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Willie Nelson Gets Arrested, Starts a Party

Willie Nelson photo by David McClister, courtesy of Lost Highway.

When Willie Nelson got arrested last Friday for possession of marijuana, it wasn’t exactly the biggest shock in the world. He’s been very open with his use of pot — so open that Toby Keith was able to write and record his hilarious song “Weed With Willie” for the Shock’N Y’all album.

Leave it to Willie to take an unexpected turn in the aftermath. When he got in trouble with the IRS years ago, he reacted by recording an album and selling it to raise money to pay off his debt. After he made bail for Friday’s arrest, he sent an email to a reporter suggesting the creation of a Teapot Party. A fan set up a Teapot Party site on Facebook on Sunday, and as of this morning, more than 20,000 people have “Liked” the site.

Willie’s suggestion with the party is that the government should legalize marijuana. Tax it and make money off of it, he suggests, and a lot of the crime that surrounds its distribution will disappear.

“I thought it was kind of funny, a little joke that I carried a little farther,” he told High Times. “It’s not a bad idea when you think about it. 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?’”

When Willie created the Teapot Party idea, he suggested a simple motto, “We lean a little to the left,” intended as a play on the Tea Party, which has garnered a lot of support by leaning right. Willie didn’t seem to take the Teapot idea seriously when he introduced it, but now that the idea’s out there, he’s convinced pot-smokers could make it at least as big as the Tea Party.

“I think there’s more of us,” he said, “than there are of them.”

Some analysts have suggested that Willie’s repeated pot busts and the amount of weed that was confiscated — six ounces — make it likely that he’ll spend time behind bars for the offense. Willie doesn’t think so, but he’s delegated that issue: “I turned it over to my lawyer.”

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