Though the red-headed stranger might use marijuana through other means, Willie Nelson quit smoking for health reasons.
Yes, the rumors are true. All-time marijuana icon Willie Nelson has toked his final toke, puffed his final puff, and will no longer smoke marijuana. The 86-year-old country legend told San Antonio television station KSAT that he quit smoking for health reasons.
“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful,” he said. “I don’t smoke anymore. I take better care of myself today.”
Nelson added that he has a long history of filling his lungs with smoke, and that doesn’t just mean cannabis smoke. Ever since growing up as a boy in Abbott, Texas, he has “mistreated” his body, Nelson said.
“I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever. And that almost killed me,” he admitted.
While Nelson is a well-known user of marijuana, he’s also established himself as an essential advocate for the plant, as he currently co-chairs the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) advisory board. In the past couple years, he’s branched out into the cannabis industry through his Willie’s Reserve namesake brand, which he launched in 2016 with assistance from a private equity firm.
Though Nelson won’t smoke anymore, it remains unclear if he still uses cannabis via edibles, tinctures, and non-smokable products. In April, Nelson told Rolling Stone he wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for marijuana.
“I wouldn’t be alive. It saved my life, really,” he said. “I wouldn’t have lived 85 years if I’d have kept drinking and smoking like I was when I was 30, 40 years old. I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people. And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around.”