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Willie Nelson on Pot: 'I'm Not Smoking Anymore and I'm Not Smoking Any Less'

Willie Nelson in the studio with joint

In an interview with San Antonio radio station KSAT, Willie Nelson hinted that he's stopped smoking marijuana. But Nelson, his son Lukas and his publicist now say it ain't so.

It's unclear if he was referring to marijuana or tobacco (he gave up the latter decades ago), but the headline hyped:

Willie Nelson Says He's No Longer Smoking Marijuana Due to Breathing Issues

In the article, interviewer Paul Venema writes: "Years of smoking marijuana, the country music legend admits, has taken a toll on his health."

Indeed, Nelson canceled six shows in August due to a breathing problem. The legendary country singer suffers from emphysema.

Yet he continues to tour six months out of the year, playing sets for his loyal fans. 

“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," he told Venema. “I mistreated myself since I was this big. I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever. And that almost killed me.”

"It didn’t," Venema explains, "so he made a decision."

Here's the key line in the article:

“I don’t smoke anymore. I take better care of myself today than I did then,” Nelson, who is 86, commented.

Asked if rumors that he's "near death" bother him, Nelson bristled: "I don't give a shit, excuse me. I'm here. I'm glad to be here. I'm lucky to be here."

Nelson's press representative Elaine Shock initially told CelebStoner, "Willie does what he wants."

"Does Willie only vape at this point?" we asked.

"I don't know for sure," she replied.

Five days later, when the story hit TMZ and CNN, Shock refuted it on Facebook: "Look, I don't care who says what, Willie hasn't given up weed. We can still listen to 'Weed With Willie' and relate to the song. Willie is the chief tasting officer at Willie’s Reserve and that includes flowers."

Nelson's son Lukas also weighed in: 

On December 7, Willie's Reserve, Nelson's weed company, tweeted a quote from Nelson:

Nelson, of course, is famous for his efforts to legalize marijuana and for his prodigious use of the plant. One of his songs is titled "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die."

He recently received his 52nd Grammy nomination for "Ride Me Back Home," the title track of his 2019 album, in the Best Country Solo Performance category. Nelson has won nine Grammy Awards over the years.

This article was originally posted on November 30 and was updated on December 4 and December 7.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

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