On Friday morning, November 26 – the day after Thanksgiving – country music legend Willie Nelson was charged by the U.S. Border Patrol with possession of marijuana when officers found six ounces of Willie Weed aboard his tour bus at a Texas checkpoint.
On Saturday night, Willie e-mailed CelebStoner.com and suggested the creation of the Teapot Party: "Tax it, regulate it and legalize it," Nelson said, "And stop the border wars over drugs…. Thousands of lives will be saved."
On Sunday a fan-created Facebook page - "Willie Nelson’s Teapot Party" – garnered over 5000 "Likes" within twenty-four hours with no press and no publicity. The page count continues to increase exponentially.
And on Monday morning, November 29, Willie Nelson called associate publisher Rick Cusick at his New Jersey home and recorded the following exclusive interview for HIGHTIMES.com:
Rick Cusick: Here’s a question: What happened on Friday?
Willie Nelson: Well, we were going through a checkpoint and for some reason they singled us out and pulled us over. And they found a little weed on the bus and that’s all they needed.
RC: Were the cops adversarial to you? I mean, it boggles people’s minds that you could be in Texas and still get hassled for this sort of thing.
WN: Yeah. This was in Sierra Blanca down there where it’s very active with illegal aliens and that stuff and the crazy dope wars and everything down on the border. And Sierra Blanca’s right down there in the middle of that. So they’re pretty edgy down there, and well they should be. But they were good to us. They didn’t mistreat us at all.
RC: Were you the only one charged?
RC: When are you supposed to go to court? Do you know?
WN: Oh, I don’t know. I turned it over to my lawyer. He’s contacting them. He’s getting it set up.
RC: Now the scariest thing we’re hearing today is that TMZ is reporting that you could be looking at six months to two years. Is that really possible?
WN: I don’t think so.
RC: Yeah, that’s good to hear. They were saying that because this is like your third time around the block for getting pulled over with the bus. But I think it’s going to be treated probably as just a head stash, right?
WN: It’s Class – What is it called? Class A misdemeanor is what I think they called it.
RC: OK so you’re looking at a Class A Misdemeanor. All right.
RC: All right. Tell me a little bit about the Teapot Party idea you got.
WN: Oh, I don’t know. It was just, I thought, you know I thought it was kind of funny, a little joke that I carried a little farther. It’s not a bad idea when you think about it. It’s, one day, you know, it’s all going to happen. The economy’s so bad now that one day they’re going to have to turn around and say, you know, why are we letting the illegal guys make all the money here.
RC: Yeah, exactly so. I mean, the Teapot Party sounds to me like this could actually galvanize a lot of people. What happened to you could galvanize a lot of people to get involved and the Teapot Party sounds like it might be a way for them to do it.
WN: Yeah, and I think if nothing else it could be like the Tea Party. They could find somebody who feels the way we do and back ‘em in a political election because I know there’s a lot of the young candidates out there running that feel like we do. They need to know that maybe there’s a way to get some of the, you know, guys like us off our lazy ass and go vote.
RC: You know, I noticed that you had said in the original statement to the press, that you said “Our motto is ‘We lean a little to the left’ (Willie laughs). I think that was a slight uh, a slight jab at the Tea Party, eh, which leans a little bit to the right. Does that sound right to you?
WN: (Chuckles) Yes, sir. That’s true (Laughs).
RC: That’s what I got the biggest kick out of-
RC: Because in the world with the Tea Party flourishing the way it did, I don’t see how the Teapot Party can’t flourish.
WN: I don’t either. I think there’s more of us than there are of them.
RC: Absolutely. You know there’s twenty-five million Americans smoke marijuana every year, seventeen million Americans smoke it every month and over four million Americans smoke it every day.
RC: And if you getting pulled over to the side of a road in Texas can’t piss them off, I don’t know what would.
WN: Well, I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see what happens but I thought it was worth a shot just to kinda stir people up a little bit.
RC: Yeah, well this is Rick Cusick and I’m really glad you called in for HIGHTIMES.com. I’m going to put this up today and I know you’re a busy man. I don’t want to take up too much of your time. But good luck to you. If there’s anything we can do you just yell out and tell me, okay.
WN: Well, thanks, Rick. I appreciate it and good talking to you.