Move over, Marley Natural — the Bob Marley estate’s global cannabis brand poised to launch later this year. Now another famous weed-worshiping musician is throwing his hat into the aromatic arena.
Willie Nelson let the cat out of the bag at the South by Southwest music festival to The Daily Beast’s James Joiner, and the country legend’s Willie’s Reserve is the latest celebrity marijuana brand to excite pot aficionados. And Nelson’s crew says the brand — which will operate from its own storefronts that look and feel like “the anti-Walmart,” according to spokesperson Michael Bowman — will launch in 420-friendly states in 2016.
“In the next calendar year that there will be movement,” Bowman told The Daily Beast. “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.”
So what will Willie’s Reserve look and feel and smoke like? And is Nelson running the brand — or is it a family outing, somewhat similar to the late Marley’s brand?
“He wants it to be something that’s reflective of his passion,” Bowman said in the interview. “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.”
The shops will carry Willie’s Reserve strains as well as product from like-minded colleagues in each state.
“There will be our own, and then there will be opportunities for other growers, who meet quality standards,” Bowman said. “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.
“It will be like when you walk into a Whole Foods store. Whole Foods has their 365 brand, or you can buy (Stonyfield), 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.”