Two-years of persistence from Willie Nelson ended Woody Harrelson’s cannabis abstinence. The actor tells Esquire about the day he returned to pot.
Enterprising readers will remember that back in 2017, Woody Harrelson announced he’d quit smoking marijuana. This was surprising and somewhat disappointing to various weed-loving comrades—a stoner icon, it appeared, had fallen. But no one was more disheartened than Willy Nelson, Harrelson revealed in a new Esquire cover story, as the red-headed stranger made it his mission to re-ignite Harrelson’s passion for cannabis.
Lucky for us, Nelson succeeded.
“Yep, I did quit,” Harrelson told Esquire. “For almost two years. No smoking, no vaping. And then I ran into this guy [referring to the weed issue of Rolling Stone, which features Willie Nelson on the cover], and that was that.”
Throughout his cannabis abstinence, Harrelson has hinted he’d eventually return, or that he’d dabble with marijuana products outside of smoking or vaping. “You don’t have to smoke a brownie, dude,” he memorably told Stephen Colbert. But the actual story of Nelson convincing Harrelson to once again smoke cannabis is something to behold.
“See, everybody thinks of Willie as a model of progressive thinking and virtue, and he is, but he’s also got an evil side. Eee-vil. Now, Willie never felt too good about me quitting. And he kept trying to get me to not quit. We’d be playing poker and he’d pass me a vape pen, and I’d say, ‘Willie, man, I don’t do that anymore.’ And he’d act surprised, like it was news to him — every time, just as surprised as he could be.
“Anyway, Willie passed me the pen after I’d won this huge pot,” he continued. “I was in a celebrating mood, so I snatched the pen from him and took a long draw. And Willie smiled at me and said, ‘Welcome home, son.’”
Incredible. Perhaps even better, though, is Harrelson’s confession of once being stuck at a dinner with Donald Trump over a decade ago. Former wrestler and ex-Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura had been asked by Trump to dinner and begged Harrelson to join him. Trump dominated the conversation, said Harrelson, who described it as a “brutal dinner.”
“It got so bad I had to go outside and burn one before returning to the monologue monopoly,” he said.
“He did say one thing that was interesting, though,” Harrelson added. “He said, ‘You know, I’m worth four billion dollars,’ or maybe he said five billion dollars—one of those numbers, I forget. Anyway, he said, ‘I’m worth however-many billion dollars. But when I die, no matter how much it is, I know my kids are going to fight over it.’ That was the one true statement he made that night, and I thought, Okay, yeah, that’s pretty cool.”