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Willie Nelson Sings To Legalize Marijuana


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He is still recording music and still touring with his band, but music legend Willie Nelson's latest project is a first.

He's the headliner at a weekend concert organized to promote the legalization of marijuana. Proceeds from the show will go to four marijuana policy reform groups.

Nelson helped bring the groups together for the first time to strengthen their lobbying efforts to legalize marijuana.

"I'd like to see it taxed and regulated and looked upon as nothing more or less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes," Nelson said.

Concert promoters focused on the music and barely mentioned the marijuana benefit.

Still, advertisers shied away. "Because it's illegal, and once you admit smoking it, you have committed to a crime," Nelson said. "Somewhere there's a stigma attached to it."

Nelson is standing up against that stigma. He said he's given up alcohol and cigarettes but not the pot. He wasn't always this forthright, especially in his days as a budding musician.

"With age you get a little more nerve," he said.

"What's a guy like me who smoked for 50 years. If I'm running into the walls or making a lot of bad decisions, but I do a two-hour show every night and remember 40 or 50 songs, so I challenge anyone out there. You might tie it, but I doubt you can beat it."

Nelson's argument isn't getting much support from Texas lawmakers.

Twelve states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use since 1995, and Texas is not one of them.

State Representative Elliot Naishtat recently sponsored a medicinal marijuana bill for patients with a medical condition such as AIDS, glaucoma or multiple sclerosis, but Representative Diane Delisi, the chairwoman of the Public Health Committee, denied the bill a hearing.

"Making it available for medicinal use won't make it any safer than any other drug," said Laurie DeLong, a drug treatment counselor at the Phoenix Academy.

DeLong agrees with Delisi's decision and said making marijuana legal, even for ailing patients, gives it a perception that it's safe.

"I know that any given day I may have 60 kids in my program, and that's what they started with, and that's really hard for me to reconcile," DeLong said.

"They started first with marijuana."

Nelson said he understands that point, and believes children should stay away from all drugs.

"I don't recommend anything for children, cause you need to let your lungs and mind develop, but once you get to be 74 years old, I don't think anyone should tell you what to do," Nelson said.

Austin Freedom Fest is Friday at the Backyard.

Knowing they have an uphill battle in Texas, marijuana activists plan to spend the concert's proceeds in New York, Illinois and other states that are closer to legalizing medical marijuana.

News Mod: CoZmO - 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: WPTV NewsChannel 5 (West Palm Beach, FL)
Author: NBC
Contact: pnroghaar@wptv.com
Copyright: 2007 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Website: Willie Nelson sings to legalize marijuana - WPTV NewsChannel 5

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Washington, DC: Country music legend and NORML Advisory Board Co-Chair Willie Nelson will be headlining the 2007 Austin Freedom Fest – a benefit concert to help end marijuana prohibition in America.

Tickets for this special event – which takes place on Friday, August 10, at The Backyard Amphitheater in Austin, Texas – are available for purchase online at: GetTix.Net.

Also performing at the Freedom Fest will be veteran country music artists Asleep at the Wheel, blues guitarist Carolyn Wonderland, and comedian Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling.

The event will be hosted by NFL pro-bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion (with the Dallas Cowboys) Mark Stepnoski. Mr. Stepnoski also serves on NORML’s Advisory Board.

Additional members of NORML’s staff and board of directors – including Advisory Board member Valerie Corral-Leveroni – co-founder of the Wo/mens Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz, California – will also be in attendance.

"Willie Nelson has been the most prominent proponent for legalizing marijuana in America for several decades, and he has never wavered from his commitment," said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre. "The 2007 Austin Freedom Fest is a wonderful opportunity for NORML supporters to gather for a celebration in a unique, and to demonstrate their support for ending America’s laws criminalizing cannabis."

The Backyard Amphitheater has been called the "Best Open Air Venue" by The Austin Chronicle, and the "Best Place to Hear Live Music" by Citysearch.com.

Proceeds from the benefit will be used to assist the educational and legislative reform activities of NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). One-third of the night’s proceeds will also be used to support WAMM’s hospice and support services.

Additional event and ticket information may be found online at: Benefits - NORML and Freedom Fest 07. NORML is holding a few rooms for our out-of-town guests at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown. The hotel can be reached at 512-476-3700. Please ask for the NORML room block.

Willie Nelson To Headline August 10, 2007 NORML Benefit Concert -- Join NORML at the Austin Freedom Fest in Texas to help end marijuana prohibition - NORML
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