Willie Nelson Turning 90

Stephen Andrews
28 Apr 2023

A symbol of American culture and a counterculture force, legendary country musician Willie Nelson launched his cannabis brand "Willie's Reserve" in 2015 just as marijuana legalization started to take hold in the U.S. The Texas-born artist embodies everything but the conservative politics of his home state. Some of his fans have asked him to keep his music away from politics, but there's never been the other way round with the "Roll Me Up" singer. Willie Nelson is turning 90 this weekend, and there are many reasons why this is his year, like many other years before.

Willie is one of the most trusted and longest-present cannabis activists you can find on the whole planet. Times have certainly changed since he first started to represent cannabis culture. It has become a huge industry with all these new methods of consumption one could possibly imagine, and Willie has always remained in the picture as someone who supports the plant, advocateing with huge zest for its legalization. That Willie's birthday falls just nine days after 4/20 makes it all the more joyful to have him on the global cannabis scene. 

In the year that marks his 90th birthday, Willie Nelson has been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His five-part documentary Willie Nelson & Family has premiered at Sundance, the largest independent film festival in the U.S. In addition, the country musician recently also released I Don't Know a Thing About Love, his 73rd studio album so far. 

How would he celebrate his birthday? He hosts a birthday party on April 29 & 30 at the Hollywood Bowl, and his guests list includes Neil Young, Christ Stapleton, Orville Peck, Tom Jones, and his weed buddy Snoop Dogg among others. 

Nelson is someone who can also brag about one of the most famous smoke sessions ever — on the roof of the White House, where he reportedly lit up a "fat Austin torpedo" with one of the president's sons back in 1978. He was invited to stay there by the Carter administration. 

James Earl "Chip" Carter III, the president's middle son, was 28 at the time. Jimmy would find out about this only years after. Nelson had reportedly asked Chip to keep it quiet about the puff so as not to tag him as a "pot-smoker" like himself. 

"I was staying at the White House and [Chip] took me up to the top of this thing up there, the top of the White House. It's one of those great places where you can look around, 360 degrees," Nelson recalls in his memoir. "And then we had a joint, we burned it down, and then went downstairs and bowled — they had a bowling alley downstairs. Then they put me up in the Lincoln Bedroom. I had a blast." 

Another thing Nelson can take pride in? Certainly, his cannabis brand, Willie's Reserve. It has maintained popularity seven years after its launch. Not all celebrity-backed pot brands can say the same. And this success is likely because the brand regularly introduces updates to keep up with the latest trends. Or perhaps it's more of Willie's culture and attitudes toward cannabis. 

"The cannabis culture is a way of life for him. And he has always operated under a simple philosophy: My stash is your stash," Josh Richman, one of the vice presidents at Willie's Reserve, told the Westword, a Denver-based independent news portal, in a recent interview. "We wouldn't call Willie's Reserve a celebrity brand, but if we must, that level of involvement and authenticity is not typical for celebrity brands. It's not something you can just create, and we understand how blessed we are to work with Willie." 

Willie's Reserve has been releasing new lines of flower, pre-rolls, vaping cartridges, and CBD products since 2016. The company is based in Colorado and with big plans to expand into states where cannabis legalization is newer. Most recently, they successfully launched in Massachusetts and Missouri. 

Wondering what cannabis products Willie is enjoying the most lately? According to Richman, Willie has tried it all at one point or another. However, he has shared that "he smokes less and snacks more these days, and is glad for the options," Richman told Westword.

Is Willie Nelson one of the greatest minds ever born in Texas? He absolutely is. Cheers, buddy! Now, if you excuse me, it's time to play "It's All Going to Pot."

Stephen Andrews