Willie Nelson Is Launching His Own Weed Brand, So I’m Preparing For A Collapsed Lung
Willie Nelson, the legendary 81-year-old country icon, is launching his own brand of cannabis, coined ‘Willie’s Reserve’. So that’s something to look forward to.
James Joiner of the Daily Beast recently sat down with the brand’s spokesperson, Michael Bowman, to dig a little deeper. Bowman is a nuanced hemp and pot lobbyist who has made a career working on renewable energy and sustainability issues.
Here are the highlights from the conversation between Joiner and Bowman, Via The Daily Beast:
So what exactly is Willie’s Reserve?
Well, you know, Willie has spent a lifetime in support of cannabis, both the industrial hemp side and the marijuana side. He wants it to be something that’s reflective of his passion. Ultimately, it’s his. 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.
Really he wants it, at the end of the day, to envelop what his personal morals and convictions are. So from the store itself to how they’ll work with suppliers and how things are operated, it’s going to be very reflective of Willie’s life.
Wait, so there’s going to be stores?
Well, yeah, they’re in the making. I think it’s safe to say that there will be stores that roll out in the states where marijuana has become legal.
So will there be signature strains that you grow under Willie’s oversight? Or will you sell other people’s strains?
It’ll be both. There will be our own, and then there will be opportunities for other growers, who meet quality standards. Let’s just call it the anti-Walmart model. 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.
So you’ll also be a distributor of sorts.
It will be like when you walk into a Whole Foods store. Whole Foods has their 365 brand, or you can buy Stony Brook, or you can buy Horizon… It’ll all fall under that umbrella of “here’s our core beliefs, and here’s our mission statement,” and they will be a part of that, to be a part of us.
How many stores are you looking at opening?
That’s gonna depend… Right now, we’ll focus on the states where legalization has occurred, and as new states open up, those opportunities will present themselves on a state-by-state basis. Or until the feds do something!
When do you plan to open the first one?
In the next calendar year that there will be movement. As you can imagine, it’s not a problem in states like Colorado, Washington, Alaska… There’s a pretty clear path on where retail can go.
“There will be our own, and then there will be opportunities for other growers who meet quality standards. Let’s just call it the anti-Walmart model.”
OK, so what strains are Willie’s favorites?
You know, I don’t know that! I know that he clearly has an opportunity to test a number of those, but I can’t tell you which ones are his favorites.
How did you get involved with Willie?
Well, Annie (Willie’s wife) and I were founding members of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance back in 2005. We got to know each other through that. I was working in D.C. on a number of renewable energy and sustainability issues. Then, I presently became introduced to Willie, and had the honor of being able to spend a lot of time around him.
So how involved is he directly? Is it really mostly his family?
Well, no. This is a culmination of Willie’s vision, and his whole life. I’m not sure any of us could have predicted how fast the dominoes would start falling once they started falling (as far as legalization). And You have the men like Willie who’s been out there getting arrested, standing up saying what’s right, and not wavering from that core.
So do you think full-scale legalization will come soon?
I would say all this boils down to math. You can take the dollars we’re spending (on prohibition), and go to arch conservatives who are against the ending of prohibition, and say, “Here’s a math equation. Here’s what we’re spending in drugs, here’s what we’re doing to destroy peoples lives. And with the ending of prohibition, we can transition from very energy intensive and chemical intensive crops to something much more energy-efficient and environmentally benign, and be creating more products.” What isn’t conservative about that equation?
Let me know if any of you want to throw down on 1,139 pounds.
Via Daily Beast