned, or if he experienced Red Mist when he drank too much. According to an interview Willie gave in 2019, it sounds like the latter. The end result is that he found a more peaceful experience with marijuana and that saved him from whatever demons alcohol brought out. I know drug counselors have thoughts about swapping one drug for another, but it doesn’t sound like Willie was a full-blown alcoholic if he’s still drinking in moderation today. Since the crowd Willie hung with in the 70s was more of a coke and whiskey sort, the fact that he fell in love with pot is a good thing.

Willie said he keeps healthy through diet and exercise. Huh, 90-year-old country music icons, they’re just like us! He’s a fifth-degree black belt in Gongkwon Yusul and was boasting to E! about keeping his weight down. Willie seems to have things figured out. He’s made his peace with his health and, as has been mentioned a few times, he’s about to turn 90. I never had a problem with his pot use before but finding out that it improved his life and the lives of those around him makes me happier for all involved, I guess. I like Willie. I just want good things for him.

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22 Responses to “Willie Nelson: pot ‘saved my life. I was drinking a lot’”

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  1. Ang says:

    Wow I love Willie Nelson. His voice of course, but this too. My dad was a cantankerous drunk most of his life, until he discovered pot in his early 70s. He spent the last 15 years of his life as an absolute doll! Cheerful, relaxed, having the occasional drink, and growing his pot plants on his balcony!

  2. Tulipworthy says:

    Wow, pretty impressive that he is still performing at 90.

    • Lightpurple says:

      His older sister Bobbie was still playing piano in his band until she died last year at 91. Bobbie completely owned the stage; he was trying to keep up with her. A Willie Nelson show won’t be the same without Bobbie banging on her piano center stage

  3. SomeChick says:

    Love Willie. Snoop has also talked about their visit to Amsterdam. He says Willie is the only one who can smoke him under the table. He also said they went through the KFC drive thru together there. Can you even imagine working the KFC drive thru in Amsterdam and Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg pull up? Who would believe you?!

    There’s a clip of Snoop talking about this on youtube.

  4. TheVolvesSeidr says:

    I have always loved Willie. He’s amazing. His daughter’s autobiography mentions him getting violent with her mother when drunk. I guess he was a shitty drunk. *Martha Stewart also imbibes in the weed, fun fact.

  5. Caroline says:

    I mostly replaced alcohol with weed during the pandemic and it’s made my health, relationships, and work so much better. I was never an alcoholic but i did drink to get drunk. Haven’t been drunk or had a hangover in 2.5 years!

    • May Bench says:

      I quit drinking 20 years ago. I wasn’t a heavy drinker, but I just don’t like the feeling of being drunk or the headache it gives me. I do use pot daily by eating a pot cookie I make. I quit pot for 20 years while bringing up my two kids. I didn’t want them to see me stoned or drunk.
      Pot takes away pain and relaxes me. I used to vape it, but it made me cough, so cookies are the best.

    • DeeSea says:

      I’ve largely replaced booze with weed (edible forms only; smoking and vaping aren’t for me). I love weed, and weed loves me. I’m happier and calmer, and I love not getting hangovers!

  6. smcollins says:

    I love Willie Nelson. Have always loved him (since I was a kid, I am now 48). Will always love him. When his time comes I know without a doubt I will be in tears. But then again he may outlive us all, he is Willie Nelson after all.

  7. aang says:

    To have his tolerance! I sometimes take a 5mg gummy at night for sleep. It gives me great sleep but even 5mg makes me so relaxed I have trouble doing things the next day. I can’t imagine being able to function high all the time. But I know it is different for everyone.

    • Jillibillijean says:

      I was recently diagnosed with MS and I am trying to find stronger edibles cuz I’m getting too high of tolerance lol. I had been taking one gummy at night for sleep/pain but they aren’t working anymore 😪 I’ve loved weed since my first time at 21 lol but I don’t like to smoke anymore cuz I have asthma that became worse after covid.

      • aang says:

        I hope you can find something stronger that helps with your symptoms! Best of luck.

      • MoonTheLoon says:

        Hey MS sib! I hope you’ll see this. What helps me not gain too much tolerance is to alternate with topicals whenever possible. My favourite is using infused coconut oil. I can use it as an edible or rub it on whatever area of me that’s screaming. That’s usually my rib cage, thanks to the lovely MS hug. It also does a pretty decent job in loosening muscles when I’m spasming. If you need anymore tips, let me know. I’ve been at this game for 12 years now. Best advice is to be conscious of your body and what it tells you. Hella helpful in heading stuff off at the pass and feeling more in control. Sending you hugs. 🙂

  8. Ann says:

    I’m a full blown alcoholic and I too love my weed. I won’t say weed keeps me from drinking because I drank for very different reasons vs why I smoke. Weed makes me happier, nicer, calmer. I smoke weed to enjoy life, I drank to forget life. Weed isn’t saving me or anything like that, but it is part of my life and I freaking love it. On that note, going to go smoke a bowl. Marijuana blessings to those of us blessed by marijuana on this fine Wednesday morning.

  9. salmonpuff says:

    We saw Willie Nelson a couple of years ago, and although his voice is definitely past its prime, he still has something magic about him. And his sister was absolutely incredible.

    I wish I liked pot, but it makes me anxious and fearful. Every couple of years I try it again just to see, but nope…not for me.

  10. Lucy says:

    I think an old quote from him about drinking was that he always woke up covered in blood after a bender. Whether it was his or someone else’s, not good.

    I think he might have been the singer that was sewed into a sheet by his wife when he came home drunk? And then she beat him with a broom while he crawled around and tried to get out?

    I hope he’s around forever, he’s been a nice man since he fixed his relationship with alcohol.

  11. Stef says:

    Gotta love Willie Nelson!

    He also has some pretty great weed products on the market. Big fan of him as a person, some of his music, and his love/appreciation for the electric lettuce.

  12. Jess says:

    Love Willie. And pot my brother. An alcoholic diabetic, he ended up in ICU multiple times before he got a scrip for medical marijuana.

  13. Ama1977 says:

    Honk for Willie!! Love, love, love him. My BF in my early 20’s was an aspiring musician and he got the chance to record an EP in Willie’s Perdenales studio. Willie’s rolling tray (with stray seeds!!) was on a table in the studio when I went to visit. My friend and I DIED (she took a seed, lol!)

    I’ll be so sad when Willie leaves this earth.