Hanging With Willie: A Friendship Sealed With Weed

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel September 22, 2014

    Willie Nelson is a proud marijuana smoker who stopped using alcohol and tobacco decades ago. Willie, 81, credits his longevity to that decision.

    Willie was purposely out of the “marijuana closet” before that became fashionable, or even politically correct. His openness came across as charmingly naive, as if he did not know cannabis was illegal, and could not figure out why others were sometimes upset.

    Willie was — and still is — making a political statement that there is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana.

    Two issues have always been the focus of Willie’s political attention: helping family farmers remain on the land and legalizing marijuana.

    Willie and I have frequently talked over the years about the natural crossover between those two issues. If marijuana were legal for American farmers to cultivate and sell, tens of thousands of family farmers could grow marijuana and financially thrive and remain on the land, continuing the great rural tradition dating back to the founding of our country.


    29 responses to “Hanging With Willie: A Friendship Sealed With Weed”

    1. brentandrews says:

      Keith you are also a national hero and it is great to read your stories. Keep writing!

    2. Miles says:

      Like so many good Americans, I consider Willie to be a national treasure! I have approximately 1000 times more respect for him than I do for the GOP (I mostly have a lot of disrespect for that bunch of fools…).

      In case any of you don’t already know, Tommy Chong is a contestant on Dancing with the Stars! I think we should all tune in to give him our vote! How about it? I will for sure! 🙂

    3. lockedoutofmyshed says:

      Dig willie.he has done himself a big favor by givin up two bad fer one good! I did the same thing until 5 yrs ago when I had to start givin up hair to my employer. life has not been the same since. I didn’t use a lot of herb but a little every day made life VERY tolerable for me. shame my company of 37 yrs sold out my private life to gain favor with a corrupt government!…..long live WILLIE! best to ya man!

    4. carm says:

      I am not a smoker, my children are and I has’nt seemed to hurt any of them, they are grown with children….they did’nt have
      arrest records ect
      So I say legalize the shit,

    5. Andy says:

      What a great person Willie is. He’s been focused on helping others most of his life and to give up two highly addictive substances for a healthy alternative is quite noble. Imagine the savings to our health care costs if we could get about 10-20% of alcohol and tobacco users off their drugs of choice and into the healthy options!
      After I started smoking again I quite everything, including pain pills like aspirin, ibuprofen. Those drugs have side effects and can cause liver issues. What an amazing this little plant is, imagine if we focused our energy on plants and people instead of profits.

    6. Paul Pot says:

      Bob Marley called it Herb.
      Weeds grow wild, they are a problem, they are poisoned pulled out and burned.
      The cannabis we consume is selected, cultivated, nurtured, consumed and loved.
      It’s a Herb.

    7. Julian says:

      Willie, you’re a legend and an inspiration for all Americans, struggling farmers, struggling musicians, for the sick and imprisoned or for those of us who choose marijuana over those cancer sticks. I heard you on an NPR show once when you said you’d smoke the bark off a tree when you were younger but you knew the whiskey and smoke was gonna kill you one day so you stuck with weed and here you are.
      When I was 18 I made the same decision over tobacco. I wish I had made the decision earlier about whiskey and I could have avoided that time when the cops showed up for fightin with my brother in the middle of the street at night (we told them I went in his room and they let us go…)
      …Or the time when I snuck a flask in to your show at the Verizon in San Antonio and passed out through Los Lonely Boys. (My brothers stuffed paper in my mouth… Lil fuckers) I’ll never forget that Merle Haggard was so bent outta shape he wasn’t headlining the show he only sang a few songs and left. We were all disappointed we didn’t hear Pancho and Lefty so you said, “We’ll, he shoulda smoked marijuana in Muskogee!” I still think Meryl’s alright, but I laughed my ass off.
      A real poster or commercial for marijuana over whiskey that night was watching David Allen Coe before you. Coe could make his voice sound like a bird in the spring at one time, but years of whiskey… By the gallon… Really show in his performance now. It was a miracle he was alive at all; he recorded some songs with Pantera before Dimebag Darrel died but they were all so damn drunk the album was ruined. Priceless recordings and vocal cords destroyed by Jack Daniels.
      Meanwhile, most people don’t even know not only do you play guitar for a living, you have arthritis! I don’t know how you could manage the pain without marijuana. Now that’s a miracle a man can be proud of.
      I know I’m writing a book again, but in the Spirit of Ol Merle, I think I’ll write a little song about my experience at your concert.

      I call it “Proud I smoked my Stogee in Muskogee”

      We all Smoke marijuana in Muskogee
      No one thinks that “don’t” is what Merle means
      And when they drag our ass on down to the courthouse
      We pay and pray our mugshot Google cleans

      Cuz I’m proud I smoked a Stogee in Muskogee
      I rolled it up with one hand in my car
      And it ain’t about bein rebel, or an outlaw
      Just a country road and a lit joint is our bar

      We don’t need to pass out on the front steps
      Or mix our thrills with pills and lose it all
      Cuz marijuana don’t make a man get violent
      Or leavem so f’d up he has to crawl

      Jesus gave it to the sick in prison
      He said it wasn’t just for Priests and Kings
      How many times do we have to end prohibition?
      I’m reminded every time that Willie sings!

      Oh I’m proud I smoked a Stogee in Muskogee
      If only there were hemp fields flowin green
      Farmers could make shelter for their children
      N we’d finely respect cops and the College Dean!

      God Bless you Keith n Willie. Thanks for all you do.

    8. Julian says:

      I’m proud I smoked a Stogee in Muskogee
      And it ain’t the tobacco kind I mean
      It used to make Old Glory before nylon
      And filled the hills with freedom waves of green

      So let’s all vote back Cannabis today
      In Muskogee, Oaklahoma U.S.A.

    9. Voice of the Resistance says:

      Yeah, Keith and Willie. I love you.

    10. Fireweed says:

      what a great story. this story illustrates beautifully why Willie is absolutely right that there’s NOTHING wrong with smoking marijuana, in fact, I’d say Willie looks darned good for 81, and probably smoking pot helped that along. The story also illustrates what kind of culture has been built up around marijuana, and with that, shows that marijuana is not like street drugs and excess alcohol that ruin your health and your life. some day Willie and Keith will go down in history as heroes.