Country Throwback: Willie Nelson Admits to Smoking Weed Before Going on ‘Larry King Live’ in 2010

by Jennifer Shea

Country singer Willie Nelson has smoked pot in a lot of different places – at home, on tour, at the White House. And he admitted to late CNN host Larry King that he even smoked pot before going on King’s show in 2010.

Willie Nelson on Larry King

“Did you smoke pot today?” King asked the country music legend on his show.

“Yeah, sure,” Nelson replied.

“Before you came in here?” King pressed.

“Yeah, sure,” Nelson nodded.

“There’s pot in you right now!” King exclaimed.

“Yeah,” Nelson acknowledged. “You could arrest me.” 

King also asked Nelson if he ever smoked a few joints before he went onstage to sing, and Nelson said yes. But Nelson added the caveat that he has a “huge tolerance” for pot that most people don’t have. And he noted that “you can overdo it.”

Giving Up Joints

But more recently, Nelson has had to give up smoking joints. In 2019, he told San Antonio TV station KSAT that he quit smoking marijuana for health reasons.

“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 said in the interview. But “I don’t smoke anymore. I take better care of myself today.”

The singer admitted that he has “mistreated” his lungs ever since his youth in Abbott, Texas.

“I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever,” he said. “And that almost killed me.”

In August of 2019, Nelson had to cancel six shows on his tour thanks to “breathing issues.” However, he hasn’t given up marijuana entirely. His publicist told USA Today that he still consumes cannabis – just not in joint form. 

In fact, Rolling Stone dubbed Nelson “America’s most legendary stoner.” Nelson reportedly offered a reporter a vaporizer and asked, “Wanna puff?” 

“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,” Nelson told the magazine. “I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people. And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around.”

Nelson has said that marijuana saved his life – that’s despite the fact that he’s grappled with emphysema as a result of his smoking. And he’s still in charge of his cannabis company (he has called himself the “chief tester” there).

Watch the Larry King interview here: