The 86-year-old country legend has a history of emphysema.
Country legend Willie Nelson, who smoked his first joint in 1954, revealed in a recent interview that breathing problems have forced him to stop smoking marijuana, his notable drug of choice.
“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful,” Nelson told KSAT TV.“I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever. And that almost killed me.”
Why He Quit
Nelson, who has a history of emphysema, made the difficult decision to give up smoking marijuana.
“I don’t smoke anymore – take better care of myself,” Nelson said.
The 86-year-old singer told Rolling Stone back in April, “I’m kind of the canary in the mine, if people are wondering what happens if you smoke that shit a long time,” he said. “You know, if I start jerking or shaking or something, don’t give me no more weed. But as long as I’m all right…”
While the country legend first tried marijuana in 1954, it wouldn’t be until over two decades later before he opted to make it his number one vice – a decision that the singer stands behind.
“I wouldn’t be alive. It saved my life, really. I wouldn’t have lived 85 years if I’d have kept drinking and smoking like I was when I was 30, 40 years old. I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people,” he told Rolling Stone, “And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around.”
Though he may not smoke it anymore, he is still in the marijuana business. His medicinal marijuana brand Willie’s Reserve launched back in 2016 and is still going strong.
“This is a culmination of Willie’s vision, and his whole life,” said Michael Bowman, Nelson’s spokesman said in a statement about the launch. “Really, he wants it, at the end of the day, to envelop what his personal morals and convictions are.”
Bowman continued, “Willie has spent a lifetime in support of cannabis, both the industrial hemp side and the marijuana side. He wants 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.”