The fact that ol' Willie thinks weed oughta be legal and taxed is about as surprising as hearing that Ted Nugent acquired his dinner with a firearm. But what was interesting in Nelson's new interview with the UK Guardian was what he said about the drug changing his life. Asked by writer Michael Hann about the hard-drinkin' days before he was a stoner, Willie basically -- not explicitly, but clearly enough -- says that doobies saved his young, reckless self from an untimely departure:
He offered a lil' bit of druggy wisdom, too. Here's the exchange:
Did starting to smoke weed make a difference to the way you thought about the world and your political interests?
When I was out in the bars drinking and fighting I was a little bit less of a peacemaker than I would be if I'd had a coupla hits of a joint and gone and laid down somewhere. I'd have less bumps on my head, that's for sure.
Won't it be too hard for Congress to decriminalize weed?
Well, Connecticut just became the 17th state to legalise or decriminalise marijuana. It's coming. It has to, because economically we need the money - why give it to criminals? Most people realize it's not a deadly drug like cocaine or cigarettes. Cigarettes killed my mother, my dad, half my family, so don't tell me about health when you're talking about legalizing marijuana because it's not dangerous health-wise. I'm the canary in the mine, and I'm still healthy. Had I stayed with alcohol I would have been dead or in prison or somewhere today.
Emphasis ours. And after that last bit, the writer inserts a footnote: "It would be fair to say this is the subject on which he was most effusive during the course of our interview."
Clearly, Nelson believes that becoming a pot-smoker -- and giving up being a rabble-rousing drunk -- saved his life.
Now let's just sum up Willie's wisdom on life, booze, and marijuana, based on our interpretation of the above statement:
1. Most people use a drug.
2. Cigarettes and alcohol are a popular combination.
3. Cigarettes and alcohol, in addition to having their own existentially deleterious effects, lead to health-jeopardizing behavior.
4. I've smoked more weed than than your supplement-taking little mind can comprehend, I'm 79 years old, and I'm talking to you right now; therefore,
5. Weed can't be that bad. (At least if you're not Toby Keith.)