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When Willie Nelson Got Stoned at the White House

Willie Nelson and Chip Carter, who smoked a joint together on the roof of the White House, circa 1978.

Willie Nelson likes to be coy when asked about the story that he smoked pot on the roof of the White House during the Carter presidency. But he's admitted it in the past. 

In his 1988 autobiography, Willie, Chapter 14 begins: 

"Sitting on the roof of the White House in Washington, DC, late at night with a beer in one hand and a fat Austin Torpedo in the other. My companion on the roof  was pointing out to me the sights and layout of how the streets run in Washington… I let the weed cover me with a pleasing cloud… I guess the roof of the White House is the safest place to smoke dope."

On Jimmy Kimmel Live on Mar. 20, Kimmel queried Nelson: "There's a rumor that you once smoked pot on the roof of the White House."

Nelson: "I've heard that."

Kimmel: "Did that happen?"

Nelson: "I hear that once you get up there all the streets are coming at you from different directions…"

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Kimmel: "And you have to do something to calm down."

Nelson: "I would think so. If it ever happened, I definitely would have to calm down."

Kimmel: "You were friendly with President Carter." 

Nelson: "Jimmy Carter is a close friend… They're good people."

Kimmel: "Did they know you were  smoking pot allegedly on the roof of the White House?"

Nelson: "I forgot tot tell them."

According to Joe Nick Patoski, author of Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, the White House pot-smoking episode took place in September of 1978. He writes: 

"Willie played a show on the White House lawn for NASCAR, singing a duet with First Lady Rosalyn Carter. That night, before retiring to the Lincoln Bedroom… he climbed on the roof of the White House and smoked a joint with one of the Carter boys."

Though Nelson and Patosi don't name the "Carter boy" in question, it was Chip Carter. He was 28 years old at the time, and had been palling around with NORML's Keith Stroup.

In his new book, It's a Long Story: My Life, " Nelson says Carter "pulled out a joint" and stated, "Think it's time to burn one, Willie, if you don't object." Nelson writes that he "accepted the offer. The smoke took the edge off my excitement…

'There I was smoking weed and watching the city lights flicker like fireflies.'

The book will be available on May 5.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf, co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness, and the former editor of High Times.