In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, longtime pot enthusiast and legalization supporter Willie Nelson is launching his own brand of marijuana.
The 81-year-old musician is in the early stages of developing "Willie's Reserve," a premium marijuana brand that PR spokesman Michael Bowman said is "reflective of his passion." In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bowman — himself a veteran hemp and pot lobbyist — added that the new company will apply Nelson's "personal morals and convictions" in every aspect of the supply chain.
"Ultimately, it’s his," he said. "But it was developed by his family, and their focus on environmental and social issues, and in particular this crazy war on drugs, and trying to be a bright light amongst this trail as we’re trying to extract ourselves from the goo of prohibition."
In addition to weed and products (think vaporizers and pipes), Nelson also has plans to establish a nationwide chain of marijuana dispensaries, with growers who meet the brand's high environmental standards invited to participate.
"Let’s just call it the anti-Walmart model," said Bowman. "Personally, internally, that’s what we call it. A certain standard by which growers have to account for carbon and such, in a way that empowers small growers who are doing the right thing."
While Nelson hasn't yet commented on his new business venture, his long history and experience with cannabis will certainly be a draw for those interested in purchasing quality product. In an interview with the AARP last summer, Nelson said it's only a matter of time before legal access to the drug is available nationwide.
"I’ll probably take a couple of hits before or after the show tonight," he said. "It relaxes me, and the medicinal form of pot can cure everything from stress to cancer. It’s a shame that it was thrown in with the other hard drugs. Now that the legalization has proven successful in Colorado and in Washington state, it’s just a matter of time before it’s legal everywhere. There’s a lot of money to be made from it, number one."
Bowman expects the first Willie's Reserve dispensaries to open in 2016 in Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and other states where marijuana is legal. "... as new states open up, those opportunities will present themselves on a state-by-state basis," he said regarding the number of stores planned. "Or until the feds do something!"
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