Willie Nelson (Jack Plunkett, Invision/AP)

Exclusive: Willie Nelson dishes on selling Willie’s Reserve cannabis in Free America

Willie Nelson’s much-hyped marijuana brand Willie’s Reserve will debut in Washington state pot shops this month and in Colorado marijuana stores in August, Nelson’s team told The Cannabist exclusively.

The anticipated debut of the country music legend’s weed brand — which includes cannabis flower grown by established license holders in each state — will coincide with Nelson’s previously scheduled tour stops at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington, on July 23 and Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village, Colorado, on July 30.

“I’ve smoked enough and I want to give back,” Nelson says in press materials. “Now that legalization is spreading across the country, there’s a great opportunity to build a company that can help a lot of people.”

The initial list of retail stores that will carry Willie’s Reserve products in Colorado include Lucy Sky Dispensary, Mindful, Simply Pure and Terrapin Care Station; The brand’s Washington state retailers include Buddy’s of Renton, the Evergreen Market, Fweedom, Greenside Recreational, Gypsy Greens, Herbn Elements and Nimbin Pot Shop.

(Willie's Reserve)
(Willie’s Reserve)

Even though the brand’s marketing materials playfully say they’re opening up access to the singer’s “legendary stash,” the Farm Aid co-founder and his Willie’s Reserve team aren’t growing the marijuana themselves. Because cannabis is a federally controlled substance, the commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana is strictly governed by the four states offering recreational sales and the 25 states that have legalized medical pot.

Like other celebrity cannabis brands, including Snoop Dogg’s Leafs by Snoop line, Willie’s Reserve is partnering with existing, licensed marijuana growers in each state — but “Nelson has consulted with horticulturalists and cannabis farmers to assure any product labeled Willie’s Reserve will maintain a standard worthy of his name,” according to press materials.

The subject of a recent New York magazine cover story titled “Big Pothead Versus Big Pot,” Nelson also hopes cannabis legalization continues to right Drug War wrongs and spur ethical cultivation practices and standards.

“I hope it gives social justice to those who are incarcerated for doing what we’re now doing legally,” says Nelson. “I am also committed to have our crops farmed in an environmentally responsible way; to revitalize small farms and to grow it as clean as possible. So far, I’ve really enjoyed meeting with the best growers.”

The Willie’s Reserve product line will include pre-packaged marijuana flower sold in gram pouches, along with eighth- and quarter-ounce nitrogen-sealed cans, and pre-rolled joints sized at a half-gram or one gram. The company will also sell its CO2-extracted cannabis oils in disposable vape pens and universal-sized vape pen cartridges.

“I always knew that marijuana would be legalized,” Nelson says. “I just never thought it would be in my lifetime.”