Fame Game

Celebrity CBD 

Everyone these days is in the CBD business, everyone including Willie Nelson, or rather especially Willie Nelson. The beloved country and western singer from Texas has never made it a secret that he wouldn’t mind it if kids grew up to be pot-smoking cowboys and cowgirls.

Years ago, Rolling Stone magazine explained that Willie “might be the world’s most legendary stoner.” Might be, indeed. The cannabis world is densely populated by legendary stoners. In fact, every new generation has one or two or three or four of them. Once upon a time, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong got stoned before he blew his horn.

Cab Calloway popularized the marijuana song “Reefer Man.” Robert Mitchum was busted with weed and went to jail, though his time behind bars didn’t hurt his career in front of Hollywood cameras. Then the Jamaican Rastafarian stoners—Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and others—arrived on the scene and persuaded a generation or two to sing reggae anthems.

The list of celebrity heads goes on and on. Pick your favorite. Mine might be Michael Pollan, the UC Berkeley professor and author of the classic study, “The Botany of Desire,” in which he dives into the world of apples, potatoes and marijuana and makes weed a subject that’s intellectual and academic.

Still, no one in my book beats Willie for sheer bravado. And no one has more of a right than he to use his name and his reputation to sell CBD products. I don’t have Willie’s police blotter in front of me, and I didn’t ask him to supply me with a list of all the times he has been arrested for possession. Still, to the best of my knowledge he was busted in 1974, 1977, 1994, 2006 and 2010, mostly in Louisiana and Texas, his home state, but also in the Bahamas. He’s never moaned and groaned about his marijuana arrests.

On the contrary, he says in Letters to America, that “Every time we got busted, something good came out of it. Across our nation there was more awareness and then resistance to long and unjust jail sentences.” But he adds that Black Americans have been four times more likely to get arrested than their white neighbors and that “sentences destroy lives and families, and it costs tax dollars to lock people up for nonviolent crimes.”

So, play one or two or more of the 300-plus songs Willie has written, and try “Willie’s Remedy,” “Willie’s Reserve” or his hemp-infused coffees and teas. They might make you want to strum a guitar and write the lyrics to a song about pick-up trucks, broken hearts and honkey tonks on the other side of the tracks.    

Jonah Raskin is the author of “Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War.”
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