WILLIE NELSON JOINS THE FIGHT AGAINST A CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY
WILLIE NELSON JOINS THE FIGHT AGAINST A CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY by Phillip Schneider, Staff Writer for Waking Times
As marijuana becomes legal across the country, a select few companies have come to dominate the market with some bad business practices. But Willie Nelson is trying to stop them.
Thirty-five years ago, as Willie was playing his music at Live Aid, a benefit concert for those affected by the famine in Ethiopia, he had the idea for a benefit concert that supports local farmers.
But Bob Geldof, the organizer of Live Aid at the time, thought that his proposal was a “crass, stupid, and nationalistic” conflation of the two issues. As Willie listened to him downplay the importance of farmers affected by a drought, bankruptcy, and a corporate takeover of the industry, it only solidified his desire to start his own concert, thus Farm Aid was born.
In their first year, Farm Aid included artists such as Johnny Cash and B.B. King and raised over $9 million for down-and-out American farmers.
“We were losing like 300 farmers a week” to suicide, Nelson recalls. “[But] things are a little better now. People have started thinking about buying and growing sustainably.”
Since Farm Aid began, a paradigm shift has occurred. People are now talking about sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and organic food, and the likes of Big Tobacco, Big Agriculture, and Big Biotech have become stains on American identity.
Willie Nelson was as much a player in this cultural shift as anybody, but he knows that the battle isn’t over yet. In recent years, Willie has set his sights on something very near and dear to him, marijuana.
As a life-long marijuana smoker, Willie Nelson has a deep concern about the way that cannabis is grown and distributed. Out of this passion for weed came the start-up company Willies Reserve, a company started by Willie and investor Andrew Davison that seeks to bring social responsibility into the pot market.